No. 7925934. Sgt. Greenwood, R.T.
9th Battn. R.T.R.
Jessie Mine, The last two days have been beautifully fine… spring seems to have arrived quite unexpectedly. Today in particular has been grand, with warm sunshine all day. These conditions are very nice for us from the physical point of view, but to me they seem to emphasize an enormous gap in my life. We are missing so much, dear… and now that we have our grand little son, how glorious it would be for us to be able to go out into the country just as we pleased. I often dream, Jess… day dreams:- a poor substitute for the real thing, but better than nothing. It was delightful to read of your little excursion into Poynton Park the other day. I am sure it must have been a thrilling adventure for Barry… and for you too. Will you be able to have these walks often? I do hope you can manage it, darling. I can see from your letter today that you are simply pining to get out with the wee fellow during these fine spring days. You must get out, Jessie Mine… for your own sake as well as Barry’s. You both need the refreshing influence of the countryside… and Barry needs you to introduce him to the wonderful exciting things in the country: he is lucky in having a mother so competent in this direction.
Another advantage of being ‘at home’ less frequently is that visitors will cease to be such a damned nuisance to you if they can no longer be certain of finding you in the house. This visiting business has reached absurd proportions, Jess. This is obvious from your latest letter. I marvel that you are able to treat everyone civilly let alone spending all your ‘spare’ time preparing meals for them. I do hope you will be able to do something to lessen the menace, otherwise I fear you will be driven half-crazy. Please try the experiment of going out oftener. I know is is easy for me to talk like this, but in spite of the difficulties of getting out with Barry, I’m sure it involves less work than messing about for ungrateful visitors. What do you think, dear?
I have no exciting news from this end… but perhaps you would like to hear of a little ceremony we had today. First of all though, I should mention that there has been a spate of rumours during the last few days concerning the record of this brigade: quite a lot of compliments appear to have been issued by various brass hats… Well, there was a full battalion parade this morning: the colonel wanted to talk to us. He started by confirming most of the complimentary rumours. One of them concerned a certain infantry division with whom we have worked quite often. This division recently had to be relieved before achieving their final objective: several days heavy fighting had exhausted them. Now most army units are very loath to be withdrawn from an unfinished job… and this div. was no exception. They were peeved. At this stage, one of their staff officers commented that had the 9th R.T.R. been supporting them at the time, they would have reached the Rhine in three days. That was rather a nice compliment. I always like to know that we are of real help to the infantry.
Another compliment came from the C.I.C. of the Second Army… General Dempsey. He referred to us a couple of days ago as a very fine regiment. General Horrocks too has said something similar. After telling us these things, the colonel very wisely implored us not to become “insufferable cads” by boasting of our achievements in public. You may think this rather an unkind bit of advice, but believe me Jess it was well said in my opinion. I know of no conversational topic more boring or annoying than that of soldiers arguing with each other about their achievements. Truth goes completely by the board under such conditions, and stupid boasts predominate. I have often had to check this boastful tendency, even in my own troop. Strangely enough, the worst offenders in this direction are the non-combatants… the batmen, cooks, lorry drivers etc. To listen to some of them recounting the exploits of “our mob” almost takes your breath away: we would all be wearing VC’s if only half of it were true.
The most interesting part of today’s ceremony came at the end… it surprised all of us. The colonel announced that H.M. the King had confirmed the award of the D.S.O. to Major Holden! Crikey! We all knew Ronnie deserved it, but no-one had any idea that he had got it. It is the first D.S.O. in the unit, and an honour for the Battalion. But it is an extra honour for C squadron, through whose efforts the major has won the decoration – as he will be the first to admit. Major Holden came forward as the colonel called his name and the ribbon was pinned to his jacket next to the M.C. won in the battle of Cheux. I have no idea of the official citation concerning this new decoration for the major, but presume it is an accumulation of incidents… probably including the battle at Nispen, Vinkenbroek and the Reichswald Forest. I have been interested to note that nobody has spoken disparagingly of this medal for the major. The general opinion is that he has earned it, unquestionably.
Must leave you now, darling…
Good night Jess
Am going to bed to dream
about You… and Barry