No. 7925934. Sgt. Greenwood, R.T.
9th Battn. R.T.R.
Jess Darling: I am now back with the squadron having been relieved from the hospital job this morning:- and I am rather glad to be away from the place. I told you that our new location was at Lengerich… in the province of Westphalia… but I have hardly had time yet to see the place and cannot say much about it… However… it seems a decent little town. There are plenty of trees about… and the surrounding country is very pleasant: rather like Cheshire, but with more woodland.
We sergeants are all billeted together: it is a combined billet and mess… We have the whole of a partially furnished house… very clean and quite modern, and about the same size as our home. We have also electric light, h. and c. water etc. – w.c. – bath – all ‘modern conveniences’ in fact. We should be reasonably comfortable. I wondered whether our stay here would be ‘permanent’… but now I don’t think it will be: more about that later.
I was glad to find a letter waiting for me this morning: you cannot know, dear, how I look forward to your letters… even though the war is now over. Formerly, your letters came to me as a breath of decency amidst the misery of battle and the wretchedness of my wartime environment… And now… even though our conditions are generally better… my mind dwells increasingly upon home and you. I am more able to think of the future now… and there is no future for me without you my love… Sometimes, Jess, I feel almost frantic:- sick and tired of this damned country… my heart and soul literally aching for you and all you mean to me… And all the time I am frustrated:- pretty useless over here now that the war is over and our lives semi-aimless. But your letters somehow make life tolerable. It is so nice to be able always to look forward to each day… and the probability of word from Jess… I am deeply in your debt for many things… and the constancy and inspiration of your letters is by no means the least of them.
You will perhaps regard me as a heartless wretch when I tell you that the amazing disappearance of the scullery enamel caused me some amusement. I can appreciate your annoyance, my dear, but please don’t blame the gremlins. Stan was right when he said it was due to the porosity of the wall. You see, plaster is very porous and it literally laps up paint. The scullery walls have not previoulsy been enamelled, and so three undercoats would not have been too many. I ought to have told you this earlier, but I don’t recall you telling me that you were using enamel on the actual walls. I suppose the second coat of enamel has proved better, but even that may be ‘patchy’. Don’t worry, Jess. After all, it is cleanliness you really wanted… and I know the place will now be spotless.
You mention my demobilisation… and ask whether I will return to England in advance. I cannot really answer this question darling, because I don’t know… but to me it seems reasonable to suppose that we will return to England prior to demobilisation… I hope so, of course, but you never can tell in the army, Jess. We appear to be scheduled for occupational duties over here, and that may have some bearing upon our destiny.
I gather you ‘talked plenty’ with Stan about politics etc… I would have liked to be there with you… but… that is something in store for me. I’m pretty sure you are as bewildered as I about recent developments… and perhaps you feel pretty well fed up, too, about the trend of events. I must admit that there are many unhealthy signs in the international sphere:- and I, for one, don’t feel too optimistic about the future. I agree with you absolutely apropos De Gaulle. As you so aptly put it… “when army generals start nationalisation, nothing makes sense”… I suspect that Europe is now a mass of intrigue… and there is probably all kinds of dirty work going on behind the scenes. I wish we could close our eyes and ears to everything… but that would be wrong. We don’t want another war through political apathy.
Good night… Jessie Mine..
And thank you… for you… and Barry… and all the lovely thoughts you bring to me.