Thursday, April 22, 2021

Who Was Joan M. Thompson?

According to the report in the Palestine Post of March 31, 1948, Miss J. M. Thompson was shot and killed in Jerusalem:


Joan M. Thompson was the Acting Deputy Director of the British Department of Social Welfare.  She had attended Mildred Marston’s funeral on Easter Monday, according to one source. Marston had worked for CMJ as a teacher at the Girl’s College (CMJ is "The Church's Ministry Among Jewish People" is an Anglican missionary society founded in 1809). 

Mildred and a colleague, Hannah R. Hunard writes, were on their way to St. George’s Cathedral on Easter morning (March 28) when there was a sudden burst of gunfire. The companion threw herself on the ground and was unhurt. However, the sniper fire struck and killed Mildred.

Thompson's life was recalled in this Palestine Post obituary:


Here is Bet Safafa on the 1945 British Survey of Palestine map:


and enlarged


The hospital mentioned is on another grid:




The Hebrew press carried the story and, in several versions, blame was apportioned to the Arab side. The Government version blamed the Hagana.

In this Davar report, while snipers are mentioned, the story, illogically, notes she was approached up close and shot.


HaBoker notes that Jewish snipers were targeting Arab vehicles traveling on the Hebron Road to and from Bet Lehem. The story claims Thompson was on her way to visit an Arab nurse recuperating at the Government Hospital in Bet Safafa. It adds that the car was driven by an Arab who also was wounded. The official notice of the Mandate press office suggested she was killed by Jews.


Haaretz (which calls her 'Majorie') asserts she was shot while standing by her car near the Bet Safafa hospital but adds "near Kilometer 5". It convery the response of the Hagana's "Kol HaMagen" radio denying any Hagana members were involved. The tstimony of an Arab nurse it quoted whereby, while standing some 150 yards away, she saw a Jew armed wih an automatic weapon approach the car and even though she yelled out that the woman was British, he opened fire and raked the car with bullets. Miss Thompson died at 5:45 the next morning:


Some more maps show the area, its relative emptiness, the distance from Ramat Rachel but closeness to other Arab villages:








Thompson was in Mandate Palestine eleven years. She arrived in the midst of the 'Disturbances', that violent three-year period of an Arab revolt. Why did she come? Where was she from in England? What was her early life? Did she only work with the Arab population?

There is so much here. Was she a Hebrew Christian missionary or just friends with members of the group?

Hopefully, to be continued.
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Now see here.

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1 comment:

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