Memoirs of Douglas Morris
Palestine - It was in October 1934, a fit and well-trained Battalion, that we got our orders to move to Palestine where we were to serve for two full years before onward posting to Ismailia on the Suez Canal, thereafter to India in 1937. Our Barracks in Jerusalem on the Bethlehem Road was to be our base for two eventful years. Of minimum comfort, single storey, often corrugated tin roofed, we made the accommodation as comfortable as possible.
For me personally it was a wonderful experience to make my Christmas Communion for Christmas 1934 in the Church of the Holy Nativity in Bethlehem, a never to be forgotten experience to be followed by other occasions.
There was only one other Infantry Battalion in Palestine, the Lancashire Fusiliers, stationed at Haifa. With the Palestine Police, mainly British Police seconded Officers, the Trans-Jordan Frontier Force and the RAF mainly based in Trans-Jordan, we controlled Palestine.
In early 1936 Major J T Leslie returned to the Battalion to take command. Having served in Malaya where with others he had controlled the formation of an experimental company with a view to forming a Regular Malay Regiment. It passed with flying Colours and the formation was approved to start in September 1936. In 1935, having put my second pip up now a full Lieutenant, I passed my promotion exam to Captain, doing the practical part of the exam on the site of the battlefield of Meggido in Northern Palestine.
Major “Tabasco” Leslie, a good friend to me, said “Douglas, you’re going to be (at the present rate) a subaltern for ten years before getting promotion, I recommend you get seconded for three years to this New Malay Regiment”, which he did. I was sent home on a short leave, met and was accepted by officials in the War Office and the Colonial Office concerned with the new venture and found myself, having bade farewell to family and friends, in a P&O liner bound for Singapore and Port Dickson in Negeri Sembilan FMS, arriving in October 1936.