Officers’ Mess, 9th Worcs Regt
March 3rd 1915
My dear Father
I was sorry to hear that Mother’s cold was hanging about and demanding stern measures. I hope she is getting along steadily.
At the present time we are getting a good deal of marching, as the area allotted to the brigade is six miles away, and we go out there about three days a week. Yesterday we had a route march of 17 miles through Bagshot and Chobham. Unfortunately my feet are blistered which makes it rather hard going. We shall have the heavy days tomorrow and Friday and then I think we shall get our new rifles and shall be doing musketry and range practice for a week or two; that ought to give the opportunity for them to recover again.
I have been told off to learn the work of machine gun officer. As I understand it I shall be simply a reserve for this purpose. It will mean a lot of work in the short time available, and I shall have to hand over my platoon mainly to another officer for some time to come; we have got two spare officers in the company. At last we have got a machine gun to begin work with; it arrived this afternoon. I hope some more will follow soon; I think we are to have four for each battalion.
I had thoughts of going over to Addlestone on Sunday afternoon; however trains didn’t fit, and I couldn’t get a bicycle so I had to give up the idea. The weather wasn’t very encouraging either, and as a matter of fact broke down badly in the evening. I can get a train that fits pretty well if I go to Brockwood station; so I hope to manage this visit another time.
On Saturday afternoon I propose to go to Guildford to a concert with Marshall and Lancaster. The latter ran me over there yesterday evening in his side car. It isn’t far, we did the return journey in just over two hours which allowed a respectable time there for shopping. The concert is in aid of the Belgian fund, and the violinist Ysaÿe is chief performer, together with a Belgian grand opera singer Van Dyck. The first named is a very famous player, and I have heard him once. Opportunities for amusement of this kind are scarce in our present circumstances, and one is glad to snap up any that arise.
Luckily they make a practice of leaving Saturday afternoon free so that we can book beforehand with reasonable certainty of being able to get away.
I had a short letter from Kath today enclosed with a parcel of socks etc sent for the men. She says George has been with them two days and is very fit again. He must have a useful spell of leave this time. I expect it is goodbye for him this time and he will get out ahead of me, though not by very much after all. One never knows anything for certain, but I expect now to see April in before we move.
The action in the Dardanelles is most interesting; I am wondering what troops will be used to effect a landing, as one can only suppose it is necessary to do that pretty soon.
Mela tells me she wrote to Mother on Monday, so you will know of her little outing on Sunday. She has been feeling rather better the last week or so, and is tackling the last month of theatre work fairly cheerfully. I am glad it is only a month more.
Love to all from
Your affectionate son
Cyril E Sladden