June 23rd 1915
My dear Father
There is just opportunity after all for me to write and send best wishes for your birthday.
We are still here not knowing when we may move out of harbour. Of course we should not be told long before in any case, but I believe the captain gets his orders at short notice.
I am writing just after breakfast, and am expecting we shall parade shortly for a walk on shore, as the tide ensures that we cannot move until midday at any rate.
We are on an old Union Castle Liner, chiefly a cargo boat with very little passenger accommodation. We are very full up, having some gunners on board as well as ourselves. The men are packed tight on the lower decks, and the officers are like sardines in the few cabins available. In my cabin we are five, four bunks and one on a long seat. There is not a lot of room to move as we have a fair lot of luggage with us. We have got to get up and go to bed in relays. It is going to be pretty hot when we get south, especially if we have to close all portholes which is possible. I expect most of us will sleep on deck, I know I shall carry my valise up if conditions get bad.
The boat deck is reserved for officers, and the men have all the main deck to roam about except a little piece set apart for sergeants.
I hear we are off for our walk almost at once so I shall have to stop in a minute.
No letters have reached us here yet, which seems rather bad luck. One officer got a telegram with just the regiment as address.
I don’t think this is a very fast boat so we shall take some time over the voyage.
Best love to all from
Your affectionate son
Cyril E Sladden
PS - I hope my belongings will arrive all right. Unpack everything and sort it over a bit, as some things won’t do well to remain packed.