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February 10th 1918 - Letter from Bernard Sladden to his uncle, Julius Sladden

10th February 1918
Correspondence From
Bernard Sladden, HM Troopship
Correspondence To
Julius Sladden, Seward House, Badsey
Relationship to Letter Addressee
Text of Letter

HM Troopship


Sunday 10th Feb 18


Dear Uncle Julius


A week ago today our convoy sailed from England, and a few more days will elapse yet before we reach our first calling place. Our ship has the reputation for being fairly speedy under favourable conditions but she is not a pleasant boat to be in under conditions such as we encountered during the first few days of the journey. Until yesterday we have had persistent head winds and stormy weather. For two days we made practically no progress, during which time we had it wet and uncomfortable. We took so much water aboard that I think the skipper was afraid to push the vessel for we lost sight of the rest of the ships until the weather moderated and they came back to pick us up, on Friday evening. I don't know that the weather was exceptionally rough for the [place-name obliterated by censor] but I think this ship was designed for the smoother waters of the Pacific. At any rate she was on the Auckland-Vancouver run before she was a troopship. We have a fair wind today and consequently the knots are reeling off in good style. Before leaving [place-name obliterated by censor] I sent you two hastily written notes, the second one asking you to cable home that I was embarking for New Zealand. In a previous letter home I had promised to cable my movements and although the military authorities will probably advise them of my departure, a message from me will be welcome. Please let me know whether there was sufficient left of my funds to defray the cost of the cable. It is quite on the cards that I may be returning again on active service and that will be decided, probably before leaving the ship. The sea air is a good tonic, and before I left Torquay I was feeling pretty good, in spite of the fact that the doctors at Sling were inclined to think that the disability was more apparent than I may have thought.


It was a great disappointment being hurried off as I was, particularly if there is a probability of my returning shortly, for there was so much I could have done if I had had the time at my disposal, and the long journey to and from New Zealand is so much wasted time.


Tues 12th


There is still no sign of land but we cannot be far away from the mainland. This morning one of the [name obliterated by censor] (a [name obliterated by censor] ship I believe) altered her course and, putting on speed, was out of sight. Evidently she is bound for a different port to our own ships. Weather is cold but the sea much smoother than it has been at any time since we left England. Food on our ship is most plentiful, particularly butter and sugar, in fact everything including meat and from all of which commodities were put on board before the ship left New Zealand. Ours is truly a land of plenty, and I often think when I see the unlimited and often wasteful quantities of butter and sugar that one used, what a pity a few extra tons could not have been shipped and left in England where it is so badly needed. I think I told you that I had joined the ship's police for the voyage. Our duties are not arduous. We have to patrol the ship and see that the regulations regarding lights and smoking etc are observed, and keep order generally. Our hours are 6 on duty and 18 off, night and day. In a few days we should be getting away from the danger zone when the lighting restrictions will probably be removed.


I have other letters to write which I will make a start with now and add a few more lines to this before I have to put it in the posting box, when we reach port.


14th Feb - The ship's mail box is to be cleared this afternoon so we must be getting near to port although there is no land in sight. It is a beautiful day. This morning all the ships were [obliterated by censor] and a [obliterated by censor] from the [obliterated by censor] and [obliterated by censor] the men from each of the [obliterated by censor] who had been acting as [obliterated by censor] us during the trip. There is nothing fresh to report during the last couple of days. My next letter will in all probability be written from New Zealand.


With best wishes to all.


I remain

Your affectionate nephew

Bernard Sladden

Type of Correspondence
Envelope containing 5 sheets of notepaper
Location of Document
Worcestershire Archive and Archaeology Service
Record Office Reference