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


D: -9

My Darling: I have little to add to my news yesterday regarding the impending disbandment of the squadron. The acting squadron leader addressed everyone this morning… repeating more or less what I have already told you. It is not yet definitely settled that we finish here on Monday… but only a possibility. We may even remain a week or two longer:- it all depends upon the decisions taken by the ‘powers that be’. Meanwhile, there has been a bit of sorting out this morning, resulting in a batch of about 20 men being selected for transfer to another unit… in Germany: they may leave us on Saturday.

If the squadron is broken up before my departure, I hope to be transferred to Battalion H.Q., along with the rest of 22 group, for my remaining few days. Not that I have any partiality for B.H.Q., but we have to pass through H.Q. on our release – so it will obviate unnecessary swopping about if we move over to them right away. They are located about 35 miles due west of this place, at Mehle, a few miles south of Hanover.

I think I have told you before of the readiness with which our fellows make themselves at home wherever we happen to stay more than a few days. And this place is no exception. I am not exaggerating when I say that at least half of the squadron have their ‘second homes’ either in the village, or somewhere in the locality. From this, you will realise that this news of our departure has caused some long faces… and I know, from past experience, that there are going to be many tears shed – both male and female!… when we do finally go. It has been suggested that we hold a farewell dance on Saturday:- if we do, I imagine that will be a heart-breaking affair for some folks – I suppose these physical attachments are perfectly natural with many of the lads… but there are some which mystify me: I just can’t understand why some men behave as they do – whilst professing immaculate loyalty and affection for their own wives.

Do you know, dear, there were three of my old colleagues in the recently departed 21 group who did not want to go – in spite of being married and having their own homes in England. These fellows were literally glad, as each of the two or three sailing cancellations affecting their group, were announced. Even if they are not happy with their wives – and they professed the opposite!- I still cannot understand anyone being sorry to get away from this damned continent – and especially this country. The atmosphere here is not healthy: there seems to be no such thing as human dignity: the people are spiritually dead… everything to them is hopeless… and I’m sure few of them even contemplate the future. But perhaps a worse feature is the servility – obsequiousness – call it what you will – of the ordinary civilians: it’s horrible. Perhaps these things are not apparent to everyone. They ought to be: they are pretty obvious. But let’s get away from this pestilential subject.

This is the twenty-second… and today you have posted your last letter to Sgt. Greenwood… assuming you have obeyed my instructions. I imagine this will be one of those “last times” which will have caused you no sorrow or regrets… as ‘last times’ are usually apt to do.

I have already done a few things for the last time, and have not yet felt any heart-breaks… nor do I expect to feel any. In fact, I feel myself becoming more light-hearted with each successive stage of my discharge. There are two reasons for this – both important: firstly, I am perpetually mindful of the fact that I am returning to my Jess… slowly, but inexorably. And this thought alone is sufficient to send me half-crazy with happiness… And then there is the lesser reason – but a big one nevertheless… that of my farewell to the army – and not only to the army as such, but for all it stands for:- something I have hated in its entirety since the moment I donned the uniform. But I have spoken about these things before: you know how I feel, darling… and I don’t think you will regard me as a hard-hearted brute when I say that I will leave it – all of it – without a single regret.

And maybe there will be some who will be glad to get rid of a few of us… Only the other day, it was remarked by someone – half-jokingly, I admit – that it will be a treat to live in the mess after my departure:- no more symphonies, no more operas, no more highbrow on the radio, but “bags of Bing”-!! this, of course, was a dig at my musical ‘eccentricities’, and constant criticism of the “Bing” fans. We have half a dozen of the latter in the mess: they seem to become transfixed at the mere mention of Bing Crosby’s name… and listen in silent rapture whenever his recorded voice comes over the air – and that is pretty often on the B.F.N.

Can you imagine it, Jess: a bunch of tough, hairy, soldiers being stirred somehow by the effeminate bleatings of a crooner. It wouldn’t be so bad if there were no words to his songs – but there are – and what words-!! Les Challinor too, has had his share of criticism – often being referred to as a bloody parson, or something equally uncomplimentary. But Les never loses his temper – and I admire him for it… just as I admire him for his religious sincerity. He is one of the few people I know who have remained more or less unaffected by the army life. I would like you to meet him sometime: I believe you will like him. Les is not a deeply intellectual bloke, but he is sensible and clean living. And he has a decent outlook on things. He is genuinely religious and tries to behave as a Christian should. In spite of his religion… or maybe because of it! – I have always got on well with him, and we are reasonably good friends. And then there is Tom Hamnett: – but I don’t care if you never meet Tom. He is not a bad bloke… but… there isn’t much about him, Jess. He is not interesting to talk to and has few constructive ideas. He is inclined, too, to be rather crude in his outlook. He surprised me, for instance, by boasting about having “clipped his daughter on the ear ‘ole” during his last leave when she returned one evening around 11.0 pm. She is 17 years of age – and has reached the ‘boy friend’ stage – and Tom seems to imagine that “ear clipping” will keep her virtuous. One thing he can do well – and that is conjuring: I have seen less clever stage conjurors than Tom. Maybe we will see him someday – to see him perform.

And now to bed –
Goodnight, my dear darling Jess –
Always – I love you