No. 7925934. Sgt. Greenwood, R.T.
9th Battn. R.T.R.
Jess Darling, I have done very little writing for the last few days… principally because of our continued movement and constant proximity to battle areas. Letter writing is out of the question under such conditions. And after two or three days and nights of activity… including night marches, suffocating heat, perpetual dust, lack of sleep… to say nothing of the strain of front line service and endless mortaring… one’s mind is hardly in a state to concentrate upon letters, in spite of natural anxiety to write to one’s sweetheart.
I am not moaning, my dear… but I feel conscious of apparent neglect and I want you to understand the situation. There are times when I suffer from an awful weariness… spiritual as well as physical… and that is how I have felt lately. Fortunately these phases don’t last long, otherwise I would probably go dotty.
Last night, I had a reasonable sleep, about five hours… and I don’t feel so bad this evening. Today too has been fairly restful. We have only travelled about eight miles, and have been resting most of the afternoon in a pleasant orchard. The weather has been delightful and I have had an hour or two just lounging. There seems to be no immediate signs of a quick move so am hoping for another night in bed… without my trousers and between blankets: a ‘luxury’ sleep, in fact.
You will know by the news that our movements here have been more rapid lately… and I would love to send you a detailed account of my own experiences, but that will have to follow later. However, I suppose I will not be infringing any orders by telling you that I have seen quite a number of civilians today. I could hardly believe my eyes this afternoon when I saw a few girls cycling past along the nearby road. Such scenes have been but a memory since I left England.
Later on, I saw a number of horse drawn carts driving westward… all of them literally laden with personal belongings… including such things as bedding, tables, pots and pans etc. I presume they were the vanguard of returning refugees. I can’t help wondering how they will feel when they reach their homes. If they are lucky, very lucky, they may find their villages and homes in reasonable condition, but I fear the majority of them will find nothing but wreckage… such is the price of liberation.
I am now in another orchard… equally as pleasant as the last, but a little nearer the enemy than I was yesterday. However… it is sufficiently peaceful for me to attempt a few more words. There is some disturbance every now and then, but it is only the artillery doing their stuff:- not the nerve-racking ‘crump’ of Jerry mortars.
This morning (about 6.0 am.) we passed through a very large village which was only partly in ruins. (Mezidon: Diary entry 19.8.44). And at many of the doorways and windows there were people… genuine civilians!.. waving to us. I suppose the noise of our long column awakened them. For the first time, I got the impression that these French people were genuinely glad to see us. There seemed to be little doubt of the sincerity of their greeting. I was very glad to see this because I have for some time felt that our presence here is resented. Perhaps our welcome here will be in direct proportion to the damage inflicted upon the people’s property.
I seem to have received a lot of letters from you lately, my darling… and I don’t know whether I have acknowledged any of them. I am very much behind with my writing and have now given up hope of catching up. But even though I omit to mention your letters, or fail to answer them, I believe you will understand the cause. One of these days I may again be sent back for a ‘rest’… and then I will be able to talk to you to my heart’s content for a day or two.
I had another letter from Wilf about three days ago, but have not written to him. Perhaps you will explain my present difficulties if you see him in the near future. One thing I must mention… the cigarette parcel. I have had no cigarettes from home yet, but I am told that it takes at least a month for these parcels to get through as there is an enormous number of them coming over. So the delay is not causing me any worry. Perhaps you will inform Toddy of the situation if you see him. Meanwhile, I am doing quite well for ciggys. We have a daily free issue.
Later – Monday 21.8.44
Sorry darling… No time for more now. Please forgive delay: Too much movement for writing since the above. Am quite well… and still unharmed. Weather has changed: Now living in mud – since yesterday morning.
I love you, dear
Always – Your Trevy.