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


D -15

Jessie Mine: There was no ‘D -16’ in this ‘last series’ of my letters: I didn’t write yesterday – because of a little function we had in the mess. The major came round with two other officers – and as they remained until about 1.0am, there was no time for anything but bed.

The function was a farewell dinner – for the 21 and 22 group sergeants – i.e. Sgt Dodwell, Sgt Challinor, Sgt Hamnett, and myself. There was nothing special about it… just a dinner followed by the usual reminiscing and yarns – and speculation about the future. The officers joined us after dinner – and stayed rather later than we expected. I suppose we can regard this as another of the numerous stages towards demobilisation… and freedom…

Today, I have passed through a further stage – involving a kit check, and the handing-in of certain items of equipment and clothing. Amongst other things, I parted with one of my battle dress suits, a pair of boots and a gas-cape, so my kit is now less bulky – and lighter: I’m all in favour of this kit dumping business:- I wish they’d take the lot off me. But I mustn’t be in too big a hurry – I will shed most of my remaining items when I reach England.

There was a lovely long letter for me yesterday, Jess – a very nice prelude to the dinner-! I liked your account of Barry’s behaviour during his visit to your Auntie’s. He certainly seems to have captivated Tom Pickford – a rather remarkable achievement. And his ‘Joey’ performance-! That was news my dear. But why doesn’t he do the same at home? He obviously knows the purpose of ‘Joey’. Perhaps you have solved the mystery by now… and said good-bye to napkin-washing. How much easier your life will be if this is so!

Thanks for your account of Dorothy’s visit (RTG’s older sister): she had already told me about K’s visit (Kathleen, RTG’s younger sister)… but there were some more details in your letter. (…)

And now, what can I tell you about myself? I have done very little work today: my ‘department’ is now organised, and running quite smoothly. Also, I have a corporal and lance corporal as assistants, and am now leaving the job increasingly in their hands – retiring gracefully, as it were, because it will be entirely their job in a couple of weeks’ time. I suppose they will become sergeant and corporal respectively when I have departed.

This evening, I have heard a few more interesting items over the radio – including Stravinsky’s ‘Fire-Bird’ Suite, and Brahms’ First Symphony… the symphony – which you and I once discovered: this evening’s performance brought that lovely experience home to me very vividly. It was the B.B.C. Scottish Orchestra I heard: they do play some grand music, darling. I know I have told you this before but it will stand repeating.

Another interesting item was tonight’s B.B.C. news – In addition to revealing new government legislation, there was the statement on atomic energy by Truman, Attlee and Mackenzie-King. It sounded a most statesmanlike pronouncement, but the phrasing made it rather difficult to remember many of the details, and I am looking forward to the press announcements to study it more leisurely. I got the impression that there is still evidence of ‘suspicion’ about Russia in the document – but I may be wrong. In any case, Russia ought to be the last to complain about ‘suspicion’ just now.

It was good to hear about the proposed improvements in the standard of ‘Council Houses’: I gather that they are going to be more ‘roomy’ in future… and include lavatories both upstairs and downstairs. It is grand to hear of these proposals, Jess. I know it is not world-shattering news, but there have been a number of similar small news items lately and they give the impression that our affairs are now being directed by people with a little vision and some appreciation of the former squalor of working-class homes. It is no doubt true that we have a right to expect these improvements from a Socialist Government… but after so many years of governmental deception and political trickery, I think I had become slightly cynical and more or less prepared for a continuation of the old game… with perhaps a few half-hearted attempts by the socialists to implement their promises.

But my pessimism is being confounded, and I feel very happy about it. Similarly, my opinion of Attlee was wrong. He seems to have picked a fine team for his government, and is proving a lion in sheep’s clothing, so far as the Tories are concerned. It is rather interesting to compare his speeches with those of Churchill. They don’t tingle one’s blood or arouse one’s patriotic fervour, but how fresh and clean they seem to be. As a physical background to Churchill’s pronouncements, I can imagine a deeply carpeted room, overflowing with opulence and reeking of cigars and well-being, and with walls adorned with the usual evidence of wealth – the hunting trophies and stuffed animal-heads of the ‘pukka-sahib’. But with Attlee, I visualise a light airy room, bathed in sunlight and equipped with chromium furniture and flowers:- lots of colour – but no ostentation. I suppose this is a psychological picture – maybe a bit wishful thinking – but it is my own reaction to Churchill’s habit of appealing to one’s heart – and Attlee’s of appealing to one’s head.

Jess – I want you to pay attention to this: it’s important. I have just been listening to a breathtaking piece of music: it was part of a piano concert – (I believe). It was so good that I had to stop writing to you to listen to it. When it was over, the announcer said something in a foreign lingo, but I know he said the music was by Cesar Franck – and something about ‘Sinfony’. I couldn’t get any more of the announcement, but we have at least a clue – and I mean to follow it up soon. Will you make a note of this, darling: it is not convenient for me to keep notes here: Likewise, don’t forget the two pieces I mentioned earlier – i.e. Tchaikovsky’s March Slav (op 31?) – and Clive Richardson’s “London Fantasia”. We might be able to afford a few gramophone records when I become a civvy.

That’s all for tonight, my love…
Not many more lonely good-nights –
Au revoir – my sweet heart
Always – Your Trevy