C Sqdn, 9th Battn R.T.R.
Jessie Mine: I love you… and I know damned well you know this – but I had to tell you again – just to remind you – sort of! And now – what else can I tell you? Firstly, I am enclosing Marjorie’s letter.
And now… about this move of ours. It is now definitely “on” – and we are scheduled to depart on Wednesday (26th). But we are not now going as far east as originally intended… and our job will not therefore be frontier patrols. I believe we are being located somewhere midway between Hanover and Brunswick… keeping order amongst D.P’s. (displaced persons).
I will let you have more information upon this subject when I know more about it. Meanwhile, we have the usual upheaval of a battalion move to contend with.
I have little to report about my own activities today, darling. I have done a little work, concerned mainly with the allocation of transport etc. for the move. I have also done some reading, listened to the radio, had a hair cut… and lit a fire in the mess lounge here – the first fire we have had this season: It was quite cold this evening – I thought it was, anyhow, so I lit the fire – one of those massive, tiled, box-like affairs so common over here. It stands in the room and throws out plenty of heat, but the fire itself is not visible. The blokes have now discarded their jackets, and the dog is lying prostrate on the floor… so I guess I’ve warmed things up a bit.
Speaking of the radio, reminds me of a talk I heard just now… ‘world affairs’ by A.J.P. Taylor of Oxford University. He spoke about the problems facing the Council of Foreign Ministers in London, and in particular, the attitude of Russia in Balkan affairs – and Trieste. It was an interesting talk, Jess: the speaker viewed the whole mess and mix up with delightful detachment – and helped to restore some of my waning confidence in Russia. I wonder whether you heard him… I hope you did and I hope you liked him… because… Well, it’s like this: a few weeks ago, I read an account of a seemingly very fine book about Germany. I forget its title – but I think it was something like “Germany’s Future”… or “The German Problem”. Anyhow, it was a short title, and included the word German… but the important thing is that it was by a bloke called Taylor (I’m almost certain about this) – and I’m pretty confident it was the same A.J.P. Taylor. You will have guessed that all this rigmarole is simply leading up to the fact that I want a copy of this book… Naturally I can’t expect you to get me a copy with this scanty information – but perhaps Mrs. Roberts could make some enquiries when she visits Parkers – or wouldn’t you care to ask her? Don’t let it bother you, dear Jess. After all, I will be able to do my own dirty work when I am home – and it won’t be long now.
I had a lovely little musical treat yesterday afternoon. I was alone in the mess, and decided to try and hear some decent music on the radio – for a change. I turned the knobs, and soon found a glorious pattern of sound I knew: it was Wagner’s Tannhauser Overture, played as I have rarely heard it before. The orchestra was grand, and the transmission and general acoustics excellent. I continued listening – and soon learned that the broadcast was from Hamburg. The Hamburg Philhamonic Orchestra were apparently giving a special performance for British troops. There must have been a huge audience, judging by the applause. After Tannhauser, I heard Lohengrin’s Narration, with Lauritz Melchior himself singing. This was followed by the Prelude to Tristan – and then the Liebestod… Oh! it was lovely: I forget the singer’s name, but she was good. Next came another aria by Melchior – the ‘Prize Song’ from the Meistersingers – and the concert concluded with the overture to the Meistersingers… a Wagner programme at its best: I did enjoy it.
And now to bed…
Once again, dear lady… I must tell you I love you: I love you an awful lot, dear – and our little Poppet. Please remember me to him.