Some Friday fun. I found this letter in the private papers of the Tory MP Julian Amery (1919-1996), who served with SOE in Albania in 1944. His book on his time there, Sons of the Eagle (yours for a mere £293.75), is a classic account of guerrilla warfare and his autobiography, Approach March, is filled with great anecdotes. Oddly, though, it doesn’t mention his brother, John, who was hanged for treason after the war.
I don’t know if the below letter, which clearly dates from Julian Amery’s time in Cairo in 1943, is a pastiche as there was no explanatory note, but it is very, very funny –
Most Honoured Respected Sahib,
Being as your Honour knows a humble man of agricultural habits, depending on the goodness of the seasons for stuff to live, I most humbly beg to put before your Honour these facts.
I am family man with wife and seven children, last of which is still milking parental mother and suffering from pulmonary catastrophe of the stomach, and eight on the way by grace of God and my action.
Therefore, I am poor man and ask most honourable Sahib to return to your employ. If there be a place even so small in the backside of your benevolence this servant prays that he may be allowed to creep inside.
I pray for your long life and prosperity, your Honour, and am your Honour’s humble servant,
(Sgd.) Mohammed Din
From the Julian Amery Papers at the Churchill Archive Centre (I would give a file reference but I understand the papers are currently being recatalogued)