Aug 2nd 1915
My dear Mother
We have been away from the scenes of action since Wednesday night last, back at the advanced base in camp having a rest. The duration of our stay here is unknown but we don’t expect it to last much longer, and are prepared for it to end suddenly at any time. A series of full nights’ rest, with not a lot to do by day has been rather refreshing, and it is a pleasure to be out of the flies and the smells. At the same time the heat is great and overpowering if there happens to be no breeze, shade is very difficult to get – tents and awnings being most rare, though we got one put up this morning for our officers mess and in many places the dust is almost as bad as on the shore of the peninsula where it is hopeless. We moved our camping ground on Saturday morning to a much better spot where we have been much more comfortable.
Our fortnight’s experience was a very quiet one from a fighting point of view, and there was only one minor action which was just out of sight on our left so we didn’t take any part in it although we heard the noise. The Turks attacked a bit of trench where the lines are close together, but they only lost heavily and never gained a footing, so they didn’t get much advantage out of it. Still one always has the nervous tension, the night watching, and the flies which make day hideous from 4.30 a.m. till 7.30 pm; and snipers to guard against, occasional casualties and general discomfort, so even a light fortnight represents a certain amount to be gone through. I feel quite sure though that the future holds much fiercer work in store for us. This is no western frontier, to settle down to siege warfare and leave it at that. We want to treat the Turks here as they have been treating them on the Euphrates. Once we get them moving I don’t believe they will be good for much. I can well believe that before you get this letter you may have had dispatches telling of renewed activity out here. I had a big mail on Saturday, with long letters from Kath and Aunt Lottie in reply to a letter and postcard I sent from Malta. Another mail yesterday brought me only one letter, yours written at Eastbourne. The garden seems to be very good this year. A weekend to come and see it would be very acceptable, but I expect it is little I shall see this time unless it be that I get home convalescent later on in the autumn. This is not a bad little spot, though pretty dried up at this time of year. It is very fully cultivated in all its broad valleys, with vines, melons, figs, tomatoes and lots of plants, but trees are on the whole uncommon. There are a good many fair sized villages, which look for the most part very clean; the peasants working in the field look surprisingly like the people at home, especially the women. The hills sum up to a fair height, and are extensive and roomy; they are formed like mountains and look higher than they are.
I have kept fitter than the average, but am having a slight bad turn today, which doesn’t feel very serious. It is very hard to keep all right in camp in this heat and I am most thankful to have been so well on the whole. Today and yesterday have been much fresher with a good breeze. By the way my luggage is only the 3 packages, the invoice was wrong. I am sorry you should have had trouble about it.
Best love to all from
Your affectionate son
Cyril E Sladden