Letters from World War II : J.H. Massey

Pages That Need Review

Letter from Harry Massey to Barbara Massey

p.
Needs Review

p.

8 extremely kind + ask me to go there whenever I want to I went + had a cup of tea with Mrs Nina yesterday + played with the baby; she is a very sweet child + I get on very well with her I like to do this now that I know all is well darling Do you know the last time I went out in the evening was for the last concert which was on June 12th 3 weeks ago One has to wear drill jacket + so on when out in the town after 6.0 - + that is the last time I wore a jacket Normally for dinner + staying in we wear shirts sleeves + long trousers - same as in those photos I sent you I have started another film in my borrowed camera now + will have some taken in shorts + putters + so on I do not wear my topee at all. I hate the things + my skull is quite sufficient protection in these parts. There is an order to wear them but it is not enforced & seems so silly with these Jews who have been used to wearing no hat at all for year & years. By the way, my officers & CSM & several other people were very pleased to learn the good news that you & the baby are doing well & send their best regards to you, which won't mean very much to you! Goodbye darling sweetest sweetaheart. I am still thrilling with happines that you are well & that you love me. I love you so very much. Always your Harry.

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

p.

2/ I was foolish enough to leave you + go away + play golf then those awful times when the wretched Gil would sit on top of the fire + blow smoke all over us + listen on the radio to a football match from Glasgow Do you remember his awful habit of smoking at breakfast time? Ghastly Every now + again it happens in the Mess here from newly arrived or attached officers - + is the one thing above all things which I will not allow + stop at once + when i take immediate advantage of my position I dont really + truly believe that I mind such a hell of a lot myself but I am so used to you mending very definitely that now I do too I told you in my last letter about my lecture to the landing parties of two destroyers. It duly came off this morning. It turned out to be quite an affair really - quite a large number of men in front of me, all as tough as boots, the officiers at one side. The Captain of the ship I was on introduced me as "This is Major Massey, who has very kindly consented to come along himself & tell about landings & fighting". There I was. I then proceeded to talk for 1 1/2 hours, with a ten minutes break for a smoke. It seemed to go down alright. At least, I did not have a sea of blank faces.

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

p.

4.

other dogs + officers + soldiers too Except when things get a bit too hot for him + when he relives very rapidly but as gracefully as possible into my orderly room. One of the funniest sights imaginable is to see Peter standing firmly + four square in the middle of the barrack square - + with the utmost cheek + show of authority glaring round the place at everything + everybody He is really a character + is by now quite big - about the same size as Simon, & showing no signs of stopping growing. I must go to bed. Goodnight sweetest darling Barbara. I am longing for you, more than ever XXXX Sunday Aug 3rd. I'm a good deal better tonight, thank goodness. I had a very strenuous morning, preparing a joint scheme which these navy people & my boys are going to do. I must have welked about 10 miles, mainly in sand & arrived back for lunch at 3.0 O'clock. I then dossed down on my bed for two hours_ & then meandered about, having a shower & reading a little & doing some work & having a light supper consisting of potato salad & melon & listening to the news & I have just had a very large brandy, which seems to have done me good & has made me feel well enough to sit down & go on with this letter. This really is the strangest, oddest, vegetable life which I am leading. As far as work is concerned, I seem to have got into a complete cleft stick

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

p.

Letter No. 65

Monday Aug 4th

Major J.H. Massey 6 Palestinian Coy, The Buff U.E.F.

My own darling heart

I had a lovely p.c. from you today, of July 16th, which told me something about Marie's looks - 11 lbs 1 oz. dark grey eyes, well shaped eyebrows, a pinky brown colour - & not much hair. His hair will come along soon I expect & he sounds like a marvellous boy & I would give anything to see him & you. I wonder how his grandmother likes him. And you are able to fasten yourself up by the usual books again. What a marvellous change darling. To actually have Max as a fat little person to keep you company & at the same time not to have to cart him about inside you all the time. You must hardly know yourself. Any day now, your letters fro June & onwards must begin to arrive - I am longing for them.

Your last letter, darling, talked about what to do with all our wealth. I did write to you about this - & also Jimmy, I sent him an Airgraph, asking him to write & advise you, because I know so little about our shares just now. So, I hope by now that you will have heard from him, & that u will have been satisfactorily disposed of. An [Increase?] Tax table was published in General Orders the other day & it seems to me that we pay about £20 a month - more than a 1/4 of our taxable incoe. It seems an awful amount, but it nearly all goes to helping to win the war & so I suppose we must not complain. Your letter also told me about the duty you had to pay on the dressing gown & underclothes. I really do think they should allow us some freedom in sending presents home. I sent you another 'set' last month & 3 prs of stockings. And I still have another 3 prs here to send on to you. Shall I send them, darling, or hang onto them until I come home!

Please let know by p.e. I rather thought that stockings would be rather useful just now. I have also got a cheap massive bracelet & a cheap onyx ring for you, both feminite work & which I have sent on, & I hope you will like them. And I have sent you quite a lot of snaps lately, which I hope you will like. They are all these very Leida ones & I have sent the negatives in every case & you can have the ones you want enlarged. It really is disgraceful darling. That I have only had one solitary snap of you. No doubt my previous letters of complaint will by

Last edit about 2 years ago by Khufu
p.
Needs Review

p.

now have arrived & you have done something to rectify the matter.

I wonder what Max's nose is like. It is so hard to tell with a baby, but I do hope it will take after yours - not mine. And have you had him vaccinated yet? I'm sure you have, if it is the proper time by now. You must be sure & have some snaps taken of him with you & send them on to me. It might be nice too, to have a real photograph taken together. If you do, you must send it Air mail - the other is so awfully slow.

Do please go on writing as often as possible to me, sweetheart - & also send me pes. for the latest news. I get so unhappy & miserable when I have no letters from you, & if you can manage to write to me twice a week or 10 days, it does make all the difference in the world, to me. Its hard enough to stick this out as it is. Thank God the news is good. I really feel the war is won & it is now just a matter of how long it will trail on. God bless you from the bottom of my heart, Barbara sweetest.

XXXXX Harry.

[image: front of envelope, stamped & postmarked]

By Air mail

Air Mail Letter Card ___ If anything is enclosed this card will be sent by ordinary mail

Mrs. H. Massey Carseland Pillory Hill Noss Mayo N. Plymouth 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.

65

Passed by Censor No. 2464

Last edit about 2 years ago by Khufu
p.
Needs Review

p.

2.

Your mother's letter & Joan's also arrived on Monday & they were very sweet. It was very good of them to write. Obviously, they were intended to arrive before any of yours & to be advance news about you & Max. They both paid tribute to your courage & guts & cheerfulness in the face of difficulties & troubles. And I know they are perfectly right, my darling. There must be very few, if any more, people like you. With all the tragedy behind you, & realizing everything so very well, as you didhaving no decent place to live, & very few reasonable people to be with or to talk to. You are wonderful darling, & I admire you beyond all words. You have a wonderful mixture of courage & character & good sense & a really perfect & unrivalled sense of humour. Joan & your mother can only half realise the absolute truth of what they say. I only hope before I realise it fully & understand. I sent you a sem-frantic Airgraph this morning, because you had said in your letter that in spite of Noss Mayo being a perfect little place, you did not know how long you would be able to stick it & in any case the thought of the winter was none too cheering: & that, very sweetly, you could not settle anywhere without me. I know it is easy enough for me to talk, but, I do think you should try & carry on there, unless there is something very definite against it. It is such a business moving about & hoping to find another house. And you would not be happy or at ease for long staying with Nicolette etc. You know & you

Last edit about 2 years ago by Khufu
p.
Needs Review

p.

5.

that the change over will take place in about a week's time. Also, I shall quite definitely get more exercise & fresh air & not have to spend a large part of the day with my feet under my table. We shall be under the command of a different Area Commander & staff - I shall try to avoid winning a reputation for Court Martial. I have just been made president of another three beginning on Monday. I telephoned & asked to be extricated from them owing to the impending move & all the much turmoil & work involved - but the Staff Capt said that they were complicated cases & he must have me because I was the most competent major in the Area. So I presented myself, swallowed the compliment & agreed to carry on. Its really marvellous how I react to flattery! You must try it when I come home darling - You will get amazing results.

You were telling me in your letter that I must do my best to get on & so perhaps have some say in my own destiny & return home or to some place where you & Ma could come. It's very difficult darling & I'm afraid luck enters into it very largely. As you know, I have worked like hell & obtained command of this Coy from Col. Leicester. We have now been here for six months. I seem to have gained for myself a good reputation & name & a fair amount of respect. Now we are moving, & I quite expect I shall do the same again among the new people. But I cannot see where it is going to lead me. I may get a big surprise one day,

Last edit about 2 years ago by Khufu
p.
Needs Review

p.

6.

I suppose - but I cannot see any definite goal to aim for, such as I had for the command of the Coy. It is annoying really; because I feel complete confidence in myself - I would like to be a Lieut Col - get a bigger job & see what I can make of it, & perhaps get into a position to influence my own future. But I'm afraid this job is very much of a cul-de-sac - & about the only real chance of a move is for me to agitate to go to the 1st Bn in which case I would go as a Capt. - & lead a Coy into battle - which you would not like at all - although I feel tempted at times. I always remember my promise to you & also my own paramount & overwhelming desire to come back to you safe & sound.

Friday Aug 22nd I stopped rather abruptly last night to change into long trousers & go to the Garrison cinema & see Fred Astaire & Eleanor Powell in Broadway Melody of 1940. They really do dance superbly & it is such pleasure to watch them. I believe it is the first time I have seen her, & though her face is not too beautiful, one does not need to look at it muchher legs are so shapely & she dances so well - far better than Ginger Rogers.

On Wednesday we had rather a boozy party. I think I told you about calling on some chaps of the Motor Torpedo Boats & how they had signed up

Last edit about 2 years ago by Khufu
p.
Needs Review

p.

7.

up pretty well. They are in again, so we invited them along & also a dear old thing of an R.A.F. Adjutant with snow white hair , who I know rather well. We drank steadily away from 7.0 to 10.30 & then they all agitated to go out. I was determined not to go but my subs rather kindly really insisted so we went to different cabaret places. But these places are hopeless & useless & nearly screamed with boredom. And such a shocking waste of the 17/6 I spent on one round of rather inferior wisky party drinks. These places have very poor bands, a pathetic floor show, a lot of silly looking badly behaved officers, & a number of rather plain, dirty & smelly looking girls in evening dresses, who are merely prostitutes & who I am told charge most ridiculous prices for their disgusting bodies. The last time I visited one of these joints was about four months ago - the next time will be at least another four months, if at all.

I had two pcs from you yesterday - July 19 & 24telling me that all was well & Max lovely. They really are a good thing, these pcs for the one reason that they give me news of you 3-4 weeks old, instead of the 8, 9 & 10 weeks of normal our letters. And as you say, they are almost as good as cables, unless it is something very urgent. I hope the next cable that passes between us will be from me, to say I am coming home.

The most fortunate man in my Coy is my C.S.M. Jack. His wife & family - 2 daughters - were evacuated from Palestine to Durham, S.A. And this week , I

Last edit about 2 years ago by Khufu
p.
Needs Review

p.

8.

managed to get him a job escorting prisoners of war, to Durham. It is a 6-8 week round trip there & back & he gets 10 days leave there. What a piece of luck for him, he was so delighted. I was very pleased to be able to fix it for him, as he is a good husband & father, & has not been doing any mucking about up here.

Thornton & Biblings were duly Court Martialled on Monday - found guilty of course although I do not know this officially - severely reprimanded. It really is ridiculous, such a waste of everybody's time & so bloody gutless & weak on the part of the president in particular, the members too. I have a hell of a lot I could say about it which I had better not put down here. But when I know officially & the sentence is confliced. I intend to give "Higher Authority" the benefit of my views, in a letter - or shall we say, a memorandum! Anyway, I managed to get rid of Thornton on Wednesday, by means of palming him off onto Col. Leicester at P.R.T.D. - he was a bit browned off about it, but agreed that I could not do with the bloody youth hanging about on my hands. Biblings I have to hang onto - but I have confined him strictly to barracks, just to make things unpleasant for him.

By the way darling, you will probably understand anyway - but just to make quite sure - my

Last edit about 2 years ago by Khufu
Displaying pages 81 - 90 of 295 in total