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October 8th 1918 - Letter from Arthur Sladden to his father, Julius Sladden

8th October 1918
Correspondence From
Arthur Sladden
Correspondence To
Julius Sladden, Seward House, Badsey
Relationship to Letter Addressee
Text of Letter



My dear Father


It seems some time since I last wrote to you, and the last fortnight has been so full that I've had little spare time. On 26th I had orders to move forward to a new area, on the edge of the historic country of 1910, and next day the battle started, so everyone had plenty to do. I cut down laboratory work as far as possible and undertook the night shift in the "resuscitation" ward at 30 CCS. Most CCS nowadays have such a ward for the very bad cases, and the work is very arduous and often depressing enough, but undoubtedly useful. The method of transferring blood from a healthy man to a severely wounded one has come in within the last year and we've been doing a lot of that. The problem often is to pull a man round sufficiently to enable an operation to be done on the wounds. If he is much collapsed an operation is fatal, on the other hand a long postponement of operation will also be fatal, so that's where one special ward comes in, to pull them round from a badly shocked condition, either before or immediately after the operation.


What with the move and work connected with it and the fatigue of a 12-hour night shift for a week. I was pretty tired at the end of it. There's been a few days' relief and I've gone back to lab work now. This afternoon I got a good walk, went over a bit of old battlefield, covered with dud shells - all sorts of material. The villages round here are completely levelled and every tree down, so that the country in all directions is desolate - it reminds one rather of the bleak open tableland country on the upper levels of the Welsh hills, a sort of Dowlais Top country with no houses, and only some rusty ruined corrugated iron shanties to be seen.


I'm living with 30 COs again. We were quite a large mess for a week, with several teams added to the usual staff. I found myself quartered in a bell tent with an old Oxford friend, now a surgeon at a neighbouring CCS. I've succeeded in tracking down Fred Butler's location, called round there yesterday, but he had just gone out. However I hope to meet him soon, he's on the edge of a well-known French city, a fine town though sadly battered - but hardly beyond repair. I'm afraid the distance between George and myself has increased again, and I'm not sure now if we are in the same Army.


You must be feeling greatly cheered at the events of recent weeks - we are certainly well ahead of our programme on all fronts. I wonder if even Foch reckoned on such big successes. The German suggestion for an armistice at this moment has fallen very flat in the BEF and I suppose at home also. Doubtless a reasoned reply is called for, and I imagine it would be to tell them that armistice is out of the question and that no negotiation is possible while a single German soldier stands in France or Belgium. I hope that the feebler section of the press is not playing up to the German game in this matter. I take it they hope to split political opinion in England in view of a possible general election.


However, the move is very welcome as evidence that the Central Powers are really getting very anxious as to their fate. It is a great advance on their arrogant attitude of December 1917 and of the spring of this year.


I suppose you've no further news of Cyril. I wonder what operations will be going on in General Marshall's army in view of the Syrian success.


Baby has been staying a fortnight at Port Talbot but is back with her mother now. Mary hasn't been very fit, I think partly an influenza which is prevalent but she writes she is better now. Dorothy and Nelly had been staying with her.


I've had no news of Mela for a long time. Is she still at Bulford?


There's a busy day in prospect tomorrow, and I must get to bed now.


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