Letter from Harry Massey to Barbara Massey

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Letter written by Harry Massey from the No. 6 Palestine company at the Bluffs to Barbara Massey.

This is a scanned version of the original image in Special Collections and Archives at Middlebury College, Middlebury, Vt.



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Letter No 80. Thursday Oct 30th

Major J.H. Massey 6 Palestinian Coy, The Buffs M.E.F.

My own sweet darling Barbara

I am afraid I get very impatient these days when I do not hear from you for some time. It is now 12 days since I last had anything from you at all & I suppose that really is not too bad, as long as it does not go on for many days longer. I can hardly expect your letter opes to arrive like clockwork - but still, I cannot help feeling impatient. Your next letter should contain the snaps of you in a bathing costume. I am dying to have them & also any time now these should be a direct reply from you to my A.G. & b.c. about our plans for reunion. And in any case, I want to hear from you, sweetheart, to know what you & Maxie are doing & that you love me.

Tuesday Nov 4th I'm afraid that this is a far as I have gone since last Thursday. Very bad, I'm afraid darling, but I will finish this tonight & post it in the morning & so keep to my minimum of one letter a week. I still have not heard from you, & I'm afraid to have been having an acute attack of depression & woodeness & simply could not bring myself to write. Also, I have been away two of the four nights. On Friday, I had to go up to Haifa for a Court of Inquiry, to be a witness. I finished at about 3.30 & so called on the Hopkins' to see them & have some tea - I found them out. But the maid gave me a tea - I was just off at 4.30 when Jack came back & insisted that I stay the night & be sent back in the morning in a Navy car. I gladly accepted this, as I felt badly in need of a change of company. I was

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also very anxious to talk to him about you coming out here. It was Nina's night at the Canteen & so we arranged to have dinner at Pross & were joined by Commander Uncle Warburton & another friend of Jack's in the Navy. We picked up Nina at 10.0 & then went on to a couple of Haifas gay spots - both pretty dull & beer at 2/6 a glass. But I must not really blame the places - I would have loved going there with you. I'm not being kind, but I could not & would not dream of enjoying myself at any place without you. Round about 1.0 - by which time I was getting pretty yawny & bored - we landed in at the Commander's flat for drinks. He really is priceless - I think I told you before that he was something to do with films before the war. Anyway - have you ever heard of a girl called Pamela Randall? She has either just arrived as a film star, or is just about to - & while Uncle is her sort of patron and/or discoverer - & apparently her great admirer too. In his room, he has an enormous photo, in colour, of the gorgeous Pamela, in a lacy negligee, a most sexy picture. it's almost like a shrine in the room. And he has photographed the photograph & - postcard size& always carries a copy around with him. Jack tells me he is quite harmless, & is a devoted husband & a devoted father to a young man who has recently won the D.F.C.

I had a serious talk with Jack about you coming out here. I particularly wanted to talk to him, being in the Navy & because he had got his own wife & a baby out here during war - & also he is a very hard headed & sensible sort of person & thinks before he speaks.

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His opinion is that the risk is not great, that he himself would accept it. He pointed out that he allowed his wife & baby to come & whereas they actually came across France. He expected them to come by sea from England, then through the Med. it being before Italy came in. The risk is there, of course, but in his position, he knows all about losses of ships & where they happen & so on & is able to view the thing in its proper perspective. Another piece of advice he had, was that if you have to go & see the War Office, as Nina had to go & see the Admiralty - go & see the highest up possible person straight away & do not mess about with junior people who know nothing & will only try & put you off on account of their own ignorance. But I think that if ever it comes to that, you will have received some specific instructions from me unless, of course, you decide to have an absolute bat at it & crash in & fix the whole thing up yourself. I am going up to Jerusalem this weekend to see Edwin Samuel & his wife & also Shertok probably & I hope to goodness I shall find out something then. I had rather a sickness the other day when I was talking to an Assistant District Commissionaire & he told me that wives were very much discouraged, but were not prevented - but that children were not allowed under any circumstances. He said he knew because he had a wife & child in Australia. Oh dear, what a life, isn't it darling! I am beginning to feel rather discouraged I'm afraid. And I'm also afraid that I'm beginning to think more & more of the risks for you & Max & I might be sent away when you arrive & how difficulties might arise when the war is over, about getting home together, or even roughly at the same time.

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But I am not giving up yet, so please do not think that. And anyway, the first string to my bow, is to try & be sent home.

Nina, by the way, is now teaching Art at the English school in Haifa, which she enjoys very much. Children of all ages & English, Jews, Arabs, Greeks, & all kinds of Europeans - she says the Greeks are easily the most intelligent & talented. But she is afraid her ideas are too modern for the Head mistress!

On Sunday, I went to Nathanya with Arkin to the opening of a new Soliders Home & Canteen. His brother in law, Ben Anni was of course the prime mover - but it all gave me the impression that Ben-Annis had it all worked out as to how much good in business this desirable publicity would be to him. Maybe I am being unkind & unfair. They all gave the impression of being overjoyed to see me & tried to persuade me to stay this night - but I am quite sure Arkin has told them how I [?] him around & generally push him about. The best part of the day was a bathe we had in the sea. It was a very hot day, but the water was just nicely nippy & it really was lovely.

The weather is really incredible. You will remember me telling you how cold it was. I had actually stepped into woolies & was wearing service dress at night. And now I am wearing the bare minimum again & feeling damn hot at that. But the weather will break properly any day now.

I'm afraid I'm feeling pretty browned off with work at the moment, & I think the main reason is the H.Q. staff of this new Area I am in.

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The Area Commander being Col Leicester is alright, because he knows me & I know him. The next man is the Brigade Major - in the last place he was an awfully decent bloke & very able & sensible & good to work with. Here, the man is just a bloody fool & so goddamned pleased with himself - the very worst type of Regular Army officer. I dislike him intensely, which I'm quite sure he knows & so there is not so much love lost. He comes round & talks absolute balls about my camouflage & the lessons of Crete & its just all rubbish. Bloody man. And the rest of them are just idle, silly & useless which is bad enough, but I just cannot bear incompetent importance.

It is really rather a pity, after my excellent terms with the last Area & as Col Leicester is now here. But I just cannot be friendly & polite to people whom I dislike & despise. But it does not worry me a very great deal, so don't take me too seriously darling.

I'm afraid I'm not writing you a very interesting or thrilling letter & I am going to finish this on the other side of this page & so send you a six page letter, which is against my principles & rules & which I have not done for a long time. But the combination of circumstances is all too much for me at the moment. An incredibly dull life & nothing happening at all & no word from you. It does not mean that I do not think about you, darling because I do more & more - or that I do not feel in touch with you because I do - or at least in sympathy if not very much in touch. But it is

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