Lt Raymond Oswald Cafferata

1897 Mar 13. Born at 17 Onslow Road, West Derby, Liverpool, Lancashire Mary Grace Parkinson and Wilfred Charles Cafferata

1897 Mar 21 Baptised at St Michael Parish Church

1901 census living at 17 Onslow Rd, Fairfield, West Derbys, Lancs with his parents. His father is a solicitor, born in Liverpool

1911 census living with parents at 14 Waverley Road, Liverpool

1911 Oct 3. Entered Wimbledon College, and was educated there until Easter 1913, excelling at cricket and football.

1914 Sep 2. He enlists as a private in the pals battalion of the King's Liverpool regiment

1915 Nov 7. Lands in France as Private with Kings Liverpool Regt.

1917 Jan 5. Posted back to UK

1917 May 29 Commissioned 18th Kings Liverpool Regt, and a newspaper report adds that he also served with Sherwood Foresters

1917 May 30. Liverpool Regt The undermentioned temp. 2nd Lts. from attd., unless otherwise stated, are transferred to Serv. Bns., with seniority
from dates shown:-—R. Cafferata.

1918 May 8. Gun Shot Wound to left thigh at Mt Kemmel in France

1919 Mar 21 Promoted Lt

After the First World War he attended the officers' school in Ireland in 1919

1920 Aug 9. L'pool Regt. Temp. Lt. R. Cafferata relinquishes his commission on completion of service,

1920 Aug 20 joined ADRIC with service no 288. Posted to C Coy in Macroom, later to Portobello Barracks in Dublin after C Coy were withdrawn from Macroom after Kilmichael Ambush . He records it in his diary

1921 May 25. Promoted section leader.

1921 May 29 Was in one of the tenders ambushed in St Stephen's Green

1921 Jul 15 to 21 Jul on Leave

1921 Oct 14 to 17 Oct on Leave

1922 Jan 14. discharged on demobilisation of ADRIC

1922 Mar 30. Joins Palestine Police. In the British Gendarmerie section as a Captain.. There were those in the British administration who identified with the Jews and those who identified with the Arabs. There were those who found both repugnant. “I dislike them all equally,” wrote General Sir Walter Norris ‘Squib’ Congreve. “Arabs and Jews and Christians, in Syria and Palestine, they are all alike, a beastly people. The whole lot of them is not worth a single Englishman!” This was a common sentiment. Police officer Raymond Cafferata put it more politely: “I am not anti-Semitic nor anti-Arab, I’m merely pro-British.” So felt many, perhaps most, of those who served in Palestine.

1922 Aug 23. Takes part in the quelling of a riot in Hebron, Palestine

The Hebron massacre concerned the killing of sixty-seven Jews on 23 and 24 August 1929, by Arabs incited to violence by rumours that Jews were massacring Arabs in Jerusalem and seizing control of Muslim holy places. Jewish homes and synagogues were ransacked; nineteen local Arab families saved 435 Jews by hiding them in their houses at great risk to themselves. The survivors were evacuated from Hebron by the British authorities. All officials in the Hebron civil administration were Arabs. Of its 40 policemen, only one was Jewish. Raymond Cafferata, the Assistant District Superintendent of the Palestine Police Force, had at his command 18 mounted policemen and 15 on foot, of whom 11 were elderly men in poor physical condition. On the early afternoon of Friday, August 23, upon hearing from car-drivers of fighting in Jerusalem, Cafferata deployed special pickets to report any unusual movement from the city and issued a request to headquarters for reinforcements. Intending to travel to Jerusalem, a crowd of 700 gathered at the city's central bus station, and one man gave a speech. Cafferata addressed the crowd, trying to calm them by denying anything happened in Jerusalem. He then took eight mounted officers to patrol the Jewish homes, where he encountered the city's Rabbi, Yaakov Yosef Slonim Dwek. The Rabbi asked him for protection, while he came under a hail of stones from an Arab crowd. Cafferata told Rabbi Dwek and other Jews to return to their homes and stay there. After the Rabbi had obliged, Cafferata tried to disperse the crowd using clubs. He slept in his office that night.

Early the following Saturday morning, a crowd armed with staves and axes appeared in the streets and attacked and killed two Jewish boys, one stoned to death and the other stabbed. Cafferata shot two of the attacking Arabs and emptied his revolver into the crowd, but his saddle slipped and he fell to the ground, whereupon the crowd began attacking every Jewish house. Cafferata instructed his men to fetch rifles and to open fire, which they did, dispersing a portion of the crowd, but some of the remaining rioters, shouting "on to the Ghetto", managed to break through the pickets. Cafferata continued shooting, hitting many of the rioters, but his efforts were in vain; repeated calls for reinforcements from Jerusalem, Jaffa and Gaza did not produce help in time. Both Jewish and Arab businesses in the Bazaar were looted. A consignment of police was sent from Jerusalem but was delayed by other violence on the way to Hebron and arrived hours too late. After the massacre began, the Arab constables deserted, leading the rioters to where Jews were hiding. Cafferata testified:

'On hearing screams in a room I went up a sort of tunnel passage and saw an Arab in the act of cutting off a child's head with a sword. He had already hit him and was having another cut, but on seeing me he tried to aim the stroke at me, but missed; he was practically on the muzzle of my rifle. I shot him low in the groin. Behind him was a Jewish woman smothered in blood with a man I recognized as a[n Arab] police constable named Issa Sheriff from Jaffa in mufti. He was standing over the woman with a dagger in his hand. He saw me and bolted into a room close by and tried to shut me out-shouting in Arabic, "Your Honor, I am a policeman." ... I got into the room and shot him.'

1929 Oct 4 Living in Ireland

1929 Sep 25. Kings Police Medal gazetted


1930 Apr 4 Married Peggy Ford Dunn in Jaffa, Palestine. I suspect she was widowed or divorced from the way there are two entries in the register. Peggy Ford-Dunn (1900–1993), daughter of Ford Ford-Dunn of Chandler's Ford, Hampshire; they had a daughter and a son.

1933 Jun 8 Arrives in London from Port Said on Oronsay. He is given as a Police Officer of North Court, Hassocks, Middlesex. He travels 1st Class with Mrs P amd Miss V Cafferata

1935 Jun 8 Arrives in London from Port Said on MV Cheshire. He is given as a Police Officer of North Court, Hassocks, Middlesex. He travels 1st Class

1938 May 27. arrives on Strathaird in London from Port Said. He is a Government Official of 22 Waverley Rd, Sefon Pk, Liverpool. Travelling with him are

1940 despite negative reports from his commanding officer, the High Commissioner recommended to London that he be promoted to police superintendent.

1943, he was a district commander and served in Haifa from 1944 until his departure from Palestine.

1943 Nov 6. He was accused of excessive force during searches of Ramat Hashoron

1944 Oct 16. He was accused of torturing Asher Trattner, a member of the Jewish underground group Irgun, after his arrest

1945 Nov 25. He was accused of excessive force Kibbutz Givat Chaim (25 November 1945)

1946. He was awarded the colonial police medal

1946 Feb 15 The Jewish underground groups attempted to assassinate Cafferata. He narrowly escaped the TNT and accompanying bullets

He then worked in the Palestine police recruiting office at 27 Victoria Street, where his ‘lined and sunburned features gazed upon all who chose to make an enquiry’ (Horne, 337).

1948 Feb 14. Leaves Palestine police when the Palestine police was disbanded

He settled in Barnston on the Wirral, and was employed as an accident prevention officer for A. E. Smith Coggins Ltd, stevedores, of Liverpool. He maintained his sporting interests as a member of Liverpool Rugby Football Club and the Royal Mersey Yacht Club.

1966 Aug 1. Died Birkenhead, Cheshire from leukaemia at St Catherine's Hospital, Birkenhead

Palestine Police

in Middle East Centre Archive St Antony’s College, Oxford, reference number GB165-0044.