March 14th 1915
My dear Mother
I am very glad to hear your cold is getting better. If you get much weather of the kind we have here today you will be able to go out and enjoy the sun, which would probably do you a lot of good. This is easily the best day we have had this year, and quite hot. If only it will last it will be most useful. At last our rifles have been issued and we have musketry instruction until Thursday when new course of range practice begins. The Staffordshire and Gloucesters, who got their rifles earlier last week start firing tomorrow.
I have been doing machine gun work all week, and find it very interesting. I expect I shall have to go back to the company during the firing. The machine gun section fire a special course, but these who are being trained as reserves fire the ordinary course. We use the Pirbright ranges which are only a mile or two away.
I heard on Friday evening from Kath, who told me George was starting that morning. I think his idea that they will be taking over some of the French lines is probably a correct one, as I believe that is being done steadily. Our success near La Bassée shows that we are in a position to begin to do things at last. I hope you will let me have a line as soon as you hear news from him.
I shall try to run up to Sydenham next Sunday; Kath has asked Betty over, and hoped I would come. With any sort of luck I ought to be all right.
Last Sunday afternoon I went over to Addlestone, and found Aunt Fanny and May there. Christine had been away for a week or two. Aunt Fanny had rather a cold and was stopping indoors. I stayed till after supper, and took a train about nine o’clock, which landed me here about eleven after an awful slow journey, all changes and waiting. Like everybody else I have met outside the army they appeared to be feeling the strain of the war a good deal, but making the best of it quite cheerfully. My prescription for anybody finding the war getting on his nerves would certainly if possible be to join the army.
Last Wednesday the King reviewed the Division. We all marched past him on the road along Chobham Ridges about a mile away. The infantry went by eight deep to save time, as it is a very lengthy proceeding; the effect was rather good, and I think we made quite a good show. The equipment of the men is to all intents and purposes complete, though some of the clothing is not quite of regulation pattern, and some of it pretty much worn out.
Mela applied to the Home Sister recently, who made her see a doctor who prescribed an iron tonic for her. I hope this will help her to last out till the end of the month; with luck she might get a little extra leave then, just to provide her with a little rest before starting fresh work.
If I can manage to fit in another flying visit to Badsey so as to meet her there again I shall be very pleased. Supposing I could not get away for a night I have an open offer from Aunt Fanny to put her up at Addlestone if she had a room, as is likely; then I should be unlucky if I couldn’t get a Sunday or an evening to run over there.
I am thinking of packing up some socks to send you to be darned, as mine are getting rather bad.
The concert at Guildford a week ago was very good and such an enjoyable change. I found out next day that Aunt Fanny and May Capon were there, sitting only a few seats in front and I never spotted them.
Best love from
Your affectionate son
Cyril E Sladden