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October 28th 1917 - Letter from Bernard Sladden to his uncle, Julius Sladden

28th October 1917
Correspondence From
Bernard Sladden, The Salvation Army, Chaplain's Department, On Active Service, NZ Base, BEF
Correspondence To
Julius Sladden, Seward House, Badsey
Relationship to Letter Addressee
Text of Letter





Dear Uncle Julius


There have been quite a number of New Zealand letters for me in the last few days. First there came two from Anne, one from Dolly and a pc from Wellington College, and last night I received the cablegram and Arthur's letter enclosed with your letter. Many thanks for sending them all on to me here. I am glad you opened the cable message and posted it with the letters and I would like you to do the same should any other cablegram that come for me. It is very good indeed of the girls to think of sending a parcel with a cake, and to find the time to prepare it. I can assure them that it will be greatly appreciated and in the meantime I am looking out for its arrival. You mentioned in an earlier letter that two parcels had been readdressed to me but so far one only has turned up. Parcels mail is very erratic and I expect the errant parcel will finally turn up as did my other mail matter that went astray.


I am sorry to hear that Frank Butler, whom you tell me was a nephew of Aunt Eugénie's was killed on 8th inst. The casualties at the beginning of this month were heavy and probably the New Zealand troops have suffered as heavily as any.


All the news I had from home was good. Arthur and the girls write cheerfully. I am afraid Arthur does not get all the letters that I have written, though why his should go astray and not other home letters, I don't know.


A medical board has been sitting at the depot. The doctors don't tell you much, but I gathered that there is still a weakness in the affected organs which prevents my regaining the old state of physical fitness. The board has to decide whether men should be sent home or whether they can still be of service and for that purpose they are classed A, B and C. Men in the latter class, up till now, have gone back to New Zealand, but they are to keep me here I am satisfied to go on as I am. My job is that of storeman in the ration store. I have no physical work to do and I have a roof to sleep under instead of the tent, and advantages as regards my meals, and although I am marked C, I hope I shall not always be so. In the course of the next few days, I shall try and get a chance to see the doctor privately and see which his opinion is.


The Depot is busier now than it has been since the inception, in fact we have overflowed into the neighbouring lines formerly occupied by Tommy troops.


I am very sorry to hear that Aunt Edith is so seriously ill, but hope that she may still make a good recovery.


27th - I did not finish this letter yesterday, so will add a bit more before putting it in the post. It is wretchedly wet, and colder than it has been previously. It must be miserable for the men up there in the lines and there will be worse weather to come.


The Lieutenant-General told me this evening that he had put my name in to remain here in my present post for a month (I had already told him that if it suited better for me to remain I was willing to do so for the present). I should like to come over to England a little later on, perhaps for Xmas. The next of the C class men will be leaving for England any day now. They go to Torquay, where there is an embarkation Depot for New Zealand troops.


I will let you know how matters progress and I don't think there will be any difficulty about getting to England later on seeing that I have volunteered to remain here when I had the opportunity to go back with the rest of the so-called "unfits".


Best wishes to all.


Your affectionate nephew

Bernard Sladden

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