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. 74 Thursday Oct 2nd

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

My own darling sweetheart,

I have not written you a letter since Sept 25 which is a week ago & as you see, this one has been put off for two days. I can assure you, Barbara darling, that I am not becoming idle, or losing any interest in writing to you, or being at all hard up for any thing to say - far from any of those things. But things have been happening. First of all, Frank Macaskie telephoned me on Saturday - from Jerusalem - having had many adventures & escaped from the Germans. He stayed with us until Tuesday - but I will tell you all about that later. The most important thing of all just now, is that I have decided finally & definitely that I am now going to do all in my power to be sent home, to you my darling. I have sent you an Airgraph about it today, & I hope that by the time you get the letter, I may have sent you another Airgraph to inform you more exactly what my chances are. I'm very much afraid darling, that there is not a great amount of hope - but I intend to try & go on trying. It is all like this - there is such a thing as compassionate posting to the U.K. But the number of officers & men sent is very small indeed. And so when the time comes to send a batch, applications are asked for & these are carefully examined by G.H.Q, the selection is made. I really do not know who judges the degree of compassion, or how it is judged - & I am a little afraid that

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luck plays a part in the selection. But I feel that very few people can have a more tragic story than ours, during this war. And now that we have stood up to being parted for a whole year - I just intend to make every possible effort to put an end to this miserable & wretched state of affairs. I shall have to tell the whole story - about the boy - about our darling Lisa - about my going away - about your father's death, - about your miserable pregnancy - & now, although Max was safely born & is fine, your wretchedness & worrying, about Max, about me & about your mother. That you are not strong enough to do very much work, & yet when you are not working, your mind is too free to think & worry. It might help enormously, if Mr. Hughes or a doctor who knows you well, would state in definite terms, that my return home would have a direct & beneficial effect on your health & mind & nerves. Hughes in London, is rather a difficulty, but he knows your case very well now & you could write to him & maybe your doctor could too. I do hope that he will feel that he can & should write this better. Maybe it is not necessary, in the case of an officer - but it may be, in which case it would be very helpful.

I will tell you what I have done so far - I spent a long time composing my letter. I enumerated all our sadness & also pointed out my earnest desire to serve with the 7th Bn. And then I said how hard I had worked & mentioned my good confidential report. I then decided to go & see

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Col. Leicester & ask him for his advice. I have one advantage at the moment - Col. L. has become Area Commander for the time being, the other Col having gone away & I am hoping he will keep the job. He said first of all, that my wanting to go to the 7th would cut no ice at all, with which I suppose I must agree - so many people being the same way.

In my letter I had said our position was desperatehe said he did not agree with that - but thought that perhaps I had a chance. He said I was too late for this time, these people I am told, are going off just now. But that I should wait until applicants are called for again, & then send my letter in. He thought this was the best way & told me to go & see his senior staff officer. I did this & he confirmed Col L's statement - & advised me to prepare my letter very carefully & then it was possible for the Area Commander to work it with his ideas, if he sent it on to G.H.Q. So, my darling, I have the advantage of what I think is a strong case - being a Major & a C.O. I can make myself heard a little better - & if Col L is still Area Comd when the next time comes, he knows me & that I am not a fake, & so my application has a better chance of getting over the first fence, & possibly with his blessing.

On the other side - it is all a little chancy depending so much on who has the final say.

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The number of vacancies is so small. And being a C.O. & a major, they may say I cannot be spared, & that my experience with the Coy cannot be replaced. So I am trying not to hope too much & you must do the same darling. But, at the same time, you must do all you can & think of all you can, to help.

And sweetest heart - & this is very important indeed, You must not worry about this & so add to your cares - & you must make up your mind that if I should get a flat refusal, you will not take it hard & so make matters worse. I shall do all I can & try to think of everything & even if I fail this time, I shall try again & again. So that instead of only having a very dim & distant end of the war to which to look forward - you can think of me always trying to get home to you. Oh darling dearest Barbara - I am dying & longing & pining to see you - to see Maxie - I am thinking of nothing else at all. I am crazy for you. Only to hold you in my arms, & feel your body & your heart beating against mine & to kiss your lips & your eyes, look at you, & tell you myself how much I love & adore & cherish you, & really tell you how much I have missed you & thought of you: felt for you.

Is it really possible darling - after all our misfortunes - that now the wheel has really

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turned in our favour, & we can be so fortunate. I feel honestly & truly, that nobody is more deserving than you - & me too. And perhaps justice & fortune & luck will all work for us at the same time, & it may really happen.

But I must tell you some of my news - I shall not finish this tonight & if there is anything to add about the all important matter, I will add it tomorrow.

About Frank - you will be wondering what next. First of all I write & tell you he is dead - & then that he is wounded & a P.O.W. Well, I knew that the first was not true. But you could definitely havea knocked me over with a feather & fanned my brow, when word came to me last Saturday that "2/Lt Macaskie" wanted to speak to me on the phone. I sprinted, & it really was Frank, from Jerusalem. He had been wounded, a bullet in the buttock, straight through, & out at the other side - taken prisoner by the Germans, & well looked after & doctored by them - then put in a prispner of war camp. He decided very early on that this was no place for him & after many varied & exciting adventures, about which I may not tell you, he arrived in Palestine. Poor Frank - he has lost all his kit, every stitch & piece - all his photographs - & all his letters. I know exactly how he feels. And now, having been posted as dead, even in the English papers, he has to start all over again, getting his address straight, & waiting months until he is answering letters which are in reply to his letters. Though

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