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October 29th 1918 - Letter from Arthur Sladden to his father, Julius Sladden

29th October 1918
Correspondence From
Arthur Sladden
Correspondence To
Julius Sladden, Seward House, Badsey
Relationship to Letter Addressee
Text of Letter



My dear Father


I got your letter of 18th a few days ago, since then have moved again and we are now established a couple of miles in front of a recently captured city. That, in view of the many recent capture, may not tell you much. My address doesn't change, No 21 Mobile Lab. I always notify the APO of each move and the despatch of letters is amended accordingly.


It was very bad luck that George and I didn't meet after all. I'm so glad to hear of his promotion to Warrant Officer. I suppose it carries the extra pay also.


I don't regard the move to Baku as unfortunate, it was worth trying and when seen to be of no avail, withdrawn without very heavy loss unless we are misinformed. I daresay before so very long some of our forces native Gibbs there again. Also conceivably to other places where the Turk had been able to check us.


I am camping not far from 30 CCS again and join their mess. My men managed to collect enough wood and corrugated iron at our last place to build a couple of small huts. Mine is already up and will be useful as bedroom and office, and nicer than a bell tent in the coming weeks. I don't know how long we'll be here, but expect it will be until December anyway, so it's worth some trouble to get comfortable. This isn't a bad district, open farming country, every stalk of corn and blade of grass has been carried off by the Boche in his orderly retirement. He was in a bit of a hurry though at the last minute, and a good many unused shells are lying about, and a few disabled guns. Near our site we found some excellent heavy baulks of timber which have made a good road for the heavy laboratory car to stand upon. There's a peculiar pleasure in collaring enemy material for use!


Have you any reason to suppose George is not in France? I've lost touch with his division, but that isn't surprising just now.


We have got in front of the region of greatest devastation and out here more houses are standing than not, and the roads are in better order, which is just as well for the little car, for a few more long journeys on broken pave would have soon settled it.


I hope this influenza epidemic will soon abate. It is causing everyone a great deal of anxiety in every country apparently. With a properly organised Ministry of Health some big attempt might have been made in view of the spring epidemic to find some protective inoculation but it's no one's business in particular and so nothing has been attempted. A lot of preliminary work was done out here in the Army, but no effort to carry the thing to a practical and useful conclusion has been made and so all we can do is to "hope for the best".


We are enjoying a few days of summer-like weather, probably the last before the winter. It should favour the advancing armies.


The weekly toll of prisoners keeps pretty steady; with that and their casualties the Germans must be getting very anxious about their manpower. But I don't think their affairs are yet so bad that they will give in this year. All this exchange of notes and opinions is so much manoeuvring for position, a game at which Wilson seems quite able to hold his own. I hope, however, that it will lead to a concrete agreement amongst the Allies as to our requirements in pretty exact detail, otherwise our terms will change from month to month and the end of the war will be postponed sine die. I see for instance some French journalist exciting himself over the possibility of Germans in Austria entering the German Federation of States! A very natural thing to do, and from the standpoint of European peace and security probably very desirable as forming a check on the Prussians. Besides such action would be an obvious act of "self-determination", which a few months back everyone was demanding. No possible German combination could be more dangerous than the present one has been and by the time Marshal Foch and his collaborators have done with them I don't think many Germans will retain their erstwhile "will to war" that we heard so much about.


I hope you are keeping well, doubtless following the papers with much zest.


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