The Seventh of December, by Garrick Jones
Even in wartime London can still be glamorous, but for Tommy and his handsome American a secret mission for a Royal Duke puts life, love, freedom and the future of the world in desperate danger…
As bombs rain down over London during the Blitz, Major Tommy Haupner negotiates the rubble-filled streets of Bloomsbury on his way to perform at a socialite party. The explosive event of the evening is not his virtuosic violin playing, but the ‘almost-blond’ American who not only insults him, but then steals his heart.
The Seventh of December follows a few months in the lives of two Intelligence agents in the early part of World War Two. Set against the backdrop of war-torn occupied Europe, Tommy and his American lover, Henry Reiter, forge a committed relationship that is intertwined with intrigues that threaten the integrity of the British Royal Family and the stability of a Nation at war.
Neither bombs nor bullets manage to break the bond that these men form in their struggle against Nazism and the powers of evil.
Garrick Jones studied at the NSW Conservatorium of Music. He sang as a Baritone with the International Youth Festival in the 1970s, and later performed with companies including Opera Rara, Kent Opera, and the English National Opera; went on to perform in many German Opera houses and was invited to sing Guglielmo in a special Royal Command performance in the royal palace in Bruxelles. In 1981 Garrick returned to Australia on the invitation of The Australian Opera (now Opera Australia). His career is critically acclaimed. https://victoriastateopera.wordpress.com/garrick-jones-baritone. After a thirty year career as a professional opera singer Garrick Jones took up a position as lecturer in music at the Central Queensland Conservatorium of Music in Australia. He has now turned his passion for history to good advantage in this stunning tale of love in wartime.
Garrick Jones: Why I wrote this story.
The driving force behind this story was my wish to dispel the common myth that life for gay men who lived during the Second World War was one of fear, persecution, and loneliness, and that they lurked in the shadows as fighting men.
Before the Americans entered into the war in December, 1941, entrapment and persecution of gay men was not a normal activity for the police forces in any of the Commonwealth countries. Men went about their business, being discreet about their personal lives, with no one caring much unless it happened either in a public place, or involved someone with a public reputation. In those days appearances were what counted.
During the Second World War, gay men, both at home and in service, went about their lives as they always had done, by forming private networks among other gay men. The general consensus was “behave with decorum, don’t get caught, and you’ll be alright”.
I also wanted to emphasise the point that gay men were just as heroic and capable soldiers as their heterosexual counterparts. Althought this is a fictional account, it’s based on primary sources and uses the less sensational mainstream literature that already exists.
The Standards of Physical Examination during Mobilization, War Department, Washington – March 15, 1942, has much to answer for; mainly because of its documented military rejection for service on the grounds of homosexuality – devised to be, by the standards of the time, and by hard line bigots, a psychopathology, alongside schizophrenia and other severe mental illnesses.
The far-off explosions seemed to stop just as we came to the end of the piece.
I felt embarrassed at the amount of enthusiasm and the loud applause of the gathered guests. Murmuring quiet and sincere thanks, I turned to acknowledge Thérèse, whose eyes were glistening with emotion, and then turned once more to thank the small gathering.
Straightening from my bow, I looked again towards the lone figure leaning on the back wall. His eyes were wide, an unlit cigarette dangling from the corner of his open mouth. There was something in his gaze. I could tell it was more than surprise or shock, even from where I stood; it was something else – something that made my stomach clench. He looked stunned, yet at the same time his eyes radiated some great, ferocious fire I neither recognised, nor in truth fully understood.
I slowly began to become aware of what it was about this man that had so disarmed me – I wanted him. I couldn’t figure it out – despite his rudeness and apparent bumptiousness, something inside me was telling me to ignore those things and see past them. However, that would mean getting to know him better; and I wasn’t sure I was quite up to that.