No. 7925934. Sgt. Greenwood, R.T.
9th Battn. R.T.R.
Wed – p.m.
Jess darling: Recent activities have caused another dislocation of our postal service… and you can therefore imagine my pleasure when I was handed three of your letters last evening:- lovely letters darling: I thank you for them. Unfortunately, they have heightened my feeling of guilt… because it is now about four days since I wrote to you. I believe I warned you in my last note that a gap was possible… but I didn’t know then that it would be such a long one. I know what it is to be without mail… and I try to write regularly… but when we undertake long marches, writing becomes impossible… And that has been the trouble.
We are now halted… but only for a day or so… It is therefore possible that this letter will be followed by another gap of 2 or 3 days. I hope not, and will do my best to avoid it, but I must warn you. Please try not to worry, darling… I am quite well, and still enjoying plenty of grub and reasonable living conditions.
There is so much I could tell you if I had time. And so much I want to say in reply to your letters, but I can’t do it. Always I seem to be fighting against time. And now that the days are so much shorter I only have the few remaining minutes of daylight after we cease work: artificial light being a luxury which we only occasionally enjoy. We have none in this place… not even a candle.
You send me much news of events in our little home, and I am grateful for every word, especially when you are telling me about little Popett. He must indeed be a fine little chap to have earned spontaneous praise from Marjorie (R.T.G’s older sister). She is inclined to be outspoken, even at the risk of being tactless. (…) Your latest letter referred to Plowman’s visit. You would no doubt find him anxious to talk… especially about the 9th. I hope you were able to give him some news of our activities. I wasn’t able to say much in my last letter to him. His remarks about mail are rather puzzling. So far as I am aware, I have replied to his letters… but I may be wrong. On the other hand, his letters may have gone astray: it seems to be several weeks since last I heard from him.
I have not yet written to McGuinness… but I will certainly do so at the earliest opportunity. Please tell him whenever you see him. From his letter, I gather that he is intensely interested in the war, and its political implications, and I want to try and reply to one or two points he has raised. I can’t do this until I have time to write a decent letter.
I was glad to have your comments on the problem of Germany. You present a new angle which I had never even considered… that of the reason for the arrogance and intolerance of the German male. I had simply accepted this as the nature of the brute. I think your point of view is probably correct:- and its implications. So if German women are really against war, it is up to them to insist upon some measure of emancipation. It will be interesting to see whether they are equal to the task of asserting themselves, and overcoming the ascendency of their very ‘superior’ men-folk.
Since my earlier letter on the subject, I have seen no reason to change my views. In fact, I think I will be out-doing Vansittart if this war lasts much longer-!
Last Sunday, the unit held a Memorial Service in honour of our dead colleagues, (I was not present at the service) and each member of the battn. was given a brochure of the service, with a list of those killed. I am sending a copy home under separate cover… No – on second thoughts, I will fold it and enclose it with this. When you bear in mind that there are usually 3 or 4 wounded to every man killed, I think you will see that the unit has done a fair amount towards ridding the world of Nazism.
Maltot was a fairly ghastly business for this unit… (‘A’ Sqdn). I haven’t yet told you about this action, but hope to do so someday. Unfortunately, you will have to wait until I am home before you can know the full detailed story, because I doubt the wisdom of writing about what, to me, appeared as a tragic blunder.
I am indicating the ‘C’ squadron personnel with the letter C. You will notice that we only suffered four deaths at Cheux:… (This document was preserved in the archive. Click here to see the front cover and casualty list.) It will always remain a mystery to me why we weren’t all wiped out. Eight tanks were lost, but most of their crews got away… somehow. Some of them are still in England… badly wounded.
Jess… I saw a strange sight today… a real railway train… actually moving along the lines under its own steam-!! This may sound a trivial matter, but to we soldiers it was a great event. We have become used to seeing railway lines rusty with neglect: railway bridges blown up: steel rails blasted and bombed into chunks of twisted iron: occasional coaches overturned and burned out… usually just a charred framework. We have seen too a few engines, derelict and rusty: just pitiful wrecks. Never, throughout several hundred miles of travelling and fighting have we before seen a sign of movement on a railway track… until today. That is why we all stared in amazement when we saw this strange monster moving through the countryside.
I will have to say good night now, dear Jess. Please, darling, try not to worry if my letters become a little scarce during the next few days. There is little to worry about, really. I only hope nothing happens to prevent you writing those delightful letters to me. I would die without them. Perhaps we will have a ‘break’ in a few days time, and then I will write from morn ’till night…
Meanwhile, I dream about you ceaselessly and I often talk to you… in secret. Please give little Poppet a big hug for his daddy.
Au revoir, lovely lady.
I love you dear…