‘A Strong Seasoning of Irishmen’: The British Palestine Police, 1926–1948
This chapter takes as its subject the recruitment in 1926–1947 of Irishmen into the British (Palestine) Gendarmerie’s successor force, the British Section of the Palestine Police (BSPP). The extent of Irish participation is investigated and trends during four distinct recruitment periods (1926–1935, the 1936–1939 Arab Revolt, the Second World War period, and the postwar years) are examined. Personal testimonies, together with data extracted from BSPP personnel files, are interpreted in the light of contemporary historical, social, and economic trends to explore the reasons for which Irishmen enlisted, with particular focus on post-Second World War period enlistments, who accounted for almost half of all Irishmen recruited. Official and popular attitudes towards what became, by the mid-1940s, open recruitment for a British colonial force on Southern Irish soil are also examined.