March 19th 1915
My dear Mother
Like many little things the sending of my socks has constantly put off to a more convenient occasion. I am packing them up at last and thought I would enclose a short note. I could have written at rather greater length had not a fire alarm sounded just as I sat down and that kept us out on the parade ground for some little time; and I want to catch tonight’s post if possible.
I hope I shall get to Sydenham on Sunday, but it is quite on the cards I may be prevented. Also I have great doubts of my chances of getting off a week hence when I should have liked to get a night’s leave to coincide with Mela’s. Range firing is likely to take place on Sundays, and at present we supply officers and men for butt markers; my machine gun work gets me off this but they may think that Sunday is a good day to give me a turn. Our own firing is to start after all about Tuesday next, and will last over into the following week.
I have charge of the machine-gun detachment while the officer who is really in command is away taking a course of instruction at Hythe for ten days or so. We shall have special facilities for firing early each day so as to get training done as well.
I have started some riding lessons under our transport officer. The first day I was really in luck as he was away, and I got a quiet pony saddled for me and amused myself greatly. Yesterday he put two others and myself bareback on mules for about an hour. It is good practice, especially as a mule is a brute to guide where you want him to go, and they have mouths as hard as iron. I got along without mishap, though one of the others had an entirely harmless fall. I am so sore and stiff today that I didn’t have another practice. If I have to take over a machine gun section it is necessary to get about on a horse.
I have heard from the adjutant that the CO is applying for a general three days’ leave before we go, so I hope we shall get it.
Best love from
Your affectionate son
Cyril E Sladden