Letters from World War II : J.H. Massey

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Letter from Harry Massey to Barbara Massey

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3. kind and amusing - and Martin admires you so much. Do you remember the first weekend we spent with them? You had on a black silk evening dress, and sat on the sofa, in the dark, and in front of the fire - and it was the first time I felt the softness of your sweet, adorable legs. Oh my beloved sweetheart, what thrills and lovely times we have had. I think so often and so much of all the times and all the places where we have made love, and I rack my brains to remember all the details. I am so sure of this that there is no man in all the world who has so much lovely happiness to remember - and so much more to look forward to, when all this ghastly business is over. It was marvellous to hear you say, in one letter, how you would dog my footsteps when I come home and would never leave me. I said exactly the same things to you in one of my letters - and I do think it is lovely, how, so often, it is obvious that we are thinking so much alike, and proving it to each other by our letters, from so many miles away. But, if you can put up with me, I plan that we should be inseparable once we are together again. We shall be able to get so tremendously much out of life together. I hope we shall have some pleasant and interesting people to know - but I feel now that if we can only have each other, and the baby, and maybe another baby - everything and everybody else is very incidental and unimportant.

Last edit almost 3 years ago by Juju2021
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4. It seems pretty certain that we shall have a few hundred pounds when this war is over - and it will be so wonderul to be able to find a house we both really like, and make it as we want it, and most certainly have a relly fine studio for you: a big one, with a good floor, and plenty of light, and big windows to throw open in the summer and heat for the winter. And And what shall I do in my spare time? Well darling. I thinnk I will be a perfect husband, lover, and companion, father, or try very hard to be: and after that, I shall garden. Yes Really! - and fish and read, and maybe play tennis Those last four being all things which you can do, and take an interest in. Gardening, you will very much approve of of course. Tennis is a good game, and is good for both of us. And fishing is an interesting meditative sport, and takes one, usually into nice country. Golf is given up, of course, because you have tried, and just do not enjoy it: an occasional game perhaps, but I certainly shall not join a club. And then, I thought, I might become an expert at casting - even in bronze. Another hard day - and bow all those happy thoughts are [calming?] me to sleep - so I will go on tomorrow. Goodnight, my lovely sweetheart. I shall kiss you and hold on to you, when I am in bed. xxxxx Harry Thursday 15 May. I had a pc. dated April 23rd from

Last edit over 1 year ago by jaxdnaquest
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5. you today, and it has made me very happy, because it was a cheerful one - you had Peggy staying with you - and it means that you are safe and sound and well, and reasonably happy, up to three weeks ago. And the cottage in S.Devon is apparently all fixed up - I am looking foreard to hearing more about this. I like to see your p.cs addressed to "Major"! Though I almost feel that Major J.H. Massey looks more dignified than Major Harry Massey - perhaps not. In any case, the No. 64582 is not necessary - that was all part of that wretched address which I gave you when I left England, and which I shall never foret as long as I live. There are still 12 of those first letters of yours missing; perhaps they will arrive someday. I am writing this just before lunch, and I hope to be able to do some more this afternoon. The Palestine Orchestra is here again, and so of course I am going this evening - this time with [Ben-Aizi?] & Moscovitz; the British subalterns are too jazz bound. Your p.c. also said you had had no letter from me for 6 weeks. It really is mortally disappointing, for me as well as for you - when I think of all the letters I have sent and the time I have spent in writing them, and have thought myself such a model, and how pleased you would be and perhaps even a little surprised to get so many letters from me. Normally, there is nothing I like to do better, than to go to my room, and relax, and take a couple of bottles of beer, [and later?] - I just write to you and think of you and Lisa and look at your photograph. But sometimes, it is rather an effort, when I am feeling tired and unappy and sad, and homesick for you, but often I have pushed myself on to write, or

Last edit 5 months ago by MaryV
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6. even to start a letter, so that you should have a constant supply. But the airmail ones must surely have started again, soon after you wrote that, and the sea ones will arrive much later. I hope there was nothing too important in those - I cannot remember now. I was delighted that you were so pleased about my majority, and it was lovely to hear you say you were very proud of me, thought me clever. I must say that the more I think of it, the more certain I am that it would not have been if I had not made up my mind I was going to get there, and just piled in with all I have. And there is such a tremendous difference between captain major - financial responsibility, position and everything else. I cannot think what I should do if I had to be second in command to one of thse majors; I feel vastly superior to them anyway. As for you not looking like a major's wife - well, darling, if you don't I'm glad of it, thats all I can say. And I don't see why I should not look like a major, just because you think I have a chub face! What would you say if I became a Lieutenant Colonel and you because the Colonel's's wife? But I do not think you need worry too much about that at the moment. I saw a confidential report on myself from the Area Commander the other day. This is a routine affair. Twice a year, the officer reported on, has to see & initial his report, whether it be good, adverse or what. Mine was reasonably complimentary, and said that I was hardworking and consciensious - that I had considerable.

Last edit over 1 year ago by jaxdnaquest
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personality, initiative, and drive - and that I had produced a satisfactory unit - but that I had much to learn: and so, on account of the latter, I wasno recommended for further promotion. I suppose I cannot quibble about htat, as I was only a Lieutenant three months ago. If they only knew how much I have had to learn in the last four months, perhaps the old boy might have qualifies his final remark! But it is preasant to get another good report, and may be of help one day.

It is 12-0 o'clock, and I am just back from the concert - and I will write a little more, beacuse I am going out again tomorrow. This time to have dinner on board one of H. M. ships, with the Captain. My friendly Hospital Ship was in again the other day, and i was asked to a small and sober cocktail party. I met this man then, and he was a pleasant, amusing, friendly bloke, and very interesty, of the last war, and the China Seas etx - and asked me to go and see his ship, which I did on the Monday. he came and had some dinner in my Mess on Tuesday, and enteratined us all considerably - and now I am paying a return visit tomorrow. I am rather looking forward to it. I have spent 6 weeks on one of H.M.Troop Ships getting out here and I have been on various ofof H.M. Hospital Ships - but I have never had dinner on one of H.M. Ships - R.N. it is rather priceless how all of mhy social life seems to be in connection with visiting ships nowadays - they are the only people from whom I accpet invitations, really - beacuase i know I cannot be drawn into the social swirl in this way. The concert was rather disappointing and has left me with a blank mond aobu tit - so verry different to the

Last edit over 1 year ago by jaxdnaquest
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last one, which thrilled and excited me. The conductor was very ordinary, and it was v. hot, and they seemed v. flat. Beetoven's Symphony, 'the Pastorole' came first, and was terribly dull, I thought. then a concertino ro4 wolo trumpet and orchestra, by the first violin of the orchestra, which was quite good, but there was too much fancy stuff from the drums, and cymbals, and triangle and so forth. Then - dull. And finally ‘Euryanthe’ Overture, by somebody callied Carl Maria Von Weber - which was rather pleasant. It was a pity, because I had been looking forward to this. Peter gave me a tremendous welcome when I returned to my room, and scampered about and whimpered with pleasure, and wagged his stumpy tail. He is becoming a grand little companion, and is now very fond of me and alwasy pleased to see me. It really does make such a difference having a dog to welcome me, and for me to be fond of. He knows very well that I am his boss and master - [Choinatzki] gives him most of his meal, and sees far more of him that I do - but he will always leave him and come to me. and he treats [Choinatzki] quite differently too - he is Peter's batman as well as mine - and just leads him a dance, and plasy s jokes on him. Whereas with me, he is always a bit careful. He is growing amazingly rapidly, and getting very strong too.. I really must have his photograch done - together with my crowns. I really must go to bed now - it's 1-30. Why am I so slow? I just think about you so much -

Last edit over 1 year ago by jaxdnaquest
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but I enjoy it, so why shouldn't I? I will finish this off and post it tomorrow. Goodnight, darling sweetheard. I love and adore you. XXXX. H.

Friday 16th May. I have been occupied all day today, and now I have to got out in 20 minutes - so I must hurry and post this first thing tomorrow morning. This dirty news about Syria has come through today, so things are getting a little nearer now. The next few weeks should be interesting. this Rudolf Hess business must have caused a stir at home. I must describe my new quarters to you. Where i am writing this, and where my future letter etc will come from. Now that i am a major, I have what are known as Field Officers' Quarters, and these are somewhat palatial compared with mere Captains and below. Instead of one room as before, I have two rooms of the same size - and in the other - there is a door in between - table, easy leather chairs, chest of drawers, and a sort of book case and beer cupboard combined. And the next door, I have my own private bathroom with wash basin, lavabo, and tinkle dept. So you see, I am quite well off, comparatively. Though it is not as good as it sounds, because the floor is concrete, and the walls are rather dirty yellow, and the roof hangs over and does not allow a great deal of light to come. All of which makes the place pretty dreary and very obviously part of a barracks - its really rather depressing, most of the time, though it helps to have more room, and nobody else making a mess in my bath and places. My other place, in billets, was much more cheerful, with plenty of licht and my little garden to look at , and a verandah with flowers hanging about. But I suppose I must just make the

Last edit over 1 year ago by jaxdnaquest
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best of it all. And i must tell your more about this bloody barracks in my next letter, and how we moved back into it. I saw in General Orders the other day that Eric James is now a Captain, and on some sort of Staff somewhere. Poor man, he has had to wait rather a long time for it and I am pleased he has got it now. He must have gone a bit queer if he saw that I gone up two, and he was stuck where he was. But then he is a pretty good stick in the mud. I also saw that Capt [......] Perrett had been promoted Major. Did you ever meet Jock? I think you may have done at the 4 ways. He was a great 'chum' of mine at my prep school. He is a very nice fellow indeed , and I hope I may meet him sometime. I have heard nothing of [Maurice Gaudy] - I should simply love to have a good old gossip with him again. and now I must fly. All my love to you, my darling sweetheart - and many long, loving kisses - look after yourself my dearest and varful of yourself and the baby. always your own Harry This is my stamp! Major. Commanding No. 6 Palestinian Coy. The Buffs.

Last edit over 1 year ago by jaxdnaquest
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Mrs H Massey Carseland Pillory Hill Noss. Mayo near Plymouth S. Devon

By Airmail Fairfield England

[ PASSED BY SENSOR No. 2464 JH Massey.]

[address crossed out c/o Mrs Paul Lymwood Candlemas Land Beaconsfiled Backs.]

Last edit over 1 year ago by CarolFitz
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Letter No 43 Sunday May 18th Major J.H. Massey 6 Palestinian Coy The Buff Middle East Forces My own sweet darlingIsn't it a ghastly life being parted + away from each other? You have spoken two or three times in your letters about how difficult it is to realise + remember that we were once very happy together in our own home + with out darling Lisa Life has been unreal ever since this war began The first two weeks of war with me working much too hard + us both wondering if + when the call would come + if Peter + Pickstone intended to try to get me off or not And then the call up when I was in Belfast I shall always blame myself for telephoning you about that + not working until I returned It must have been an awful shock for you alone in the house + late at night I like to think that I have progressed in the feelings of sensibility instinct + understanding since then when I was too immersed in work + business + commerce ; at least I should not just ring up now if I could about a thing like tht And then the change from being practically my own master to being junior subaltern of the Bn + being buggered about + insulted by Bradley Davenport + Daniel And then the tragedy of December + the dreadful tragedy of January And then all the moving about from place to place + you coming up + going away again Rover Oulton Park- checks infirmary Potter's Liverpool Warren point embarked on leave Gohowen + now this where you cannot come to it is now eighteen months since it all began + all that is left is that we love each other very dearly + very deadly which I suppose is much - very much But oh to be together again when we are

Last edit over 2 years ago by LibrarianDiva
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