Officers’ Training Camp
Sept 3rd 1914
My dear Mother
You will be expecting to hear a little more news of me, now that I have been here long enough to get something more than the first impressions which I gave Mela on Monday night. So I am making use of one of the first slack periods I have had since arrival. Although we are kept so busy we are really having quite a good time. New arrivals have constantly been coming, and we now have about 300 or more in camp. We are organised into four companies, of which D is the newest and still growing. I am in C company, whose commander is the captain of the Rugby School OTC and a very efficient officer. Each company has its own mess tent, comprising two large marquees, connected by a short awning; the front is furnished with tables and deckchairs, the back is for meals. So we are quite comfortable.
I am lucky in having been able to secure a tent with only one other man in it, an arrangement which I hope will hold now that we are pretty well settled down. My companion is from Rugby, and was to have gone up to Oxford next term. I fancy there are not very many in this camp who have not been up to the Varsity yet. We are quite comfortable together, and with a vacant bed (besides our own) to spread our belongings on, seem to have plenty of room.
So far the weather has been splendid. The nights are fairly chilly sometimes, and the dew is heavy. When we turn out at 6.0 we find the sun clearing away a dense morning mist. A cold bath in the open air at 6.15 wakes one up! I have slept excellently, even the first night, and am feeling very fit, though a bit weary with so much unaccustomed hard work. My feet are holding out well, a bit tired but not sore at all which is a great comfort.
It is fine country round here for camping. Big bare hills for the most part, with a very few scattered farms; the elevation varies from 300-600 feet. There are no metalled roads about, only tracks (and the railway); trees and hedges are scarce. I hear 5000 more yeomanry are to come shortly, so the place will be a sea of tents.
I must close to catch the evening post. Give Mela my best love, and tell her I will write a good letter on Sunday. Thank her very much for hers. When the handkerchiefs are being sent, I should like the little bottle of new-skin that is in my photography drawer.
Best love from your affectionate son
Cyril E Sladden
PS - Possibly I may visit you for a day or two at the close of camp, but cannot say yet.