No. 7925934. Sgt. Greenwood, R.T.
9th Battn. R.T.R.
Jess Darling: Thank you for the parcel: it arrived today. You have sent me a very useful little mixture. I have been intending to ask you for some sacchs. for a week or two… but kept forgetting. You have sent me 200, so I am now O.K. again for some time. The flints too were a good idea. I still have some left, but am using my/your lighter a great deal and am grateful for this reserve supply. The ciggys, tooth paste and notepaper will be used in due course. They are always acceptable.
I don’t know what to write about this evening, Jessie Mine. I have been orderly sergeant today… and that means errand boy for the sergeant major. I hate the job, and am glad it has only lasted for one day. The weather has been beautiful for the last two or three days… quite warm and sunny. I only hope these conditions continue… Bad weather is bound to retard our progress in the east… and prolong the war.
This is a very quiet little village… situated in a shallow valley, and well away from the main traffic roads. I could really enjoy the peaceful atmosphere of the place… but for the ever present knowledge of the war. How much longer must we wait, dear one? The tranquillity of a place like this… with its glorious trees, its orchards in which the fruit is now being gathered: the rooks ‘cawing’ in the cool of the evening… these things remind me so much of England… of home… of Jess. I am aware of my great good fortune in being temporarily out of the fighting… but it is impossible not to feel homesick… to yearn for the presence of one’s only real love…
I have been re-reading one or two of your recent letters… (…) Your comments about my letters almost make me blush. They are hardly literary efforts… but maybe they have some interest to other people because I am known to them. It occurs to me that I have written very little indeed to Mr. Garsden (R.T.G’s pre-war boss at Ediswan’s), and am wondering whether you would care to send him one or two of my letters. He is a great talker… and would perhaps be a means of letting some of his smug friends know that there is a war on. If you don’t like trusting him with the actual letters, could you send copies… maybe typed by K… or Mrs. Steele? This may sound an awful bother, but I would feel that Garsden was actually getting some news from me. You could also ask him to send them on to Mr. Crunden. Could you have a few extracts typed, Jess? It seems a good idea to me and would relieve my conscience. If you can do this, I will write a short note to Crunden and Garsden explaining my inability to write to them direct. It seems a good idea to me… but please be frank if you think otherwise. Garsden’s address is J.W. Garsden, Edison Swan Electric Co. Le (?), Lloyds House, Albert Sq. M/c. If you would prefer to send copies direct to Crunden, on my behalf, his address is E.W. Crunden, The Edison Swan Electric Co. Le, Tungar Dept, Ponders End, Middlesex. The advantage of sending copies is that you could “edit” them… making additions or alterations where necessary to preserve continuity. Is this a daft idea, Jessie Mine? It is your fault really: it is your letters which give me the impression that I must have written something interesting-!-
When I re-read the story of your purchase – I refer to the coat… I feel something of your exuberance. I am so glad that you have really bought something for yourself… something you needed. And my heart sings with joy when I realise how lucky I am… how incredible is my good fortune… I am going to be welcomed home by Jess herself… my dear wife and friend. There is indeed much happiness in store for me.
Later – Saturday afternoon.
I was enticed away from my writing last evening… by a mere wireless set! But… it was really the strains of a Beethoven piano concerto which caused the interruption. I was writing up here in this loft, and Dicky Hall was down below in the mess twiddling the radio knobs – (we have a crude little battery set here). Suddenly I heard a few unmistakable chords and cadenzas: no one but Beethoven could have written them. I rushed down the ‘cat’ ladder, and Dicky and I listened to two full movements before the programme was jammed off the air by another station. I don’t know where it came from, but it was so lovely while it lasted:- the first decent music I have listened to since I heard that Mozart piano concerto some weeks ago… when we were pushing down to Villers Bocage. How long ago it seems! I cannot recall ever having heard the particular concerto before… and am sure it was not one we have on the gramophone:- That is the only clue I can offer as to its number. After this musical interlude, it was too late – and too dark – for more writing.
I spoke last evening of the beautiful weather, but something must have gone wrong during the night because it rained very hard. And today has been misty and drizzly so far:- not the sort of weather to help the war effort. It has held up our maintenance on the vehicles. But the blokes don’t mind that – they have been given the afternoon off… and many of them have gone to have a look at the town, as this quiet village life doesn’t appeal to most of the youngsters.
The sergeants mess dance takes place this evening. Don’t really know how I will spend the evening. I suppose I will visit the dance, below this loft… but I don’t fancy spending the whole evening there. Nor does the weather encourage a walk. Maybe I will be able to do some writing up here… in spite of the noise down below.
Two more letters have arrived for me this afternoon – dated 18th and 19th… and the day now seems less gloomy. You remind me of happy memories… I too, darling often recall little events from the past… and they are always about you. And I dream about the future… always about you… and Barry. My imagination has been very busy since we were last together, especially since leaving England… and I have a lot to thank it for.
You tell me about the pram… I always knew the darned thing would be troublesome… that type especially. You have been plagued with mechanical gadgets, haven’t you dear… And yet you have managed to keep carrying on in spite of everything. Thank goodness I will be able to relieve you of these particular worries when I come home… You will be able to forget all about screwdrivers and pliers… and other mechanical nightmares… And, who knows? a certain kitchen drain plug may heave a sigh of relief when it knows of my homecoming. That was a funny incident, Jess. It always tickles me. It will tickle Barry too… when I tell him all about it, a few years hence… Meanwhile, he seems to be spending much of his time playing and laughing with his mummy. It must be lovely to hear him squealing with delight: I am longing to hear him… longing to see his darling mummy playing with him… Oh Jess… the things that are in store for me. You have no idea how much you mean to me…
Good night, Jess… my love
P.S. Am enclosing Haydn’s letter… And a pamphlet handed to us just before embarkation.