18 November 2010

Harry Potter (1921 Kidderminster - 1939 Hebron)

Graf Harry Potter trekt toeristen in Israƫl

AMSTERDAM - De Harry Potter-gekte kent geen grenzen. Zonder er iets aan te doen bezorgt de hoofdpersoon in de wereldberoemde boeken van J.K. Rowling de Israƫlische stad Ramla een stroom aan toeristen.

Op de militaire begraafplaats van de stad ligt Harry Potter begraven, een Britse soldaat die in 1939 op 18-jarige leeftijd om het leven kwam tijdens een schietgevecht in de regio. (Telegraaf, 17 november 2010)

De gemeente Ramla promoot zichzelf op haar website als toeristische bestemming met voornamelijk historische locaties en gebouwen. Wie de Britse soldaat Harry Potter was, en hoe hij aan zijn einde is gekomen, daar valt geen letter over te lezen. In welk "schietgevecht" kwam Harry Potter om het leven? En waarom?

Private Harry Potter (5251351)

Harry Potter was one of 8 Potter children living in Kidderminster (near Birmingham) with his parents. He left school at the age of 14 and worked for six months at the Glider Dome fixing roller skates. He then went to work at a carpet factory where he was employed as a carpet creeler, which involved heavy physical work lifting packages of yarn on to carpet tufting machines.

At the age of 16 Harry travelled to Birmingham to enlist into the British Army even though he was still under age. In order to join the army Harry lied about his age saying he was a year older than he actually was. So on the 3rd January 1938 Harry Potter became a soldier in the 1st Battalion Worcestershire Regiment.

Harry’s father, David, a cobbler, had been a soldier in the First World War and still had shrapnel lodged in the side of his head from the Battle of the Somme.

1st Battalion Worcestershire Regiment leave for Palestine

For the next 8 months Harry was training with other recruits of the Worcestershire Regiment. The family were all very proud of him, especially his mother. His younger brothers were particularly excited when he came home on leave as he would always bring back biscuits to share.

In September, 1938, the 1st Battalion Worcestershire Regiment, which was then stationed in Aldershot, received orders to move to Palestine. The Arab revolt, which had been simmering for some time, reached serious proportions and it was necessary to reinforce the existing British garrison there.

Harry was very proud to be a soldier and set off for Palestine as part of the Worcestershire’s Motor Transport division in September 1938 as he turned 17.

On the 14th September 1938, at the age of only 17, Harry sailed with the rest of the Worcestershire Regiment from Southampton on board the troop transport ship H.T. Neuralia and headed for the port of Haifa in Palestine (Israel).

After a remarkably calm voyage the 1st Battalion reached Haifa on the 26th September 1938, and the same day moved in Motor Transport down the coast road through Tel Aviv and Jaffa to Sarafand, where they bivouaced for the night.

Harry was a driver in the Motor Transport section of the Battalion. His nickname was 'Crash Harry'!

The following day they moved on up the hill road to Jerusalem, where we took over a tented camp alongside the lines of 2nd Battalion The Black Watch.

The drive from Haifa to Jerusalem was something of an achievement, for the Battalion provided all the drivers for the 60 odd vehicles of all types which formed our convoy. Many of the drivers like Harry were inexperienced.

The Motor Transport section of the Battalion was spilt up on various detachments based in Bethlehem, Hebron (Battalion H.Q.), Isolation Hospital (at Hebron) and Deir Sha'ar. In the first few months a number of Jewish drivers were also employed to help with the shortage of experienced drivers.

Harry's best friend in the Battalion was Private Holland who was from London. The adjacent photo show Potter and Holland together in Palestine. At the time Private Holland had suffered an injury to his left hand (seen bandaged).

During the spring of 1939, Harry Potter was now attached to 'D' Company who had been based at Deir Sha'ar since November 1938.

For a time Private Potter was stationed at a Pumping Station on the Beersheba Road, 6 miles south of Hebron. The Station supplied water to Hebron. This Pumping Station was commonly referred to as 'Pumpet'. Harry made reference to this place in the letter home to his mother. Although 'Pumpet' was a very popular billet with the men of the Worcestershire Regiment, it was also a very isolated spot that came in for sniping from the Arabs from time to time.

On the evening of 22nd July 1939, “D” Company, returning from As Samu, engaged an armed band at Kilo 39 on the Hebron-Beersheba road. This gang had earlier ambushed an R.A.F. armoured car. During the engagement Private Harry Potter (5251351) was killed and Privates Darby, Warwick, Pearson and Simmonds were wounded. Private Joseph Darby later died of his wounds in hospital in Jerusalem on 7th September 1939.

Private Harry Potter burial

Shortly before Harry Potter was killed he wrote the letter below to his mother, which sadly arrived the day after the family were told of his death.

"Dear Mother,

In answer to your letter, I am getting on alright. I expect to be home for Christmas. If I am not it is a bit of bad luck.

At present I am in a place we call The Pumpet.  We have not got a lot of work to do at present and I hope you are alright.  I hope dad is still in work.  Tell Ken (his six year old brother) I am not forgetting his bike. I hope Alice (his older sister) is alright.

We have been going swimming a lot lately. You perhaps have been reading the papers.

I am not boasting but listen to the news on the wireless and listen to what work we in the Worcestershires have been doing. Well, I think that is all for now.

Cheerio – Crash Harry."

(bron 1, bron 2)

1936–1939 Arab revolt in Palestine

The 1936–1939 Arab revolt in Palestine or Great Arab Revolt was a nationalist uprising by Arabs in Mandate Palestine against British colonial rule and mass Jewish immigration.[10]

The revolt consisted of two distinct phases.[11] The first phase was directed primarily by the urban and elitist Higher Arab Committee (HAC) and was focussed mainly around strikes and other forms of political protest.[11] By October 1936 this phase had been defeated by the British civil administration using a combination of political concessions, international diplomacy (involving the rulers of Iraq, Saudi Arabia, Transjordan and Yemen[1]) and the threat of martial law.[11] The second phase, which began late in 1937, was a violent and peasant-led resistance movement that increasingly targeted British forces.[11] During this phase the rebellion was brutally suppressed by the British Army and the Palestine Police Force using repressive measures that were intended to intimidate the Arab population and undermine popular support for the revolt.[11]

According to official British figures covering the whole revolt, the army and police killed more than 2,000 Arabs in combat, 108 were hanged,[8] and 961 died because of ‘gang and terrorist activities’.[1] In an analysis of the British statistics Walid Khalidi estimates 19,792 casualties for the Arabs, with 5,032 dead: 3,832 killed by the British and 1,200 dead because of ‘terrorism’, and 14,760 wounded.[1] Over ten percent of the adult male Palestinian Arab population between 20 and 60 was killed, wounded, imprisoned or exiled.[12] Estimates of the number of Palestinian Jews killed range from 91[13] to 'several hundred'.[14]


A group of jewish fighters armed with rifles prepares to face Arab rioters during the Arab Revolt in 1938.

British co-operation with the Jewish Agency

The Haganah (Hebrew for "defence"), a Jewish paramilitary [red. terrorist] organisation, actively supported British efforts to suppress the uprising, which reached 10,000 Arab fighters at their peak during the summer and fall of 1938. Although the British administration did not officially recognise the Haganah, the British security forces cooperated with it by forming the Jewish Settlement Police, Jewish Supernumerary Police, and Special Night Squads. The Special Night Squads engaged in activities described by colonial administrator Sir Hugh Foot, as 'extreme and cruel' involving torture, whipping, abuse and execution of Arabs.[1]

The British authorities maintained, financed and armed the Jewish police from this point onward until the end of the Mandate,[102] and by the end of September 1939 around 20,000 Jewish policeman, supernumeraries and settlement guards had been authorised to carry arms by the government,[103] which also distributed weapons to outlying Jewish settlements,[104] and allowed the Haganah to acquire arms.[105] Independently of the British, Ta'as, the Haganah's clandestine munitions industry, developed an 81-mm mortar and manufactured mines and grenades, 17,500 of the latter being produced for use during the revolt.[14][106][107]

In June 1937 the British imposed the death penalty for unauthorised possession of weapons, ammunition, and explosives, but since many Jews had permission to carry weapons and store ammunition for defence this order was directed primarily against Palestinian Arabs and most of the 112 executed in Acre Prison were hanged for illegal possession of arms.[108]

In principle all of the joint units functioned as part of the British administration, but in practice they were under the command of the Jewish Agency and "intended to form the backbone of a Jewish military force set up under British sponsorship in preparation for the inevitable clash with the Arabs."[109] The Agency and the Mandate authorities shared the costs of the new units equally.[79] The administration also provided security services to Jewish commercial concerns at cost.[79]

Jewish and British officials worked together to coordinate manhunts and collective actions against villages and also discussed the imposition of penalties and sentences.[109] Overall, the Jewish Agency was successful in making "the point that the Zionist movement and the British Empire were standing shoulder to shoulder against a common enemy, in a war in which they had common goals."[110]

The rebellion also inspired the Jewish Agency to expand the intelligence-gathering of its Political Department and especially of its Arab Division, with the focus changing from political to military intelligence.[111] The Arab Division set up a network of Jewish controllers and Arab agents around the country.[111] Some of the intelligence gathered was shared with the British administration, the exchange of information sometimes being conducted by Moshe Shertok, then head of the Jewish Agency, directly with the high commissioner himself.[109] Shertok also advised the administration on political affairs, on one occasion convincing the high commissioner not to arrest Professor Joseph Klausner, a Revisionist Maximalist activist who had played a key role in the riots of 1929, because of the likely negative consequences.[109]

Lees verder op Wikipedia.

Meer: The 1936-1939 Revolt in Palestine by Ghassan Kanafani


  1. When will we finally learn that war must stop. Pvt Harry Potter sounds like a fine man. It is sad that we lost him so young.

  2. We are STILL quite stupid. Pvt. Potter and so many others died FAR TOO SOON.