No. 7925934. Sgt. Greenwood.
C Sqdn, 9th Battn R.T.R.



Jessie Mine: Judging by the ceremony broadcast today, it would appear that the ‘powers that be’ intend to perpetuate this “armistice” anniversary. The whole thing seems a sham to me – and I think most other soldiers think the same: in our unit at any rate. We had one of those “voluntary” church parades here – the service seems to have consisted of the usual baloney about our glorious dead etc: it makes me feel sick.

It apparently makes some Germans feel more than sick – judging by a little incident last evening. I think I have told you that we send a ‘passion truck’ into Goslar every evening… Last evening, when the lads returned to the vehicle at about 10.30pm, a notice was found pasted to the side bearing a message, the substance of which was “The British Government have found another way to humiliate us by compelling us to observe your ‘armistice silence’. We will observe it – by thinking of our own glorious dead. Long live Germany: Down with Britain.” So much for that. I must admit to a certain admiration for the people responsible for this notice: it was pasted on several other vehicles, so would appear to be the work of some organisation. Frankly, I can’t see any sense whatever in making the Germans conform to our hypocritical claptrap: I can understand their resentment – much as I dislike them as a nation. I think, though, that the accusation against the government is possibly wrong: it sounds to me more like an order from G.H.Q… alias ‘Monty’… but I may be wrong.

Jess… I have today passed through another little phase of the demob. machine. Another form has had to be filled in and signed – this time dealing with the history of my illnesses since I was born: I have also received a typed schedule detailing the various steps in the release procedure. And tomorrow I will probably have to go for my medical examination. Tom Hamnett had his on Friday last. Things are moving, my dear – slowly but surely.

You have asked me to let you know when to stop writing to me: in fact, you seem very anxious for an answer to this query. Don’t worry Jess. I will let you know in good time… but the time is not yet – see? I want some more letters – and even if they only contain blank pages, I can still look at the writing on the envelope.

There were two letters for me today, darling. And one of them is dated Nov 8: it seems to have travelled mighty fast. You pass some mysterious comments upon my ‘extraordinary perspicacity’ – and I don’t know what you are talking about. And what is more, I don’t pretend to be clay in your hands… altho I would love, at this moment, to be ‘clay’ in your arms. Gosh! What lucky clay it would be-! (…)

As for you ‘always getting a kick out of deceiving me in little things’ – what sort of a kick do you mean, my precious? Anyhow – thanks for the warning: I’ve never believed that “women were deceivers ever” – being smug enough to believe that I knew my own wife… but I can see I will have to be on the alert.

Your reference to Gwen Roberts and her latest excuse for visiting you (the stamps and Barry’s photo) remind me that it is about time we had that Polyfoto. You will send it to me dear, won’t you. I am dying to know whether he has altered much since my leave. Mrs Roberts is impossible, Jess: I simply can’t say anything more about her.

The principal news in one of today’s letters is the long struggle you have had with Barry and ‘Joey’. This is a problem, Jess: I really cannot understand why he is so stubborn and stupid over this item – and yet so intelligent in all other matters. I cannot even think of the remotest reason for his obstinacy: I’m sure he knows what he ought to do. It is indeed a ‘problem of the wees’. I have a faint suspicion that he ‘takes after you’ in this direction… for you too have had your wee problems: I only hope Barry confines his misbehaviour to his nappies: goodness knows what we will do if he starts using the wash-bowl. (…)

The news that you are taking ‘Doans’ for your back is welcome enough… it shows you are doing something – but I would be happier if you saw Shanahan, dear one. I never feel very confident about patent medicines. Please see the doctor, Jess: I really want you to.

I am again stuck for news about myself – nothing happens these days… nothing… I am still hearing some very fine orchestral programmes on the radio… but have suffered a couple of disappointments over the week-end. Yesterday, Sat, there was a programme by the Hamburg Phil. Orchestra – and I made a special point of listening to it – to hear Tchaikovsky’s Violin Concerto. But the transmission was so lousy I switched off in disgust. It sounded as though the microphone had been stuck up in the gallery – or beyond. What we actually listened to was a programme of whistles, atmospherics and ‘carrier hiss’ with a faint musical background. And today, there was an orchestral concert (via the British Forces Network transmitter, as yesterday) of Wagner’s music. If anything, this was worse than yesterday’s effort. Apart from being feeble, the music was completely colourless due to someone suppressing all crescendos at the transmitting end. Jess… I felt really wild about it: even Les Challinor commented on the complete lack of ‘expression’ in the broadcast. From this same transmitter, we get cart loads of dance records and crooners – and they come through like hell – too damned well for my liking.

Fortunately the Leipzig station can always be relied upon to give us decent music properly handled… and I tuned in to them today – after switching over from our Wagner programme – and heard a grand performance of Beethoven’s Eroica Symphony. Leipzig is in the Russian zone – and the station seems to be devoted to broadcasts for German civvys. But Hamburg is in the British zone – and the B.F.N. transmitter is controlled by our army – for the benefit of the troops… There may be a moral in this somewhere. Anyhow, I’ve written to the Hamburg station – just letting them know what we think of their lousy transmissions.


There has been a little interruption – for supper. And that reminds me that I want to say something to you – about food… Before long, ‘Xmas will be here – and I think it is possible that we at home are going to read some startling stories in the press about the excellent and plentiful supplies of food being consumed by our troops during the holiday. We might even be treated to some colourful accounts of German children being given partys (sic) and fed on army food etc. etc. I say these accounts may be given – because I feel that certain newspapers take a delight in trying to inflame public opinion at home, seemingly to discredit this new government of ours…

The actual position regarding ‘Xmas food supplies for the army is this: Over the holiday, the troops will have a good deal more food than they usually have. But… this extra food will come from reserves already built up by voluntary rationing in the forces. And this is how it is being done: In the near future, we are only going to receive two thirds of our normal daily rations over a period of six days: we will thus save two full days food supply. And this food will serve as the pool from which to draw the extra ‘Xmas rations. Is this clear, darling? It is simple enough… and really not worth talking about… but I know it annoys you to hear so many of our stay-at-homes grousing about our generous rations – and the details I have given may therefore be helpful.

Incidentally, it may interest you to know how much food we do get. I am therefore giving a few official figures. From these, you will see that we live very well indeed by comparison with civilian standards (in some items at least). But it must be borne in mind that these are maximum (and rigid) figures – and we cannot supplement them by visiting occasional restaurants or hotels. On the other hand… I must admit that we have acquired some local fresh food – but in no great quantity – and strictly against orders. We are definitely not officially allowed to supplement our ration by civilian purchases except in the case of a few items of fresh vegetables – for which we have to obtain Mil. Gov. permits.

Here are the figures

Tea = ½oz per man – per day
Sugar = 2oz per man – per day
Margarine = 1½oz per man – per day
Jam = 1oz per man – per day
Milk = 2 fluid oz per man – per day
Sardines = 1oz per man – when issued
Salmon = ¾oz per man – when issued
Tinned Sausage = 2+2/7oz per man – when issued
Tinned Bacon = 1oz per man – when issued, including ‘rind’ and fat
Fresh Bacon = 1⅖oz per man – when issued, including ‘rind’ and fat
Rice = 2/7oz per man – when issued
Meat frozen = 6oz per man – per day, (including bone etc)  OR
Meat frozen = 5oz per man – per day, (without bone etc)
Bread = 12oz per man – per day
Cheese = 6/7oz per man – when issued
Pepper = 1/100th oz per man – per day (perhaps!)

I don’t know whether you will regard this as a liberal ration – but it certainly doesn’t work out so in practice. Only some of the items – like tea, sugar, marge etc. are issued daily… the rest is staggered to give us alternative meals. Cheese, for instance, is not issued with jam.

And now to bed…
Another day nearer…
Good-night, my darling
Your Trevy