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



Jess Darling: Your last couple of letters have made no mention of your back-ache, and I’m wondering whether it has now disappeared. What do you intend doing about it? Don’t you think you ought to see the doctor? I appreciate that it may only have been an unpleasant offshoot of the other normal ‘illness’… but can there be any doubt in this direction? If, for instance, it has not yet entirely gone, then it may be something else, and I think it ought to be investigated. Please let me know more about it, darling.

I was glad to hear that you had written to Cpl Vroenhoven… and equally glad that you have invited him to our house. I presume he is a friend or acquaintance of Mr Cornelese (RTG’s billet host, Eindhoven), and it will be nice to offer a little hospitality to a Dutchman. I have certainly had more than my fair share of hospitality in Holland. I only wish Mr C. himself could visit us… but perhaps we can treat Cpl V. as his proxy. I am collecting a few odds and ends in order to send a little ‘Xmas present to the Cornelese family:- not a ‘present’ in the accepted sense, but one which I know will be very acceptable. I hope to send a few bars of soap, razor blades, chocolate, sweets, a couple of hankies, cigarettes… and anything else I can find. Unfortunately, we cannot send more than 3 lbs. in weight to Holland… but even this should allow a fair variety.

Incidentally… Dec 6th is a big day in Holland… something like our ‘Xmas… with lots of presents and parties etc. They call it St Nicholas Day: (doesn’t our ‘Santa Claus’ derive from Santa Nicholas?) it occurred to me that a packet of ciggys would be a pleasant surprise for Cpl V. on Dec 6th. Am trying to arrange for my parcel to Mr C. to arrive about the same date.

It was nice to hear of Bill Taylor’s visit, Jess. A damned good bloke Bill:- like you, I admire him… but, unknown to you, I’m darned thankful I met you before you had a chance to fall for Bill. But, I always was a lucky blighter-! I, too, am looking forward to plenty of yarn swopping… but I doubt whether I can equal Bill for colourful yarns: he has travelled so much. It will be nice to sit back and listen to a sailor: I have heard so little about the Navy’s war work from an eye witness. I was not surprised, dear, by Bill’s comment apropos human behaviour: I don’t suppose sailors behave any better than soldiers – and, for that matter, I don’t s’pose either of them are any worse than certain types of civilians.

Jess… we are going to have some visitors, aren’t we. I can fully understand your – er – apprehension… and yet, I think we can cope with them… taking the good with the bad. People like Bill Taylor and your cousin Phyl can visit us every night as far as I’m concerned… providing I have my evening quota of privacy to tell you how much I love you. I can see us having to work out a time table of some sort… But oh! What am I talking about? What about Popett: is he going to conform to any time-table? Is he hell! That settles visitors: we simply can’t have ’em.

You mention my letter to Mills’s… and how ‘awful curious’ you were about it. I sealed it up before discovering that I didn’t know their address… otherwise it would have reached you unsealed. There was little enough in it dear… Just a few words of thanks – and a brief summary of our job out here.

I was thinking about Barry’s second ‘immunisation’ during the week-end – and now I have your letter telling me that it has been done… and that he is O.K. Damned good news that, my dear… and a great relief to you too, I guess. Is there anything else to be done to him? I hope not: I have a deep sympathy for anyone undergoing inoculations: they’re lousy for grown-ups… and must be equally so for babies.

That was a lovely joke about the scent-spray: gosh! how that lav. seems to fascinate him: I wish he would learn its real object-!

I can’t think of any real news for you from this end. It would appear that I am either losing my ‘nose’ for news – or life here is actually as darned static as it appears to be.

One event of local significance occurred last evening: there was a serious railway accident at Hildesheim, about 15 miles west of this place. The latest casualty figures are 29 dead and 96 injured… all German civilians. One has to see the condition of German railways and rolling stock to marvel that there aren’t more accidents… And the overcrowding both inside and outside the coaches is unbelievable.

Our first intimation of the accident was when a ‘fraulein’ burst into the mess here at 8.0pm. She had been on the train – en route for Bad Harzburg to see her mother who was dangerously ill. It sounded like one of the numerous ‘hard-luck’ stories we come across daily – all from German civvies requiring transport in army lorries.

This particular girl said she had hitch-hiked from Hildesheim, but couldn’t get any further – could we help her. She seemed to address her story – in English – to me, so I had to do the necessary and explain that it was strictly forbidden for German civilians to travel on army vehicles. I examined all her papers and found that she had come from Mulheim in the Ruhr… a hell of a long way. I also found that she was officially employed by Mil. Govt. as an interpreter and had been given special permission to visit her mother. With this information, I saw the major and got his consent to allow her to travel on our lorry going to Bad Harzburg this morning with some leave blokes… And then I had to find a hotel to put her up for the night… and I don’t mind telling you I felt pretty sore about being buggered about… even though I did feel sorry for the lass.

You see, Jess, these interruptions by German civilians are becoming almost a nightly performance now… and as they always want transporting somewhere, it is always I who have to deal with them… being transport N.C.O.

The night before, it was a German concert party whose own lorry had broken down: I spent a solid hour messing about – first getting the major to sign the document authorising the driver to carry civvys – then finding a driver, and a vehicle – getting his work ticket completed – and then rounding up the Jerries.

And the night before that, it was a party of German nurses. They were stranded on Ringelheim station – and had to be in Goslar, 12 miles away, by the following morning. I had to see the major – persuade him that they were genuine nurses… get a ‘travel permit’ typed… find a driver and vehicle etc… And when ultimately the driver went to collect all the nurses at the station – he was literally charged by a horde of civvies, also stranded: He packed the whole bunch into his lorry… somehow!

Does all this sound like a moan? It isn’t really, darling – I merely repeat these details to give you an idea of how some of my time is spent… You will also see that travel is a major problem in Germany: just one of the many ways in which the German people are being inconvenienced by the ‘peace’.

During the day time, many civilians travel on German civilian lorries – sitting in open trailers and perched on anything from a load of coal to a heap of turnips or sugar beet. In this village, there is a permanent crowd of civilians waiting for transport to Goslar – the nearest town: they wait for hours on end sometimes. It must be very irksome to them watching our lorries passing by the hundred – often empty – and unable to give them a lift.

In case you are not aware of the fact, I should tell you that a certain number of German lorries are authorised to carry essential supplies – and it is these lorries which also act as a crude bus service. They are mostly broken down wrecks, running on “producer gas” (not petrol) – and rarely travel more than a few miles without conking out. One of the commonest road sights here is that of a sweating vehicle driver fiddling with his engine, or struggling with burst tyres. We simply can’t help them – except in the case of things like ambulances and fire engines. Yes – motoring these days must be a hell of a deal to Germans: it is certainly no luxury.

One thing I must tell you, dear… Since we came to this mess, I have heard some lovely radio concerts. There is a fairly decent radio set, and I make good use of it, especially in the late evening when most of the blokes have gone to bed. There is an orchestral concert almost every evening from Leipzig (in the Russian zone) and I have heard many of our favourites from this station – i.e. Grieg’s Piano Concerto, several Beethoven symphonies and concertos, two or three Tchaikovsky symphonies – lots of opera, and lots of orchestral works new to me.

One evening, I listened to a most magnificent piano concerto: it was in the Tchaikovsky style, and I wondered whether it was his lesser known 2nd piano concerto. I hung on to the set – determined to hear what the announcer said when it was over: the title of a work being given at the beginning and the end as a rule… It is usually quite easy to follow the name of a composer, and the work, even though the announcer be speaking in German, Dutch, Belgian, French or Italian. But on this particular occasion – well, I heard a voice alright… but it just sounded like a farmyard turkey – a series of wobbles and gobbles and grunts. I’m buggered if I know what lingo it was: It may have been Czech or Polish… but more probably Lithuanian or Finnish – or maybe Esquinaun (sic). Anyhow, I couldn’t understand a single syllable, and so lost the concerto. And what a loss! Jess! It was a minor tragedy: I could have wept.

This evening, I have heard Liszt’s Piano Concerto No.1… and a lot of the opera ‘Tales from Hoffman’… Also Smetana’s “Moldau”, Mozart’s Flute and Harp concerto – and one or two other orchestral pieces. It is nice to hear such fine music, Jess. I only wish we were listening together. But that will come… very soon now. Am simply longing to go to a Halle concert again: just you and me – with someone minding Poppet for us. It will be grand.

Before I finish – I must tell you that I went to Hanover yesterday morning. We had a lorry taking a bloke to hospital, so I went with it. There is a gramophone record factory in Hanover – and I intended buying a few records. But I was unlucky: all stocks have been sold, and no more can be produced owing to coal shortage. I was told they hope to get the plant working again on Dec 1st… but I hope to be well on the way home by then – so – I’ve ‘had’ my records.

Good night my sweetheart –
Am definitely going to dream about you and Barry tonight – same as last night.

Your Trevy