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August 9th 1917 - Letter from Arthur Sladden to his father, Julius Sladden

9th August 1917
Correspondence From
Arthur Sladden
Correspondence To
Julius Sladden, Seward House, Badsey
Relationship to Letter Addressee
Text of Letter



My dear Father


You will be expecting news from me by now, though doubtless Mary has told you of my moved.


I am quite well pleased with the change which brings more variety into my work, and more fresh air also, for although the laboratory itself is only potentially mobile, nevertheless we do work over a large area and go out to see cases and bring work to the lab. Our sphere is chiefly preventive medicine, searching out infectious cases and sources of infection, but we also are able to give help in diagnosis of difficult cases. The hygiene branch of the lab work consists mainly of water analysis for bacteria, and is itself pretty mechanical, but it involves personal visits to water carts and sources of supply all over the place, and so will give me an opportunity of seeing a wide stretch of country pretty intimately.


I fancy George not long ago was in this area, but has moved now. It is flat country, not unpleasant in summer but I should fancy very wet and dreary in winter.


Of course we hear a lot of bombardment, and aircraft overhead, ours and theirs is very common whenever conditions are at all favourable for observation. The night raids are the worst, they fly so low and in such large numbers. As I write I can hear one of our fellows flying over us towards the enemy lines, probably well loaded up with bombs; it's no one-sided occupation, that is quite certain.


It is remarkable how every village and every farm seems to have soldiers billeted within. It is all very systematic and each house has a label attached stating the accommodation, so that any regiment going into a new village can very quickly be distributed.


There are three officers in the lab. The man in charge is McNee, a young Scotsman, who has been running the show since the first winter of the war; he is a very above fellow and very well suited to his job. He had with him till recently another Scotsman, a lecturer in the Glasgow School (originally his teacher I believe) but the latter has gone home on a special job, and I take his place. The third man is younger than McNee and myself, and has previously had a long spell of duty in the trenches: a bit bumptious, but a cheerful youth and ready to do his share of work.


I'm just about to start my fourth year with the army. As things look at present I shall be surprised if it is my last year in the RAMC; barring accidents a fifth years looks only too probable. The air element will continue to be more and more important, and I shouldn't be surprised if the inhabitants of wide zones either side of the fighting line are provided with dug-outs and gas respirators before it's all over.


Politicians and journalists at home are very restless, I have no fears but that the army and navy will win the war all right if only the rest of the population will let them. I think The Morning Post is doing a great disservice to the country in agitating so bitterly for a Party cabinet. I don't believe Labour would work for five days under Curzon, Milner, F E Smith & Co without the present admixture of very different elements.


I suppose you are all busy now with the fruit seasons. I hope there will be less rain now, and that you'll be able to get everything gathered in good condition.


I'm in a comfortable billet, and in the coming winter shall appreciate being under a roof so long as the Huns don't blow it in.


I expect you find Baby has made much progress since her last visit. I'm glad she had some recollection of the previous stay.


With much 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