Palestine conscription recalled in new book by Hayling veteran

Hayling veteran and author Eric Lowe
Hayling veteran and author Eric Lowe
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THE horror and history of the Middle East conflict have been brought to life by a veteran conscripted soldier.

Eric Lowe, an 86-year-old great-grandfather, has recalled his time in Palestine after the Second World War in his second book Palestine Remembered, which is an archive of British veterans of the war.

Publication comes as the Arabs and Israelis have agreed a ceasefire after troubled flared in Gaza earlier this summer.

Mr Lowe was called up for service after leading Derby College of Art in 1946.

He joined the Royal Army Ordinance Corp and knew there were two possible destinations for him – Germany or the Middle East.

Mr Lowe, of Treloar Road, Hayling Island, said: ‘Conscription was a ruthless thing.

‘Everything was liberal in Germany, from cigarettes to girls – I wanted to go there.

‘But I was sent to the dreaded one – Palestine.

‘Germany was being built up. Palestine was being evacuated. Trouble had broken out and there was a sense of urgency.

‘There were masses of Jewish immigrants coming in from all over Europe, from the concentration camps.

‘A terrorist situation was developing because the Jews did not want us there.

‘The British army’s purpose was to clear the huge ammunition depot but both sides were trying to steal our weapons – the Arabs and the Jews. We had to sleep with our rifles chained to us.

‘It was so dangerous that you could not go out of the camp in groups of less than four. The Jewish side did not want us there.’

British soldiers were being kidnapped and murdered.

Mr Lowe said: ‘It was an enormous relief to leave.’

The stories of other veterans are told in the book and the long history of the Arab-Israeli conflict is explored.

Palestine Remembered, and Mr Lowe’s earlier book, Forgotten Conscripts, are available from Hayling Island Bookshop, in Mengham.

Call (023) 9246 6620 or go to to buy a copy.