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


D: -5

My Darling: There is a special significance about today:- It is your birthday – and that makes it a very special day. It is also the last day of my fifth year in the army: tomorrow, the 27th, will be the anniversary of my calling up… and the first day of my sixth year as a soldier.

Another thing… we have today said good-bye to ‘C’ squadron of the 9th R.T.R: it no longer exists…! We ‘broke-up’ this morning… some going to A sqdn., some to B, and most of us here to H.Q.

I am billeted in a civvy house, along with half a dozen other sergeants, two of whom have come with me from ‘C’. The official H.Q. sgts mess is half a mile away… but I don’t think I will spend much time there: it is too cold and cheerless for my liking… and too full of sergeants… most of whom are strangers to me.

There were the usual farewell scenes at Ringelheim this morning, where, in spite of the bitterly cold weather, many girls hung around for an hour or two having lingering farewells with their temporary sweethearts. But I didn’t see many tears this morning: I am told they were all shed last night. In any case, it was too cold to tell whether the watery eyes were caused by the freezing wind and snow – or something else.

We left in a blizzard: the wind was simply howling at about fifty miles an hour:- a terribly cold wind… and it was snowing quite hard – the snow being driven horizontally to the ground. I was darned thankful for the warmth from the engine in my vehicle cab: but it must have been a nightmare journey for the lads who had to travel in the rear of the lorries. Strangely enough, when we arrived at Mehle, there was no wind at all, and the snow was coming down calmly and steadily: and they have had no wind at all here all day, even though we are only 35 miles from Ringelheim. But we are now much further from the Harz Mountains… and this must account for the difference in the weather. It is rather warmer this evening… and the snow is already thawing… leaving a nice squelchy mess everywhere.

I have told you that Tom Hamnett and Les Challinor are being demobbed with me… but they, for some inexplicable reason, have been sent with the drafts to the other squadrons… Tom to A. and Les to B. But they will have to report here on Saturday… to join up with all of the battn. 22 group party. And this party will include Noel Wright: he will leave at the same time as all of us… whatever his wife says to the contrary. I don’t know whether she is trying to give you the impression that he has some special ‘pull’ somewhere, enabling him to get away earlier than the rest of us… or whether she is just genuinely mistaken in the dates… Anyhow, she is wrong.

Your letter today tells me that it is the last but one… so tomorrow I may receive your last letter – the one dated Nov 22nd… To be more precise, I ought to say that it will be the last letter for Sgt. Greenwood:- It is very significant news, dear Jess… and I am not a bit sorry to hear it, even though I know I will be without news of you and Barry for about nine or ten days.

Now that I come to think of it, you have already written your farewell to Sgt. Greenwood: the next time you see me, I will be Mr Greenwood. Sounds funny, doesn’t it? But I think I will soon get used to it.

The water burst you speak of reminds me of an identical case we had years ago – and I’m sure the same thing has happened again. Ever since that original burst – which we and the plumber never found! – I’ve had a lingering suspicion that it has never completely cured itself: I have always felt that there has been a minute seepage or ‘weeping’ from the initial burst… and that is why the paper in the corner has gradually become so discoloured. It is definitely NOT condensation, my love – and I will defy a thousand Mr Hallworths to prove it is. There is a leakage… either due to a fracture in a pipe, or a bad joint at the cistern. But why it should so mysteriously disappear, I cannot explain, other than that expansion and contraction has something to do with it. If Hallworth cannot find it this time, I will do something myself to find it… and I don’t think I will find a nest of Gremlins either-!

And now – it is my turn to do a little explaining… (…)

And now I must see about bed… Am sleeping tonight in army blankets for the first time in weeks – having been using the bed-linen of our little Gasthaus at Ringelheim. It won’t be so good…

Forgive me, darling, for saying so little about your birthday… But there is so little I am capable of saying just now. You will know what I feel… and that is what matters.

I love you, Jess dear –
Your Trevy.