Alan Mills – Twinkle Toes

Alan Mills in Palestine Police uniform

Alan Mills in Palestine Police uniform

Working the 6pm to midnight shift, we were often under the command of a staff sergeant who, unbeknownst to him, had the nick name Twinkle Toes. I didn’t see it at first but when I asked how the nickname came about, I was told to watch the way he walked, which was always with a hop and a skip in an effeminate sort of way.

He’d been in Palestine a few years and prior to that, I was told he was ex mounted police until he was kicked in the knee by a horse which forced his career to change direction. I always found him to be a really nice chap who was really helpful with things like filling in reports, although it had crossed my mind I wouldn’t like to rely on him in a punch up.

Anyway, one particular night I was patrolling circle one and I’d arranged to meet my mate Jock who was patrolling Circle Two at the cross over which was the Can Can club I’d mentioned previously. We met around ten and were greeted by a cacophony of Arabic music, clearly audible from the bottom of the stone steps. The boss of the club was always welcoming with a coffee and we entered hoping for a ten minute break. The Eygptian belly dancers were in full flow and together with the smoke coming from the shisha or hubbly-bubbly pipes it made a heady atmosphere.hubblybubbly

Suddenly an Arab appeared from the crowd brandishing a dangerous looking serrated long dagger, coming straight towards us with menace in his eyes.

I pushed Jock away from me, it’s better not to be bunched together in this sort of situation and shouted to him, “For Gods sake don’t draw your gun.” I didn’t want to escalate the situation and moving apart seemed to momentarily distract the knife man. For a few seconds, there was a bit of a stand-off, with everyone waiting for the next move. Then, out of nowhere, Twinkle Toes appeared. He quickly sized up the situation  and nodded in my direction, “Leave this to me,” and moved into a bit of space where he invited the knifeman to come and have a go. “Ta’al, ta’al,” (come on, come on,) beckoning with his hand, suddenly the Arab thrust at him with an overhead swing of the knife.

What followed happened so swiftly and cleanly, it took a second to register it. The Arab had come at Twinkle Toes very quickly but was countered by a stiff arm block and with a swivel of the body, he grabbed his wrist and threw him over his shoulder where he landed flat on his back, which must have knocked the wind out of him. It was a classic text book move which took us back to our training at Mount Scopus but I had never seen it executed with such speed and efficiency. Twinkle Toes then picked him up by the lapels and quite literally threw him out, where he must have bounced off everyone of the stone steps. Me and Jock looked at each other in amazement as Twinkle Toes shrugged, brushed himself down and gestured to the owner he’d like a cup of coffee.

Over coffee, he nonchelently explained why he’d come there in the first place. The military police had informed him two WAAF’s (Womans Auxilary Airforce) had gone absent without leave from a base nearby. He asked us to look out for air force skirts and navy blue knickers which might be hanging out on washing lines.  It was thought they’d hooked up with a couple of locals and there had been a possible sighting in the area. A couple of days later I actually saw the items of clothing hung on a washing line whilst on Number 3 circle which was slightly outside the central suq. I mentioned it when I met up with my mate from another circle and we agreed I would observe the house and he would report back to the station. I had a slightly longer walk back than my mate did to the station but was still gob smacked as I arrived back at the house to see a jeep full of MP’s pull up. Obviously the ladies going AWOL was a serious matter.

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  1. F.Townley says:

    Another great story, is there a book at the end of this? I like the way Alan covers simple day to day events although I’m sure there was some serious stuff going on.

  2. Barry O'Hare says:

    Just proves never to judge a book by its cover.

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