C Sqdn, 9th Battn R.T.R.
Jess Darling: I have that deflated feeling this evening – and can’t make up my mind to do anything properly… Even reading seems a fag. I have been trying to find something decent on the radio… but there seems to be nothing but jazz, crooning and vaudeville this evening – altho’ I did manage to hear the end of an interesting musical item: it was called “London Fantasia” by Clive Richardson and seemed to be a symphonic sketch of London during the blitz… There was a very effective siren warning… played, I believe, by violins… followed by a pretty good musical equivalent of an air raid… if that isn’t a contradiction in terms! I would like to hear the whole of this work sometime. I have heard, too, a world affairs talk by Barbara Ward. I do like her, Jess. I mean I like her personality and beautifully clear diction. Her talk was about the Near East… and that hotch-potch of hatreds and feuds, Palestine. What a world: there seems to be more suspicion and mistrust between nations just now than before the war. Perhaps we deserve to be scattered into atomic dust.
We have had no trouble here for a day or two. But this doesn’t mean that our patrol troops are having an easier time. Their routine is automatic and is scheduled to continue as long as there are D.P’s in the area… or until some brass-hat decides upon a change in policy. As things stand at the moment, we are doing a hell of a lot of work and achieving very little so far as maintenance of law and order is concerned. There is, of course, the possibility that our mere presence will have a sobering effect on our lawless neighbours… but this is debatable.
Todays patrols have had no thefts or violence to report – due, perhaps, to the ‘Monday morning’ feeling amongst the D.P’s-! But during the afternoon, a young woman, with her mother, called to see whether we could afford them some protection. They live in a lone house in a country area, and are terrified of being visited by the Poles – so much so that the three of them (including the father) have taken turns in sitting up all night, acting as guards-! What a life! And who is to blame? This is only a minor case – but it can be multiplied countless times over here: anywhere, in fact, where there are D.P’s within walking or cycling distance.
Have I told you that we are now officially employing German ex-soldiers? We have three of them on our staff – actually living in the men’s quarters and on our ration strength. We brought them with us from Gümmer. They are employed in the cook house – and seem to love the job: they work like blazes and never ‘tick’. No doubt they realise their good fortune: they get bags of food – and a free issue of ciggys every week. We also employ ten other Jerries on fatigues, but they come daily and are not officially on our strength. They do all the ‘horse-work’ around the billets.
This is a poor effort, my dear – But I can’t do better this evening: Tomorrow will be different – yes?
Good-night, my love –