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November 26th 1915 - Letter from Cyril Sladden to his fiancée, Mela Brown Constable

26th November 1915
Correspondence From
Cyril Sladden
Correspondence To
Mela Brown Constable, Sisters' Quarters, University House, Birmingham
Relationship to Letter Addressee
Text of Letter

Nov 26th 1915

My own Darling

Having a quiet afternoon I will take the chance of writing just a short letter though I have not a lot of news I can give you. I am back in reserve again, but last night "rest" for a lot of us took the form of 3 hours digging at midnight, so I was up till three; however that is very little to grumble about as I do excellently well for sleep as a rule. Things go on just about the same as ever so far; once or twice lately I think the Push has been given reason to wish our ships further off. It is one of our main amusements watching bombardments of distant part of his line when they take place. On a really dark night the effect is remarkable owing to the very bright flashes; but of course much firing at night is unusual. I can hear something rolling away in the distance that sounds pretty vigorous, big guns of some sort I am sure, but I don't know how far off. It sounds as if it might be some monitors pounding away.

I have had no further letters lately; I rather thought a few might have been forwarded and reached me by this time, however it is at best an uncertain journey both ways and letters often take an awful time. Another home mail should turn up soon I should think. I want to hear about your visit home at the beginning of this month.

We are still getting lots of newspapers but the order runs out soon and is not renewed because we wish to avoid running up more debts till the mess accounts are set on a proper footing again. The impression I get from reading them is that the country is horribly over self-conscious and seems to be worrying and fretting away to a very unnecessary extent. The Bulgarian affair seems to have knocked everybody half off their feet. Of course it is pretty well bound to mean more war, more trouble, more debt and all the rest before we can finish it up which is all very tiresome, but it won't alter the result. The only time I feel glad to be out of England is occasionally when I read a lot of papers; it really seems more peaceful amongst a few shells and bullets than amongst all the debate, quarrels and recriminations of people at home. I suppose a lot of it - I hope most of it - is journalistic trash, and that people really are just carrying on quietly the best way they can without criticizing everybody and everything. All the wise fools who condemn this whole show as something that ought never to have been started would have been the first to sing the praises of its instigators if it had succeeded; and how often the barest featherweight would have turned the scale the other way I can hardly think. It is extraordinarily like the Germans and Calais.

And then all the other idiots who can't find a better argument for their pet remedy for all evils, Organisation, than that the Germans use it; use it ad nauseam if they would but remember it. As a matter of fact I will guarantee a remedy that will make organisation as nothing and that is unselfishness, which fortunately is being realised without being talked about quite so much; and an ounce of it will be worth more than pounds of the other.

I don't quite know why I should preach at you (of all people) in this topic; probably because you alone would have patience to listen.

I will make an effort to get some letters to you to reach about Christmas but cannot promise to succeed, it will depend upon the regularity of mails and my own chances of posting, which latter should be all right so long as we stop where we are.

If I post this now I think it will go today, so I had better do so. I hope I shall hear again in a day or two.

Very best love from
Your ever affectionate
Cyril E Sladden

Letter Images
Type of Correspondence
Envelope containing 3 sheets of notepaper
Location of Document
Imperial War Museum
Record Office Reference