Private Papers of Major General P L de C Martin CBE
83 ms and ts letters (January 1939 - November 1947, 277pp) and 6 telegrams (undated, March 1942 and January 1948, 6pp) written at irregular intervals to his parents and sisters, recording his active service as a young officer commissioned in July 1939 commanding a platoon, as Second-in-Command 'D' Company, commander of 'A' Company, and Second-in-Command (rising in rank from Subaltern to Major) with the 2nd Battalion Cheshire Regiment, the Machine Gun Battalion of 1st Division in France and Belgium (January 1940 - April 1940) and the UK (June 1940 - December 1940) and the 50th (Northumbrian) Division in the Middle East (May 1941 - June 1942); North Africa (June 1942 - July 1943), notably the retreat from Gazala to El Alamein including being captured and escaping twice in 24 hours (June 1942 - August 1942) and the Battles of Mareth which "was quite the most unpleasant Battle that I have ever been in" and Wadi Akarit (January 1943 - May 1943); the invasion of Sicily (July 1943 - August 1943); North West Europe (June 1944 - ?? 1945), notably the landings in Normandy (June 1944 - August 1944); Egypt (December 1945 - March 1946) and Palestine (March 1946 - April 1947); and as General Staff Intelligence, HQ BTE, MELF (October 1947 - December 1947); and commenting on his journeys to France (January 1940), in the Cunard White Star liner GEORGIC via South Africa to the Middle East (May 1941), and in HMT INDRAPOESA to the Middle East (December 1945); his billets; relations with and attitudes of the French populace, French Army officers and the low pay of French soldiers; censoring letters and their contents; the arrival of the mail, comforts and parcels from home; his off-duty entertainment, notably visiting the cinema, his drinking, his leaves, and playing cricket, hockey and rugby, duck-shooting, and sight seeing in Egypt, the Lebanon and Palestine; his fellow officers and his men (notably his Batman); the weather; the progress of the war and his optimism concerning a quick end to the war; his bank balance; "the hell of Dunkirk"; celebrating Christmas (1940, 1942 and 1945); his travels around Syria and Libya; the "bilge" and "bunkum" written by the press in the newspapers at home; capturing Italian troops; the reaction of Italians to their liberation; training; the rivalry with the 51st (Highland) Division; and the deaths of friends; his plans to marry and being "thrown over" by his fiancé; applying to attend Staff College; the possibilities of fighting against Japan; dealing with the Jewish immigrants and terrorists, searching settlements in Palestine; and mentioning the reaction to Sir Winston Churchill's speech concerning the German invasion of the USSR (July 1941); Field Marshal Sir Claude Auchinleck (October 1941); and his faith in Field Marshal Viscount Montgomery (July 1944); Generals Sir Charles Allfrey, Sir Evelyn ("Bubbles") Barker, Sir Miles Dempsey (July 1946), and Sir Napier Crookenden (May 1946 and August 1946). Also included are 8 ms letters written to his family (February 1955 - April 1965, 41pp) while serving with the 1st Battalion the Cheshire Regiment as company commander and commanding officer in Germany, guarding the remaining five major war criminals at Spandau Prison (notably Admiral Karl Doenitz, Rudolf Hess, and Albert Speer), the Cameron Highlands in Malaya, and Cyprus; 3 telegrams (July 1942, 4pp) , 6 ms letters (July 1942 - August 1942, 15pp) from Major R W F Mellor and his mother, and a ts letter (July 1942, 1p) from the Casualty Branch of the War Office concerning his capture and escape; an undated ts recommendation (Army Form W.3121, 3pp) for a MBE for his service in North West Europe (June 1944 - October 1994) by his Commanding Officer; and 4 photographs taken in Palestine (October 1946).