Letters from World War II : J.H. Massey

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Letter from Harry Massey to Barbara Massey

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There seems to be a hoodoo on my nights, I finished this letter & went to bed at midnight. It is now 3-20 & woke up to find myself being consumed by bed bugs. Blast them. Then I had no matches- & stumbled about the mess & kitchen & could not find any there. & had to go & see the N.C.O in the guard-room - then I hhad to go through all the business of lighting a high pressure. And I have searched my bed & pyjamas & found us bugs. So I have rubbed myself all over with lemon spirit, & am having a whiskey & soda & a cigarette & telling you about it. I have this bug business & don't know why it should happen, because only today my blankets & sheets & bed were aired from morning till evening & 100% flitted. Maybe it is a flea from Toby. He is wagging his tail

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[postmarks] CAMBRIDGE 3 30 PM 22 AUG 1942

FIELD POST OFFICE 21 42 154

[written] June 17 '42 118

Mrs Barbara Massey. c/o Mrs Jenkins. 6. Bulstrode Gardens. 78. Lansdown Rd LONDON. Cambridge. W. 11.

[stamped] PASSED BY CENSOR No. 514

[page turned] JH Massey

Last edit 6 months ago by KokaKli
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8. situation + asked his advice. He was inclined to be enthusiastic + asked me would I see Shertok. This was all a bit irregular but I agreed - he contacted S on the phone + + we met him on the road, on his way back to Jerusalem from a meeting. This was all rather unreal + Edgar Wallacey - moonlight meeting with political head of the Jews dressed in white tropical suiting, cigarettes glowing faintly etc. etc. Shertok was pleased about it, but worried because he is working + aiming for Jewish Bus. + wants to see me commanding the first one. But to think that is a long way away. He said he wanted to think more about it + sleep on it- + he phone me this morning to say he hoped I would go far & get the C.R.O. job, & that I would have his full support. & he asked me to promise that if Bus do form, I will apply to get back as C.O. I wish the Army thought as highly of me as the Jewish Agency seem to! Perhaps they will one day. I wonder how the Arabs will like me if I do this job. It will be rather difficult to reconcile my Zionism with Pan Arabism.

I mus tstop this at 10d. I am having a farewell party with the R.A.F. tonight. Even they seem to like me now - I must be getting soft.

No letters from you for over two weeks, darling. I am dying & pining to hear more news of you & Maxie - & hear again that you love me. That is the one & only thing that matters to me. I love you so much & so completely, my lovely sweet heart - I do want to come home so much. All my love & kisses from your always adoring husband & love - Hary. XXXX

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junior to me! but I am not going to push my claims. & am leaving him in charge - as I hope to be away from here in 3-[illegible] weeks time. Col. L. called in today, on his way down from Syria. & told me that he had now put my name forward. but had no idea as to what would happen; this is about the C.R.O. job of course.

I am by now absolutely busting to get away from this job. & to get on with the new one. I am completely browned off with this job - There is so little scope for energy & [imaginarian?] & doing things. I just feel myself becoming more & more dead dull & [illegible] & that only real feelings I [illegible] are aggravation & impatience & an awful sense of frustration. And my last spark of hope is going out about posting home - & that makes me all the more anxious for a change & for some hard & useful work. instead of this dull routine stuff what [illegible] me down & somehow takes up enough of my time to prevent me writing or reading much. And I am already beginning to fill up with ideas for the CRO job & am wanting to get at it & put them into practice. I really am beginning to feel that unless I can get down to some real job. which will about my interest & demand something from me. I shall degenerate or else become entirely lifeless. As you must know from my letters. I'm afraid, & as you, poor darling can understand so well. I have had some pretty flat patches before. But my present one is [illegible] all records for length of time & for flatness. I think, perhaps, that the return to Hafa has something to do with it. Even though I like th

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place so much better than Lydda. & though it must surely be the best place in Palestine the very last of [illegible] to it after 9 1/2 months away: & doing roughly the same duties again. give me an awful feeling of having gone around in a circle & taken nearly a year to do it, & still I am apparently no nearer to being together with you again. And the work I am doing has so little direct influence on the war & the hastening of the end. And the war news is so bad - from Libya especially. Your p.c. of June 8 expects that my spirits are much better about the war read as you say, & less of [illegible]. withdrawal into Egypt - where we were when I arrived her in Nov 40. Its not inspiring or cheering is it? Two weeks ago the Palestinian [illegible] was actually leering at Gen. Rommel for having to fly [illegible] dash about the front to exhort & cheer up his troops. We dont have to do that [illegible] said - Gen [illegible] that he [illegible] well in hand & can look on [illegible] his pipe. [illegible] but how bloody is our propaganda & news service. [illegible] unique that [illegible] were to change Generals. we might also change the result. I was looking at a photograph of Ritchie the other day though I may be misjudging the man. he appears to me to [illegible] the awful [illegible] bred [illegible] faced expression [illegible] too little [illegible] too much of [illegible] feel that we [illegible] an awful [illegible] vis-a-vis the Germans - they & their generals have been [illegible] for year for war. & we treat it as a game of [illegible] officers have been mainly interested in anything but war. But I hope that the news will be better by the

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L.C.1. Saturday. Aug. 23rd. Major. J.H. Massey 6t Palestinian Coy, the Bells M.E.F.

In view of your remarks, my sweetest, I will now begin numbering these things as such - & in any case, you will then have a better idea of what is coming & missing. I wish you would tell me in a p.c. up to what number you have had my letters, & which ones are missing.

Oh dear. I have to go out to dinner tonight, to the Hopkins, & I do not feel one bit sociable; perhaps I shall enjoy myself when I get there. I did feel sociable this morning, & rang up & invited myself.

These week ends get me down rather, the reason being that there is only one post, in the morning, on Saturdays & Sundays, & so when I draw a blank in the evening, there is nothing at all to look forward to for the remainder of the day. My weekly letter seems to make quite a habit of coming on Monday - I wish it would change to Saturday & keep me company for the week end. I sent off a 10 page letter this morning, & in it told you that we are moving at last & scramming out of this foul barracks. It was great news & I am altogether delighted about it. I shall have the Coy altogether on the new job. & have much more time for training.

[page break] And so I myself shall be leading a much healthier & more open air life, & getting much more exercise - & having, I expect & hope, much more spare time.

Sweetest darling, as this will be your latest from me, & before I reach the rather public 3rd side - I must tell you waht I keep telling you in letters which are coming along to you - that I am, at the same time, the happiest & luckiest, & most miserable & unfortunate man in the world. I love & worship & cherish you so much, & I miss you & pine for you until my heart nearly breaks. Your letters just before Max came, & afterwards are so wonderfully sweet & loving to me, & I am thrilled to read them. It is marvellous when you write & tell me that you are in love with me, & that I am the only man you will ever want. I believe you darling, not because I take any thing for granted or think it is my due - but because you are so fine & wonderful, & you would not say it unless you meant it. And that makes it all the more perfect & thrilling, & makes me so happy. I have a great feeling of confidence about the end of this war. You were

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complaining in your last letter, because we do not attack Germany with our army. But I do not believe we ever shall, or that it is a necessity for winning the war. I am reading Churchill's "World Crisis" at the moment, & he was terribly down on the slaughter & wastage of life, all to no purpose, of the last war. I don't believe he has changed his views, & I'm quite sure he is the dominating influence behind the method of fighting this one. Poor Russia will have heavy casualties. but I'm certain she can contain the German army. And in the meantime, we, & others, blockade & bomb. And it becomes a questions of how long the German [marion?] will stand it. I really think that the very fact that we do not invade is the measure of our confidence in the result. & I hope, the nearness of it. About insurance, darling - I should forget it, except for what you want to do with your sculpture. when I see you again, & Maxie, I shall not mind about any thing else. Can you let me know our [linaneal boulion?]? shares, war loan, & in the Bank. All my love as always my darling. God bless you. XXXX Harry.

[page break] [printed] BY AIR MAIL

AIR MAIL LETTER CARD

IF ANYTHING IS ENCLOSED THIS CARD WILL BE SENT BY ORDINARY MAIL.

[partial postmark] 24 AU 41 120

[written] CC!

Mrs. H. Massey Carseland. Pillovy Hill. Noss Mayo. Ns. Plymouth.

[printed] GT. BRITAIN.

WHEN FOLDED THE LETTER CARD MUST CONFORM IN SIZE AND SHAPE WITH THE BLUE BORDER WITHIN WHICH THE ADDRESS ONLY MAY BE WRITTEN.

[stamped] PASSED BY CENSOR No. 2464

[page turned, written] JH Massey.

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try again in the new place. Meanwhile, I am holding three pairs of silk stockings here. Oh dear - I wish your legs would suddenly pop into a pair of them, & you above them. I am missing you so desperately all the. It is 2 years today since Germay invaded Poland - do you remember how tensely we listened to the wireless, to hear the news & if the T.A. Reserve was being called up. I suppose many things have happened that had to happen, & we are so much nearer to the end. Thank God - I still listen to & read the news avidly - & look forward more & ever more to our re union, & think of all we have to do & say & make up to eachother. And I'm always feeling that I shall see Max before he is much older - & shall be in time to put on his naps & help to teach him how to walk & talk. I should have to miss all those things - & I cannot bear to think of missing you for very much longer. All my dearest love to you sweetheart & all my kisses. And a big X for Maxie. Always. Hary.

[page break] [printed] BY AIR MAIL

AIR MAIL LETTER CARD

IF ANYTHING IS ENCLOSED THIS CARD WILL BE SENT BY ORDINARY MAIL.

[partial postmark] POST OFFICE

[written] LL2

Mrs. H. Massey. Carseland. Pillary Hill. Noss Mayo. Nr Plymouth.

[stamped] PASSED BY CENSOR No. 2464

[printed] GT. BRITAIN.

WHEN FOLDED THE LETTER CARD MUST CONFORM IN SIZE AND SHAPE WITH THE BLUE BORDER WITHIN WHICH THE ADDRESS ONLY MAY BE WRITTEN.

[page turned, written] JH Massey

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L.C.H. Friday. 17th Oct. Major J.H. Massey. 6, Palestinian Coy. The Buffs M.E.F.

My sweet darling -

Your cable has just arrived to say you will try to get a doctor's letter, but that you are not hopeful. In my case I do not really think this is essential, being an officer - & as my case will be built up on a long story of tragedy & sadness, & the effect which it must have had on your mind & nerves. And then your cable asks should you try & get a passage to Africa. Well, darling, this sounded & seemed impossible at first - but the more I think about it, the more determined I become that somehow or other it can & must be arranged. First of all, I do not feel that I want you & Max to came by sea - & I would much rather you came all the way by air. I don't really know what you can do about it at your end, but may be I shall cable you again in a day or two & you can let me know. But I feel that I may be able to do something here - I feel that such things can be arranged by influence, & it is now up to me to find the right influence & persuade it to work for me. I do not think for a moment that the Army will help me at all, & so I must see what the Jews can do for me. And here I am lucky in being in command of a Jewish unit - & also, during the last week, I have been making recruiting speeches, & by that means getting in [laid?] with important Jews &the making them interested in me. My first approach will be to the Hon Edwin Samuel & his wife - they are very influential people on their own account.

[page break] & this, of course, is enormously enhanced by the fact that his father is Lord Samuel. In addition, Edwin is chief Immigration Officer in peace time. they, I hope, quite apart from what they can do for me, should be able to give me the last word as to the possibilities. I intend to write to him & tell him I am coming to see him in Jerusalem & what about. Then perhaps from there, I may go direct to the Jewish Agency & see what they can do for me.

The other approach is through Arkin's brother in law - Ben-Ami. As I told you, he is an influential man in Palestine, & he is shortly coming to England on a business trip - business connected with the war. Arkin has gone on week end leave today, & will be telling me all about it when he returns. One point emerges - there is such a thing as civilians going to & from England. Here is Ben-Ami going. And the last time I saw Mrs Samuel, she told me she was going to England & back to see her sons. I am really beginning to feel that the correct mixture of influence & purpose will achieve our ends - & that if I stick at it hard & long enough, I shall get what I want. And you know darling, that I am fairly determined when I really want a thing. The main question now, is whether or not it is within the bounds of possibility which do you prefer darling, that I come home - or that you & Max come here. Presuming this place to remain outside the theatre of war - it is a sfe &

Last edit 6 months ago by KokaKli
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healthy country. I you can get all the food you cannot get in England. Then there is the great interest for you of Palestine, Egypt, Syria etc. And when the war ends, it will not be so important as to when I come home. Financially, you should not worry. To be together is worth more than all the money in the world. And if I were to get compassionate posting home, I should come home as a Captain, & probably find it quite difficult to get a majority again. And the difference between a Major & a Captain is [pounds symbol]250 p.a. We must both work all out for the one main object, that by one means or another, in England or in the M.E. we must be together. I have set my heart on it sweetest, & I cannot think of any thing else at all. I will cable you as & when I have news or make progress & you must please do the same. By the way, Ben reckons you can have a decent little flat in Tel Aviv & a servant girl & food - for [pounds symbol]15-20 a month- which is quite cheap, isn't it? Darling Barbara, it must happen. I cannot bear to live without you. And by the way, when we go off for a trip, Mina Hopkins would, I know, look after Max v. well & v. efficiently. All my deepest love sweet. H XXX XXX

[page break] [printed] BY AIR MAIL

AIR MAIL LETTER CARD

IF ANYTHING IS ENCLOSED THIS CARD WILL BE SENT BY ORDINARY MAIL.

[partial postmark] FIELD POST OFFICE 18 41

[written] LL4

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

[stamped] PASSED BY CENSOR No. 2464

[printed] WHEN FOLDED THE LETTER CARD MUST CONFORM IN SIZE AND SHAPE WITH THE BLUE BORDER WITHIN WHICH THE ADDRESS ONLY MAY BE WRITTEN.

[page turned, written] JH Massey

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