- Contributed by
- People in story:
- British 6th Airborne Division
- Location of story:
- Palestine 1946
- Background to story:
- Article ID:
- Contributed on:
- 19 August 2005
When, on 22nd July 1946, two Jewish terror groups - the fanatical Irgun Zvai Leumi and the ruthless Stern Gang combined to blow up a wing of the King David Hotel in Jersulam - HQ of British Forces in Palestine and Transjordan - killing 91 people (28 British, 41 Arabs, 17 Jews and 5 others) two Parachute Battalions of the British 6th Airborne Division were sent into that city to cordon off the Jewish quarter and carry out house-to-house searches for arms and ammunition.
I was on the walled flat roof of a three story apartment block. In one corner was a conveniently placed bundle of rags which I prodded with my fixed bayonet to check whether the pile contained anything suspicious.
Suddenly, to my rear, the door at the top of the staircase swung open with a loud bang. I swung round expecting to come face to face with a terrorist but instead I was confronted by an extremely attractive young Jewish girl who, genuine or contrived, appeared to be in the final stages of pregnancy!
From behind her a male photographer leapt to one side and took a photograph of me, a British Parachute Regiment Sergeant, with my bayonet hovering within a inch of so of the girl's greatly extended stomach!
Realising that I had been set up I made a grab for the camera but the girl blocked my way and the man quickly disappeared down the stairs and got away.
It was not until long afterwards that I discovered that at that time a high-powered UN delegation was visiting Palestine and looking into complaints of British ill-treatment of the Jews.
I guess that photograph now resides in some dusty and long forgotten UN and/or Jewish achive.
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