1st Border Regiment, Palestine 1937-38 (forum archive)

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File alt font awesome.svg Posted by plbramham » 22 Apr 2013, 10:53
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Transcription from the London Gazette

Here’s a page I’ve made from London Gazette cuttings 23 December 1938 listing 1st Border Mentioned in Despatches.

The 2nd Lieut K.J. Mountain mentioned died of wounds on Boxing Day 1937 in Jerusalem. Although there cannot have been many British Officers killed, I can find little mention of him except in The London Gazette 27 January 1937:

“The undermentioned Gentlemen Cadets, from the Royal Military College, to be 2nd Lts. 28th Jan. 1937:— Border R.—Kenneth John MOUNTAIN”

(There is another “Mountain” - brother perhaps? - who became 2nd Lieut Maurice William Mountain in the Border Regt in January 1935, promoted Lt. Colonel in May 1958, reserve list 1961, Colonel KORBR 1963, retired 1968. A Col M.W. Mountain OBE appears on an undated (1970s?) Highlands & Islands phone book living at Craignure. There also appears to have also been some much more recent KORBR officers with the surname “Mountain”)

Regarding the Arab Revolt 1936-39 (In which I have a personal interest as my grandfather served in it with the RAF & my mother was born in Jerusalem in 1939):

As a result of the peace settlements of 1919-1922, Britain was given a League of Nations mandate over Palestine and Transjordan. Until 1929, the British force in Palestine was virtually non-existent. The beginnings of trouble between the Palestinians and Jewish immigants brought about the despatch of two battalions in 1929. By 1936 the normal garrison had risen to three battalions. The onset of severe internal unrest in Palestine during 1936 witnessed an enlargement to one infantry division. By 1939 this force had been expanded to two infantry divisions.

The Border Regiment part of 14th Infantry Brigade, 1st Battalion deployed there in 1936. The Battalion was recalled to England from Palestine in April 1939, where it had been stationed for three years with the 14th Infantry Brigade and had performed with such distinction that its loss was keenly felt by both the Arabic and Jewish communities, as well as the local British forces. Lt-Colonel Lay DSO was presented with a scimitar by Chief Faris Irshaid who said: You gave us some hard knocks at the beginning, but we asked for it and we have no complaints. We are glad to know we part as friends. This sword is not a symbol of war, but a gift in friendship.

Writing to the Colonel of the Border Regiment, the commander of the Brigade said: I don't suppose any Battalion has earned the same admiration from everyone in Palestine as they have done. In fighting they have invariably been outstanding, whether in action on a big scale, as in the early days of the Rebellion when big gangs were encountered, or in the smaller actions and raids by platoons or small parties under junior leaders. Lay has thrown his heart and soul into the business of restoring order here and has controlled his area in a way that no one else has approached. I can hardly express what I owe to him personally and to your Regiment as a whole for setting an example which others have sought to imitate, and so raising the level of the whole Brigade. Your Regiment showed me there was little that could not be done and done well.

For more info see: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1936_Arab_Revolt

Paul.

File alt font awesome.svg Posted by plbramham » 23 Apr 2013, 09:48
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More research,

The Sydney Morning Herald (low grade scan attached) of Monday December 27th 1937 "killed off" the wrong "Lieutenant Mountain" of The Border Regiment - there were two of them (brothers?)

The one who was killed was Lt Kenneth John Mountain (Gazetted Second Lieutenant in London Gazette Jan 1937). He died in hospital of wounds sustained the previous day - Xmas Day (He actually died in the Palestine hospital where my mother was born about 18 months later!)

The officer reported as being killed (perhaps elder brother of the casualty?) was Lt Maurice William Mountain - London Gazette dates:

  • Jan 1935 - Cadet to be 2nd Lt
  • August 1938. - Promoted Lieutenant
  • August 1943 - Captain
  • August 1948 - Major
  • June 1957 - OBE
  • May 1958 - Promoted Lt Col
  • May 1961 – Supernumerary (late Border)
  • September 1961- Reserve list (Kings Own Border)
  • Dec 1963- Promoted Colonel (Kings Own Border)
  • May 1968 - retires Col (Late Inf.)

Undated phone book (1970s?) for Highlands & Islands lists Col MW Mountain OBE at Oakbank, Lochdonhead. Cragnuire.

In recent years there have been several Kings Own Royal Border Regiment officers with the surname " Mountain", must be the family regiment. I haven't checked if the tradition has continued into the Duke of Lancs Regiment (successors to the KORBR on amalgamation post 2005).

Interesting stuff!

File alt font awesome.svg Posted by plbramham » 23 Apr 2013, 10:17
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From Hansard:

BRITISH CASUALTIES IN PALESTINE.

HL Deb 09 June 1948 vol 156 cc528-9 528

VISCOUNT ELIBANK

My Lords, I beg to ask His Majesty's Government the question standing in my name on the Order Paper.

[The question was as follows: To ask how many lives of British sailors, soldiers and airmen respectively and British civilian officials and police, have been lost in Palestine in the course of the performance of their duties or in local disturbances or outbreaks of violence, between the dates of assumption of the British Mandate on September 23, 1923, and the date of the termination of the British Mandate on May 14–15, 1948.]


THE MINISTER OF STATE FOR COLONIAL AFFAIRS (THE EARL OF LISTOWEL)

My Lords, during the period in question, 28 members of the Royal Air Force, 141 members of the British Police and 21 British civilians were killed in Palestine as the result of hostile action by Jews or Arabs. I believe that statistics distinguishing casualties in Palestine from other casualties in the Royal Navy and the Army are available for certain periods only. Those periods, and the numbers of deaths due to the causes in question, were: Royal Navy—from September 3, 1939, to May 14, 1948, 7; Army—from 1937 to 1939 inclusive, 105; and in the Army again—from January 1, 1946, to May 14, 1948, 228.

VISCOUNT ELIBANK

My Lords, I would like to thank the noble Earl for his reply. I can only say that I hope these figures, the sacrifices we have made 529 in taking up this Mandate reluctantly (as we did) and the degree to which people have lost their lives and suffered, will be borne in mind in future when this question is being discussed in other parts of the world.