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December 3rd 1915 - Letter from Cyril Sladden to his mother, Eugénie Sladden

3rd December 1915
Correspondence From
Cyril Sladden
Correspondence To
Eugénie Sladden, Seward House, Badsey
Relationship to Letter Addressee
Text of Letter

Dec 3rd 1915

My dear Mother

I have celebrated your birthday by enjoying the best rest I have had for a long time, I even managed a bath this afternoon, such a luxury – and so badly needed. We came back for a short spell in reserve last night, very much in need of it. Just a week ago this evening we had a terrific downpour of rain; the fall within 1-1/2 to 2 hours must have run into several inches, almost everybody and everything was drenched, and of course the trenches were badly knocked about. The chilly moonlight night that followed was spent in clearing out water chiefly. Next morning was fine, but turned to rain and at night it snowed a little! Then followed two days frost, before a gradual thaw set in. I can only leave you to imagine the state we were in. Our chief comfort lay in the knowledge that the Turks were probably even worse off, being worse equipped. By the greatest luck I was in a tiny dug out that kept me and my belongings dry, and I only got a bit wet about the feet from ploughing about in watery mud later on. Few were so fortunate. So for myself I have come through none the worse. But when one has charge of a lot of men one’s own fitness or otherwise becomes a matter of minor importance; and it has been a troublesome time doing all possible to get things put to rights, and also keep the men as far as possible from suffering from the effects of long continued wet followed by frost. When conditions are bad a certain proportion of men get very depressed if they are allowed to; and in such cases it is hard work comforting them with the assurance that they will be all right so long as they keep on working and moving about – this after two or three practically sleepless nights and perhaps a twinge of lumbago or rheumatism thrown in. The snipers have had quite a busy time troubling the Turks who were running about in the open to keep warm, as else forced to get out to avoid flooded trenches. But for one day I think both sides felt so thoroughly fed up that they cared little about fighting. The storm was extraordinary; and beats any I ever saw. Lightning was nearly continuous – but with not a lot of thunder, and the rain terrific for quite 1-1/2 hours. Two small tins which I believe were empty at first had about 3 or 4 inches of water in at the end.

We have been blessed with some fine sunny days lately until today which have been invaluable in helping us to put ourselves into order again, get blankets and clothes dry, also the trench bottoms. Communication was very much upset of course, and I found no mails were being sent away, so it was no use writing. Today I sent you a post card which I gave to an officer to post who was going down to the beach this afternoon, just to indicate that I was going on all right. I am writing now in hopes of getting the letter sent at the first opportunity. I cannot hold out hopes of sending frequent letters just about this time though I should like to so as to ensure your hearing about Christmas time. In any case either this, or any other that may reach you about that time must be taken to bring the good wishes that I shall in any case be thinking, whatever may be happening to us out here.

You will not forget my little Christmas present for Mela, will you? I will send a cheque soon so that I can take my share of the usual presents, but I prefer to wait until mails seem a bit more settled again. I have just heard that my post card was securely posted. News was also brought that a large mail for the brigade is waiting to come up. I have had no letters for almost a fortnight so am looking forward greatly to getting some again. Best love to everybody at home (all, perhaps, except the three of us if this should reach you in about three weeks).

Your affectionate son
Cyril E Sladden

Turn Over

Dec 5th - A mail brought me May’s letter posted Nov 10th; and Father’s of Nov 15th. I was delighted to get further news again. I was glad to read that the cold you had didn’t turn any worse, but that you got over it in a few days enough to go out again. I have enjoyed a most peaceful day today, with very little to do. After a short turn in reserve we got back to the firing line yesterday afternoon. It is nice and warm and dry again – such a change from last Sunday. Please thank May for her long letter, which was as acceptable as hers always are; she much be beginning to count the days to holiday time by now. I look forward to getting promised parcels in due course.

Love from

Letter Images
Type of Correspondence
Envelope containing 3 sheets of notepaper
Location of Document
Worcestershire Archive and Archaeology Service
Record Office Reference