Skip to main content

January 27th 1919 - Letter from Arthur Sladden to his father, Julius Sladden

27th January 1919
Correspondence From
Arthur Sladden, No 3 Mobile Laboratory, BEF
Correspondence To
Julius Sladden, Seward House, Badsey
Relationship to Letter Addressee
Text of Letter



No 3 Mobile Laboratory, BEF


My dear Father


In your last letter you gave me the most delightful news of Cyril's DSO and the fine despatch covering it. I'm sure that with all of us you are very proud of this honour he has won so deservedly.


Since my last letter I have moved again, being posted as OC No 3 Mobile Laboratory and as adviser in Pathology to First Army; both positions were previously held by McNee who is now demobilised. There is one head adviser to the BEF and an assistant adviser to each of the five armies, and to each big base hospital centre, Rouen, Etaples, Boulogne and Calais. I take it as rather a compliment that First Army should have arranged to get me back in this capacity.


No 3 is very well found in a large "shooting box" on the edge of a wood, part of an old estate now utilised for a sanatorium in normal times. I am at Montaigne, about 5 miles beyond Douai, so have moved forwards again.


I'm likely to be pretty busy here for in addition to all the routine work of the laboratory there will be a good deal of travelling about to other laboratories and to see the people at Medical Headquarters. I have a Ford car here in rather better condition than the old Singer at No 21. I hope to get another officer soon to help but the whole question of reinforcements is getting very difficult in view of demobilisation. I am in hopes that the whole of this army will soon be dispersed, I fancy the next two months will see a big increase in demobilisation - it is already moving fairly quickly.


This move involved a second cancelling of leave for me. I should have come on 25th. However I hope within a fortnight or three weeks to get home at last. These false alarms have been very trying for Mary and myself, to receive a warrant and then have to return it is far worse than having none at all.


Mary seems to have had a severe chill last week. Her latest letters however are reassuring. I'm glad you were able to get down there, and May also.


We have severe weather just now, and some snow. Fortunately not enough to make the roads very bad. In this district practically all the roads are pave, even the second and third class ones, but in places it is very rough.


I met a Badsey man the other day, an RE named Jelfs, one who "worked for Mr Jones" before the war. I shouldn't have known him on my own account though. I was sorry to leave the mess at No 18, had a very pleasant stay here. Amongst the men were an old Oxford friend, and several Barts people, and also two delightful padres, one the Bishop of Leicester and the other a Scottish RC, a most original man, expert in many things, blacksmith, poultry farmer, beekeeper and, since joining the hospital, a skilled anaesthetist. My present quarters are not so comfortable as far as the Mess is concerned. However, I know many of the fellows here and as far as the laboratory is concerned, I am very well installed. I hope there will be no necessity to move before I myself move home.


With love to you all.

Your affectionate son


Letter Images
Type of Correspondence
Envelope containing 2 sheets of notepaper
Location of Document
Worcestershire Archive and Archaeology Service
Record Office Reference