29. An exercise in red tape

In 1943, while on secondment to the Canadian Royal Air Force, Jack was informed he would be ordered to return to Britain to take up his Royal Air Force commission and report for duty somewhere in Britain.  There was provision for serving officers to have members of their immediate families repatriated to the UK, at the expense of the officer concerned. Evelyn decided she wished to return to England to be with Jack and he therefore initiated the necessary paperwork while still in Canada.   As the following exchange indicates, the initial contact with the Canadian RAF was probably the source of considerable delay due to the application being caught between the twin stones of Canadian and British operating procedures but was probably not helped by Evelyn’s constant flow of letters querying delays.

(Personally, I would not have been happy to cross the Atlantic in a convoy during this period.)

* * * * *

To Evelyn Scott

Royal Air Force Staff Officers’ Mess
No 31 Royal Air Force Depot, Moncton, NB Canada

Sunday September 12, 1943

Darlingest Dear,

As post-script to my other note of today; – apparently you should get your passport back in from three to five weeks after application; – so if much delayed beyond that time you had better write to Air Force Headquarters.  Now, you have your “dossier” of copies of all those letters etc I had to write, – and although they bear varying dates, the actual registered letters in which they were finally mailed were sent off from Clinton [Ottawa] in August 13th. One batch of stuff went to Air Force Headquarters through Command Headquarters (i.e. the actual registered envelope was addressed to “Air Officer Commanding, No 1 Training Command, RCAF, 55 York Street, Toronto”; and Command Headquarters, after retaining one copy of everything for their files (except the actual passport of course) sent on the other set and passport to: – “Chief of Air Staff, Air Force Headquarters, Ottawa”.  The other batch was to the United Kingdom Air Liaison Mission.  These two main registered packets were posted from Clinton, as I say, on Aug 13th, the Clinton PO registration numbers being: – For the packet to No 1 Training Command: – 338; and for the packet to the United Kingdom Air Liaison Mission: – 337.  Each of the two packets contain information-carbons of the letters etc sent to the other addressee.

Now, what all this boils down to is that if you don’t get your passport back in, say two weeks’ time, I should write to Air Force Headquarters, addressing envelope to:- “Chief of Air Staff Air Force Headquarters, (Attention D/DPC/RAF), Ottawa” and say that your husband sent your passport No 372415 on August 13th and can you soon expect to receive it?  Also state that, as I have not present funds, I am saving up for your fare, by deductions from my pay, and that this has been approved by the United Kingdom Air Liaison Mission in their letter dated August 25th and signed by Mr F C Fayers, the Civil Officer for Finance and Accounts.

All this will probably be unnecessary, so don’t let it worry you, – but if you don’t get your passport in, say, two weeks from now, there’ll be no harm in chasing it up.

There is, actually, a possibility, I understand, that you may get a passage even before I have finished accumulating the fare; – i.e. they might let you sail “on credit”, so to speak, and they carry on deducting from my pay after your arrival in the UK.  This would be swell, – and the only worry then would be that you might not have saved enough for your actual train-fare to whatever American or Canadian port to have to sail from.  I wish to goodness I had more money  I fancy the actual rail-fare might be as much as $50 or $60 (you’d better enquire re this).  I should try to put by for this as soon as ever you can.

Also, of course, hang on to your USA passport. Also, it might perhaps be useful, later, to have a chat with the British Consul in N York.

No more now, beloved
All, all dearest love always
Your own Dickie

* * * * *

To Evelyn Scott

Royal Canadian Air Force
The Rev W Scott Morton Station Chaplain MPO 106
Fort Albert, Ont

October 15, 1943

Dear Mrs Metcalfe,

After receiving your letter I made some enquiries and find that there is no reason to suppose that your passport will not be returned to you in due course along with the exit permit etc.

If you do not have any further word in a short time from the relevant authorities, perhaps you will be good enough to drop me a line again, and I will take up the matter through the RAF Families Welfare Committee in Ottawa.  I am not doing so at present as I feel that it is slightly premature, but I shall be glad to write to them later on if it seems necessary.

With kindest regards to Sqdrn-Ldr Metcalfe and yourself
I am,
Yours sincerely, W Scott-Morton
Sqdn-Ldr, Station Chaplain

* * * * *

To Evelyn Scott

26 Belsize Crescent
November 22, 1943

Dearest Love,

I hope you will soon get my recent several letters answering yours re the passport difficulty.  I should continue writing somewhat on these lines:

“My husband, well before leaving Canada, was careful to follow most strictly all the instructions of pamphlet HQC-33-1-26 in making application for my passage.  The date of my necessary departure from Canada to the USA (Aug 31st 1943) was also stated in my husband’s application, and as the application was despatched to you from Canada on August 13th there should have been ample time to drew my, or my husband’s, attention to any difficulties in procedure regarding the passport.  Being a special case, it may well fall outside the scope of routine procedure.  As it is, it is obviously impossible for me to acquire a fresh passport, from Consular authorities in New York, until you have returned my old one.  The money for my ocean fare has not yet been accumulated by my husband from his pay, so that perhaps my enquiries re my passport may seem premature; but meanwhile I am naturally anxious to have it returned and to be assured that everything is in order and my name on the waiting list for a passage, in readiness for the time when the money for my fare has been accumulated and fully deposited by my husband.”

Something like that.  But meanwhile of course I’m very worried re your immediate situation, – re Jig, allotment, Pavla’s health and all.  Am eagerly awaiting your next letters.

Much love, and sympathy in its troubles to the family, and dearest love my own dear to you, from

Your own
Dickie1

Evelyn’s pet name for Jack

* * * * *

To Evelyn Scott

26 Belsize Crescent
November 27, 1943

Dearest Love,

Just got your letter dated Oct 20th, written when you were sending the cable re your allotment money.  I do hope you have this allotment money now, – and also that you duly received the cable I sent, answering yours.  My previous cable, sent on September 21st, I know you did not get, and I do hope you got the other.

I’m so glad you heard at last from Brownlow, and that Martin is to pursue the matter, – and that, apparently, your passport is being returned to you OK via the British Consul.  A few days ago I sent you a suggested rough draft for further letter asking for passport, – but by the time you get this draft you will—presumably, and it is to be hoped—have got the passport itself; and that, as soon as the passage-money has been accumulated and credited you should, at any time after that, get notice of your passage darling.

This may reach you by, or about, Christmas—and carries, anyhow, all my love and blessings for that and for the new year.

Much love, as always, to the family, and all dearest love my own to you from
Ever yours Dickie

* * * * *

One issue which undoubtedly made it more difficult for Evelyn’s passage to be approved was uncertainties regarding her citizenship, when in fact she had always maintained her American citizenship and held American passports.  The authorities appear to have assumed that, as the wife of a British officer, Evelyn would also be British.  This confusion led to  further misunderstanding and delays until it was eventually clarified.

* * * * *

To Evelyn Scott

Department of State
Washington DC

December 10, 1943

My dear Mrs Metcalfe:

The Department has received your letter of November 18, 1943, stating that you have a British passport and requesting to be advised whether you should obtain an exit permit to leave the United States.  Since you are an American citizen, you could not obtain an alien’s permit to leave this country and an American passport can not be issued to you at this time for your trip to England.  However, the Department will arrange to waive the customary permit to leave the United States, which in your case would be an American passport, if the appropriate British authorities should request that such arrangement be made and will assure the department that they have arranged reservations for your travel.  In that event, the Department should be advised of the exact date of your contemplated departure from this country, the port of departure and the means of transportation which you will use.

Sincerely yours.
R B Shipley
Chief, Passport Division

* * * * *

To Evelyn Scott

26 Belsize Crescent
December 12, 1943

Darling Love,

No further letter from you recently (your last to be received was dated Oct 29th) and I’m hoping to hear again soon as your most recent news to reach me is now some six weeks old.

Anyhow, I’m so glad to know, by the last letters I did receive, that the issue of your allotment money had started, and also that you expected soon to have your passport returned.  Another couple of months should see the passage-money duly accumulated.

Well, darling, this is just an interim scribble.  Love as always to family, and all dearest love to you from
Yours, Dickie

* * * * *

To Evelyn Scott

British Consulate-General
25 Broadway, New York

December 16, 1943

Dear Madam

I write to acknowledge receipt of your letter of 15th December.

I regret that it has never appeared from the preceding correspondence that you possess Dual Nationality having been born in the United States.  This is of course apparent from your recent passport application, and I regret that the fact has been hitherto overlooked.

As a dual national, the form of application for an exit permit which you obtained from the United States Immigration authorities is inappropriate, and I think that when you applied for the form the United States Immigration authorities must likewise have been unaware that you possessed United States citizenship.  In order to comply with the requirements set out in Mr Shipley’s letter to you of 10th December, which is returned herewith it will be necessary for the British Embassy to apply to the State Department for a waiver of American exit permit facilities.  Will you therefore kindly complete in duplicate and return to me the enclosed forms, and I will ask the Embassy to approach the State Department in the usual way.  You cannot of course give the exact date of your contemplated departure from this country, nor can you state with certainty from which port you will leave.  You should consult the British Ministry of War Transport, 25 Broadway, on these points, and give such information as they will advise.

It will be necessary for you to undertake to do war work on arrival in the United Kingdom if called upon to do so, and I shall be glad if you will express your willingness to do so in writing when returning the forms to me.

Yours very truly,
A J S Pullen

 * * * * *

To Evelyn Scott

26 Belsize Crescent
December 18, 1943

Darling Love,

No fresh letter from you, and the last one I received, written in October, is now seven weeks old.  So I’m hoping to hear quite soon.

All well with me, and nothing fresh to report.  I hope your allotments are now coming regularly and that you have your passport back OK.  And by now, anyhow, you know about Jig.—I shall eagerly wait for news about that and do hope your anxieties on that score will be over,–for the time being anyhow.

All love and good wishes for New Year to the family,–and all dearest love to you, from
Your own Dickie

* * * * *

To John Metcalfe

[December 30, 1943]

NITE LETTER

SQ/LDR W J METCALFE
GARDEN FLAT 26 BELSIZE CRESCENT HAMPSTEAD LONDON NW3

RE YOUR WIFE EVELYN STATE DEPARTMENT WASHINGTON WILL WAIVE EXIT PERMIT ON RECEIPT OF WRITTEN ASSURANCE THAT PASSAGE APPROVED ETARRANGED BRITISH VICECONSUL HERE IGNORES RAF ARRANGEMENT SUGGEST YOU WRITE HIM MR PULLAN 25 BROADWAY NYC ALSO SECURE WRITTEN ASSURANCE EVELYNS CORRESPONDENCE WITH OTTAWA UNFRUITFUL

CREIGHTON SCOTT (BLUE NEWS RM 276)

* * * * *

To Evelyn Scott

26 Belsize Crescent
December 31, 1943

Darling Love,

I have just got Jig’s cable, – which was ‘phoned over to me when I got home, – I having been out when the man called.

I am very worried and concerned, – because I cannot understand the cable.  It is, in a way, good news that the State Dept will waive exit permit—but how are you going to pay your ocean-fare?  I cannot of course send money out of the country in the ordinary way, – and the only way I can do it is by paying it in at this end to Air Ministry as I am doing.  The Air Ministry here then advises Ottawa (UKALM) when my payments are complete.  That is, no actual money is sent across the ocean, but the adjustment is made on paper as between London and Ottawa.  Ottawa then pays the Shipping Co, – and allocates a berth etc.

Secondly, unless you adhere to the repatriation scheme there would probably be trouble in getting your married allowances when you do arrive here.  Though this could be risked perhaps.  The point of view would be, perhaps, that though here in body you were not here at all officially.  Which, considering all the sweat and worry you’ve had in trying to get the officials to follow their own directions would be exasperating indeed.

Thirdly, – I can’t understand about the “assurances” Jig mentions.  Supposing you did scrap the repatriation scheme and raised the passage-money some other way, how could I, over here, give any credible assurances that your passage had been “approved”?  I am only longing for the time when it will have been “approved and arranged”—but you would hear that good news before I did.  And similarly with the assurance about correspondence with Ottawa having been “unfruitful”.  The only way I could assure Washington of that would be by quoting from your own letters to me, – i.e. second-hand, instead of first-hand, evidence.

I shall do my damnedest of course in any way in which I can possibly help but (a) I don’t see how you are going to raise the passage money, – and (b) the assurances, as I see it, could only come from your end.

As I told you, your passage-money will be ready at my end by early March.  The Air Ministry will then have it all and will so advise UKALM at Ottawa.

All OK here except that I’m lonely and wishing you were with me.  This geographical separation business, (though I’m sure it won’t be too protracted)—was what I always bothered about, you remember, in 1936 etc, – though people thought I was “just exaggerating”.

But cheer up beloved, – I’m sure it won’t be more than a few months now.  Blessings for New Year and for your birthday.  Love as always to family, and dearest love to you from your Dickie.

* * * * *

To Evelyn Scott

26 Belsize Crescent
January 9, 1943 [sic]

Darling Love,

I hope my recent letters won’t take too long to reach you, for, till they do, the cable I sent in answer to yours can’t be much help!  A few days ago I sent you a copy of my letter to Mr Pullen which sets out the position (in my present state of knowledge) fairly clearly I think.  To be sure you get it, I shall be sending you another copy later.

But until Ottawa has been informed that all your passage-money has been paid in on this side by me, we cannot expect any action from them.  When it has been paid in they will have to act, – if only to get their books straight so to speak, and if there is any delay we shall then be in a position to importune.  This (the completed paying-in on this side) will be by early March.

I’m so sorry.  You are unable to get on with your own work at present darling.  Never mind, – once you get over here I’m sure you’ll be able to , – so roll on the time!  Must also postpone your birthday present till then.  I shall be thinking of you on the seventeenth.

Love, as always, to the family, – and all truest love and blessings to you.

Your own Dickie

* * * * *

To Evelyn Scott

Department of National Defence
Air Service
Ottawa, Canada

January 14, 1944

Dear Mrs Metcalfe:

With reference to your letter of December 30th.  It is regretted there is no action this Headquarters can take on your behalf in view of your residence in the United States.  However, it is advised that the Secretary of the RAF Families Welfare Committee, Ottawa, who has received a similar letter from you mentioned above, is replying, instructing you as to the necessary action you will have to take in connection with passage arrangements.

Very truly yours,
J B Thorpe for J A Sully
Air Vice-Marshall for Chief of the Air Staff

* * * * *

To Evelyn Scott

United Kingdom Air Liaison Mission
Lisgar Building Ottawa

January 14, 1944

Dear Mrs Metcalfe,

With reference to your letter of the 4th inst addressed to Mr Fayers and which has been passed to me for reply, the position as far as your passage to the United Kingdom is briefly as follows.

Inasmuch as you are residing in the USA, no steps can be taken by any of the authorities in Canada to arrange for your passage and in the circumstances, therefore, all negotiations will have to made by you with the RAF Delegation, Washington.  This Mission has, however, agreed to receive payment of the cost of passage from your husband in due course and when this has been received the RAF Delegation will be advised accordingly.

I would suggest, therefore, that you communicate with the RAF Delegation, Washington, in connection with obtaining the desired UK Exit Permit that you require and complete all other necessary details for your sea transportation to enable you to join your husband in due course.

Yours very truly,
N Walden Secretary
RAF Families’ Welfare Committee

* * * * *

To Evelyn Scott

26 Belsize Crescent
January 23, 1944

Darling Love,

I received your registered letter re Mr Pullen etc OK, and, also, yesterday, two more from you, – but they were undated, and the postmarks undecipherable as they almost always are.  Anyhow, I was so gad to hear you were feeling cheerier generally and had got more of my letters all right.  I hope you will get the letters I wrote to you after I had cabled you on or about Jan 1st.  I have, to date, sent you two copies of the letter I wrote to Mr Pullen.  But do remember darling to date your letters or I can’t sort things out.  Not so long now for early March when my payments will be completed.  Hurrah!  If there is undue delay after that I can begin to agitate at my end.

Much love to family, – and all dearest love and lookings-forward to you.

Your own Dickie

* * * * *

To Evelyn Scott

Royal Canadian Air Force
Ottawa, Ontario

February 4, 1944

Dear Mrs Metcalfe:

With reference to your letter of January 20, which has been referred to the Secretary, RAF Families Welfare Committee for action.

Mr Walden, of the United Kingdom Air Liaison Mission, has now advised that he replied to you direct in regard to your passage arrangements to the United Kingdom.

As previously advised you, there is no action this Headquarters can take in your behalf, in view of the fact you are resident in the United States.

Yours very truly,
J B Thorpe for J A Sully
Air Vice-Marshall for Chief of the Air Staff

* * * * *

To Evelyn Scott

United Kingdom Air Liaison Mission
Lisgar Building Ottawa

February 4, 1944

Dear Madam,

With reference to your letter of the 18th of January last, I have been in communication with Mr Pullen at the British-Consulate General at New York and he informs me that, as he has now received from you the completed Application Forms for Passage to the United Kingdom, he is now taking steps to obtain the necessary waiver for you to leave America from the US State Department.

Therefore, as soon as advice is received from the Air Ministry that the necessary deductions have been made from your husband’s pay towards the cost of your sea transportation (a signal in this connection has been sent to the Air Ministry to ascertain the present position) steps will be taken by the authorities in the United States to complete necessary arrangements for your passage.

Yours very truly
N Walden,
Secretary RAF Families’ Welfare Committee

* * * * *

To Evelyn Scott

26 Belsize Crescent
February 14, 1944

Darling Love,

No fresh news from my end, – save that I’m well and OK—and I hope you are at least fair-to-middling at your end.  The payments for your passage will be completed early March, – only a few weeks now.  I sent you copy of a letter I wrote to Dawson.

I shall be glad when you’re over here darling, as I know you will be.  Let me know if you hear from Pullen, to whom I wrote on Dec 31st, and sent you carbon.

Hope you manage to keep well and don’t catch colds.  Save for the one nasty cold in November that I told you about, I’ve kept very well, with plenty to eat.

Much love to family as always, and all dearest love to you, from
Your own Dickie

* * * * *

To John Metcalfe

British Consulate-General
25 Broadway
New York

February 25, 1944

Dear Sir,

I write to acknowledge the receipt of your letter of 31st December. The position concerning your wife’s passage is as follows:

I have now obtained from her application forms for priority on Eastbound Atlantic Passage, which are required of all passengers proceeding to the United Kingdom.

Your wife, as a dual national, has to obtain, in lieu of the United States exit permit given to aliens departing from the United States, a “waiver” of American passport formalities which amounts in effect to an exit permit.  She has made application for this, and her application has been supported in the usual way by a letter from the British Embassy to the State Department.

I am waiting to hear either from the RAF Delegation or from your wife herself that the arrangements for payment of her passage which you describe have been completed.

I am today advising your wife that when she hears that arrangements for the payment of her passage are complete, she should so inform the British Ministry of War Transport in New York, who will in due course inform her when a passage has been obtained for her.

Apart from that financial arrangements for the payment of her passage, the obtaining of her passage and her waiver is a routine procedure which is normally followed by many hundreds of applicants similar to herself and I foresee no reason for her to have any worries about the matter.

A J S Pullen
HBM Vice-Consul For HBM Consul-General

* * * * *

To Evelyn Scott

26 Belsize Crescent
March 3, 1944

Darling Love,

All OK with me, and, as I told you in my last two letters, the payments were completed earlier than I imagined towards the end of last month, – so new it shouldn’t be too long before you are advised by Ottawa.  It may, however, be a month or more yet, so meanwhile we must just be patient.

Supposing my present household arrangements to be the same on your arrival you may have to put up with cramped quarters for a short time, as I must give a month’s notice to tenants to vacate their rooms, – and of course I shall probably not know you are here till you actually are here.  But I hope you won’t mind as it will only be for a comparatively short time.

Much love as always to the family, – and all my dearest love to you, from
Yr own Dickie

PS—shall think of you on our anniversary, – the seventeenth March!

* * * * *

To Evelyn Scott

British Ministry of War Transport
Passenger Division
25 Broadway New York 4, NY

March 4, 1944

Dear Mrs Metcalfe:

Many thanks for your communication of March 2nd, from which we are pleased to note that everything is in order as far as the waiver of the United States exit permit requirements are concerned and that you have made preliminary arrangements with respect to the censorship of your papers.

As soon as we hear from you that payment of the passage money has been completed we shall be glad to make arrangements for passage in line with your priority, as well as the date of registration which is entered as of August 13th, 1943.

Yours very truly
G W Rehman
For the Representative in the USA

* * * * *

To Evelyn Scott

British Consulate-General
25 Broadway, New York

March 4, 1944

Dear Madam

I write to acknowledge the receipt of your letter of 2nd March, in which you inform me that your “waiver” of American exit permit formalities has been granted. I note the arrangement you have made with the Customs about your parcels and papers.

You will, I presume, as I suggested to you, inform the British Ministry of War Transport, Passenger Division, 25 Broadway, when the arrangements for payment of your passage have been completed.

Yours very truly
P B Pullen
HBM Vice-Consul For HBM Consul-General

* * * * *

To Evelyn Scott

Royal Canadian Air Force
Ottawa, Ontario

March 8, 1944

Dear Mrs Metcalfe:

With reference to your letter of February 24th.  As previously advised you, it is regretted that in view of your residence in the United States, there is no action this Headquarters can take in your behalf.  Had you been resident in Canada, any assistance you required in this connection with documentation, would be responsibility of this Headquarters, also finalizing of your passage arrangements.

Yours very truly,
J B Thorpe for J A Sully
Air Vice-Marshall for Chief of the Air Staff

* * * * *

To Evelyn Scott

26 Belsize Crescent
March 10, 1944

Darling Love,

No fresh news here, – save to repeat that the payments are completed, so that you should be hearing before too long from Ottawa.  Loud cheers!  Also, I have a cold, – though the worst is over and I’m now on the mend.  Hope you got over yours all right.

Whenever you come, if possible a few packets of “Valet” auto-strop razor-blades would be much much appreciated.  Also some packets of pipe-cleaners.

I don’t suppose I shall have any advance intimation of when you are coming, so, as I told you, you will have rather cramped quarters at first lovely till tenants have left after their one month’s notice.

Have been and still am, very busy, but am usually home in the evenings by about 6.15 or 6.30.  I get up, usually, soon after 6.

No more just now, lovely, but will write again very soon.  Much love as always to the family and all dearest love to you, from

Ever your own Dickie

* * * * *

To Evelyn Scott

British Ministry of War Transport
PASSENGER DIVISION
Representative in the USA
25 Broadway, New York

March 21, 1944

Dear Mrs Metcalfe:

We have not had any further word from you since your letter of March 4th and wonder if you have heard as yet whether payment of your passage money has been completed.

As advised you, we would appreciate this information as soon as you receive it since you mentioned to us you would not be prepared until then and we are not of course taking any action.

We therefore await to hear further from you so we may know how best to proceed in your case.

Yours very truly
G W Rehman
For the Representative in the USA

* * * * *

To Evelyn Scott

March 25, 1944

EVELYN METCALFE CARE SCOTT PO BOX 521 TAPPAN NY USA

PAYMENTS WERE COMPLETED MIDDLE OF LAST MONTH FEBRUARY DOING ALL POSSIBLE TO HASTEN ARRANGEMENTS LOVE JACK METCALFE.

* * * * *

To Evelyn Scott

United Kingdom Air Liaison Mission
Lisgar Building Ottawa

March 29, 1944

Dear Madam,

With reference to your letter of the 9th inst, and as you are no doubt already aware, the necessary deposit towards the cost of your sea transportation to the United Kingdom has now been made by your husband and the RAF Delegation, Washington, have been notified accordingly.

Yours very truly
N Walden
Secretary RAF Families’ Welfare Committee

* * * * *

To Creighton and Paula Scott

Kansas City, Missouri
[March 31, 1944]

Dear Jig and Paula—

I am having a wonderful visit [to my son], entertained with daily luncheons, dinners, parties, theatre, etc, but I am so worried about you blessed children that I can hardly sleep nights.  Having your permission to do so, I’ve talked the situation over with Paul a couple of times.  His advice is “Throw her out on her ass, no matter what happens.  Jig and Paula, and no one else on earth, can do anything for her, and she will kill both of them if something drastic is not done.”

What I’m afraid of is that you’ll both get your health permanently, or at least seriously, injured, and then what will become of you, and those marvellous babies?  I don’t know exactly how to advise.  Would it be possible to get her to NY and then say, “You sign the proper papers, and keep your mouth shut while you’re doing it, or you’re not going to back to Tappan, even for one night.”

You see the situation is not a human one at all.  It’s a medical situation entirely.  Any trick, lie, deceit or scheme is not only justifiable but perfectly honourable in dealing with sick minds, as any physician will assure you.  So don’t even try to regard it according to moral obligation that would apply in sanity.  Get rid of her by hook or crook, with no compensations.  The complete and unanswerable reply to anything she may ever say afterwards is “You’re crazy”.

God bless you all four,
Love, Dad

* * * * *

To Evelyn Scott

26 Belsize Crescent
April 22, 1944

Darling Love,

I was so glad to get your letter dated March 28th, and to know your laryngitis was better.

Well, beloved, I do hope that you won’t have too long to wait now, and don’t think you will.  As I told you in my last letter, Dawson got my letters all right and replied to me saying that he had acted at once.  So whenever I get the official information (which won’t, I expect, give me more than a very short advance working) I shall give notice to the tenants I spoke of so as to free more room, though even so, as I must give them a month’s notice, there will pretty certainly be a period of overlap during which we shall be very cramped for space, – also re sharing kitchen etc.  The only alternative would be, of course, getting a room temporarily in a hotel or boarding-house, but unfortunately I shall be too stoney-broke for that, – and anyhow it’s very difficult to find anywhere now.

Much love to family as always, – and, again, all good luck and congrats to Jig!  All dearest love to you from ever your own

Dickie

* * * * *

To Evelyn Scott

British Ministry of War Transport
Passenger Division
25 Broadway, New York 4, NY

April 24, 1944

Dear Mrs Metcalfe:

We wish to acknowledge with thanks your letter of April 21st, together with a copy of the communication addressed to Mr Pullen of the same day.

It is noted that the necessary payments have been completed and you are now prepared to leave as soon as we are able to make you an offer.

We have made necessary note accordingly and will see you are advised immediately the opportunity is available which we hope will be soon.

Yours very truly
G W Rehman
For the Representative in the USA

* * * * *

To Creighton Scott

Pine Bluff1, North Carolina
Sunday [May 21, 1944]

My beloved Son—

Your letter of the eighteenth only reached me last night and was a shock2.

However, I trust your judgment completely in the matter, and am sure you have done what was the wisest thing in view of the circumstances, which I know I at this distance cannot judge. I’m sure you’ll get something else promptly, for the demand for men with skills is terrific and, once dug into a new place and making yourself invaluable during the duration, you will be safe again.

At least you are not starting out job hunting as an unskilled or inexperienced man.  You have a profession and can take with you real proof that you know it and have a real cash value to begin with, and are not someone who will have to be taught your job.  I’m certain that there will be places ready to snap up your services, and I believe you will find something that will not include such murderous working hours, too.

I’m going to try not to worry too much over your situation, but I wish you’d keep me informed of all developments.  I do wish I knew what to do to help out, but I know no one who would be of use right now.  I shall think of you and Paula all the time, and pray with all my might.

Tell Paula and the babies that I love you all four and carry you all four in my heart.  One thing I hope comes out of this, and that is that ES realizes that you can’t keep her any longer, with you jobless.  I’d underline that if I were you.

I’m risking sending this to Tappan, and hope no one snoops into it, before it reaches you.

My devoted love and a kiss and hug for each of you, my blessed children.
God bless you,
Love, Dad

1 This is the first indication that Cyril was thinking of moving to North Carolina. His sixth wife Louise owned a property in the town of Pine Bluff.
Jigg had lost his job with the Blue Network.

* * * * *

To Paula Scott

Pine Bluff, North Carolina
Monday [May 1945]

Darling Paula—

Thanks for your lovely letter of Saturday.  I didn’t recognize the handwriting on the envelope until I turned it over!  “All good things are God’s things” is more than an epigram.  It’s an unfolding [illeg]-truth, and marvellous.

Boy, but I hope that ES will get away soon, not only for the sake of my poor children and grandchildren, but for my own sake, for I’m hungry to see you all.  It seems years since I was out to Tappan.  And I’ve never yet seen your new home and the babies are growing up month by month—with me missing it all.  I could almost bawl myself over it.  I didn’t mean that July or August will be the only times I would come up from Pine Bluff.  I meant that I’d probably camp on you each summer while it’s hottest down here!  I miss you all as much as you can possibly miss me.

Yes, Jig is a marvellous man and Christian.  I can admire his beautiful spirit.  But I wasted 14 years of Christian kindness on ES and, I’m sorry to say, have no more for her.  I suppose I should have, but it’s now all for those who are not Pharisees and Sadducees.  I can’t cast any more pearls before her.  For long years I strove to be Christ-like and forgiving on this matter, but now, I grieve to say, I’m done.  The children of God should not suffer too unbearably at the hands of the children of Beelzebub. Yes, he and I are lucky to have you for wife and daughter.

God bless you all four,
Love, Dad

* * * * *

To Evelyn Scott

[June 1944]

MRS METCALFE CARE MR CREIGHTON SCOTT PO BOX 521 TAPPAN NY

CAN YOU REPORT NEW YORK, JUNE 14TH STOP.  REPLY IMMEDIATELY.  IF ACCEPTED, DETAILS WILL FOLLOW.  M H KING

* * * * *

To Paula Scott

[Pine Bluff, North Carolina]
June 2, 1944

Dearest Pavli—

I’m so immensely relieved and thankful that, after a short eternity, Jig’s and yours and my grandbabies’ home is to be freed of evil.

I do hope that neither of you will tolerate any last-minute alibis or shilly-shallying.  This is the one opportunity to get rid of something that would, if she succeeds in staying on, murder your souls and, in time, the souls of your children.  I hope you will say to her, if she balks in the  least, “We have put up with you so far, because you had no place to go.  Now you have a place to go, and our responsibility is over.  Sail or not, just as you please, but you leave our house for good on sailing day, and that is final.”  No half-way measures are either just, right or kind in this sort of a crisis.  Feel as sorry for her as you wish, but feel sorrier for each other, and for your children.  Nothing could be more fatal for the future than to allow her to put over a last-minute E Scottism on you and yours.  Be as firm as granite.

God bless you both, and the babies.  Try to have a little peace as soon as the evil genie departs.

I’ll write again soon.  I love you all four and God bless you all four.  Kiss Jig and the lovely grandbabies for me.

God bless you,
Love, Dad

* * * * *

To M H King, Royal Air Force Delegation

June 7th 1944

Dear Miss King,

I am enclosing with this the receipt you have sent which acknowledges that I have the Embarkation Order, and the other receipt detached from the advice on the disposition of baggage which accompanied the Order.

My ultimate address in the United Kingdom is the home of my husband and myself, where I can always be reached care Squadron Leader William John Metcalfe, 74992, RAF, Garden Flat, 26 Belsize Crescent, Hampstead, London NW3, ENGLAND.

I appreciate the attention you have given to securing my passage and I am sure you have done as well as could be expected under the circumstances.  I don’t object strongly to “dormitory” sleeping, and in respect to my baggage the only problems presented are my typewriter, essential to my future livelihood as a novelist (my profession during some twenty-five years, although circumstantially suspended since I have been in the States awaiting my passage), and the secure disposition of the manuscripts of novels and poems by myself and my husband (on which both of us will work in England) which were deposited with the censor in New York on March 6th, to be returned to me at the pier when I depart, with twenty-two contracts for books by myself previously published in the UK and the States, some shorter mss and other matters more personal.  But I assume some safe place for these will be found aboard ship although I am to be allowed only the one piece in the “dormitory”, as all these mss and documents are an essential of future livelihood and my husband, on his repatriation from Canada, took home mss and books by himself without difficulty or question,.

Again my thanks to you, and I will report at the hour and place designated with due punctuality.

Yours sincerely,

* * * * *

To Creighton and Paula Scott

[Red Hook, New York]
[June 14, 1944]

My Beloved Children—

I received both your letters in today’s mail and, if you will let me, am answering them together and, laws Deo, can send them to your home address.  For this is June 14th, flag day, because today I have been thinking of you all day.  At last you are freed of the most spiritually-destructive and evil-loving being I have ever known personally.  Until Jig’s birth she was not that way, so he, thank God, imbibed no poison through her veins.  He is not her child, any more than the marred ground is parent of the seed planted in it.  He is my son, alone, and of my seed, bone of my bone, a real Christian gentleman like my father and grandfather and great grandfather and our lone line of Christian gentlemen that I have traced back to Pauling Creighton Wellman who died in Palestine in 1251 fighting to free the sepulchre of Our Lord Jesus Christ from those who hated and profaned it.  So you see, Paula, that I agree with you when you write in the highest terms possible in words, of your husband of whom I am as proud as you.  He owes nothing, and derives nothing in body, mind or soul, from Elsie Dunn or any of her ilk, for she, when caught in the grasp of God’s will and delivered of my child, rebelled at it, at me, at God Himself.  For she could not conceive of anything or any event greater than herself.  All her mind (which was once good, even brilliant), her heart, her spirit, her whole life, was henceforth bent to master or destroy what had shown her she was not omnipotent, me, my son, even God who made us.  I had 14 years of it, part of it as bad as what you two blessed children have just been through.  So my heart aches for you.  But now you know that I, whom you both know to be kind, loving, gentle and even tender in thought an emotion, never overstated what she has become through not loving good.  Until he was born she wanted my son, because thought he, and through him I, would be hers to violate.  When he and I escaped her completely (for he took from her not one iota of her nature in any respect) her love turned to hate, and I need say no more; for you have seen it daily for nearly a year—extending from  me to everybody and everything beyond her power to rule.  she has forfeited every tie.  You, and your children, are not in any jot or tittle related to her.  I am your father and your mother both.  What God once joined together God can put asunder.  Actum est, finis est.  Amen.

God bless you all four,
Dad

* * * * *

The following excerpt is from Evelyn’s lengthy document entitled “Précis of events indicative of libel”.  It was written in the third person in 1951 in support of what she then saw as  libelous persecution and adds further detail to the wait in Tappan and her return to England.

MVS rangitiki
RMS Rangitiki [http://www.rms-rangitiki.com]
Evelyn Scott when, in 1944, she was finally assured she would be allowed to sail for Britain, sat for three months and a half by packed baggage, her mss in the hands of the censors, her writing ended as far as Tappan was concerned; her fixity indoors or near her habitation essential, she supposed, in view of the warning she had had that she would be permitted just twenty-four hours to move in, and the combined total lack of any baggage transport whatever in Tappan, and of her son’s heart murmur which had re-alarmed her about him so that she was resolved not to allow him to carry any of her baggage for her  She had, in fact, about three days, and satisfactorily contrived to get her typewriter and various pieces of small luggage to town over the mile-and-a-half of steep hillside and flat road newly strewn with uncrushed stones, between her and the bus-stop.  And when she went aboard the vessel, which was a New Zealand troop-ship, afterward sunk and since either retrieved or the name re-used, she took into her quarters, on a porter’s advice, her typewriter and an suitcase of mss beside the single “dressing case” which was really a suitcase for clothing and which was the one piece of luggage which was “according to Hoyle”.
However—again in view of her Passport difficulties and of subsequent libel—she asks again today whether the Canadians, the British, or the Americans had it in for her in giving her dormitory space with airmen’s wives and small children, several decks down, where portholes were seldom opened and a large glaring electric bulb which lighted about a quarter of the space used by forty of all ages and was controlled by the steward so that she could not turn it out, burned fiercely a foot or two above her head most of every day and more than half of each night.

The Rangitike was not a very comfortable ship, the dormitory bunks were built high off the floor, and it was unwise to have put small children in beds from which they might have tumbled with serious results had there been any really heavy weather.  But after a tiff with the purser, who thought her “unreasonable” in wishing to store mss in his safe where “valuables” were kept, her typewriter was lashed to a rafter above her, and she made the best of her situation; though—AGAIN—she would like to know why it was that when the ship was full of officers wives who, as far as she could ascertain, did NOT “out-rank” her as Senior, she was not allowed as they were cabin-space on a passage for which she had already been waiting ten months since the first payment on it and four months since the payments were complete.

The Rangitike was in a large and very handsome convoy which was all divulged on the last day out of Liverpool, and which was probably bringing aid to France as the Allied landing was then recent; but even before Evelyn Scott went aboard her ship there had been an ado on the book about her waiver, which had been guaranteed her in a letter from Washington in late October 1943, and had been confirmed at the Customs’ House many weeks and possibly a month or two before she actually sailed.  It was said at the dock “not to be on record” and because she had to rely on the offices of a dock policeman to telephone the Custom House and verify what she had said, she had no opportunity—or thought she had none in the ensuing pother—to phone a promised goodbye to her son and daughter-in-law.  And when she was admitted to the slip at which the ship was moored, she discovered one of her parcels of mss returned by the Custom’s was handed to her un-sealed, as it should never have been.

In London, when met by John Metcalfe at the railway station, she was greeted by a fly-bomb, like a salute to their re-union, but most unpleasant.

* * * * *

 

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