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. 32

Saturday 12 Apr 41

Major J.H. Massey 6 Palestinian Coy. The Buffs Middle East Forces

Sweetest darling - so your clever husband is now a major! You told me in one of your letters, when you had first heard I was a captain, that I must hury up & be a major in record time, & so I did my best to oblige you. As I was telling you in my previous letters, I was becoming not a little enfuriated [infuriated] at the delay - but it finally appeared in General Orders yesterday, dated March 10th. It should really be dated earlier, but I suppose I must not grumble. I was wearing one pip last June, and now I am wearing a crown. I think it rather suits me, really. In order to be perfectly prepared, I bought some crowns last Saturday, & felt rather rash at the time - many a slip twixt cup & lip, etc. And then I called you on Thursday, saying it was in the bag. And so now I feel quite relieed, that nothing has gone wrong. And I have sent you a cable today, to tell you the good news. The difference in pay is marvellous, of course - as I have told you darling. £ 219 a year - or £ 18-18-0 in a 31 day month - or £ 4-4-0 a week - or 12/- a day. So the longer it goes on, the better. It will not make the slightest difference to my mode of life or rate of living, so you can count it as money saved. But of course darling, if you want to spend more, you absolutely must do, & on whatever you want to. And if you want to give more to your ma, I am perfectly agreeable, sweetheart, & happy that you should do so.

Your letters have come to a halt again - it is disappointing

Last edit about 2 months ago by Khufu
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darling. I had your first letter 8 days ago - but your most recent one, no 26, arrived on March 23rd - I really thought that they were now going to come along regularly, & that the old ones would arrive from time to time as extra ones. In this worst of all possible existences, away from you, that is the one thing which is lacking at the moment. Otherwise , I am gradually getting my life organised. This move into billets has been a good thing. I simply hated the barracks - it was so noisy and jarring, and the mess was so beastly, & expensive too. Now, we have pleasant, large, solidly built stone houses, in a pleasant road, & in a pleasant district of the town. The Mess is a fine, big house about 200 yds away from the remainder of the company. It has a large, but unkempt, garden, & is surrounded by tall, kind of poplar trees. But I have my bedroom in the Coy office building; it has one door into my office, and another one out a small verandah, on the ground floor. I have hot & cold water in the bedroom, & there is an electrically heating bath too - & the usual offices. The house has quite a sweet little garden, & lots of lovely flowers & I now have fresh flowers in front of your photographs every day. The pioneer has made Peter a run in the garden, surrounded by wire netting, & I found a kennell too - for some reason beautifully camouflagued. He makes a bloody awful noise in it, most of the day, but I dare not take him out, in case he gets the idea

Last edit about 2 months ago by Khufu
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that that is all he has to do to be lited out. I have my breakfast cooked in the Sgts Mess, just across the road, & brought across to my bedroom at 8-0 o'clock. I also have my tea in my room, & keep my own beer down here too. So I have a very pleasant self contained little existence- & just go up to the Mess for lunch & dinner. I am writing to you from the office now, with my bedroom door open and Peter asleep, at last, in his box. I don't really want to talk to the officers at all, & all this suits me very well. If I want to talk to anyone, I talk to Peter. And apart from him, the Sergeant Major and Colour Sergeant live in the same house, & I find them much more interesting, & amusing to talk to than any of my officers - except Ben-Arzi.

Peter is still a grand little dog, & I am now very fond of him. His growth is phenomenal - at least 100% in 2 weeks. He is very playful, but inclined to destruction, I'm afraid, & seems to be most intelligent. He now follows me about quite happily, & will walk along on the lead. But he is quite the most self willed little sod I have ever met, & gets really angry when he is made to do something he does not want to do. And he looks furiously at me when I slap him. I must have his photograph taken soon, so as you can see what he looks like, together with me and my crown. The numbers of my letters have suddenly reached significant figures, according to my rather superstitious mind - and I feel sure something is going to happen -

Last edit about 2 months ago by Khufu
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and something happy and exciting too. 32 was my age when I left you - and the next one, 33 is my age now. And my last one, 31, is your age now, though of course I realise that your areo only 21 yerally. Whatever you are, you are very wonderful, my sweetheart. As I sit here and think about you, I marvel at you, my darling one. I think about you, and shake my head and groan aloud, this being parted from you is so agonising and tragic. You are so beautiful and lovely, so young and so pretty, so smooth and so soft and utterly gorgeous and sweet and adorable and desirable. Barbara dearest darling, you are so satisfying to be with, so fine to talk to, and so heavenly and wonderful to make love to. I am perfectly certain that there is nobody in all the world like you, so perfect and lovely - others never will be. Age will never make any difference. I shall always love yoyum passionately and deeply and with all my heart and soul. I'm not just writing this darling, because I think it will please you, or because I think it time I made some endearments. I feel it terribly stronly and with the utmoststrength and certainty and I am trying hard to tell you. Oh, I do long to be with you. I pray hard, every day of my life here, that this may be soon. There is so much happiness and joy and excitement and interest and contentment and peace and quite and love - if only we could be together. It is nearly 12-0 - and I will finish this tomorrow - and try to make it a long one. I have much to tell you again. Goodnight my sweetest love -

Last edit 12 months ago by tt
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I remember you so vividly - love you so much. xxxx. Sunday. it is inow 9.30, which is my usual time for beginning to write to you, and I had intended to write all afternoon. This major business is just making me busier, so far - which I hardly thought was possible. But it certainlt seems to be bringing me exra work and responsibilities outside the Company. On Tuesday, there is to be a Jewish recruiting march, of which I have to take command- and so today I had to go out I make all the arrangements. I will tell you all about it after it has happened. And on Thursday, I have to be the President of a Court Martial. My various experiences as defending officer will be of help, of course - but I shall have to swot up the procedure pretty hard - and the Manual of Military Law is a mystifying tome.

The whole root and branch of this trouble is having no second in command - who, in these companies, does the work of adjunctant and quartermaster. And so having these jobs piled onto me, on top of a fairly difficult command, is all a bit too much. But, as I think I told you - this should be dealt with any day now. You remember me telling you about the various officers? In February, when I was in the process of getting rid of [Behrens] - I recommended Headley for the job. And I now hear from the Military Secretary that the is to be appointed . And when this happens, it is going to cause gloom, and anger among the other British subalterns -

Last edit 12 months ago by tt
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