No. 7925934. L/Sgt. Greenwood.
‘C’ Sqdn. 9th Battn. R.T.R.
Jess dear, Since our delightful little ‘phone conversation earlier on, I seem to have been busy. Firstly, I had to change my clothes: the Heavens literally opened today and most of us got soaked. My underclothing was wet… and that went into the wash-tub – all of it. As I was already wet, I had a cold bath in the billets, and then started on my “laundry”. I bought some Rinso yesterday (1 coupon) and this was a great help, particularly with the cold water. the dirt seemed to run out of the clothes… instead of having to be bashed out. And now I can enjoy a little of the satisfaction experienced by a housewife as she surveys a long line of washed clothes. The difference with me is that my wash is not on a line: it is suspended from an iron bannister over the stairway. Also, it is not a pleasing sight, being entirely of the army. In fact, I don’t think it has any aesthetic value at all. All the same, it is nice to feel that the damned job is done.
I have again heard the 9 O/c news at the canteen, and whilst there was nothing phenomenal, it was good to hear that we are still making progress. A set-back at this stage would be a dreadful thing to hear.
During the day, with its terrible weather, I have been thinking of the plight of our fellows ‘over there’. They have done such a splendid job… and what guts they have displayed!… And I wondered what would happen to them if the weather prevented our supplies and reinforcements from reaching them. They are so dependent upon assistance: what a terrible tragedy it would be if weather conditions betrayed them. I found myself wishing that the weather would clear up… (a few words erased by the censor’s crayon).
I am no hero, but I feel that every one of us owes an enormous debt to that gallant vanguard, and we must not fail them. In spite of the hazards, it is some compensation to me to know that I am destined to do a little bit – Is this strange talk, Jess? Perhaps it is… especially from one who is leaving behind everything that matters in life… But so it is… And then… there is that dreadful spiritual weariness:- it is becoming unendurable. But now there is at least a chance that we won’t have much longer to wait for our reunion. It cannot come a moment too soon for me.
Later. Sat. evening.
A much finer day today… thank goodness. I hope we have now said good-bye to rain for a long time.
I have little to tell you of my activities. I saw Dave’s wife this morning…and again this evening. She is remaining here as long as possible. D. himself seems very depressed: I suppose most of us are really, but he seems to show it more. I think he has had much worry in connection with the business at home.
I was glad to receive a letter today… the one you wrote on Wednesday. And the news of poppet is grand: it always makes me feel cheerful.
You tell me of Phyllis’s visit… and of reactions to “D” day. I quite agree that this must be a terrible time for those at home. I wonder how many millions of wives, mothers, sweethearts must be suffering untold anxiety at this moment. It must be a staggering figure… and all because… No! I can see myself running off into politics and that won’t help us just now. But I do believe that your predicament is worse than mine. I know that you are safe, and that both of you are well. And I can be pretty certain that you will remain so… no matter what happens on the war-front. You, however, are perpetually in the dark about me. There can be no respite from your anxiety. Even my letters may be days old when received. They can only bring little comfort at the most. Knowing this, it seems an impertinence for me to ask you not to worry.
What I hope you will do dear… and I think you can… is to pay no attention to sensational rumours. Always try to be optimistic: remember the cheerful things you have told me: never expect the worst. And don’t forget that the percentage of casualties is only minute, even in the worst fighting. Don’t forget also that, as far as is humanly possible, we are prepared for everything. And remember too that you would probably be ashamed of me if I were not doing at least a little in defence of the ideals which we hold so strongly.
It is literally true, Jess that this job has got to be done. In the broadest sense, it is for the ultimate benefit of mankind. But my immediate concern is for you and Barry. I could not face the future had I shirked the job. And you could not have tolerated a husband who had betrayed you. Fortunately for me, I can still enjoy the privilege of your tolerance, and, I hope, your respect. And so you see dear, we are very lucky in many ways. Most of our long ordeal is already over: we have now reached the last phase of being able to look forward to our final re-union… and that is a happy thought.
At the moment, I feel very re-assured about you. It is so good to know that you have that mystical belief. Keep it up, Jess dear… I firmly believe you will.
To refer again to your letter… I hardly think it is likely that D day was brought forward so as to precede De Gaulle’s arrival. but what seems probable is that his visit was arranged so as to ensure his absence until the invasion had actually started. I think it is becoming increasingly obvious that Churchill can’t stand the fellow. I wish however that the P.M. could find a better excuse for non-recognition of De Gaulle’s government.
I received a five-page letter from Dorothy today. Mostly family gossip. I was pleased to hear that Brian has won a scholarship… to Ardwick Central. I don’t think it is a particularly good school, but it may lead him to something better.
I am glad to hear that your mother is at last leaving Loughborough: glad for her sake. I don’t know how you will ultimately be affected, but I believe you too will be pleased to have her living nearer.
I think you will have your hands full whilst the boys (Jess’s two young brothers) are ‘lodging’ with you… but you will have some fun, I’m sure. You might tell them that I expect them to dig over the garden. You can also tell John that I have no objection to my wife having early morning tea in bed: in fact, this will be one of his duties. Stan can light the fire each day. Perhaps you can find them other jobs: one way of keeping them out of mischief: they will like helping you too.
Must leave you now dear as I want to write to Dorothy. I may write Marjorie as well. Tomorrow is a normal Sunday here: will have plenty of time for more writing.
Au revoir, my darling
P.S. Hope you will hear the broadcast of Sibs. 2nd Symphony on Monday. The 2nd movement is one of my favourites.