British Mandate Palestine Police Oral History Project
The Middle East Centre Archive carried out an oral history project in 2006-2007 interviewing former members of the British Mandate Palestine Police.
The purpose of the project was to record the memories of former Palestine Policemen covering recruitment, training, the journey out and experiences of service in the Police as a research resource to compliment and add to the written records of the Palestine Police.
An article on the Palestine Police Oral History Project has been written by Dr Eugene Rogan for the Council for British Research in the Levant Bulletin and can be viewed here as PDF file. The Palestine Police Oral History Project(PDF File).
The Middle East Centre Archive wishes to thank the Palestine Police Old Comrades Association for its support in this project and also the British Empire and Commonwealth Museum for help in training for oral history interviewing and the many students at the Middle East Centre who volunteered to serve as interviewers and the many former Palestine Policemen who have given of their time to be interviewed.
Special thanks are also due to the Council for British Research in the Levant which awarded the Middle East Centre a grant to enable oral history interviews of former Arab and Jewish members of the British Mandate Palestine Police who still live in the Middle East.
Researchers who are interested in the history of the Palestine Police should note that a Source sheet on the Palestine Police is available online which gives details of the holdings at The National Archives (Kew) relating to the Palestine Police. However please note that this resource is part of a Wiki and therefore the information may not be accurate.
During the British Mandate (1920-1948) the Palestine Police formed a crucial institution in which British and Palestinian Jewish and Arab Policemen worked together. The success and challenges faced by the Palestine Police are key to a proper understanding of the history of the Palestine Mandate. For example how did the Police relate to the local population, enforce law and manage crisis situations?
Most of the former Palestine Policemen interviewed for this project served at the end of the Palestine Mandate, typically from 1945-1948 and were 18 or 19 when they joined. Consequently the interviews provide insight into a very troubled era when the Police were having to deal with terrorism, communal violence, political uncertainty and the lead up to British withdrawal.
Although each interview will be unique, with former Palestine Policemen giving an account of their individual service, a framework of questions was devised to cover a broad range of subjects. Please see our Palestine Police Oral History Questions (pdf file) for further details.
The Palestine Police Interviews
Researchers are welcome to come and visit the Archive to freely listen to the interviews and read the interview transcripts.
Copyright in the oral history interviews was assigned to the Archive, so that the Archive can make copies for researchers. Sound files cost £3.00 per interview (including VAT).
Transcripts of the interviews cost 12p per page (including VAT). The existence of a transcript and its length is noted in the list of interviews below.
Please contact the Archivist Debbie Usher if you wish to order transcripts or sound files.
The Victor Cannings Collection also includes a Police identity card, Criminal Code Ordinance for 1936, Palestine Police Magazines 1939-1947, 3 photographs of the Palestine Police Cricket Team, Certificate of Discharge from the Police, a booklet on Jerusalem promoting the work of the Jewish Agency and press cuttings covering bombings and deteriorating security in Palestine 1944-1946 and an essay on Canning's later Cricket Career, 1958.
The Edward Wells Collection also includes a photocopy of letter from B.N. Hinga (Commissioner of Police, Kenya) to Mr Wells summarising his career and giving thanks for his devoted service, 23 Aug 1965.