No. 7925934. Sgt. Greenwood, R.T.
9th Battn. R.T.R.
My Darling: If you were a man, writing to your sweetheart on her birthday, what would you say?.. The answer’s easy isn’t it… But suppose she were more than a sweetheart… suppose you were married to her, and were the father of her little son… and you worshipped her as no deity was ever worshipped… and you spent practically the whole of your time thinking and dreaming about her… about her kindness, her beauty, her courage, her splendid outlook on life… and about the happiness which is yours because of her… And suppose these were only a few of the things for which you were indebted to her… What would you say, Jess? Can you understand the magnitude of my problem? Can you understand darling, that it is not possible for me to say to you what is within my heart? You know I love you… I have told you so often… But do you know what my love for you means… what it means to me?.. Perhaps I had better not try to tell you because words are inadequate. I think it is sufficient for me to know that my entire life has been made better, more worth-while… and not the shoddy thing it might have been… because I know you, I love you, I respect you.
Sometimes I wonder how much longer I can stand the awful strain of our separation: the perpetual yearning which seems to gnaw tirelssly upon my heart. Oh Jess… I wonder whether you know how it hurts… But I believe you know… because you too have a similar problem… our lives in this respect, as in so many other ways, are running a parallel course. It is perhaps ironical that our love for each other should have caused us so much pain… but to me it is an exquisite pain… a constant reminder of you, dear, and of your love for me: without it, my life during our separation could not have been the same: it could only have been something inferior… perhaps worthless…
And so, dear Jess, in wishing you the customary good things on you birthday, I want you to know of my gratitude for all you have done for me. But the story isn’t finished yet: there is much ahead of us… love, happiness, children… and Jess… always Jess, my Jess.
I think it was appropriate that your letter enclosing Mr. Morgan’s should arrive on your birthday. It was a letter which made you happy… so it was a good letter. (Mr. M’s response to RTG’s letter extract, sent to him by Jess. See 20.11.44a). But did it make me happy? What should I say? First of all, it made my ears burn… and my cheeks blush. Now why should it do that? I think Mr. Morgan’s flattery is responsible: it was so unexpected, and apparently so genuine. I felt terribly embarrassed, dear. I think he has made me feel that I am receiving praise I am not entitled to… and I don’t like unearned praise. But it was nice to read… so nice… that my love for you is somehow revealed in what I have written. Your ‘presence’ is always here when I write… and if there is any truth in Mr. Morgan’s comments, then we both share the credit because I could never say a word if I were entirely alone… Perhaps you will meet Mr. M. some day: I think you will like him: he is a fine type. Tall and erect… serious without being surly… and highly intelligent. His job demands a high degree of brain power. His predecessor was Mr. Hasemore, who became general manager… I see that the latter will also have read my letters… God! It makes me sweat. Do you realise what you have done… you beautiful rascal? Hasemore is the general manager… God! Phew! He doesn’t even know me. I was introduced to him 20 years ago… as a skinny youth too nervous to talk… (…)
Before I forget, I must tell you this… you will be receiving from me another parcel before long (it may have arrived already). It is a much smaller parcel than the last one… and I would not like it to get lost in transit. So please tell me as soon as you receive it, and I will then tell you more about it.
Do you notice the date, Jessie Mine? It makes my spine shudder!!! (4th anniversary of RTG’s call-up.)
I couldn’t say more last evening as I was busy at the sergeant’s mess party: I can’t tell you much about it… because it is not worth writing about. But to give you an idea of how the evening was spent, imagine a normal sized sitting room. Into this, cram about 18 males and a dozen females: add fifty one quart bottles of beer, eight bottles of cognac (whisky), bottles of champagne, French wine, cherry brandy, advocaat… and a few dozen fancy cakes, and sandwiches. Well… I can’t remember the rest of the recipe, but that is no loss. I went to bed at eleven pm, but many of them carried on. Incidentally, I learned something about the costs of drinking over here, thanks to this ‘party’. Amongst the sergeants, non-drinkers subscribed 5 guilders, and drinkers 10 G. each (reckon a G. at about 2 shillings: one shilling and ten pence halfpenny to be exact)… This isn’t so bad really from our point of view… but it was totally inadequate for the bill. Fortunately, we obtained a few pounds from the sergeants’ mess fund. The drink was bought in Antwerp… so bear in mind that 175 Belg. francs equal £1. The cognac was 375 fr. per bottle: champagne 425… cherry brandy 350… wine about 250… and the beer about one shilling and six pence a bottle… From the foregoing, you will see that drink is even dearer here than in England.
Jess… I want to thank you for your warning about associating with the Germans. It may have been superfluous, as you suggest, but I appreciate your motive. Please don’t worry dear… I have no intentions of bothering with the Jerries: I would sooner seek friendship with rattlesnakes. Incidentally, today’s post has brought a letter from Haydn (RTG’s cousin). I wrote to him a few weeks ago and was pretty outspoken in my comments about the Germans: I think it is possible I wrote spitefully… knowing him to have been very pro-German at one time. Anyhow – he has given me some advice as to what I must say to a German fraulein. I will send his letter for your attention… in spite of his request! I think the German quotation means “I think you are a very charming young lady and hope to see you again”… or am I wrong? Anyhow, I don’t propose to flatter any Germans, so I don’t need the advice.
Apart from Haydn’s letter, there was one from Jess… my Jess… dated 22/11/44… You refer to Mr. Morgan’s letter, and ask about Mr. Hasemore. It is true that Mr. H. has always been well disposed towards Mr. Garsden… but I doubt whether there is any real friendship between them. I think it is more probable that H. finds JWG. an agreeable companion for dinners and conferences and various functions they used to attend. He also finds Garsden a useful type for a branch manager… I imagine. Perhaps, too, H. is a freemason, like JWG… but I don’t know. I do know, however, that Hasemore has a brain… and Garsden hasn’t. (…)
About Mr. Parr… when I last heard of him he had just accepted the editorship of a technical radio journal dealing with television and radiolocation. I think it was Mr. Crunden who informed me of this when I visited him one Sunday… it was during a week-end I had with Marjorie (RTG’s sister) when we were at Eastbourne. In view of his (Parr’s) extensive experience with television equipment, it is quite possible that he is now engaged on other special work, as you suggest.
I don’t know whether you have “started something” by sending my letters to London… but don’t let’s worry about it… Perhaps Mr. Crunden will be writing to you: I should like to see his letter: I will try and write to hin direct.
Jess… I don’t think you are keeping me very well informed about your physical well-being… and your silence in this direction cannot… will not be tolerated. Some time ago you told me of the purchase of a certian something for your tum. Has it had any effect? Have you made use of it, or has it been consigned to a scrap box? I strongly suspect the latter, but hope I am wrong. And there is your neuralgia… is it now completely cured? And your knee… you had trouble with it a few weeks ago. Has it cured itself? You see how ignorant I am upon this important topic. Please let me have your answers darling.
There was a parcel of cigarettes for me today. It was from Kath and contained 500 Churchmans: a pleasant surprise, as you can imagine. They will come in very useful just now because it has not been quite so easy to supplement my normal ration during the last week or so. I think our non-smokers must be bartering their smokes or something. I have not been short… only on the borderline. But now I am O.K. for weeks. Must write K. and thank her.
And now Jess… I have to leave you again… until tomorrow. I am sorry this letter is so disjointed: I have written it in several stages… and have missed something… but can’t remember it, except that it was about Barry. Perhaps I will think of it in bed… that is where I am going soon… to bed with my Jess… I do so love my nightly dream conversations with my sweetheart… I play with little Barry sometimes, too: Did you know? We talk about things, and we make things… and always in the background is the lovely figure of our Jess… mine and Barry’s… but mostly mine…
Please look after yourself, my love
You mean so much to us…
Yours – always…
P.S. Am enclosing Jess Aldcroft’s letter… There are thus three enclosures… Mr. Morgan’s, Haydn’s, and Jess’s.
P.P.S. There are three enclosures: have just counted them!