Friday, November 18, 2005

The extrordinary adventures of H.H.Shaw in Jerusalem, 1922

Tsvi Talkovsky

[An exchange of letters between the British Military governor of Jerusalem, and HM Consul in Port Said]

Part 1:

To: H.M. Consul, Port Said

I am sending down under escort of a British officer of the Palestine Police Mr H.H Shaw who is being sent away from Palestine on account of his continual misbehaviour, rendering him liable to a minor criminal charge. He will be handed into your custody by the Police Officer, and I shall be much obliged if you would have him placed on board a homeward bound steamer so that he may find his way to England at the earliest possible date. As he has no funds available it will presumable be necessary for him to work his passage in the ordinary way.

Subject: - Mr. H.H. Shaw

Mr Henry Shaw lived in Jerusalem for six months in varius hotels without making to any of them any payment whaever. At Hensman’s Hotel he left a debt of 75 L.E. [Egyptian Pounds], and threatened to commit suicide in the hotel if any trouble was made about the non-payment of the bill. At Notre Dame de France he removed his effects, which were being held for payment due, and on presentation of his account met the Father Superior by drawing, not a cheque, but a Service rovlver, which was subsequently taken from him (after he had threatened to kill the porter with it) by a Police officer. At the Allenby Hotel he left a debt of L E 10; at the International Restaurant of LE 15; at hte Police Mess LE 10; at the Grand New Hotel LE 70, where he threatened on several occasions to shoot the waiter who handed him his account suiting the action to the words by producing a loaded revolver; at the Bristol Garden LE 12, where also he threatened to shoot the waiter on several occasions. He further threatened to kill the Proprietor who lodged a complaint under Article 191 of the Ottoman Penal code. He was again found in possession of a loaded revolver which the Police confiscated. He left, so I am told, many other debts in the Twon, of which I have been unable to aobtain a record. He sent a letter to his mother in England purporting to emanate from the office of an English solicitor to the effect that he was dead. It is now believed that he forged the signature of the solicitor in this letter. Whilst under arrest on a warrent issued by the District Court, there being no accommodation for European prisoners, he was given quarter in the Police Barrcks, and allowed his freedom within barracks on parole. He forthwith broke his parole and was re-captured by the Police some three hours later. At another hotel he induced a British lawyer to pay for a drink, on the strength of which he informed the management that his bill was to be added to that of the lawyer, and remained a week in the hotel before the fraud was discovered. He deceived, and, I believe, seduced, a young Armenian girl of good family in Alexandria, from I have received several letters begins for news of him and help in delaing with him.

At the urgent insistence of the police, and after consultation with the Director of Immigration, I directed the Police to give Shaw the choice of leaving Jerusalem or of standing his trial. He elected to leave.

Part 2:

British Councul,

Port Said



I have the honour to forward for your information copies of correspondence between this office and the Governor of Jerusalem on the subject of Mr. H.H Shaw who was expelled from Jerusaelm and sent to me under escort.

I did not gather that Mr Shaw’s offence was any greater than having threatened to “knock someone’s profanely qualified face in” when both parties were somewhat under the influence of liquor. In any case the procedure of his expulsion seemed to me most irregular. Mr Shaw struck me as an amiable and somewhat vacuous young man, but by no means vicious and very far from criminal. He reported to me that some of his effects were seized by order of the Governor of Jerusalem and sold to pay the expenses of his expulsion. He was made to pay his own railway fare, the balanced being handed over to his excort to turn over to me, and I then returned it to Mr Shaw.

Mr Shaw Cabled home to his parents for money to go home with and has now left Port Said.

I have delayed reporting this as I wished Mr. Shaw to file an affidavit of the facts regarding his expulsion. He has, however, left without doing so.

1 comment:

mink said...

What is striking for me is not the difference between the reasonable Governor of Jerusalem and the imbecile Consul in Port Said, but rather the things taken for granted: you don't put an Englishman in jail with the natives; he threatens to kill people, and he gets away with it. Can't help imagining what would have happened if it was a Palestinian Arab or Jew.