Skip to main content

November 3rd 1914 - Letter from Cyril Sladden to his mother, Eugénie Sladden

3rd November 1914
Correspondence From
Cyril Sladden, Bhurtpore Barracks, Tidworth
Correspondence To
Eugénie Sladden, Seward House, Badsey
Relationship to Letter Addressee
Text of Letter

Bhurtpore Barracks

Nov 3rd 1914

My dear Mother

If I don’t write tonight, the week will have gone by before I know where I am.

I am in a room now, having moved in at the end of last week. The Warrant Officers’ Quarters have been taken over to accommodate a lot of officers of several regiments. The Warrant Officers in a battalion are the NCOs of highest rank, few in number, and holding responsible positions; generally they are middle-aged married men. They have each a small house with two downstairs and three upstairs rooms. We are put seven in a house with our servants as well, who live in the kitchen. Each room has two in except the smallest bedroom. I share a fairly small room with another man, so we are pretty tightly packed together. It has been rather satisfactory to be under rather better cover than a tent affords during the last few days of soaking rain. I would prefer being alone, but one can’t have everything; my partner is a poor sort of person, and very irritating in his capacity for talking rot; he is otherwise harmless. The quarters are only 200 yards or so from the mess, and close to the barrack square, so we are quite handy. This and next week, A and B companies are firing at the range daily; as the battalion has to find all guards, pickets and fatigues for the garrison just at present it falls to ourselves and D, who are therefore extremely short of men for parade. We are trying to get in some special training of officers and NCOs, but the latter are also very rarely obtainable. When range practice starts, we shall be kept very busy till it is over.

Mela has been suggesting that she would try to get a day off to come to Badsey if I could get a weekend at home. I told her on Sunday that I should probably be able to get from Saturday midday to Monday night quite easily this coming weekend but that for the next two it would be impossible on account of the musketry. I don’t suppose she can get next Sunday or Monday; but if she writes to say she can I will put in for leave. Probably we shall try to fix it up later on. I should rather like to run up to London some time, but am uncertain whether to try, as I don’t want to spoil my chance later on of getting leave to go home if I want it.

I had a very nice letter yesterday from Trevor Eddershaw who is greatly bemoaning the fact that he is not well enough to fight. He says that he has made a good deal of improvement since his last visit to the specialist in London. I must write to him soon and tell him how I am getting on.

Yesterday all the officers of the division attended a most interesting lecture by General Haking, who went out in command of the 5th Infantry Brigade, and led them until the Battle of the Aisne. He was wounded and came home, and is better again now and going out in a few days. He spoke very well for about 1 hour 20 minutes telling us all about the experiences of the forces, and his brigade in particular. He is a splendid cheerful, optimistic man, who made it all sound much more bearable than one is accustomed to think. His account of how he was the first to cross the Aisne was specially interesting, as it was a feat that earned the brigade special mention in French’s dispatches.

I hope May is better now and that you have escaped catching the cold from her. I had a bit of a cold last week for a day or two, but by Sunday it improved vastly, and has been nothing since. Please thank May for the pyjamas, and for patching them up. I hope to go on for a bit with what I have; and as one doesn’t seem to take pyjamas to the front, I will postpone ordering new ones just at present. It would be very jolly if my weekend could come off next Sunday, but I very much doubt it. I will warn you at once if I put in for leave.

Best love from
Your affectionate son
Cyril E Sladden

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