Grand Majestic Hotel
Sept 20th 1915
My dear Father
The doctor prescribed massage for my shoulder for a little time and light duty. Hitherto I have not been required for any duty, and the daily massage has done me a lot of good already. In fact there is really very little wrong now: I can’t quite get my arm straight up above my head, nor across my chest, but as long as it is in a normal rest of position, it is entirely comfortable and fairly strong. I am expecting now to be sent back to my regiment in a few days and as I am altogether stronger and fitter than I was at Malta, I feel much more ready to go. It was suggested I might be here 10 days or so when I first arrived, so I cabled an address; now I fear I shall not be here quite long enough to secure any mail unless I am very lucky. I know that the daily papers of the 8th were on sale here on the 16th, so if one is lucky, 9 days might be sufficient. However, I shall keep Cox’s informed of my whereabouts, so that if I move the letters will come on without being delayed very long.
On Saturday night I got a fine packet of letters at the army post office, which had been to the regiment and were returning to find me. They have my present address there now so that any further arrivals will be held up. Besides several from Mela including one very long one she wrote just after visiting you on the 1st of August. I had a long one from May written a day or two earlier, one from Mother of that date and one from Kath written about the same time from Folkestone. Mela’s letters came down as late as the 17th but there were no late ones from home. I had a great evening getting through all that long pile.
Alexandria is fairly interesting but not at all a fine town, though improving considerably I should think. Almost the only respectable entertainment is a cinema, which we have already visited on two evenings. There are a fair number of good shops, largely kept by French or Greeks. It is mainly a commercial city, and now has all the business of a big military base added to it. Cairo is the place to go to I believe if you want a really fine town.
It is rather a ruinous proceeding living in a hotel at one’s own expense; but the alternative of a peculiarly dull camp, several miles out, with no camp kit and not even a valise, and very poor Officers’ Messing is so depressing that the idea of convalescing under those conditions sounds rather foolish. Luckily one piles up savings while in the field, so I can stand it for a bit, and still remain considerably richer than I was in June. Still I think an effort might be made to do a bit more to provide fairly comfortable accommodation for officers who are just out of hospital, and not quite fit to return to the front. I should have thought some kind of mobile Officers’ Mess or club could be established in a convenient situation, with some camp furniture available or hire even, if the government can’t provide it for men who in the nature of things can’t possibly be expected to have their own with them.
I wonder how the fruit season is going and whether prices are good? I should think the enormous demand for army jam ought to make quite an appreciable difference. I should very much have enjoyed it had I been able to come and assist, even though at first not very actively. I hope the picking is not proving too heavy a task; but I suppose labour is bound to be scarce. I was pleased to notice Arthur gazetted a captain recently; it ought to have occurred long ago. In the Egyptian papers recently was an account by Ashmead Bartlett of the operations around the Anzac region on the occasion of the Suvla landing form August 6th onwards. I think he dated it August 19th. It will be in the English papers of a day or two ago. It struck me as a particularly good account so far as I could judge from the limited aspect of an enormous battle which one man can get. I should like you to preserve a copy of it, because it describes the big fight I took part in, and which nearly demolished my regiment. No divisions or brigades are mentioned, but the death of General Baldwin who was brigadier of one of the other brigades of my division is mentioned, and so you can pick out from that which part mostly concerns us.
I must close now to catch a mail.
Best love to everybody at home from
Your affectionate son
Cyril E Sladden