No. 7925934. Sgt. Greenwood, R.T.
9th Battn. R.T.R.
Jess Darling, I know you are a keen student of the progress of the war… and that is why I feel certain you will not be surprised when I tell you that recent developments have prevented my writing to you… I can only hope that my two or three day silence has not caused you undue worry… I am now more or less normally fit, but am not yet back on my usual job… and am not in the least bit worried about this:- I am, in fact, finding much truth in the saying “a change is as good as a rest”-!
A couple of days ago I said good-bye to Mr. and Mrs. Boh: they seemed very upset. Mr. B. looked away as we shook hands… and spoke very quietly and sincerely. His wife was weeping unashamedly… I didn’t know what the deuce to do about it… I finally got away after shaking hands three times, and promising to call upon them if ever it became possible for me to do so.
And now, I have to start once again trying to accustom myself to the Belgian language… or rather Flemish. There is a great similarity between Dutch and Flemish… Unfortunately, “alles kaput” is as popular here as in Holland: we hear it morning, noon and night… and now regard it as a joke.
I can’t help wondering what people at home are thinking about recent events out here. We have no means of knowing because newspapers are now arriving very late… as much as ten days old. I suppose the original news of the German offensive would be a great surprise to everyone in England, as it was to we fellows… And yet… I can’t say that we were really staggered by the news. Perhaps that is because of our proximity to the front and keener appreciation of the enemy. My first reaction was almost a feeling of relief. It is so much easier to fight an attacking enemy than one who is literally dug in behind concrete and barbed wire and booby traps and rivers and canals… to say nothing of millions of mines planted with devilish cunning and ingenuity… Yes, it is no joke attacking German defences once they have had time to consolidate.
There has been much speculation about the reason for the enemy’s sudden activity… and the most popular explanation is that he has decided to fight out the war on other people’s territory… instead of reducing the beloved Fatherland to a heap of rubble. If this is true, the present, and impending battles may be amongst the most decisive of the war. The immediate future should supply the answer… weather permitting.
You will no doubt have read of the increased enemy air activity over here… It is nothing like our own efforts of course, but German aircraft had come to be regarded as almost extinct due to our not having seen one for months: Now, we hear occasional bombs and our own A.A. guns:- a reminder of Normandy. The other night, I heard one of his jet-propelled planes. It was flying very low… and the horrible singing whine of the jet could almost be felt, it was so powerful. It gave me a hell of a scare, until I realised what it was.
I received a parcel of 200 Players from Phyllis the other day… a nice surprise. I will write to her as soon as I get a chance. Meanwhile, please thank her for me if you see her.
The mails are still lousy, Jessie Mine. Perhaps the Xmas rush is now disorganising things, as well as the weather. I will be glad when we are back to normal once again. These delays in your letters are maddening.
Must go now, darling… Will try and write again tomorrow.
Always – in love