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Private Papers of H H Kassman – Letter from Kassman to Mother, June 18, 1941




אנגליה, טוברוק


H. Henry Kassman


הצבא הבריטי


International War Museum (IWM)

Folder Number:

Gunner HH Kassman 6-8.1941


Letter from Gunner H. Henry Kassman to his mother, from within a file of his correspondence between 1941-1943 compiled by his daughter in 2010. File’s contents are primarily typed letters and other correspondence, occasionally reproduced (often in addition to the typed version), and also include photographs, diary entries from Kenneth Rankin’s book Top-Hats in Tobruk, some other written materials, and some explanatory material. For further information, please see the folder summary. For all posts about this collection, please click on the “H. Henry Kassman” tag in this post.

Briefly: soldiers’ reflections on news reporting, pre-war English life, investments.

Pages 1-2: Letter to Kassman’s mother. “A full-length letter for once”. He says they were “of course” encouraged by the King’s “good wishes for ‘the forthcoming operations'” heard on the wireless. This was the first they had heard that there were going to be operations soon. After three or four days, they still don’t have much firm news, but what little they have heard indicates a lot of good victories, so they’re all happy.

He read what he describes as “an extremely sound article” in an ‘Economist’ he received recently (one of a dozen; uncertain how recent the issue was) about how newspapers frequently report on campaigns with false optimism and then “suddenly let their readers down”, particularly in the Norwegian and Yugoslavian (“Jugo-Slav”) campaigns. He thinks it’s “absurd” for the BBC and newspapers to “underestimate in such a fashion the moral fibre of the ‘man in the street'” (or, indeed, the soldiers themselves).

They’re all pleased to have finally “taken a firm step into Syria”. They had actually heard Hiram Q. Hamburger (New York Times) broadcasting from Ankara to the New York Times about four or five weeks earlier. He said at that time that this event was expected “at any moment”, so Kassman was not especially surprised when it happened. He adds that it was very interesting to hear “the first neutral news that [he has] heard during the War” in those news broadcasts from Ankara. “The NY Times is, I believe, an Isolationist paper and this was reflected in Hiram’s comments.”

Some discussion about financial matters, largely investing. Some reminiscence about life before the war (a full paragraph). He particularly misses mountaineering trips, especially in the desert. Mention of having written to Dr. Winter and Bert Joseph (previously mentioned as Uncle Bert, but is in fact a cousin). Mentions having heard from Patey at Euston, who left them [possibly the family rather than the soldiers] at Gailes due to age and infirmity, as well as Edgington and “St. John of the Welsh.” They have had no mail for approximately a month, and expect a large quantity to arrive at once.

Censor L[?] Whitehead.


1.25 pages, typed. Dated June 18, 1941

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