March 27th 1916
My dear Father
I shall assume that you will hear my news given in the letter I wrote recently to Mela. We are still in the same camp at no great distance from the Turks, where we see something of their outport cavalry and hear the guns over at one place where there is little frontage of trench warfare of the kind we are familiar with; a short line wedged between the river and a marsh apparently.
There is really very little news to give, but I have not written for some time; also it is as well to take opportunities of letter writing when I never know that in the near future I may not find the chances at all good.
I am still waiting for a mail, so have no fresh news of you to comment upon. It is a fortnight today since we last had English letters, so I think another mail is rather overdue, even allowing a week for the journey up river.
The weather is very nice here at present, quite like English summer, and has up to the present never been any too hot. I fancy next month will begin to be trying.
The river is very high from the melting of snows, and its level is a foot or two above our camping ground at present. It is kept within bounds by a bund built all along, which appears to be comfortably high, but not any too thick. Fairly frequent fatigues have been called upon to improve it at various points where there seemed to be a risk of the current wearing it thin. The night before last after having been comfortably turned in for two hours a fatigue of 400 was suddenly turned out at 12.30 and I (among others) had to go out with it about four miles up river and stop a fair sized break through which a big a stream was beginning to flow which would soon have increased and caused a considerable flood. We had to work at first by moonlight, and ultimately were relieved at 8.30, reaching camp again in time for breakfast about 10.0. I didn’t envy the R E Officer and some of the men who had to remove the lower half of their clothes and wade for long periods, placing sand-bags. We did enough to stop the flow practically, and all that was needed was to put the finishing touches on the job. It is rather a bad job trying to keep large numbers of sleepy and bored men at work in the small hours of the morning.
I met Harold Allsebrooke last night and had a chat with him. His regiment got here a day or two after us. He struck me as not being particularly pleased with life in general, but it may only have been a passing mood.
If we begin to get busy out here you will get news of it in the papers weeks before you can hear from me. You can always rely upon it that no news is good news so far as I am concerned. But if I get damaged again I shall take the first chance to give you a few details by cable. The official reports of wounded are supposed to be classified as either ‘dangerous’, ‘severe’ or ‘slight’, which I imagine is included in the report sent home but is necessarily bound to be a very rough estimate of cases.
Give my love to Mela if she is with you, and tell her I shall write soon, but am rather waiting for a mail to come in.
Best love from
Your affectionate son
Cyril E Sladden