Letters of Martin Bell

Scope and Content

Letters of Martin Bell, 1939-45, mainly to Joan Broomfield (later Russell), who was one of his circle of friends at University College Southampton. The letters contain scathing comments on army life, but also reflect Bell's literary progress as he discusses books he has read and includes poems that he has written.

Administrative / Biographical History

Bell volunteered for the Royal Engineers in 1939, in order, so he claims, to avoid being called into the infantry. In fact his war service was spent in camp as a hospital orderly both in Britain and the Mediterranean and later as an instructor.

Access Information

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The poems included in these letters are discussed in Martin Bell: complete poems ed. Peter Porter (Newcastle, 1988).