"People were mainly friendly, both the Arab side and the Jewish side. But it was just a few of the radicals that were causing the problems again."
My first posting was back to an office in London, with the Royal Army Pay Corps, right in central London. I was in the office there checking the pay records of various units. See, I was quite happy in the actual posting because I was staying at home. I was billeted at my own home and traveling to the office every day just like an ordinary office worker.
And the city had been badly damaged during the Blitzes, during the earlier forties, 1941 to 1943, and so on. But it was still tension because we were still getting the flying bombs, the V-1s [Vergeltungswaffe 1 also known as a buzz bomb], I don’t recall, or something at that time. They were just bombs with wings on and a little motor. And they used to send them off from Europe with enough fuel to get them to London specifically, flying. And when the fuel run out, they just dropped.
And then after that, they were V2s [Vergeltungswaffe 2: German long-range ballistic rocket], which were rockets. They traveled much faster; and you either heard them or you didn’t. If they were coming for you, you didn’t hear a thing, but you heard them if they were close by. But you heard the sound of them coming after they landed.
I know when I was going to work one morning, we came out of the tube [subway] station and there was a big loud bang, and it happened in the air above us. So how close that would have been, I don’t know. I mean, but you just carried on. It was something you’d got used to during the other part of the Blitz.
While the war was still on, I was posted to the country from London to a receiving camp for prisoners of war that had been released, were coming to be treated and sent home on leave. So we had to have them checked and paid, etc. When that diminished down, after the war was actually over, shortly after when they got them all back, I was posted back to my unit which was then in southern England. It had been moved from London office down into southern England. And I was there until I was posted overseas.
We were between the Jews and the Arabs more or less. Either side could be bothering us, and we couldn’t fight back. So I mean, most of the time, it was just peaceful, we would, if we had time off, we would wander up into the centre of Jerusalem and do our shopping and looking around, and just treating it as a normal place. People were mainly friendly, both the Arab side and the Jewish side. But it was just a few of the radicals that were causing the problems again.
But this was a posting into a place and we were doing our job, and waiting to be able to get out of the services. But when we got moved out before the partition [of Palestine]. The partition was coming, therefore, we weren’t needed as peacekeepers sort of thing and that’s when I was posted home; and shortly after, was discharged.