No. 7925934. Sgt. Greenwood.
9th Battn. R.T.R.
Jess Darling, I have just received two letters… one dated Sunday 9/7 and the other Tuesday 11/7/44. The latter has come through very quickly and I’m hoping this service will be maintained. It is so much nicer having really up to date news:… it makes me feel far less separated from you, from the distance point of view. You seem to have missed some of my letters, but perhaps they have now arrived – the outgoing mails from here must have been somewhat chaotic during the first two or three weeks.
At the moment, I am writing in a cornfield on a food-box… with my tank as a back-rest. There is a village just across the field in front of me:… it was a village. Now, it is a heap of rubble and is being carted away to provide foundations for new roads! This, I fear will be the fate of many of these once-charming little Normandy villages. A few of them have only suffered slight damage, but the majority are badly battered… Jerry is a determined opponent, and practically all villages are heavily defended.
There was a good explanation of the apparent slowness of our advance, on the radio a day or two ago. The reporter described the German defence systems and mentioned the difficulty we have in ousting him from this fertile countryside. He is literally defending every darned hedgerow and ditch… and any mortal thing that will provide cover for his troops. Naturally, he is well hidden and static, and that is a colossal advantage in this sort of country… But he is being driven back, slowly and surely… and suffering heavy casualties meanwhile.
I was very surprised to hear of the Mills’s visit. (…) I suppose they were curious to see our wee poppet. I feel sure he behaved himself.
You always express pleasure when people liken him to me, Jessie Mine and the sweet things you say simply make my heart dance with joy. But some day, I hope to be able to hear people likening our second little popette to her beautiful mother. And this doesn’t mean that I have any regrets, my dear. It means that I want you to have the pleasure of being likened to your own baby. Let us hope that it won’t be long…
Meanwhile our little poppet is yours and mine and I am thrilled to bits about him and always glad to hear of his progress.
I was interrupted by one of Jerry’s periodic air attacks. We always put up a terrific barrage, and the din is simply deafening. I have had the satisfaction of seeing four of his fighters shot down in the last 2 or 3 days.
I have Johnny’s letter (Jess’ younger brother, staying with her at the time)… and was pleased to receive it. I may have time to acknowledge it with this, but if not, please thank him for me.
There seems to be little else I can tell you just now, my darling. this doesn’t mean that my life is devoid of incident, but simply that I cannot talk about my whereabouts or my immediate occupation.
Meanwhile, I am quite well… very well. My only little complaint at the moment is lack of sleep. Our normal hours are bad enough… (often enough we are up all night) but when we do get to bed, the artillery usually makes sleep next to impossible. No matter where we go, we can always depend upon being right in front of a batch of guns, and when they start firing… well, even our blankets flap in the blast. The noise is indescribable: the entire Heavens seems to reverberate to every blast.
Last night I had something else to contend with, besides artillery. It was about 1.00 am, and I was lying at the edge of our bivvy waiting for the next artillery salvo… when I felt a determined pressure beneath my leg: something seemed to be trying to push its way through from the ground beneath. I did a quick scramble, and pummelled like hell through my blankets. And then I got back into bed, lit a ciggy, and awaited a counter attack. It came about 10 minutes later, this time beneath my thigh. Again I shot up like lightning, and pummelled again with my fists… a genuine barrage. Once again I sat back, but nothing happened, so I lay down again… but not for long. It was beneath my shoulder this time. I yanked back my blanket and ground sheet and struck a match… but I could see nothing… only a few sticks of crushed corn. So I rearranged my bed and lay down once again… this time without further disturbance. I presume the next upward thrust occurred behind my head and beneath the tank tracks. I don’t know what the intruder was, but I suppose it may have been a mole. Whatever it was, I detest these crawly things, and can truthfully say that I was more scared last night than when I was confronted by a Jerry Tiger tank a few days previously – !!
And now – my dear and beautiful wife – it is time for me to finish. And I cannot now write Johnny this evening: – Perhaps tomorrow.
Good night, darling Jess.
I love you – Always – Your Trevy.