No. 7925934. L/Sgt. Greenwood.
9th Battn. R.T.R.
Jess… I must tell you that I find letter writing very hard at present. There must be a psychological reason for this, but I don’t know what it is. It even hurts me to think of you and Barry. I have to try and concentrate on other things, otherwise I think I would go crazy. Fortunately I am always either doing something or trying to sleep, so I have little time for brooding. This little respite is the first I have had for some time.
This morning I was able to change my under clothing… and last night I slept without my trousers for the first time since leaving England! I haven’t yet managed to have a bath over here, but it is only a fortnight since I had one, so I am not yet alive with vermin.
I had a letter from Aunt Gert the other day. She seemed very concerned about my welfare, and for once said nothing about her own troubles. She said she intended writing and inviting you and Barry over to Blackburn – ! I don’t know how this will appeal to you but have a pretty good idea – ! Still, I think she is only trying to be kind to us. Maybe you will have heard from her by now.
I suppose you will be receiving enquiries about me from various sources… and I hope you will tell everyone that I cannot possibly write to them. I haven’t even the will to write now, let alone the time. I think all my mental resources are concentrating so much upon the struggle for existence… and it is a struggle… that I haven’t the mental energy for anything else. This may sound a lame sort of excuse, but I think it is the truth, dear Jess.
I fell asleep after writing the foregoing! That’s a fine husband for you, isn’t it! It is morning tea time now, and I must do my bit towards preparing the meal. We are still living on tinned food etc., but it is surprisingly good. In fact, I am sure we are now getting better food than when we relied upon our own cooks. The absence of bread is the biggest trouble. We have hard biscuits as a substitute, but they are rather unkind to the gums. Even so, even these are better than some we had on occasions in England.
We are now seeing many refugees. Pitiful collections of humanity wheeling their entire worldly goods in perambulators and wheel-barrows. the other evening about thirty of them spent a couple of hours with us… right in the front line. There were three or four tiny babies… and two very old women, the latter being wheeled along in wheel-barrows by elderly men. Contrary to the official orders, our lads literally plastered them with food. And the youngsters were given dozens of bars of chocolate. It was a perfect babel of excited French and broken English… and scraps of ‘Bosch’. One or two of the mothers were in tears when they finally parted…
And now, my darling, I will say au revoir. I will do my best to write to you again very soon… But whatever happens, please try not to be anxious. I am keeping my promise to you to take every possible precaution.
I love you, dear Jess