No. 7925934. Sgt. Greenwood, R.T.
9th Battn. R.T.R.
Jessie Mine: This has been a queer day: after many conflicting orders etc… and much rumour… here we are… where we were… Apart from this rather strained atmosphere, I have little to tell you: I have done nothing worth writing about… nor have I any of your letters to answer: I have had no post for two days, but expect there will be a couple of letters for me tomorrow.
Today has been cool again – and rather misty for the third successive day: these conditions are not so good for our airmen… unfortunately. But the news continues to be good… what little there is of it. The ‘black-out’ on news about our forward troops is very exasperating, but it is a good sign… and reminds me of the time of the ‘break through’ in Normandy. In fact, the present situation on this western front has a good deal of similarity with the Normandy campaign, don’t you think?
I didn’t get very far with my letter writing last evening… but I don’t expect any interruption this evening. There were three letters for me today, darling… and one of them was written on Wednesday – the day before yesterday! I don’t think I have ever received a letter so quickly over here.
I don’t know what to think about the news concerning John and Stan. (Jess’s two young brothers.) Having them with you for a fortnight seems rather a tall order. And yet, in spite of the possible further strain on your nervous system, I am glad you did not refuse to have them. They obviously enjoy visiting our house: I think they are happier with you than with anyone else, including your mum and dad. You treat them as human beings: you talk to them, not at them: from you, they are learning something of human tolerance and kindness. They like you, Jess… and I believe they respect you… so far as youngsters can respect anyone. Their presence in the house must be a continual strain upon you, and yet there are slight advantages, as you say. They can keep an eye on Barry for you… and perhaps do a few odd jobs. But on the balance, it is John and Stan who gain by the arrangement. They gain the priceless example of their sister: they have 14 days in a decent atmosphere… free from snarls and angry words: they are with you. I know you don’t begrudge them your hospitality… they need it – badly. There is someone else who needs it too, darling… but that is a different story.
Thank you for sending the parcel, Jess. You haven’t wasted much time, have you dear. It has not yet arrived, but it should be here in a day or two: parcels always take much longer than letters.
You pass several comments about the war situation – and the Rhine crossing etc. I can well imagine your excitement and your eagerness to hear all the news bulletins: I am just as greedy for news. Apropos the war, you have made an assumption which I am glad to say is incorrect. But whether it will remain incorrect I cannot say: I can only hope so… as I hope for the war to end: I think of little else just now. We are still without electric light here – and so we have no wireless either in our billets or in the sergeants’ mess. But we have excellent radio sets in the tanks – working from batteries… and we can receive all the B.B.C. programmes quite easily. So we adjourn to the tanks just before 9.00 pm each evening: the news is always good… and well worth the trouble of scrambling over the tanks in the dark… but I do wish we could learn more: these news black-outs are very provoking… even though they are a good sign.
I wonder whether you can appreciate the awful anxiety of being in the army under present circumstances: I’m pretty sure you can. The end is so near, Jess… And yet… the fighting continues: and that means the continued loss of valuable lives. It is just as easy to be killed in the last hour of the war as the first. This is a gloomy thing to say, I know… but it is one of those things which add to our torment… even though we do not speak about it. And then there is the additional anxiety of our immediate future as a unit… The strain of waiting… the uncertainty… it becomes almost intolerable. And yet, I am lucky… extremely lucky: my life could be so much worse over here at present.
It is nearly 9.00 o’clock now, Jess. I must leave you to go and hear the news. If my candle survives, will say a little more afterwards.
Still little news from 2nd Army… but progress seems excellent elsewhere.
Au revoir, my darling