C Sqdn, 9th Battn R.T.R.
Jessie Mine, I have not been a very good pal to you this evening: for the last two hours I ought to have been writing to you… but instead I’ve been reading a book – one of those thrillers-! It was interesting, Jess: if it hadn’t been, this letter would have been started long ago. The fact that the book was called “The Case of the Murdered Major” is purely a coincidence: I have no evil intentions, nor would I need any hints if I had-!! And that reminds me that the case of our major is proceeding… but it may be a few days before I can report anything further… Meanwhile, I get a bit of amusement from the thoughts of him chasing through the local woods this evening, in pouring rain, seeking Polish thieves.
It happened this way… He drove up to the mess, alone, in his car at about 6.30pm. It was quite dark, and pouring with rain. He sent a nearby patrolman to ask the S.S.M. and I to report to him outside. Whilst George and I were talking to him – he in the car, we in the rain – a couple of Jerry civilians came up and started gabbling away in German. We soon learned the trouble: one of these Jerries was half naked: he had just been held up by two Poles in some quiet lane: they’d even pinched his shirt! but left his trousers. This was a case after the major’s heart. He bundled the Jerries in the car – ordered George to jump in as well, and then tore away… but not before George had managed to grab my pistol. (I always carry it with me – loaded.) I felt sorry for George: he had just changed into his best clothes and dolled himself up, in readiness for a dance organised by the squadron, and due to commence at 7.pm. It seemed quite possible that George had “had” his dance…
I went across to the dance at 8 o/c – and George was there alright, beaming like a full moon. He told me the story… After leaving me, they drove for about a mile, directed by the Jerry – and when they pulled up a German woman came running up. She herself had been robbed by the compatriots, and decided to ‘inform’ on her camp colleagues… for spite I s’pose. She told of hidden loot beneath beds in the huts etc… and suggested that arms, too, may be concealed in the same place. And so, a ‘raid’ was laid on by the major… and it was carried out this morning by about forty of our lads, plus the local Mil. Govt. major, interpreter etc. It was all highly official. But all the raid produced was some methylated spirits, (five quart bottles hidden beneath beds: they drink the darned stuff!) and half a dozen ancient and rusty swords and bayonets – nothing else.
The raid was hardly a great success – altho that meths may come in handy: it is the real thing and burns beautifully – I tried it with a match-! Apropos this subject, it seems damned silly to me to go to all the trouble of organising a raid of this kind – and then inform the official Polish interpreter of our intentions the day before. But maybe I am too mistrustful of the Poles: perhaps some of them are honest, including interpreters – Perhaps-!
I received the parcel today darling, and another letter besides… But, in spite of the fact that I love you and am deeply grateful for your kindness, I must scold you. And why? Because of the ciggys. You can’t possibly be getting enough for yourself, so please don’t do it again, Jessie Mine – I am not doing so badly for smokes just now: you mustn’t think I am going short. Please remember this.
Gosh – it’s late, darling:- must go to bed. More tomorrow.
Goodnight, my love
Yours – always –