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June 28th 1916 - Letter from Cyril Sladden to his father, Julius Sladden

28th June 1916
Correspondence From
Cyril Sladden, Windcliffe, Simla
Correspondence To
Julius Sladden, Seward House, Badsey
Relationship to Letter Addressee
Text of Letter


June 28th 1916

My dear Father

I did not forget your birthday last Sunday. I am sure Mela will have carried out my little commission and bought you your present as I asked her to do some time back. I didn’t tie her down entirely on choice but suggested Ian Kay’s “First Hundred Thousand” supposing you had not read it. It is such an admirable picture of what we all went through in the early days, and so well written throughout. I read the last article as it appeared in the Blackwood for November, I fancy, it gives the impressions of the battle of Loos, and struck me particularly as having got the atmosphere of a big fight wonderfully well. He has a knack of including the little details that take so much of one’s mind at the time, but get forgotten later on in the larger view of the affair as a whole. The copy of Owen Wister’s Pentecost of Calamity which you despatched some time ago turned up recently. Thank you very much for it. It is quite an interesting book to read, and I should think the author represents a fairly big section of the educated American opinion on the war. I have been very well pleased with the news for several weeks past. I don’t think it has ever been so consistently satisfactory in every way, and a similar general current of events in our favour continued for a few more months must put the enemy into a very bad position. At present they continue to use enormous numbers at Verdun, with practically no returns at all. They seem to be attempting an offensive in the north against Russia to check her progress, which has been excellent and does not seem to have stopped so far. The Italians have begun to turn the tables on the Austrians. The Turks have got a fresh trouble with the Arab rising around Mecca. Meanwhile, allowing plenty of discount for exaggeration, there can be no doubt that shortage of food in Germany is getting serious, and giving rise to a certain amount of trouble internally, which is not likely to grow any less as time goes on. The Verdun policy looks to me like one of a government that is beginning to feel pretty desperate. And there is no doubt that the neutral opinion is becoming more and more fixed. My mail at the end of last week brought your letter of May 31st. I am glad you received my long account of the Mesopotamia fighting which I wrote soon after getting to Poona. I fancy the heat is against much activity there at present. Also, the river generally keeps in flood until the latter part of June, so that if any activity is contemplated during the heat it is likely to start before very long. I fancy the Russians are probably finding the heat pretty trying in Armenia, cold weather suits them much better. It is said that we are to have Baghdad, Russia, Constantinople; in which case Turkey will have occasion to regret her flirtations with Germany, especially if the Arabs set up an independent empire of their own in the south.

You will be glad to have Betty at home for a year; I wonder how the exam went, it is just ten years ago that I took it.

June 30th. This is mail day so I must get my letters finished. My next home mail will be up here tomorrow evening. I am extremely lucky to have been made a guest in such a comfortable house, with such a good host. Mr Lowndes is an extremely busy man, and as chief of the Viceroy’s legislative council, naturally has many heavy responsibilities, yet if you only saw him in his free time you might think he had little to do but look after our welfare and amusement. He is constantly thinking of things he can do, and nothing is too much trouble. He is something of a botanist and a keen gardener; some days ago I accompanied him on a scramble right down to the bottom of one of the great deep valleys close by; he took a trowel with him and a native servant and dug up various plants and flowers which grew wild around here in considerable numbers. A little expedition of this sort seems to be his favourite form of recreation; he is also a keen fisherman. Social functions rather worry him, though in his position he cannot escape a good deal of this sort of thing. He is rather sick at the amount of gaiety which still goes on out here (though it is much less than formerly) and having left England only last autumn he notices the very remarkable difference.

I have just started getting some tennis, and after such a long time am in very bad practice and get stiff. It is good exercise though, and if I can get into rather better form I hope I may be able to get a fair number of games.

We have had a good break in the wet weather lately which has been very pleasant, and it has been possible to get out a lot.I must finish Mela's letter now, so will close.

With best love to the girls and yourself.

I remain your affectionate son
Cyril E Sladden

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