Letters from World War II : J.H. Massey

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Letter from Harry Massey to Barbara Massey

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constructive way about them & their methods. & he dealt at some length with some of my points. But I shall see what comes out of it. It was all very interesting - he is an excellent & amusing talker, & very authentic as he is in constant touch with the Palestine G.O.C. & Auchinleck, & previously Lyttleton, & now Casey.

But a piece of official news came through yesterday which does affect me. & that is that G.H.Q., M.E.F. have now ruled that service with these Coys will be fore a limited time, or tour of duty, according to rank, & so by doing a very quick sum I have found that mine comes to an end on Aug 1st. I must say I am pretty glad in many ways, because this job becomes a bit of a heart breaker after a time - & I am only saved because of my quality, or whatever it is, of trying to do well, whatever I do - & because I can easily use every minute of my spare time to write to you & think of you, & read. You can imagine that I am furiously thinking about what will be next, & most important, whether I can turn this to advantage in my next home posting application. And if not that, I do not know what they will do with me, but I shall try bloody hard to go up the ladder, & I hope, to do with administration, where I really could enjoy myself.

Barbara, I cabled in another £30 on May 4th - & which will probably be dated July or August when it appears on your bank sheet. I told you, & I hoped

Last edit 2 months ago by jaxdnaquest
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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 about 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 about 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 about 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 2 months ago by jaxdnaquest
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power to keep them on 5 days a week, & to improve their conditions of work; & I disapproved of Chamberlain & [Simon?] & Hoare & such people, & connected them with the Conservative party. But I was thinking in a muddled way, or not at all, & only sliding about the surface. I always felt that it was wrong that you and I could spend £5 in an evening & yet some man & wife & 2-3 children would be pleased to have that much to live on for 2 weeks. But I could always justify that by thinking that we did not do it very often, & even when we did, we were pretty broke for a week or two afterwards. And I could also justify myself by saying that I did work hard for my money, but I never really considered my advantages of education & opportunity & family & special apprenticeship. I used to worry generally, about inequalities in money & wealth, but in a very wrong & muddled & not at all a Socialist way

I dont ask or aim for complete equality now or ever that would be a calamity & a failure. But what I do aim for is complete equality of education _ that is, primary education & opportunity for all. An end to the frightful inequalities of money - an end or somewhere near an end, to inheritance. An end ot class, & this horrible snobbishness. And in other words, really, an end to our whole blasted system.

Now, what has caused my development , & what has caused me to begin thinking, as I think, more clearly? More than anything else, I think, it has been my contact & dealings with the Regular

Last edit about 2 years ago by MaryV
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Army people & members of the ruling class out here. At home you know, I did not meet them so much - & such people as I met who had money, worked for it, & my muddled thinking of those days allowed such people to make money at the expense of the workers. But these people I meet out here are so indescribably snobbish, & self satisfied & cynical, & so inefficient & lazy & unrealistic. They look upon the workers, the soldiers + N.COs. as so much cattle - on the Jews & Arabs as inferior people - & they dislike Australians, New Zealanders, Canadians, Czhecks, Poles, Free French - & even Americans. In fact, they only consider themselves - the ruling classes - the Regular Army. the civil service, London [illegible], & the countries: This may sound pretty good [illegible] [illegible], but by God, it's true. And nobody can say that I am embittered - except in so far as I hate their skins & souls for having allowed this war to happen, & cause me to come out here, away from you.

But meeting them & coming in contact with them, has convinced me that they must go - or else completely change their minds & ways of life. It is utterly [illegible] to have such people ruling our country, - coming to all the parts of the Empire & carrying on in the same way.

What annoys me so much about many articles which I read in magazines & papers, & about post-war [reconstruction?], is that they all presume a return to the old system of capitalism & profit making & competition - & they ponder to some extent to better wages & working

Last edit 7 months ago by KokaKli
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Is this Utopia? I do not think so I think it is quite capable of acheivement in a country which is run entirely + solely for the benefit of its people.

But it will be a hard fight. The first necessity is to get a good strong Socialist government into power- + that should be the easiest part of it of they will fit themselves out with a strong + sensible policy + go hard for it. Once in power, they must go ahead with carrying our their policy + so well disciplined among themselves. And about the first thing to do wil be to do away with the ridiculous house of Lords.

But, I think this is about enough of politics for one letter- if I go on like thos very much longer you will have to stop + pinch yourself + ask yourself whether you are reading a letter from your adoring + admiring husband or this week's New Statesman.

But it all began by me talking about our house, in answer to your letter.

And darling one, the letter came again today - the letter writing applications for posting home on compassionate grounds. And so I am off again - I shall send the previous correspondence, & Hughes' certificate again. & just a new short letter to tell about the first boy. & my worreis about your worries, & my longing to see Max. And then I shall send another letter asking for an interview with the Area Commander to see if I can possibly get his support. And the answer should be back by about the middle of June, which I will cable

Last edit 7 months ago by KokaKli
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13. you at once, + which will probably arrive before this. Having been optimistic before I am afraid I have very little hope this time- unless I an persuade the A.C. to support my claim. And so now the suspense begins once more.

What joy to home, darling, + oh God how I want to come it will be the most thrilling moment in all my life+ I often wonder where exactly we will meet- I suppose it is almost bound to be on a station somewhere I remember how I have always felt at home, when you have been away for only a few days- + on sept 21st on Gobowen station, when your train was four hours late. what a moment it willbe my sweetheart - what a nuisance the luggage will be.

We shall have so much to talk about & tell eachother & discuss, & there will be Maxie to meet, & all the time, I shall not be able to leave go of you, & I shall want to kiss you again & again. It will be so wonderful & heavenly, it will be unreal. when I am sitting & writing to you, I long so much to be able to talk to you. And when I look at your photographs, which I do so much, I long to kiss you & hold you & love you. I imagine talking to you - sitting in our two chairs. & in front of a fire, & so much to talk of & to interest eachother. And I think of sitting on your chair, on the left arm, & with my right arm round you & coming across your chest & with my hand on your left should - & them becoming

Last edit 2 months ago by jaxdnaquest
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[postmark] FIELD POST OFFICE 12 MY 42 154

[written] 11

Mrs Barbara Massey. c/o Mrs Paul. c/o Mrs Jenkins Lynwood. 6 Bulstrode Gardens Candlemas Lane Maddingley Road Beaconsfield. Cambridge Bucks

[stamped] PASSED BY CENSOR No. 514

[page turned] JH Massey

Last edit 7 months ago by KokaKli
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