No. 7925934. Sgt. Greenwood, R.T.
9th Battn. R.T.R.
Jess darling: This will only be a short note as we will be moving a wee bit later in the day… but I must let you know that I am absolutely O.K. I can’t even catch a cold, in spite of the weather-! It has rained hell-for-leather for the last few days, and we have been soaked… particularly our bedding. But, somehow, we manage to survive.
The rain ceased last evening… fortunately for us because we had to sleep in the open. I lay by the roadside in my bed, gazing at a marvellously clear sky: it must have been a grand night for professional star gazers:- there wasn’t a cloud anywhere, not even a sign of mist. I think I ultimately fell asleep counting shooting stars. It wasn’t so good getting up at 6.30 this morning: there was a definite autumn nip in the air. But the sun came out later, and it is now fairly mild… with a cool breeze.
I received another letter yesterday, my darling: the one dated Sept 3rd. Your kind words make lovely reading. I know you are looking forward to my homecoming… but can you imagine what home means to me? Always, darling, it means Jess… first and foremost. And then our little Poppet… our son… And then… all those other things which help to make life worth living… I cannot even attempt to tell you how I have missed you in recent months, Jess. You have, as you know, been an inseparable part of my life for many years. I couldn’t even bear you to go away for a few days holiday, before we accompanied each other… do you remember? And since those days, I have learned to love and respect you a great deal more. And yet… we have had to live apart for so long: it is months even since I saw your dear face. This is the real hardship of war to me. Discomfort, danger, hunger etc… all these things are so trivial by comparison: I could easily endure them forever, given the priceless compensation of your presence… with all that it means. But I believe you are right in saying that our enforced separation has enhanced our love. For myself, I know, as I couldn’t know before, that my love for you is a very real thing. And I know too that your influence is a tremendous factor in my life. I am always conscious of it… and always deeply grateful for it. You help me every day of my life… even though we are so far apart.
And now, we have our little Poppet to enrich our lives… and it is upon you that the burden of rearing him has descended. I know you will deny my use of the word ‘burden’… but such it is – Nevertheless, you have not failed… you never admit defeat, do you!.. and I know that I will be coming home to a grand little fellow. Oh, how I admire your spirit and courage… your determination. I lack these qualities, Jess… but I hope my son will inherit them from you. I think he will.
At the moment, we are harboured close to a small village… and I think the entire population have been around us this morning. My head is in a whirl trying to understand their rapid conversation. As usual, we have parted with loads of ciggys, and eatables. Ciggys seem to be worth their weight in gold to these French people: they apparently got very few under the German regime. Many of the men are smoking a home grown tobacco, but it is vile stuff, and they always beg our ciggys. The latest item in the begging line is “essence” – petrol… and I don’t think it is always wanted for petrol lighters, either! My/your lighter is still going strong: I wouldn’t part with it for anything. In fact, it now ranks second in importance to my fountain pen, amongst my kit.
Forgive me darling… Must leave you now. Hope to write again tomorrow.
I love you Jess –
P.S. Grand news about the garden. I hope your mum and the boys continue with their help.