Letters from World War II : J.H. Massey

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Letter from Harry Massey to Barbara Massey

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It seems to me, my darling, that I tell you very often how I love you, how I miss you, & almost always in the same words - I hope it does not seem or sound like this to you. But, you know, I do not say these things because I think you want me to - I think & say them to myself so much, & only way I can say them to you is in a letter. So even if they do become monotonous, sweetheart, remember that they come from the very bottom of my heart. Perhaps, & I hope I am wrong to have doubts about my letters, because you have paid me very nice compliments about them up to now - or at least up to May - You have told me I do marvels - & that they are very interesting, loving - & well written. Thankyou darling one - I try very hard, because I know the pleasure & intense satisfaction which your letters give to me & I want so much for mine to do something of the same for you. But life is so dull & I find it increasingly difficult to be interesting - & so often when I sit down to write to you I go into such depths of misery, longing for you. Today, I look like writing this straight off & posting it in the morning. But normally, I think the better system, & I must try to do it more, is to begin another letter the same day that I post one to you & try to write some each day. By that means, I give myself the feeling of having had a talk with you each day, & also, odd things which I would write down the same day or the day after, when they are fresh

Last edit about 2 years ago by Khufu
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the influence of Churchill's book, at the moment. But I doubt if he has changed his views so very much, & I'm quite certain that he deviates & controls our policies & methods.

In addition to America, how are Australia, New Zealnad, South Africa, Canada & India going to feel after the war, if they have all suffered enormous loss of life & limb. Patriotism & invigorism may keep them going during the war - but there will be bitterness afterwards when all is said & done. Ramsay MacDonald, Baldwin & Chamberlain were our exclusive products & our votes put them in power.

And where are we if we lose a million of our best men, probably more. An embittered nation will assist in imposing another Versailles - & a weak minded nation, without those million or more men, will then allow Germany to rise again, & next time, perhaps make no mistake. No - I have deep & boundless faith in Churchill & also the people with whom he has surrounded himself. I think he knows how to win this war, & I think he is looking a very long way ahead. So that we, if we have to be apart longer & wait longer for it, will have a better country & better world in which to live - & so will Max & any sisters or brothers he may have.

But the waiting is terribly difficult & painful, isn't it darling. Every time I think about you & look at your photographs, I almost cry out with sadness & pain. There is nothing else I want in all the world - & you are far away & I just cannot have you. It is cruel.

Last edit about 2 years ago by Khufu
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now Iraq, Syria & Iran, & all in four months - Russia on our side & doing well - & the Americans in Iceland. You must admit it is all very interesting: encouraging too. And it indicates Churchill's ideas of not indulging in wholesale slaughter against strong lines of defence & probably gaining nothing - but biting off the easy bits & steadily improving our position. And in the meantime, the Navy & R.A.F. continue to blockade & bomb. And all the oversea countries begin to see more clearly into the future & do their part to harass & [harry?] the Nazis. How long can they stick it? I feel certain that the answer to that question is more important than - when are we going to invade France & Germany. I also have the feeling that the U.S.A. will not declare war unless it is absolutely necessary. American public opinion is so strong; & if she suffers large casualties in Europe or the M.D. she is going to have that revulsion of feeling, which she had after the last war, & isolate herself again from all affairs except her own. And that would be as much a tragedy again, as if was before. & her Navy is working for us now - probably more than we know or realise. Her army is only wanted if & when we use ours in a great invasion. And I doubt very much if we shall do that - except to walk over & occupy a Europe & Germany in particular, which has more or less given up - & in which public opinion & the public voice is at last more powerful than Hitler's tyranny.

I must admit that I am very much under

Last edit about 2 years ago by Khufu
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Letter No 69 Tuesday Aug. 26th Major J.H. Massey 5th Palestinian Coy The Buffs M.E.F. My dear darling Barbara I have just finished manicuring my finger nails + I was looking at your sweet photographs while I was doing them - + wondering why I took the trouble to file + poke away for half an hour + why I didnt just cut them off with a pair of scissors + stop them getting too long in that way. It is quite obviously for you that I do it darling. But I do wish that we could see a little bit ahead & have some idea as to when we are going to be allowed to meet again. In spite of the utter boredom & hopelessness of life, time does seem to pass quickly by - the week-ends come & go with almost incredible regularity & rapidity- & in only six weeks time, we shall have been away from each other a whole year. This slippery passage of time would be a blessed thing if we had a date for which we were aiming - but without that, it is just sheer wastage of our lives together. Time which can never be made up & which can never be given back to us. My faith in the law of compensation must sustain me. I hope, you too. In the meantime, a very small straw appeared lasr week - to clasp at. Early in October, we have to make a return together with all other units, of everybody's civilian employment. And accuracy & care were stressed, because "the return will be used for demobilisation"! It means little enough, of course & at the same time we hear of preparations being made to continue the war into 1943 & onwards. But it is comforting in a way - perhaps shows that plans are being made for an early finish of the war, as well as for several more years of it. This march into Iran of the Russians & ourselves, was announced yesterday, & is encouraging news. That is

Last edit over 1 year ago by jaxdnaquest
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Letter No. 70. Sunday 7 Sep. Major J H Massey, 6th Palestinian Coy, The Buffs, M.E.F.

My own sweet Barbara,

It is now Monday - I did not progress very far yesterday as sleep overtook me in the afternoon, & I had to work most of the evening. I had run into a man who was on the Duchess of York, & we had rather a large & long lunch session, for which he insisted on paying. Your No 52 came today - so,recently, I have had nos 44, 46, 47, 60, & 52. Nos 45, 48, 49, & 51 being still missing - I cannot think why this should be.

Thank you darling for your sympathy about my rash, I sent you an A.G. the other day to say it was better, thanks to a specialist I was sent to. And if it ever comes back, I have the right stuff to stop it at once. Sweetheart, the question of purity - I hope you did not misunderstand me, or that I did not sow a seed of doubt in your mind. I'm sure I did not, I cannot have done - but this long range correspondence is so difficult, & it must be quite easy really to say something in not quite the right sense, & then have it taken up the wrong way, & especially so now we both read each others letters so thoroughly & carefully in order to extract the full meaning, & the feeling & the mood of the other when writing them. If you were ever to give me permission to be unfaithful, I should feel that the world had come to an end, & that you did not care what I did or what happened to me. Love & passion, & just sex all by itself, have no meaning to me at all apart

Last edit over 2 years ago by Helper21
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2. from you my sweetest. I think about you very passionately very often - but never a single second does taht make me want to go for any woman, lady, girl or such like out here. That would be incidious & just silly & also disgusting & horrible. Because I am thinking of you & I get very worked up & excited & sad & filled with longing for you, & then it passes off, as it must do - until the next time I think about you in such a way. Our life, & happiness & love have been so perfect - & this is only an interval until they are so & moreso again. I really believe we are exceptional, & therefore exceptionally lucky. For example, this man I lunched with yesterday, is 40 next Monday, & really looks no more than 30. And he says that the reason he looks so young, & his wife at the age of 33, the same- is because they has been married for 10years, & have been terribly happy & contented. And yet, he was spending the weekend with a girl in Haïfa - he told me of a pretty nurse he slept with at Ismaia - & he was going off to Beirut today, & had somebody there. And he has his wife's tacit approval, for this sort of thing - though I should not think to such an extent. Well - What I mean is this - these people have obviously been very happy & are going to be so again. But I am quite certain that they are never going to reach the heights & depths & marvels of happiness that we do. This makes our separation harder for us - but only in a way. I have a very fine feeling about you & me, & painful

Last edit over 1 year ago by jaxdnaquest
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6. really & I have enjoyed being able to just go up & see them whenever I wanted to, & sit down & have a drink & be at home. He is a very nice fellow, & intelligent too. And Nina is very pleasant. She is a bit [clingy?] & silly in some ways, but you wold like her. I told you in another letter - or maybe a L.G. - I would tell you some more of the priceless things she said. But it is rather unkind, & you do not know her anyway, & so I will leave them until I come home. Now darling - about your letter. You had lost Jimmy's but it was all about shares & war loan & you told me what he said. In point of fact, I sent Jimmy an A.G. for speed, & suggested B C. & W.D shares, enough to have me eligible to be invited onto the Board - & this just in the same or war loan - & asked him to advise you. I'm sorry he got it all wrong & you had to be too much worried - but it all seems to be done by now & it sounds O.K. to me. And you enclosed Gladys' letter - as you say, she is a very staunch friend of mine. I hope to goodness she will not be browned off by Willy, & will still be there when I return. I did send her an A.G. - I must send another sometime. I must stop & post this in the morning. This move of mine is very definitely interfering with my letter writing. My last letter having been sent off on Aug 29. But I shall push on & make up. All my love to you & Maxie - & sweetheart, all my kisses & all my hugs & love & passion to you always & forever & now, Harry.

Last edit over 1 year ago by jaxdnaquest
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which is a small room, oblong 21 ft x 10 ft & that is mine. In it, I have my camp bed & sand fly net - all my clothes an odd nails & knocked together shelves - Peter & his bed, made by the Army pioneer & my table, on which are your photographs, my working materials, a lamp, & odds & ends. And so this is the scene & still are the surroundings from which I shall be writing to you until further notice. It has a window at either end, one overlooking country & the other the officers latrine & it has a concrete floor, beaver boarding walls & corrugated iron roof. The lamp is a good one, thank goodness - one of those high pressure affairs with a mantle. And so I suppose I must be thankful for this, & that I have a room & not a tent. But I am attended by a collection of flies & moths large & small & all kinds of other queer things which fly. what a fly blown, bloody country this is. To be honest, the country is not bad - rolling away on one side & a fair range of hills on the other. The Judeaen hills I think, which lead on right up to Jerusalem. Now that I am nearer to the Holy City again, about 50 miles I believe it is - I must make a real effort to go there & do some

Last edit about 2 years ago by Khufu
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concentrated sightseeing. My local town of course is now Tel Aviv, about 10 miles away - I expect I shall go in there about 2-3 times in a month & each time with Ben Arzi.

There is a cinema here - open air - & the usual change of programme every night. But I am told the machine is pretty dicky, the first weeks programme is foul - the only one I shall probably see being "Torrid Zone" with James Cagney, & which we probably saw together some years ago.

It really is a great thing having the Coy all together once more & under my hand. I have given myself a hell of a talking programme tomorrow. All officers, 9.30 to 10.30: Sgts 10.30 to 11.30 - break. for a mug of tea - Cpls 12.0 to 12.30 - Lance Cpls 12.30 to 1.0 - the whole Coy from 2.0 to 3.0. By which time everybody should know, individually & collectively just what I think of them. They all need it very badly - it is good training for my political career!

There is no doubt at all that this place is very enervating & sleepy than where I have came from. It is now 11.45 pm & although I realise that I must go to bed, I feel

Last edit about 2 years ago by Khufu
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quite wide awake. I am glad of this, because the other place was very sleepy. I can see already that I am going to have much to do for a few weeks - but I have now begun my letter & I will try very hard to add same on each day & push off 8 or 10 pages every 4 or 5 days.

Dearest Love & good night, sweet, lovely darling XXX Harry.

Friday 12 Sept. - I must tell you about my visit to Damascus last week. I was very cross about it at the time, as I was in the middle of all this hand over. I was just going there & back in one day, by car & fear hard drive either way, to be a witness in a Court Martial. But I am delighted that I have done it, in case I do not get another chance. The country itself is nothing - just brown, barren & dull - completely flat on one side, but relieved to a certain extent by Mount Hermon & its range of hills on the other. The Court was held in a place called Mezza Barracks - a big, pink, stucco building, & now occupied by a British Infantry Btn, I managed to get away by 11.30 & set off to have a look at the town. I had brought Sgt Labilseh with me, for company & someone to talk to & also because he was very anxious to come - he jumped up & down with excitement when I finally told him he could come along. Really, he is remarkably good & efficient as an Orderly Room Sgt. - but he is frightfully girlish. We left at 0530 in the morning & had thermos tea & bananas on

Last edit about 2 years ago by Khufu
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