Letters from World War II : J.H. Massey

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Letter from Harry Massey to Barbara Massey

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ridiculous and right out of the question. I sometimes think there is something going wrong with me, and that I am becoming a bit fishlike - and then I only have to think about you for a moment, and I know I am alright. No, my darling sweetheart, I'm just hopelessly, utterly, and completely in love with you. Nobody else is necessary to me, and I could not, and would not, allow anybody to come between us for a single moment. I still feel, and always shall feel so strongly, that if ever I were to allow anything to happen, it would somehow spoil things for a long time to come, even though you knew nothing about it at all. But it's not really possible to analyse, the whole idea is impossible and repugnant. It's just you, you, you, and all of you and nothing but you, for always and forever. You are sweet, and wonderful darling and there is nobody like you, and I know it very, very well - and that must be the secret of the whole business.

Oh God, but you are wonderful and lovely and gorgeous, my darling - and I am so conscious of it, all the time.

I love hearing you say in your letter that you will do your bestto be a s pretty as possible for me when I come back. I know you will and you will be beautiful and pretty - but I so love you to know yourself that you pretty too. And I hope that I am in some measure responsible for you being so sure about that, lovely darling And I'm quite certain that you will always be pretty and lovely - and that I shall always lov eyou passionately. I hope too

Last edit over 2 years ago by MaryV
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Letter No. 35 Monday April 21st Major J.H.Massey 6 Palestinian Coy, The Buffs Middle East Force My darling, sweet Barbara, Thank goodness, your letters have started again at last. Last night. I was writing to you miserably but said that I hoped Monday would bring me luck again, and it has done. Your 31st letter, posted on March 3rd, and a really lovely letter too and it has made me very happy and contented today - it has just made all the difference. But I wish somebody could tell me what happens to the other ones - I have now had -- 1 - 5 - 7 - 13 - 14 - 15 - 19 - 2122 - 22 1/2 - 23 - 25 - 26 - 31 - but, of course, in nothing like that order. But I must not go flying off the handle again about these posts - you must be getting pretty bored with it by now. But it does make me so furious I was so pleased to hear that my letters are arriving alright, and that my long one - no 4 - had appears at last. As I think I told you before, it looked so fat and [in...] - and represented so many eggs in one basket, if it had been unlucky enough tto meet a u-boat. Your letter arrived today, just five minutes after the weekly half hour I have appointed for wearing respirators - and when I got to the part about Lisa' gravestone, I could not keep my tears back, and as people kept coming into my office for things, I was glad of the respirator. My poor sweet darling - it must be a sad and heartbreaking task, and you are very brave to do it. But I am so happy that you are, and you will be, too. Of course, I agree that - darling child of ____ is the only inscription you could put. She was beloved, and dearly loved, but

Last edit about 2 years ago by SRandlett
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9. tomorrow. Goodnight sweetheart darling. All of my dearest deepest, fondest most passionate love and kisses. Harry.

April 23rd: Another p.c. arrived today from April 4th - and you tell me it is a new system- and it seems to be working quite well. And also one from my ma too, in which she did not say very much, except that everyone was well. You sounded very fed up and down in the mouth - poor sweetheart, it is a damn shame - but since then you have lined up the house in S. Devon, I hope, and my letters will have started again and stopped you feeling cut off. And you tell me the amount of hte commission, too. [L] 160 - how marvellous, darling, how truly wonderful. The old firm of {D. North & Co Ltd] must have been doing pretty well - that shoulds like about [L]15,000 profit in the year. How hateful to think that McCallum will get it too, the little rat - but perhaps it will be as well if he is able to save a bit, and then he will be able to retire when I return. He must dread the day twhen the ware ends and I come back again, and chase him away next door again, and give him respberries twice a day. Poor little bastard. As you say, darling, what with this and the majority, we do seem to be pretty opulent. And as we both agree about not spending it now, we should be in the most unusal position, when we set up house again, of being able to buy things for it, and have it as we want it. That should be the overdraft finally dealt with, darling - what with our economies of the last few months + commission + major's pay - and still pay your

Last edit 6 months ago by MaryV
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Letter No. 38. Thursday/ Major. J.H. Massey 1 May 41 / 6 Palestinian Coy. The Buffs Middle EAst Forces Darling SweetheartIs it 10.30 at night, and too late to begin a letter now. I was going to write all tonight but what with one thing and another, I had my supper down here - then people kept popping in, and phone rang and odds and ends of work cropped up. I was reading Design and Vision [until?]after my supper - and I finished a letter I had begun to Frank {??] - and I played games with Peter - and felt generally restless. And then I was going to write one of these, and then I decided not to, and got half undressed for bed. And now here I am. The main reason for writing one these is about money, darling. I cabled you and wrote you that I should not want any more until June. But I ran dry today and so have put another [£]30 in my a/c here, and am letting you know at once. I am rather disappointed really, as I had set my heart on keeping to what I said. But there seem to have been an awful lot of Mess bills the last few weeks: and then a [sub?] to our new Mess. And everything seems to have run out, and worn out, or broken the last week or two. It is incredible how things add up - toothpaste, hair and shaving cream, tooth brush, brushes, batman, towels, [?] [?], mirror, sock, suspenders , stamps, ink, writing paper, torch matteries, crowns, laundry, haircuts, soap, cables, cigarettes and a few beers. I have been nowhere and done nothing otherwise.. My April allowances are still to come, so the position is not so bad, really. But I wanted you to know and understand in any case, I am well within my estimate of weekly expenditure. I have been going to cable you every day - I am so anxious to send you my love and blessings. But every day, I expect one from you, which would almost certainly contain something I wanted to reply to. I think I will tomorrow, if nothing arrived. This is May 1st, which would be very nearly exactly one year since you arrived at [?] Park. How lovely it was to meet you at the station, and then drive with you, in Frank's car, to the caravan and calling at the little shop

Last edit almost 2 years ago by MaryV
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on the way to buy things and arrange things. And how you loved the caravan and the place it was in, when you first saw it. They use [buta gas?] out here quite a lot, and it makes me feel impossibly homesick to hear of it. If I were to smell it- I would surely weep. I suppose, when we were to happy together, it would have been ridiculous to be always telling each other about it - but now i feel we should have done. I'm thinking and concentrating so hard on being back with you again - that I almost feel something must happen soon. I wish I knew just how quickly these things arrived. My first one was posted on March 5 - and I thought one of your p.c.s would have mentioned them. If they are just as slows, they are not worth while. Now to bed. thinking of my dearest darling - and I hope to dream of you sweetheart. The baby must be with you now. Dearest love to you both from your lover and father Harry. XXXX.

Last edit almost 2 years ago by MaryV
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Letter No. 39 / 3 May 41. Major J.H.Massey 6 Palestinian Coy, The Buffs. Middle East Forces.

Darling one - I'm sorry to writ you another of these things, but I have become frantically busy again. It is now 11-45pm and I have only just thi minute arrived in. But I am so anxious to do my part at least, to pravide a steady flow of lettere for you, and I can only hope that the mails will not let you down too much. I feel so furious that the last few weeks, you seem to have had practically no letters from me at all. I always intended and hoped that at least for th elast few weeks before the baby, you would be having plenty of letters from me. Tomorrow, I have to go down to the P.T.R.B. to see Col. Leicester, and in the evening I am going to see Men-Arzi, who is on weekend leave, and his wife, and family. It makes me pretty jealous, the way there Jewish officers can just nip home and spend the weekend with their wives. Ben-Arzi is very good about it, and is very consciouncious and hsould go more than he does. But Morowitz seems to think he should be off every week, and I ahve had to squast him several times. And then I feel rather sory, when i remember how I would to do everything I could to see you and be away. I haven't had any letters of p.c.s or cables at all this last week, which is a big disappoinment, and has made it a very unhappy week. I have done nothing and been nowhere this week. Except yesterday, my friendly Hospital Ship was in again and I was invited to a lunch part. It was very pleasatn to happy and the C.O, and his officers are very nice people. he was a Harley St specialist, and was M.O. to a London T.A. Bn, and knew Frank Scott quite well. His name is Lloyn Williams, in case you ever see or write to Frank for any reason. Summer is really arriving now, and the last few days have een darned hot. Apart from mosquitoes, which are not too bad in this part, sanflys are the real trouble and pest. I have been bitten all over th eplace, which is merely horribly aggravating. But I am told, sandfly fever is quite a common affair, and though it is not dangerous and does not last very long, is said to be most unpleasant. I now have a net which affords 100% protection when in bed, and I can sleep in peace. It is an

Last edit almost 3 years ago by tt
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enormous affair, hanging 7 feet down from the ceiling, and being tucked in all round the bed. Peter was quite mystified by it, and rather annoed when he coul dnot climb up on my bed. I was afraid he was gonig to put his feet and claws through it, and spoil it completely. He is now resigned and just looks at me balefully when i climg into bed. this short, horrid letter is not very affectionate,my darling, but i am feeling very full of affectona nd love and tenderness and longing for you. Every day, I remember some new things about you, and every day, these make me long for you the more, and make me realise and remember how much I love and how very much I miss you.The Iraq business began today. The more that begins, the better, I feel. This static war does not [ seem] to bring us any nearer to each other. All my dearest love to you, my sweet darling - and kisses to you and the baby if it is herenow. Always, Harry XXXX

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

Last edit almost 3 years ago by tt
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Letter No. 41/ Monday 12 May 41/ Major J.H.Massey 6th Palestinian Com. The Buffs Middle East Forces. My sweet darling - Duce again the heavens have opened & I am snowed under with [?] work than I can possibly do. It is [infuriating?]. I at last, obtained a second in command last week - Tony Burnett, of which I will tell you more in another letter - & really thought that at last I was going to have an easier time, & more time. But it is not to be apparently, & here I am again, writing one of these poor things at 10-30 in the night, & so blasted weary I can hardly keep my eyes open. It is a shame really - & 112° in the shade again today. One of the annoying and disappointing parts of it all is that from day to day, I have lots of small things to write about - things I saw, heard, thought & hoped - but after a few days I either forget about them or else they do not seem important enough to put in a letter.

The cause of all the trouble now is that we have had to leave those very pleasant billets we were in, & return to the horrible barracks: & after I had my own little self contained life so nicely organised too. The barracks are enormous, just about as big as Owestry - [page break] & quite enough to hold 1000 men & here I am with my Company. in sole charge. The responsibility is a bit much - but I have just got it, & that is that. It also means no more Field Allowance , at 3/- a day, which is a pity. ever since Friday, when this began, it has been like a nightmare.

& I an thinking longingly of you dreadful, this not knowing , & realising that it may have happened, or if not that it may be any day now - & me not know at all. I hope I shall have a cable from you in a day or two, even if only to say you are well & waiting too. My latest word from you was Apr 12th which is a long month ago. I am pining to hear again. God bless you darling sweetheart - you are so brave & wonderful, & I am thinking longingly of you all the time. It is almost too much to bear, not to be with

Last edit over 2 years ago by Carolebar
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Letter No 42. Wednesday Major J.H.Massey 14 May 41 6 Palestinian Coy. The Buffs Middle East Forces

My own dearast sweet darling, Your 34th letter arrived today and distressed me terribly you were feeling so hopeless and tragic and worried about everytihng. Thank goodness I had already had your no. 35 by which time you had cheered up again considerably and how at least and at last become reassured about money and knew you did not have to worry any more about it, or the overdraft, or how to pay the doctor and the nursing home and you had fixed up with the nursing home, and also I had had your p.c. of April 12th about having founds a house in S. Devon. I musts not begin to run on again about that tragic misunderstanding - but I do feel so strongly now that a very large part of your misery and unhappiness ha been directly caused by that. How to pay the docot - and hor to pay the nursing home - and how to afford a house, and things for the baby. And what if the B.C. and D pay stopped. And the disappointment of the situation after you had been so careful. And the thought that I ws not caring a damn - and what was I doing with the money, anyway. And how we should be fixed after the war. Oh darling - I am longing to have your letters, apologising for misjudging me. You must understand, my darling, that if ever the situation were to become difficult, and the Assn were to stop my 1/2 pay - which I do not think they will do - I should cut down everything, and live on the bare minimum. My only thought is for you to have enought and for us to be able to have a good beginning after the war - so that the return to Yorkshire will not be too hoorifying for you. But the thing

Last edit almost 3 years ago by tt
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2. has happened now, and cannot be undone. But I am sure you would have been happier and more contented if you had not been so worried about this. And then my letters seem to have struck a bad parch at the very worst possible moment - and I suppose you may have thought again that I was so busy spending money, I had ;no time to write to you. Poor, sweet, darling - I had a forboding about misunderstanding. I pray there will be no more. It hurts me terribly that you have had such a rotten, dull, worrying time during the pregnancy, and that you have been so nervous about the result of the baby, and the birth. I am pining for news - it musts come any day now. I am convinced that all is going to be well - there is no good reason why is should not be. Lisa was perfect and her death was a tragic accident. And the tragedy of the boy was purely bad doctoring - and nothing will ever convince me that he was not a perfectly normal child. Oh sweetheart, I hope that before my next letter, or even before I have finished this one, I shall have had the good news from you, and the all your sufferings of the last few months can be put behind you- and we can then enjoy the present, and look forward to he future and what we are going to do and where and how. And if only you had found a pleasant place to stay, and had, consistently pleasant people to be with. Instead of that, it has been just the opposite, and most of the folks have been a positive menace to your peace of mind. I wish you could have been with Vera and Martin all the time. Vera is so

Last edit almost 3 years ago by tt
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