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. 34 Sunday - 20 Apr 41 Major J.H.Massey, 6 Palestinian Coy, The Buffs Middle East Forces

My darlng Barbara - It is three o'clock in the afternoon, and unless I can help it, I have no intention of doing any more work today. There is only one thing I want to do, and that is to write to you - but by God, I do feel flat. I feel like a vegetable, a sone in the ground and a piece of wood, all rolled into one. And although I am quite certain I have dozens of things about which I write you, it seems difficult to get going, because my mood is all wrong. Its so much more enjoyable writing to you, when the words bubble from my pen, and the only reason I stop writing is because it is time to go to bed, or to catch the post - and almost certainly you will appreciate these letter more, too. But I expect, after I have written a page or two, I shall get into a swing again, and be able to go on, with pauses, until midnight.

This dreadful flatness, is caused of course, because your letters have stopped arriving, entirely apart from just hearing from you in the ordinary way, there are so many special things about which I thirst and pine for news. It is so hopelessly niserable, not knowing how you are, and what your latest plans are about the baby, and where you are going to live afterwards, and who is going to be with you. We have both been disappointed, by receiving 2 or 3 letters, and being let to believe that "now everything is alright" - then there has been a complete dry up and nothing has come along for weeks. A month ago, your letters werer coming along splendidly, and I had arrived athe point of bexpecting one every 3 - 4 days. But now, there is a complete

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reversal, and I hardly dare to ask if the post has arrived. And then life is really rather dull, just now. There is plenty of work to do, but it is not at all exciting and not very interesting at the moment. There is so much war going on in Egypt and the Balkans, and it seems somehow wrong, and is rather unsettling, to be out of it all, and be just in this place, as a kind of a glorified superintendent of police. But I shall not do anything to bring about a change, so don't start worrying about me yet, my darling, that is one thing you have been spared, up till now. It must be horrible for wives and mothers and people, who know that their menfold are in the battles, and know that casualties are takin place, and have no opportunity of hearing news, for maybe weeks. And for myslef, I am so determined and anzious to come home to you, and this one fact is so far away more important than any oter, that I shall never, in any way, do anything which might stop that happening. No matter how bored and flat I am, or how long it goes on for, or however much I may feel that I want to be off and up and doing. I think now, it is far beter to just carry on and see what happens, and not to interfere with fate or the future - unless opportunities appear in which case, it is permissible to attempt to influence matters.

And then, the other thing which is not helping much at the moment,is that bugs and flies and mosquitos here started to bite. They are really horrible, and the last few days, I have had a hell of a time. Some of them are bugs. I'm certain, and they (as you know, from

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Spain) make one feel beastly. And then last night, ther mosquitos started on me - zooming past my ears each time I was just about off to sleep. I finally had to get up and start a Moon Tiger - and managed to kill three of them, and how the edifying experience of swatting them on the wall, and seeing my own blood coming out of the brutes. until I have a mosquito net, I shall now light a Moon Tiger every night, when I go to bed. The nets for all the men and everybody have now been ordered and I am hoping they will arrive very soon.

I sent you a cable yesterday, confirming this address: this may have been unnecessary, as I hope by now, letters with this address will have arrived. But two of your cables went to The Buffs themselves before coming here, and the rest of the address had been cut out so I thought I would make sure. Probably it is just the fault of the arm P.O. again - it really is exasperating that, when, eventually one does come by a solid and seinsible addres, they should go and spoil things by making futile and careless mistakes. I suppose they whistle through the mail at tremendous speed, and see Cheshire, or Dorcester, or Buffs, or whatever it may be and just shove them off accordingly. But surely they could see that it makes more work for them, to send letters to wrong places. Have you heard yet, of this new "Airgraph" method of writing letters, which is planned to bring into use for correspondence between the Middle East and the U.K.

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and vice versa? The idea is that, for example, I write a letter to you on a specail form, and addressed to you, and then sned it off to the Base P.O. There, my letter is photographed, into a tiny negative, and this is sent by the All Air Route to England - where a fascimile, about 5 x 4 inches, is printed from it, and this is posed on to you. The cost is 3d each one, and there is no limitation to the number which can be sent. It sounds a good iea, and really very cheap. I suppose the negatives are so small, that a very large number can be sent by one plane and all depends really whether the sheets will be large enough to get much into - and if one write 2 or 3 conecutively, as one letter, if they will all arrive together, and whether youwould be lieblet to get the last sheet fist, and the first one much later, or not at all. This new iead, and the Air Mail LEtter Cards are alright - but I do think it seems to be much better if they would just produce and ordinary, reliable Air Mail services. It make me feel that the pwers that be are a little out of touch with the real situation.

I told you in another letter that I was going to see a film this week with Bette Davies and Charles Boyer - I went last night - and found that the programme changes on Saturdays! I was fuious and disappointed. I have not been to the cinema sfor a month ,and I was looking forward so much to some good acting, and being made to feel beautifully miserable. It started off with the news, and then a Popeye, and then next

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weeks fildm - and then Walter Connoly and some unheard of people in "The Great Victor Sherbert". It was almost too much. My next oportunity now to see a good film, is "Rebecca" in two weeks time. Though, I believe "[Derty] Rides Again" is somewhere about, so perhaps I shall see that too.

The Officers Mess has been occupying my attention the last few days. In barracks, where we were in the mess of another Regiment - it was horrible, really and truly and very expensive. During 6 weeks, I only once found the breakfast bacon fit to eat. And then lunch and diner were nearly always exactly the same, soup which never once varied, fish which was a pure waste of money - slabs of overcooked beef, covered in thick brown gravy, never any other meat - the puddings were quite good, and then savoury, which was 4 times out of 5, scrambled egg on damp toast and a touch of Worcester sause. During all this time, our officers ness cook was in the kitchen, supposed to be gethering experience. And now that we have started our own Mess, it is found that this wretched man has been an apt pupil, and we are just carrying on. And it was cosint quite a bit, too. So I decided I could not bear it a moment longer. Fortunately, there is a place where I have to go for lunch every week or so, and where the food is excellently cooked by a native of

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