A Jewish Pilot in the Land of Milk and Honey — Part 5

On September 1, 1943 I started my studies in the last grade at the end of which I had to sit for all my matriculation exams. This meant 9 months of hard work in school. And yet when I was told at the Aero Club that the Department of Civil Aviation allowed a single day of gliding on October 9 I used the fact that this day fell during Succot Holiday, free from school and joined the group of Club members led by Moshe Rosenthal. We took the Eged bus to Haifa where we were joined by several members of the Haifa Aero Club and proceeded by train to Afulah and then by foot up to Kfar-Yeladim. The Wrona Bis which we wanted to fly lay dismantled with the rest of the Club gliders in the cowshed. We took it out to assemble it.
This was a single seat, truss fuselage, strutted upper wing school glider. The improved Wrona derivative  was named the Wrona-bis. The wing-span was 9.8 meters. It weighed 75kgs. Maximum take-off weight was 150 kgs. I weighed 45 kgs at that time which was not enough to balance the glider properly and so I was instructed to fill a sack with 5 kgs of sand. When I flew this glider the sack of sand was laid and tied on top of the rudder bar between my feet.
The Instructor this time was a very young man from the Haifa Aero Club named Danny Shapira. He must have seen or known my previous 6 jumps under Uri Breier for he ordered the Wrona to be placed slightly higher on the slope and when my turn came I performed a glide (not just a “jump”) of 12 seconds. This was my only start on this single day of gliding. When the sun started setting we dismantled the Wrona and placed it back in the cowshed, locking it fast.
The war was still on in 1944 and I was spending long hours while getting ready for my matriculation examinations. This left me less time for the Aero Club. I could only go on using the Club library and take over the editing of the Club’s monthly leaflet since the editor was drafted in the RAF.
In June 1944 I sat for my exams and passed all of them. However, I could not get my Matriculation Certificate unless I served at least one year in the armed forces or the police force or working in a Kibutz or Moshav. I knew that in 1943 the British enlisted a group of Palestinian Jews which were sent to RAF flying courses in Southern Rhodesia and I was therefore almost certain that I would be similarly enlisted.
On July 1,1944, which was the day after my last matriculation exam I went to the British Armed Forces Enlistment Office in Tel-Aviv and told the Officer and the sergeant who were there that I wanted to be drafted to a Flying-Course of the RAF. The Officer answered that men who were not born in the UK were not drafted anymore into flying courses as was the case in 1943 but I could serve in the RAF in many ground capacities. However, since I was not 18 years old yet I would have to bring a letter signed by my parents agreeing for me to be drafted.
Hearing this I decided that I would be wasting my time serving ground jobs with the RAF and would have a better chance if I remained in Palestine to get some more gliding with the Aero Club as well as Flying at the Aviron Co. Flying – School. I turned immediately to the Jewish Agency Recruitment Office and volunteered to the JSP (Jewish Settlement Police).
During the 2nd War years there existed an additional Constabulary Force linked to the Palestine Police Force. This Constabulary Force contained 3 different forces: The Coast Guard which was made up of Jewish and Arab Constables; The Railway Guard which was made up by Arab Constables and The Jewish Settlement Police which was made up of Jewish Constables. I opted for this third constabulary which contained many high-school such as myself.
I was immediately accepted and sent to a recruit-course which lasted a full month and which I graduated with distinction. I was then sent to Kibutz Tel-Amal (Nir-David) in the Beit-Shean Valley where I served for 15.5 months in a 40-men platoon of the 10th Battalion (Gilboa Battalion) of the JSP.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s