No. 7925934. Sgt. Greenwood, R.T.
9th Battn. R.T.R.
Jess, darling, The last fortnight or so has been much more strenuous than I anticipated, and my letters must have been very disappointing. I think I gave you the impression that we were scheduled for a fairly easy time, but unfortunately I based my conclusions upon the rapid surrender of certain groups of Germans encountered by us. I did not then know that we were destined to take part in a really big move and that there was serious opposition ahead.
However, much has happened since then, and we are now able once again to look back upon a series of enemy withdrawals and defeats… but not without cost to us. I am glad to be able to say that we are now having a rest… we have earned it!.. and that the immediate future seems fairly free from possible trouble.
We are now billeted beneath a roof, in a school, and this is a lot to be thankful for after the many freezing nights we have spent recently beneath the tanks, or in water-logged fields. It is still quite cold of course… and we have no fires… nor are there any windows left in this school, but there are tables and chairs and I am at least warm enough to be able to hold a pen. I am able, too, to read your letters and the newspapers without having to crouch for shelter from the wind and rain. Present conditions are, in fact, comparatively luxurious.
We are in a small town, and the presence of civilians… a grateful populace… makes life a little more interesting. Last evening I went to an Ensa concert and quite enjoyed it. There was an excellent singer – baritone… and a good pianist and violinist. The show included two girls… and only one of them crooned… to my relief. Considering the fact that Jerry is only about ten miles away, and the sound of our artillery constantly shatters the peace of this place, I think the concert, and the artists, were jolly good. This evening there is a cinema show, and I think I will attend that too… anything to help obliterate the memory of the last week or so. I disapprove of this kind of mental dope in principle, but one can’t always be rational on the battlefield.
I had a dream last night, Jess… And for the first time I dreamed that our little Poppet was talking: he was about three years old. I cannot recall the minute details, but I know that my mind refused to grasp my present surroundings for quite a few moments after I awoke this morning. I seemed to have been in an entirely different world.
Your latest letter has arrived this afternoon: it is dated Sunday, 29:10:44, and tells me about Mrs. Devereux… and about Poppet behaving himself so well whilst she was with you. I love reading these tiny details about our little son: they help me to appreciate something of his character and temperament. And they help me to get to know him. I don’t think he will be a complete stranger to me, dear, when I see him, thanks to your letters.
I was sorry to read about the vacuum cleaner incident… and I hope everything is now hunky-dory once again. When you first reported the trouble, I was too busy with the Jerries to pass any comment, but that does not mean that my sympathies were not with you. I am always with you in these tussles you have with mechanical gadgets and am always relieved when I learn that you have overcome the trouble.
Jess… I didn’t thank you for that delightful little picture you sent me about our future little Barry… and the momentous question he is bound to ask some day. You have indeed a rich imagination… and I flatter myself that I too envisage the future along similar lines. It was a good story… and it sounds true. And I hope you and I have the pleasure of living through a repetition of it… exactly as pictured by you.
In one of your letters, you asked whether I saw the pre-fabricated harbours off the Normandy coast… and I can only reply No. When I landed, on June 22nd, I saw a long sandy beach literally strewn with wreckage from the storm of the previous few days. You may remember my telling you that we spent four days on board ship whilst the storm abated. Also, when I landed, the small bay and the surrounding sea were too full of ships for any partly constructed harbour to be visible. But I really think that my landing took place on a different beach, otherwise I may have seen something of this modern miracle. I believe the British forces used at least two beaches. I heard of this harbour a short time after landing… principally from fellows who landed later as reinforcements, but like so many weird and wonderful things, I could not mention it in my letters for security reasons. It seems to be a sort of eighth ‘wonder of the world’, and it is nice to know that we have the ingenuity and skill to carry out feats of this kind. I am hoping that we may have some similar fantastic stunt for the final and rapid defeat of the Germans… (…)
And now Jess, my darling, the evening is drawing in and my writing time is nearly up. How I long for a little artificial light… and a fire for my toes, so that I could settle down to a nice long letter to my sweetheart… Ah well…
There was a beautiful moon last evening: I gazed at it for an hour through my binoculars: I could see the ‘craters’ quite easily… How trivial seemed my present life… How worthless we poor ignorant fools who have nothing better to do than slaughter each other. There is such beauty in the universe, Jess… And so much happiness for everyone… enough for everybody… Why are we so mad?
Jess… I love you so much…
Always… Your Trevy.