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


Sunday evening

Jess darling, There were three letters for me today… thank goodness. One of them seems to have been astray… it is dated 4.10.44, whereas the other two are dated 11.10.44. But dates are not all important: it is the sight of that dear handwriting, and the news of you and Barry which make your letters my principle necessity…

You were so despondent… “miserably happy”… when you wrote that letter on the 4th. But you must not reproach yourself. We all have our moments of reflection upon this hateful life… and the result is always depressing: I can speak from bitter experience in this direction. To me, your fortitude has been remarkable. You have been forced to live a life of awful loneliness, and that alone is a great deal. But there is one feature of a ‘war-widow’s’ life which few people understand, and which, in your case, has been much worse than average. I mean the apparent injustice of a system which has deprived you of a husband… (with all the hardship entailed thereby)… and left others practically untouched… to carry on with their normal lives. How bitter you must have felt: indeed, I suppose it is possible that your position has been really humiliating at times… Other people have been able to do so many things that you too would like to do… but, unfortunately, your husband is away… a mere soldier… and so you have had to be content with hopes for the future… and dreams of the past.

Perhaps I know something of what you have suffered so often at the week-ends… when so many of our friends have been able to enjoy a little leisure. But you have endured it, dear one. And I am so proud of you. And in spite of everything, I know that neither of us, with our beliefs, would have been really happy had I been at home whilst others did the fighting.

I know you understood my problem… it was so hard to leave you, darling… and I know you will understand when I say that my conscience is now clear. I have helped a little bit to repay our debt to all who believe in decency and freedom. It would be more truthful if I said “we”. Because without you I would probably have remained at home… one of the “reserved”. This may seem a strange contradiction, but it is true. You see, a man who has a lot to live for because of a splendid and beautiful wife, is more appreciative of human values than one less fortunate. In my case, I learned a lot about the beauty of life and decent behaviour after knowing you. I learned something about ideals and principles… because you were so idealistic: you had such a clear and untarnished outlook on life. And your character was strong enough to withstand the strain of my ascent from the commonplace to something better. You became my goddess: I worshipped you in my heart, as I still do and always will. And so, my respect and admiration for you has become a very real thing in my life. Had I failed to do what I felt was right in 1940… so many long years ago… I should have failed myself… and you. But I couldn’t fail you, darling. I had at least to make an attempt to be true to my ideals and to you…

And now I have little to boast about: there have been no heroics in my life out here, but I haven’t let you down, Jess. I can look into your dear face without feeling that I am an imposter… a sham. And that is so important, terribly important.

Thank you for the remaining lines of Laurence Binyon’s poem. There was some speculation here as to the author. I knew the other poem by Rupert Brooke… and felt rather proud when I was able to inform my colleagues of its author.

I sympathise with your speculations about the future. But I am not very optimistic. It will take more than a war to change human nature, and from what I know of the latter, I imagine the present day “heroes” will be forgotten a few years hence. I am not trying to be cynical, my dear, but human beings will have their own problems after the war… and the past will inevitably be forgotten. I don’t suppose we who become ex-soldiers will ever forget… but we are a minority of the nation. Whether we will behave as Dorothy suggests I cannot say. At the moment, I know I have no desire on earth but to return home… to you and our little son. And when I am home, I don’t think I will want to think about the war. I shall be too busy… basking in the warmth of your love and friendship and learning to live again. And then, too, I have to learn to become a father to little Poppet-! I will have much to occupy my mind, dear Jess… things I have dreamed about for four long years. I don’t think Toddy (RTG’s brother) need think that I will treat him with contempt or shun his company. This would be foolish.

Talking of war and the future reminds me that I recently saw a copy of an amazing German document. I hope to tell you more about it someday:- meanwhile there seems to be little doubt that a third attempt to dominate the world is already being prepared by the German war machine. Their leaders already envisage this third attempt in “good heart” and “high spirits”-! There can be no doubt that Anthony Eden’s recent declaration on this subject was the sober truth. Incredible?.. Yes… but the Germans are incredible people. It is all very well for people like Stan Smith to sympathise with the German people. Quite rightly, such people are grateful for being received kindly and given an enjoyable holiday. But I fail to see how Stan can claim to understand the German people, the Teutonic mentality, after such brief contact and with the language barrier. It must be remembered too that Germans are notoriously obedient… and they obeyed the orders of the Nazi hierarchy by being kind to Britishers.

When I hear arguments about the war being against the Nazis, and not the entire German people, it makes me wonder who the hell we are fighting. There were never more than five million Nazis… and surely this number of Germans must already have been killed or incapacitated. Are we then fighting their ghosts? I think not. One thing, to me, is undeniable… the German aptitude to absorb the Nazi hatred complex. They were systematically taught to hate Britain: not the genuine Nazis… they already hated us. It was the German people who were the pupils, and they seem to have responded very well. Must we now go and forgive them for having been misled by the wicked Nazis? If we do, it will be a great betrayal of our armies… our allies… our dead. So it seems to me.

It is good to hear that you are reading again. And how quickly you read Lin Yutang’s book! You must have enjoyed it… and no wonder. It is a grand yarn and I too was completely absorbed by it. How I wish I could be with you… at home… to talk about the story. It is so unsatisfactory talking about books by letter, especially the characters…

“Your M.P.” is something of a contrast… but you may find it equally absorbing. It is all so dreadfully true… as the Tories know. They even tried to have the book suppressed, via Parliament! Don’t you think, Jess, that there are many names in that book which ought to be on our list of ‘war criminals’? What an incentive it would be to we fellows if we knew that the criminals on both sides of the Channel would be punished for their crimes. If

As things are, it would appear that Hitler and his crowd of thugs… Goebbels, Goering, Himmler, etc… will not be indicted. And if they are, it will be in camera. That seems to be the latest development. It would be too damaging to many powerful people in this country to try them in public. Ah well… let’s leave politics… I am able to think of other things, thank goodness. There is our little Poppet… who so willingly obliges with “little glimpses of heaven”… what a delightful phrase-! You make me so envious… so anxious to be with you both… What happiness there is in store for me…

Apart from making me envious, you make me laugh: you say funny things… This time it is your st…(?)! That tum of yours couldn’t have been so bad if you were able to frighten it back. And knowing how critical you are, especially about your form, I know that you are just the same lovely Jess as usual when you admit that it is “not much different from my pre-pregnancy figure”. Don’t worry darling. It is not your tummy I will be looking for on that day of days… I will be too busy eating you up with my eyes… eating you up… And when we get home… Yes, we will plaster the door with notices “Visitors not wanted”… I must be with you alone, dear – and our Poppet, of course. I just want to rest in your presence… to absorb you… to listen to you… and to look at you. I want to help you… in the house… with Poppet… in so many ways. And we can only do these things if we are alone, really alone…

Good night, Jessie Mine.

Wed: 18:10:44

This is terrible. I started this on Sunday evening, and it is still here. I am sorry, dear Jess, but I have not been able to do any writing in the interim, – nor have I been able to post the foregoing. Our movements have caused disorganisation once again. But with a bit of luck, it should be on the way this evening.

I have little fresh to report, my darling. The weather is the chief bugbear at present: there has been much rain lately, and today there has been a deluge. it is horrible. Fortunately, we slept in civilian houses last night… and will be in the same place tonight… but I don’t know about tomorrow night. It seems pretty certain that we will be on the move again tomorrow…

In fact, the immediate future seems a bit uncertain, so once again I must warn you not to worry about further delays in my letters. I can only promise you dear that I will write at every opportunity. Please don’t be pessimistic: I am pretty good at keeping out of trouble-!

And now I am going to find our H.Q. to make sure of posting this. I can’t rely upon the squadron…

Au revoir, my dear…

Always – I love you – love you

Your Trevy.