No. 7925934. Sgt. Greenwood.
British Army Exhibition
British Army Staff
Jess Dear: I must warn you that I ought not to be writing this letter in my present mood: I am not in a very good humour. Thing’s seem to be going wrong. I haven’t had a letter from you since Monday: but I have had a damnable dose of indigestion for two days: And today I learn that the unit has already been split up in my absence… and I haven’t even had a chance to say good-bye to my own crew: they are all scheduled for the Far East.
I am annoyed to say the least:- and the knowledge that my condition is partly due to self-pity… a loathsome disease!.. does not help matters. What has happened to your letters? I can’t believe that you have commenced addressing them to the unit without my telling you: you have always followed my instructions in the past. So where are they? I hope to goodness there is nothing wrong – either with you or Barry. But this is one of those damnable possibilities that tend to drive me screwy. Perhaps the whole trouble is due to the postal service: I hope so… but I would be much happier if I knew.
Concerning the unit, Mr. Boden has received a letter telling him that he is no longer with the 9th: he now belongs to the ? battalion of the R.T.R. together with the other junior officers of the squadron – and fifty five of the lads. They held a farewell party on the 21st. Also, the 9th were scheduled to leave Lengerich on the 28th… for an unspecified destination: So God knows where they are now. But wherever they are, there will be some highly organised chaos knocking around, so I hope your letters don’t get mixed up in it.
My job here just carries on, of course. Ultimately, I will return to the 9th, together with the four other fellows with me because none of us are in the “Burma” age group. But now that the unit has split up, and has absorbed a lot of newcomers to replace the Burma draft, the administration is bound to be a bit disorganised, and we may in consequence be left here longer than originally intended. This is only a possibility of course… even though it is partly confirmed by the fact that we have already been on duty for a fortnight, and have no news of any relief being sent out. I expect at least 4 or 5 days warning.
How is everything at home, Jess? Are you still being mithered by family visits, and unwelcome visitors and coal-men and tradespeople and all the rest of the hoard? Have you got the gas-stove working? Are you alright, and Barry? Are you going out more frequently and getting away from the house for a change? Are you receiving my letters? I want to know so many things. No doubt the answers are on the way to me – somewhere. I hope to go out this evening – to see “Love in Idleness” – unless I have to nurse my tummy. What a title for a play – for soldiers of all people! I will tell you about it later – all being well.
I have been to the play, Jess – and my indigestion is much better… So what? Well… whether or not the play has helped my internal organs I cannot say… but it was good – very good – the acting in particular. The play itself is based on a simple theme – that of a widow who loves a wealthy industrialist who has been called into the Cabinet as ‘Minister of Tank Production’. The two are living together as man and wife – in spite of the fact that he is only separated from his legitimate wife. The widow’s 17 year old son returns from Canada – with strong left-wing views, and immediately takes a violent dislike to the wealthy capitalist: a dislike which turns to hatred when he discovers the truth of his mother’s ‘affair’. The mother is forced to make a decision – and decides to leave her lover. With her son, she moves to a small flat, and lives a simple life. But everything comes right in the end – and the young social reformer finishes up by becoming one of a trio, dining – at the Savoy!
There is some amusing dialogue, Jess – especially about the army. But the best part of the show was the acting of Alfred Lunt (the capitalist) and Lynn Fontanne (the mother). They are a grand ‘team’. I don’t know much about them – except that they have a tremendous reputation in the States, and are usually referred to as “the Lunts” – so I presume they are husband and wife:- a middle aged couple. Contrary to my expectations, Lynn Fontanne is no glamour girl – nor is she a raving beauty – but she is a splendid actress. I wouldn’t say she is better than he – but – neither is he better than she: it is more of an equal partnership.
I’m going to bed now, my love… to dream about a beautiful lady.
Good night, Jessie Mine