No. 7925934. Sgt. Greenwood, R.T.
9th Battn. R.T.R.
Jessie Mine: On May 8th – that is V.E. day… I received a letter from my treasure – my personal treasure – and it is signed “always, Your Jess”. And yet, in spite of this declaration, I learn that you now have a lover that is not me. Needless to say, I feel jealous… but in a nice sort of way.
Fortunately for me, I was not entirely unprepared for this shattering news: In the first place, it is perfectly natural for a fellow to fall madly in love with a beautiful lady… especially when she is as kind as she is beautiful. And when a fellow knows he is loved by this same lady, he couldn’t stop himself loving her even if he wanted to… Not that he would want to:- after all, he is half me… and even if his love for you is only half that of mine… he loves you indeed… incurably so.
What are we going to do about it, Jess?.. I think you have the right idea… Don’t let him overdo it… but don’t don’t deny him plenty of love and cuddling my dear: there is little likelihood of him become a ‘mammy’s darling’ with your wise attention… And apart from Barry, there is your point of view:- his spontaneous response and obvious affection must provide you with much joy and happiness… There has not been much happiness in your life in recent years… so don’t deny yourself, now that our little fellow is paying a dividend so beautifully.
You ask whether I am still in that wealthy German’s home… and the answer is yes… And I am enjoying plenty of comfort, and rest… especially now that the war is over. We are continually doing little things to increase our comfort here… We now have a piano in the mess (‘imported’ via the Burgermeister), and every billet has a radio set. It has been my principal spare time job during the last week or two installing wireless sets, fixing aerials etc. And I seem to be often in demand for repairing defective lighting, or providing extra lamps in different billets. In the cellar of the mess here, Les Challinor has been doing some developing and printing of ‘photo films… and now we have a special light fixed up, with white and red lights, and an enlarging lantern made up of odds and ends. I hope to send you one or two snaps before long… printed in our lab-!!
Another little improvement is in the increased tidyness and cleanliness of our mess quarters – thanks to the services of a German ‘char-lady’ who spends every morning here (another importation via the Burgermeister!). Her engagement caused a bit of a joke. When the S.S.M. suggested having a char-lady, we naturally all agreed that it would be a good idea… and our interpreter, “Terry”, a Dutch lad… was instructed to inform the Burgermeister that the woman would be expected the following morning. But before he departed, I told him, half jokingly, to inform the Burgermeister that we required the ugliest and least attractive woman he could find… preferably one with spindly legs and knock-kneed… Terry took me literally and passed my ‘instruction’ over to the Burgermeister-!! Well… we now have our char-lady… and I think she is safe enough:- she is not really hideous… but any man would have to be more than super-concupiscent to contemplate any monkey work!
I have spent the last couple of hours in the dark-room in our cellar: Les and I have been tinkering and developing a couple of pictures we took during the afternoon with a camera which came into my… er… custody a couple of weeks ago. It was only an experiment, using commandeered Jerry plates and chemicals etc., but the pictures are at least recognisable: I will send one or two with this letter.
I think I told you in my last letter that I was attending a troop ‘dinner’ in my troop billet… We had the dinner alright… and it was quite a success, but I couldn’t manage all the ‘courses’. We started with soup… and then followed eggs on toast and chips (two eggs per man – “acquired” during the day!). I managed this lot alright… and thought I had done well to get through the dinner… but then, to my amazement, there appeared another ‘course’… roast and boiled potatoes, two roast pheasants, and two rabbits, and other vegetables… Crikey! – I had to cry off:- and retired with two or three cups of tea… with bags of sugar. I enquired about the deer which was supposed to be on the menu… and after a few sniggers and rude remarks, I discovered that it had gone rotten… Someone had sworn that venison had to be ‘high’ before being cooked… so they hung up the complete carcass in the cellar and left it. It had been killed at least a week before and must have been left too long. Anyhow ‘it stunk bloody awful’ yesterday… and was disposed of.
The pheasants and rabbits were shot locally by Dicky Hall and a few of the lads. They often go out into the woods, with commandeered shot guns etc. Dicky loves this shooting: he is always as happy as a schoolboy when he has a gun to play with… After the pheasants etc., there was lemonade (made with ‘commandeered’ lemons) and tea and ‘hooch’… plenty of the latter. By midnight, some of the lads were gloriously drunk, and the din was appalling… So much so, that some of the lads of the R.E’s billeted nearby, came round to investigate. They were yanked inside… and departed blind drunk hours later! But by this time, I was asleep… This morning, we were only one bloke short on parade, much to my surprise. He was still unconscious… but the others staggered out somehow.
Jess… Dicky Hall is going to England on a course in a few days time… and after the course, he is going home for his leave – and he has asked me whether it will be possible for him to speak to you on the ‘phone whilst he is at home. It is nice of him to think of my dear lady… I have given him Mr. Steele’s number, so you may be receiving a call from him… His course lasts about 10 days, so it will be at least a fortnight from now before you hear from him. He knows that you are often out, especially during this fine weather… so please don’t allow a possible and very hazy telephone call to interfere in any way with your movements.
It is bed-time now… so once again I bid you good-night… How lovely it will be, darling, when all future ‘good nights’ will be spoken to you… when you fall asleep in my arms – with your lovely head upon my shoulder.
Happy times lie ahead, Jessie Mine…
Happy times… with Jess… and Barry…
Always – I love you
P.S. Have just received a very kind letter from Mr. Cornelese. (Click here to see this letter.) He has received your letter… Will forward his when I have replied. T.