No. 7925934. Sgt. Greenwood.
British Army Exhibition
British Army Staff
Jessie Mine: This has been another fine and sunny day, and as I had no official duties, I went to the Paris zoo this afternoon. It is not a large zoo, but is very modern, all the animals being housed in ‘natural’ enclosures of rock etc. I went with Jake, and a Yankee soldier joined forces with us, so it has been quite an entertaining afternoon.
We returned in time for late tea, and I afterwards spent a couple of hours chatting to an Australian air force R.S.M. who is billeted in this hotel. He used to operate from England in a Boston bomber, but was shot down over France and remained a prisoner for three years. I enjoy talking to Allied soldiers: they have interesting points of view, and sometimes queer impressions of Britain – altho they all seem to have happy memories of their stay with us.
And that seems to be all my news for today. Oh… this is news too. It started raining an hour ago, and there has been a really heavy shower… but it is fine again now. Perhaps there will be more rain during the night: I hope there is.
I am going to a theatre tomorrow evening to see Shaw’s ‘Arms and the Man’. the cast includes Sybil Thorndike, Ralph Richarson and Laurence Olivier: the whole show has come straight from the ‘Old Vic’, so it should be a good performance. Like so much of the entertainment here, it is for forces only, and is free.
There is another play starting tomorrow which I hope to see. It is ‘Love in Idleness’, with Arnold Lunt and Lynn Fontaine. This play, too, has been running in London for a long time and appears to have caused a sensation.
From your letter today, I see that you are in some doubt about my address. Please continue writing to Paris until I tell you otherwise. There is still no news of our departure… and I imagine we are bound to be given at least 4 or 5 days notice, so I will have time to warn you of any change of address.
After reading your recent letters, I feel almost ashamed of telling you about my leisurely time in Paris: the contrast between our two lives is so great just now. Here I am with no responsibilities whatever, whilst you are battling with visitors, and bills, and the house and baby and God knows what else. I wish I could help you dear, but apart from asking you to leave whatever you can until my homecoming, I don’t see what I can do. This situation is very irksome to me Jess… and I would much rather have our positions reversed – but we must bow to circumstances. I don’t s’pose I will be here much longer anyhow – that is why I am so keen to try and see as much as possible whilst I can – particularly with so much that is worth seeing free. When I come home, it will be your turn to enjoy some relaxation, plenty of it, whilst I carry out the traditional job of ‘minding the baby’. But we will go out together too, Jess: it is not so good always going out alone, as I know from experience. I could have been at least twice as happy in Paris had you been here.
I still have no news about the voting situation for troops, altho’ it is possible that my separation from the unit may have something to do with it. I am half resigned now to losing my vote: even the newspapers admit that many service personnel will be unable to vote. It is a damnable situation, and will, I hope lead to future trouble if the Tories are re-elected. They know damned well which way the army wants to vote.
Speaking of the unit reminds me that I don’t really know where they are now. When I left, there was a semi-official report to the effect that they would move to the Hamburg area on 21st June… but there is always so much uncertainty about these moves that I don’t know what has happened. They may even have gone elsewhere. Meanwhile, we are still officially attached to the 9th, but have to remain here until we are relieved and given official movement orders. The exhibition will last another month or so, but I doubt whether they will leave us here that long: after all, there are other fellows in the unit who would like to see Paris. Needless to say, I am not trying to get back. I can stand this life for a little while yet. Paris is worth-while if only for decent beds and bathing facilities.
And now to bed.
Please give Barry a big hug for his daddy…
And his mummy… Ah well: I love her… always… and am going to make up for all those missing hugs very soon.