No. 7925934. Sgt. Greenwood.
British Army Exhibition
British Army Staff
Jess, my Darling: I can’t think of anything worth-while to talk about this evening, so you will have to listen to the uninteresting account of my day’s activities. After breakfast, I went to the exhibition as usual to see whether any orders had turned up… but they hadn’t. It appears that there is an exciting game of “passing the buck” in progress behind the scenes somewhere – from B.A.S. to War Office to 2nd Army to L of C. (Line of Communication?) and back to B.A.S. I don’t know where we stand at the moment, but no doubt some enterprising soul will soon do something, and then there will be a large-sized flap. Meanwhile we just carry on doing nothing. The exhibition, by the way, is still being dismantled, and it looks as though a further two or three days will be required. But this job is being handled mainly by civilian contractors.
It has been very hot again today… too hot for prolonged walking, so I spent an hour or so sitting beside the river after lunch. I had a hair-cut too… to keep my brain cool!
This evening, I have done some reading and some clothes washing – and have been for my usual cup of tea at the Imperial Club. And that seems to represent my day’s work. Hardly a day to write home about…
To tell you the truth, dear, I’m getting a bit weary of this hermit-like existence, now that the initial novelty of my ‘exploring’ has worn off. It would all be so different and exciting if you were here – or even if there was someone here with whom I could talk and see things. But no-one seems interested.
Jake (Sgt. Jakeman) with whom I share a bedroom, seems to be typical of the average British soldier here. His interests are largely bed and beer. Almost every afternoon that he has been free from duty (i.e. four afternoons out of five) he has been in bed. And every evening he spends in the Skittle Alley bar, or the Imperial Club bar… happily contemplating pints of beer. I don’t think he has wandered a single yard from our normal journey to the exhibition, returning via the canteens, apart from his three or four journeys to the racing at Longchamp. And there is so much to see and enjoy in Paris.
This seems to have been the normal routine for the majority of the staff. It is an awful reflection upon the average British specimen… but it would be wrong to blame the individuals concerned, really. It seems as though their imagination and interests have never been stimulated… and so they have ceased to function. A typical comment by Jake followed my invitation to visit Notre Dame – he “hadn’t much interest in buildings” he’d “seen enough of ’em”! I could have slugged him with a mallet… and yet, I felt very sorry for Jake. He’s an honest-to-goodness citizen really, but dead from the neck up. And the other three members of my crew are just the same. I’m not entirely free from blame. I know. If I spent an occasional hour or two in the hectic atmosphere of the ‘bars’, I would no doubt make more friends… but it is a question of temperament, I s’pose. I don’t enjoy the atmosphere and the small talk, and I can’t stand the suggestive back-chat with the waitresses. And I can’t stomach beer… Thus we have the two worlds: I don’t know how they can be reconciled.
What I’m longing for now, dear, is a good dose of home. I want to see and talk to you… and I want to try and get to know Barry and enjoy some of his baby life before it is too late. Perhaps I will be home soon for leave… and that is one reason why I’m becoming so anxious to get back to the 9th. I can learn nothing here. I expected a reply from the S.Q.M.S. – to whom I wrote about a fortnight ago – but have heard nothing. It is rather worrying to be so out of touch with the battn. events, especially with the prospect of leave looming ahead. But maybe I will know everything in a few days’ time.
Tomorrow is the 26th – an eventful day in British politics. How stimulated many of us would feel with a real change of government… But I can’t feel very optimistic, Jess: I wish I could. No doubt I will spend most of the day in close proximity to a radio set in one of the canteens… providing the election results are relayed as they come through. I imagine your day will be similar, too.
And now to bed…
Good night, Jessie Mine
I love you, dear… so much