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Margaret Penfold

Margaret spent her childhood in Palestine during the 30s and 40s of the last century. During the pre-WW2 Palestinian Arab Rebellion, she watched her father strap on a revolver before leading night squads off to repair sabotaged telephone lines. When WW2 started, she watched police and army struggle to rescue passengers from the capsized SS Patria. Later she and her mother spent an anxious few weeks when her father, covertly recruited by Eastern Mediterranean Intelligence Centre, disappeared in Bulgaria. He turned up in Athens weeks later, after escaping from a rural Bulgarian prison, and joined the last allied convoy from Greece. Fifteen months later, with the Axis poised to invade Palestine, her father, due to a domestic crisis, left her in sole charge of a fake army camp set up to deter Germans from landing on a beach near Haifa. After the war, when the Irgun blew up the West wing of the King David where her father worked, she sat in front of the radio biting the back of her hands while awaiting further news. At the end of the mandate, her father gave her the last Union Jack to fly over Jerusalem. These experiences left her with a lifelong interest in the British Mandate of Palestine and the turmoil the land has experienced since. Nowadays, when people ask which side she is on in the conflict, she replies – it depends on which character I am currently writing.
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