Three Autograph Letter Signed (all 'Eric') from Sir Eric de la Rue, 3rd Baronet, one to his father and two to his sister Diana, written during the Second World War as a Captain in the Notts Yeomanry, Middle East Forces (Egypt and Benghazi).

Sir Eric de la Rue [Sir Eric Vincent de la Rue] (1906-1989), 3rd Baronet, son of Sir Evelyn Andros de la Rue (1879-1950) [Notts Sherwood Rangers Yeomanry; British Army, Middle East Forces]
Publication details: 
Letter to his father: 17 March [1944]; 'H.Q. 215 Town Mayor M.E.F.' Letters to his sister: 4 May [1944] and 4 October [1944]. Both addressed from the MEF.
SKU: 12535

All three are air mail letter cards. Each with 'Field Post Office' postmark and censor's stamp. The three in fair condition, lightly aged and creased. Letter One: To his father, 17 March [1944]. Addressed to 'My dear Father', with the envelope addressed to 'Sir E. de la Rue Bart. | The Sol | Cookham | Berkshire | England.' 1p, 4to, and 1p., 12mo. A light-hearted letter, in which he jokes about his father's inability to read the word 'Aviv' ('I suppose a series of "i"s and "v"s is rather difficult even if printed') and find the place on the map ('it is much larger than Bournemouth'). He also thanks him 'for all your work on investing my "large" fortune. If I stay out here much longer it really will be large! I dont spend all my pay anyhow so have got £100 here I think or something like it.' He hopes to return home that year: 'Five years out here is exactly five years too long.' He jokes that he will 'fly a neutral flag on the way back in case I get caught up in the second front or maybe the third front.' He explains that 'people of my age in what they call a combatant unit unless he is a Lt Col or above, must be getting very old! He 'carried an unused roll of bromo [lavatory paper] in my box for a long time & never used it. By chance it was put into use a month ago. I noticed each sheet was torn and buried at the bottom of it was a large piece of shrapnal! [sic] If that's where all the shrapnal goes I wont mind much!' He has sold his gun for ten pounds, 'on the strength of my belief I wont be here next winter. I sold it for what I gave for it £10 but I was told I was stupid as it was worth a lot more. I expect it was as one cannot get a gun in any place in the Middle East and it was in perfect condition - of course!' He ends by commenting on the quality of the food, and the 'stockings at £2 a pair'' he is sending his sister. Letter Two. To his sister, 4 May [1944]. Addressed (as is Letter Three) to 'My dear Diana', with the envelope addressed to Miss de la Rue, Rusper, Horsham, Sussex.' 3pp., 12mo. He begins 'I went into Cairo a week ago and bought you some food. We are not allowed to send more than 5 lbs and not more than 2 lbs of the same thing. So I sent you some jam, currants, and tea. I actually sent it to Mother so you may get it in 3 months time.' The 'heat is getting deplorable': 'You would have smiled this last week as I was told 1/2 an hour before, that I had to ride a motorbicycle in the desert for four days and nights. I had never been on one in my life and had half an hour to learn!' He 'only had one fall but got continuously stuck in the deep sand on the first day'. He tells her that she would have been 'awfully interested at times as we stood in a forest of trees. Tress were lying everywhere. They were exactly as they had fallen. The bark was the same colour as ordinary bark. You could see where all the catterpillars [sic] had burrowed in the wood and the rotten wood shone as if it were still wet. Some of the trees looked as if they had been choped [sic] down. They were all fosalized [sic] 3,000 years old! The extraordinary thing is they were still on the surface.' Towards the end he writes: 'I dont suppose it matters at all now telling you what you must have known before that last February year ago I was at Bengazi. It was far the best place to be so far as this regiment went, as in those days were were split up in Tobrook Crete and Cyprus as well.' They had 'a terribly comfortable mess': 'The Italian police in the town were charming, but the Australians I am afraid behaved very badly. It was always the soldiers with the big hats who the people did not like as they would say.' Letter Three: To his sister, 4 October [1944]. 3pp., 12mo. In pencil. He sees in the press that 'Bobby has got the D.S.O. How wonderful! [...] It was published in the papers alongside Hitler's speech to the Reich, and that seemed Bobbie's answer.' A great deal has been happening, but he can only say that 'the total show was magnificent'. 'Mother wishes Wavell back. I remember General Ritchie saying to me in Cairo he considered Wavell's effort one of the greatest of the war - to accomplish what he did with so little. [...] One must remember the Italians simply didn't try. When one Italian Colonel was asked why he surrendered he replied "because if I hadn't I might have been killed" [...] Winston Churchill has said this is the most favourable battle ground we can fight Germany on. He may be right. An enormous amount of Axis material lies at the bottom of the Mediterranean [...] When we were at Bengasi long ago was it a mistake to take away the troops and send them to Greece? It turned Yugoslavia for us and in turn turned the German army for over a month away from Russia'. He reports that 'A quite inconceivable sand storm has just blown up and everything is 6 inches deep in sand, nothing left standing and most things blown away! [...] I am still wondering if Bill Seely is a prisoner. I never hear from Lavender so I should not know. Bobby says John K<?> was killed taking prisoners. His sergeant major did not tell me that, but it may have been so. The Germans here not long ago came forward with their arms raised in surrender with Tommy guns strapped to their backs. I am glad our men were not taken in and they suffered considerably from their own rotten ways.' He returns to the subject of the trees - 'It makes one wonder what this country was like 50,000 years ago. Some of the trees are seventeen yards long.' He sends news of 'Bernard', 'Eddie', 'Harry Scott', and 'George', and ends with in the hope that he will see 'John' and his farm, as well as Bobby, in the future. Towards the end of his life de la Rue engaged in a notorious menage a trois with his wife Christine and David Liddell-Grainger.