Letters from World War II : J.H. Massey

Pages That Need Review

Letter from Harry Massey to Barbara Massey

p.
Needs Review

p.

9.

He said he had spent all the time with Gerald Ecclestone (the man who is going to fly us home!) - the day time at [Gejirah?] - & the evenings at varous cabarets - Gerald to dance & Frank to drink. But that at midnight their ways parted - Frank's to his own bed - and Gerald's to some woman's. I do hope Frank gets through alright - it seems his battablion is in a pretty crack Division. He is one person I do want to see again - & I know he will be a very good friend of ours after the war. He sent me some snaps - from Tomlinson's camera. But I only appear on one of them. But I am sending on also, the one's of [Red?], as they will probably cheer up Marjorie. Of the three outside the tent, the one on the left is one of the bad type majors - Bob Gentles - the little man in the middle is nobody.

This is Easter, darling - & it is also the Passover. And I have observed the latter, but not the former, which must sound very peculiar. But is came about in this way. Quite an important Jew, a solicitor, who had been at our last Company concert, telephoned Ben-Arzi, and invited him and myself to their family Passover dinner party which, I think now, was very kind indeed of him, because Passover to them is much the same as Christmas to us. All the family was there, & all the children, the youngest 4 years old, in her party frock. We began the evening with Palestinian Vermouth. And then sat down to table. It all started off with a religious service. All the men wearing their hats. some in just ordinary hats - some in those bloody Jewish

Last edit over 1 year ago by Sean
p.
Needs Review

p.

Letter No. 33 18 Apr 41 Major J.H.Massey, 6th Palestinian Company, The Buffs. Middle East Forces.

My own sweet darling - I feel so unhappy and miserable again, having no letters from you, and I hardly know how to write. And on one of these cards too. I have just discovered that these things are supposed to get home quicker than the normal air mail, so I hope it is true - and I wish you could do this too. Why can't they realise that it helps the morale of the troops to receive letters as well as to be able to send them. But i must try and stop this incessart grumbling, when I write to you. It is difficult though, darlying - and I'm afraid I am a very unhappy major. I am missing you so terribly badly at the moment , and I am frantically anxious to know how you are, and how your are feeling, and what you are doing. If you are having the baby after eight months, and I do you are, it will be in 10 days time now. Oh, I think about you so much and so constantly and it is so difficult to write, swwetheart. I just want to send you cables all the time, but, apart from them being so expensive, I always remember that when I do not write now, it means that you are going to have no letters from me in 5/6 weeks' times. But, if I do not hear from you soon, I will send another one in a day or two's time. I so much wanted to have word from you that you are now reassured about the money question - I was so sick that you were so worried about it, at the the time. My cable that what I had had would last until June, will just about work out alright, providing nothing special happens - so I think that is being quite good. Don't you, darling? And I have no bills outstanding here at all. Sweetest darling - I do hope that if ther baby has arrived, you are well and strong, and happy. And that if it is still to come, that you are the same, and that you will not be hurt too much. Oh sweetheart, what have we done, that I should be away from you now? If only I could be with you, I do so long to be. It is heartbreaking, and it make me cry, to think of not being there. Not that i could do any thinkg of real value to help. But just to be with you, and hold you and kiss you. but you must know how much I want to be, and how much I love you. And how much I always

Last edit almost 3 years ago by tt
p.
Needs Review

p.

Mrs H. Massey c/o Mrs Paul, Lynwood Candlemas Lane - Beaconsfield Bucks

Last edit almost 3 years ago by tt
p.
Needs Review

p.

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

Last edit almost 3 years ago by tt
p.
Needs Review

p.

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

Last edit almost 3 years ago by tt
p.
Needs Review

p.

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.

Last edit almost 3 years ago by tt
p.
Needs Review

p.

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

Last edit almost 3 years ago by tt
p.
Needs Review

p.

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

Last edit almost 3 years ago by tt
p.
Needs Review

p.

some kind and I heard this week that the cook has been given a week's notice. So I had him come to see me today and have taken him on at [L]5 a month. There is no doubt we shall have some good food now - and I expct that the economies he will make will go most of the way towards paying his wages. It will make quite a difference if there are some intersting meals to go up to, instead of always knowing exactly what it is going to be. But it is really amazing how useless, practically all men are, when it comes to the practical side of food - and they seem to almost take a pride in their ignorance. All the officers were bored stiff with the food, and [Moscovitz] - was the one whose job it is to look after it - but he has no idea at all what to do to bring about some improvement.

The enclosed newspapter cutting may amuse you a little, darling. The amazing thing is that I cannot remember whether I told you about this before, or not. I wrote my ma again this week, and told her something about it, and I have only written you a letter card since the 15th when it happened - so perhaps I did not tell you. There is not so very much to tell really. Except that I never really expected to march in frount of a recruiting parade, and behind a band = through two miles of main street - a large town, and with thousands of spectators, wildily cheering and clapping and throwing flowers. And there was I - a lonely figure, strutting

Last edit almost 3 years ago by tt
p.
Needs Review

p.

haughtily along in front. I kept thinking that I was almost glad you were not here, because if I had met your eyes, I should never have been able to keep a straight face. There was one very ugly moment, when I turned a corner into another street which went steeply down hill. What with the gradient, and the glassy surface, and my nails, I lost my feet entirely, and the next few paces were a mad skedaddle, with arms flying - but, thank God, I came back on my feet again. This steep hill went on for 1/4 mile, and it was agony the whole way. I decided [?], in my mind, that if I did fall down, I should just stay there, like a tired old dobbin. It would have been awful. It was a marvellous feeling, returning to the flat again. The lunch afterwards was quite amazing, and all the men received three large glasses of rather heady Passover wine, and the party broke up in frightfully good order. I may have said that I am reported as saying but I certainly do not remember it My men were extrememly good, and marched their two miles, with fixed bayonets in almost Guard like fashion - but the Engineers and people, were pretty Fred Karno. I'm told we may be doing some more of this - which suits me alright, as it is a change, for me and the men. When I was at the P.R.T.D. a fortnight ago, I met a new young 2/L/- from the Cheshires, who has just arrived out here. And he had come

Last edit almost 2 years ago by MaryV
Displaying pages 11 - 20 of 295 in total