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Purity of Arms

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Machal Square dedication in Lod (Lydda), May 1998  E-mail

Extracts from an address at the official dedication of Machal Square in Lod
(Lydda) in May 1998 by Col. Naphtali  Arbel who had commanded "B" Company of the 89th Commando Battalion in 1948;  one of the platoons in his company was comprised entirely of  Machal volunteers.   The 89th played a key role in the capture of Lod.

"I remember well these lads of my Machal platoon, young, strong and perhaps a little crazy.  In those days we used to talk about inexperienced people not knowing about war who had thought it would be a great adventure.

Many of the volunteers participated in the five years of continuous fighting in World War II. Amongst us was the fighting man Reg Sagar who had been a British naval officer and had  been taken prisoner by the Japanese.  It was common knowledge how difficult it was to be a prisoner of war, particularly in the hands of the Japanese.  On his release at the end of World War II, Sagar returned to his home in Rhodesia (Zimbabwe).

These men knew that war was not child's play and were aware of the ultimate price – and still they came to join us.  They were exceptional fighters whose heroic deeds we remember well.

The 89th was a battalion of volunteers.  The I.D.F. had given orders to permit all who so desired to join our unit.  Therefore the Machal men of the 89th were a group of volunteers within a unit of volunteers.”