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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[text top left] Letter No 11 Saturday May 9th [text top right] Major J. H. Massey 6, Palestinian [Coy?], The Ruffs [?] E. F.

My own darling sweetheart I posted a six page letter to you this morning & rather a sort of newsy & not very loving one, & so I must hurry up and get moving again at once. I am always afraid that such a letter may arrive at the end of one of those awful gaps, & you will be disappointed. But you know as well as I do how difficult it is to write when you are not feeling in the mood, & there is nothing very particular about which to write. And when a letter of mine is not loving, it is far from meaning that I am not thinking about you in a loving way - but I have to feel in some sort of good spirits or feel some urge; being depressed & feeling hopeless is not the right feeling at all.

I told you about my time with this [Coy?] coming to an end on August 1st. I saw Col. G. this morning & spoke to him about it, & he said that I could stay on if I wanted to - so the ruling does not sound to be a very rigis one. But I told him that I thought a year & a half was about enough - but that I was pretty well ruined as a fighting officer after all this & having left the 5th before I was fully trained. i told him that he should get me a staff job or promotion or both, & he just smiled & said he would do what he could. I hate this standard regular army outlook that only regular officers can do these jobs. If I was half as bloody brainless & useless as so many of these people. I [???] you most certainly would never have married me. Well, we shall see, & in the meantime do not worry about me darling. I will get something arranged for myself

Last edit almost 2 years ago by MaryV
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[centre] 2 or else stay where I am. And with my next application for homecoming, I shall most certainly point to the fact that this job does come to an end for me on Aug 1st you said in an AG that I should have mentioned the horrible desert & worry about our second baby. I thought I had said enough in my 1st application, & in the 2nd one. I thought that Hughes' "had obstetrical history" would convey enough without giving details, but I certainly will explain matters more fully for the next time.

Sunday May 10th these H.Qs. & their staff officers really are inconsiderate, laughing at 9.30 last night, a special dispatch rider roared up on a motor cycle with a large envelope for me - & containing the papers for three Courts Martial cases for today. They were all highly legal cases, & ran to 50 pages of evidence, & gave me much work in the Manual of Military Law - & kept me out of bed until 1.0 this morning - & completely stopped me writing to you. I finished two of them today & go on again tomorrow. One was a bright young man who broke out of arrest in Egypt, on another charge, & then came up to Palestine, having fitted himself up with a set of faked credentials as an agent for the M.E. Razzle {which does not exist} & proceeded to sell advertising space to all & sundry. He will be doing hard labour in prison from now until May 9th 1943. The other was a truly disgusting case of buggery between a couple of Arabs - & we had to sit & listen to revolting details about positions &

Last edit almost 2 years ago by MaryV
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state of deshabille ; & it all took place in a latrine they will be doing six months hard. The trouble is that this business is pretty common with the Arabs & I have heard of a case of an Arab who was in court for having casual knowledge of his donkey - who pointed out, with great indignation that it was his donkey.

We began at 9.0 this morning & finished at 7.0 - back late for dinner - & then I heard Churchill's broadcast - & now it is 11.0 which is not the best time for writing to you.

I have read & finished "For whom the Bell Tolls" - & I enjoyed it as much as anything I have read for a long time. The characters were magnificently drawn - it was very exciting as a story - it gave one a very good look into the carry on & life of the Republican Guerillas. & it made me very angry that a. we stood by & allowed this civil war to happen & even helped France. & b. that we learned so little from it. & I liked very much the love scenes which I found rather beautiful & very understandable.

I have just started Vol 1. of Beatrice Webb's "My Apprenticeship" - & which I think I am going to enjoy and I hope find useful; both vols are in Penguin, & I will send them on to you when I have finished.

I anm so tired & sleepy. I must go to bed now. I am hoping for a letter & a p.c. tomorrow - Monday my lucky day for last pic was on A.G. of April 8th - if you see what I mean - & your last letter was from March 10th & received May 1st

Last edit almost 2 years ago by MaryV
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[centre top] 4 Goodnight darling pet - Toby sleeps on my bed - ok when will you sleep in it. & Maxie next door. xxxx H.

Monday - May 11th No letters & no pics for me today. You were talking in a letter about buying or building a house, & as you will know by now, I have been thinking about it too, & even went as far as to draw a modest plan of one part of my ideas about such a house. It would be wonderful to have our own house, & one day we will have it. But somehow there seems to me to be no hope of having that right away. I think that we are both going to be so militantly political & reforming. that I may have to tell Peter to take my job & stuff it up. And if that should happen, we are neither of us so attached to Bradford that we shall seek another job only there, so that really means that we shall have to find a house to rent again, which is not a very satisfactory prospect really. You were sweet to say, darling, that you could be deliriously happy with me in a rabbit hutch. And that certainly goes for me too. Anyway, if we can only find something of the sort of 37 Nat Lane again, that would do us very nicely for a few months or a year or two, until we knew more about ourselves. But even that may be very difficult to find when the war is over. If you do nip up to have a look when I am on my way home, do not sign any long or expensive agreement. Because I feel that owners will be very much on the make, if the demand for houses outruns the supply. And building or buying as an investment will be no good, because I am afraid prices will be very high & then when they come down we shall have lost so much money. It all depends so much on what we

Last edit about 1 month ago by jaxdnaquest
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are going to do.

Am I going to carry on at Norths & take an interest in local politics & see where it leads to _ & if I become anything of a public figure, is Peter going to sack me, or will he be reconciled? I must say that that seems to me a rather too slow & steady way of trying to be of some use. And so, the alternative is to break right away & get a job in what is now known as reconstruction & you use the word too. I do not like the word at all because it has no exact meaning & it is also used by the big business gentlemen who only want to rebuild big business once again & for their own profits; & by the ruling class who only want to go on ruling. My idea of reconstruction is, frankly, a bloodless revolution & the building up of a Socialist state. And that is going to be a tremendous job _ but I consider it to be a vital necessity in our country & every where else, if we really are going to have a good world in which to live happy & secure lives. Have you noticed darling, during the last few months, the apparent development in my opinions. And I am quite sure that it is not a continuous move on my part farther to the Left, because I am not being influenced in that direction by anybody. But I am beginning to think for the first time what were my ideas when I left England? I was, roughtly, & in no particular way, but in my own opinion, a Socialist. And by that, I thought of myself carrying on at Norths, & becoming a director & one day, perhaps, Chairman; & I would work hard & look after my work people, & do all in my

Last edit 8 months ago by MaryV
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