Jan 27th 1916
Leave is being granted for one month’s absence from duty to all officers who have been with the MEF for over six months. So far so good, in fact very excellent. But it is likely to be extremely expensive, especially if we are to avoid spending nearly all the time travelling. I have decided it is worthwhile incurring the expense to carry out my suggestion of earlier letters and get married; I don’t think I need worry to wonder if you will be agreeable!
I think the first people will be going tomorrow, and they will be able to use a troop transport. This is heaps less expensive, but rather slower. The only satisfactory quick way that can at all be relied upon is the P&O, which will make the journey via Marseilles run to something over £30 return. Provided nothing crops up to interfere with the leave I shall probably decide upon the latter method unless some pretty promising alternative crops up at the last moment.
As far as I know at present we shall go at intervals, and I may be 2nd or 3rd batch; it is decided chiefly by length of service actually with the battalion. The intervals may be as much as a fortnight, so I may not start for some time. Of course I will keep you informed by cable as much as possible.
Just at present I am hoping my promotion may be pushed through before long; I should like to have it fixed up properly before getting married. Especially as I hear today that we are having a new CO coming, which will involve Faviell reverting to Major and 2nd in command, and Dobson who has just joined in the latter capacity will have to have a company; so I greatly fear I shall lose my present command. Between you and me it is not certain, as Hiscock, though a captain since September, is not greatly fancied by authorities, and was doing 2nd in command of “B” Company while I was commanding “C”. However that may turn out I should be glad to get the reward of my 2½ months at my present work.
Today an important letter came from you, saying you were awaiting the surgeon’s decision as to fixing what you were going to do. I am very anxious to know the result. It was with the idea of helping you in any arrangements you might be making that I telegraphed yesterday that leave was probable – but that was rather late. I should like you to continue nursing if possible after we are married while I am still away. But I hope you can arrange for a good rest to make yourself fit again.
Of course from this end I can fix up nothing about the wedding, particularly as I can’t be certain of ever getting home till I am actually there. The date must be always liable to change. Place I must leave to you. Only I want one thing, to have it as quiet as possible, and absolutely no unnecessary expense. I think you share with me the fancy for being married in Badsey church; perhaps circumstances may render it possible, but I wouldn’t press it if your people are likely to be offended in any way. If there is no festivity there will be no expense to anybody and that will not therefore introduce difficulties. It is a great pity we cannot consult about all this together, but one can’t, so must make the best of it. Talk it over with anybody you like.
I shall not have long at home, 14 days at very most, and about 8 if I am unlucky; so the wedding will have to be very soon after I get home if we are to have the best of our time together.
Dearest, my mind altogether fails to grasp (except at sure short moments) that the end of our long, long wait has really come in sight. Even now I feel I must warn you in case this leave never comes off after all. But it is quite intended to be given so ought to be all right bar accidents.
We will fix up a sudden honeymoon together; that takes no time to arrange. It will be very short, and then we must go to Badsey for a bit.
I feel so very happy, darling, at the prospect of being with you; but most of all at the prospect of being with “my wife”. God bless you, and prosper this plan of ours.
Your most devoted
Cyril E Sladden