Skip to main content

May 20th 1917 - Letter from Arthur Sladden to his father, Julius Sladden

20th May 1917
Correspondence From
Arthur Sladden
Correspondence To
Julius Sladden, Seward House, Badsey
Relationship to Letter Addressee
Text of Letter



My dear Father


It is some time since I wrote to you, I've had several letters from home in the last few weeks. Please thank Betty for hers and say I'll write soon. I hope my letter to Mrs Valentine Knight was able to relieve their minds, and that by this time their boy is safely in England. I hadn't an opportunity of getting detailed information about the wound but could tell it was a serious one, though doing well.


I doubt if people realise the immense work and organisation involved in the sending of information about wounded soldiers to their people. No other big army attempts it; the French says they can't spare the extra clerical staff which would be necessary and no news whatever of any French soldier, unless he dies, is sent through. Our system has been carried on from the days of the small army. I sometimes wonder whether it is really more humane in practice; it certainly could be done more speedily of decentralised - done from the base hospitals, but as men are moved about so much, and in some cases their home address is not available if they're unconscious, probably the central method of sending information is more accurate, though slower.


We have had a succession of close, heavy days, very tiring, and shall be glad of sunnier weather; this warmth and moisture should bring the crops along well.


I hope the submarine improvement will be maintained. I feel it's better to wait a couple of months before jubilation as if there's a lull the shipping people can't do better than run in all the more supplies against the bad weeks.


The Women's Army is beginning to arrive, and I fancy within the next six months a very considerable number will be employed in base towns and on lines of communication - the difficulty to date has been accommodation which in all camps at least was non-existent. I believe they have the rank and organisation as in the regular army, and "Miss Smith" becomes "Private Smith" and is addressed as such. What with Portuguese, South African niggers, Americans and all the older participants to whom we are accustomed, we form quite a cosmopolitan crowd in this base.


I sent on the extract from Cyril's letter to George. I expect by now the Mesopotamian force is less active for the hot weather is well established.


Mary and Baby are prolonging their stay at Port Talbot, and seem to be getting on well. Baby is losing her exclusiveness and no doubt is all the better for it. The have nice people around that part and Mary is able to get about and see a few fresh faces. There's no further talk of Hubert being called up. I can't help thinking the RAMC administrators could make rather more use of some of their present staff before depleting the civil population further of doctors. On the other hand on general principle of equity they would do well to call up the younger men still at home replacing them by some of the elderly men out here or by those who have served a long time and wish to return now.


Another difficulty is the multiplicity of small VAD hospitals, excellent as an outlet for local keenness to help, but forming a further strain on the civil doctors left, and certainly not so economical in personnel as one larger hospital with the same number of beds. However, so long as the War Office asks for small local hospitals, doubtless these will be provided, with enthusiasm, and the sentimental reasons may be regarded as outweighing the severely practical objections. I’m glad Ethel is giving help at Abbey Manor, with 100 beds and apparently quite a small staff they must all be busy.


I have managed to level up my "odd money" in converting old War Loan to a level £50. It looks as though the rate of interest reached its zenith in the big War Loan. I'm sure I hope it did in my capacity as a tax-payer!


I hope you are well again and able to enjoy the long days and the life and growth in the garden and orchard.


With love to all.


Your affectionate son


Letter Images
Type of Correspondence
Envelope containing 3 sheets of notepaper
Location of Document
Worcestershire Archive and Archaeology Service
Record Office Reference