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September 14th 1916 - Letter from Cyril Sladden to his father, Julius Sladden

14th September 1916
Correspondence From
Cyril Sladden
Correspondence To
Julius Sladden, Seward House, Badsey
Relationship to Letter Addressee
Text of Letter

Sept 14th 1916

My dear Father

I posted news of my arrival here last week to Mela, and will assume you have the news I then wrote. Very little has happened during the last few days, but now I have another move on hand. The battalion I am now with has been ordered away some little distance down river to do some special work in connection with railway construction, so I am being transferred to another which lives a little way off in this camp. I am going to pack up and move across this afternoon. The regiment I am going to is the one Dewhurst was in; I know one officer in it fairly well. I understand that a draft of our men is expected to arrive from down river almost immediately, who will be temporarily attached to the same regiment, so that I shall have to take charge of them. I am still without any information when my own regiment may be expected to turn up. I shall be very glad when they do. It is rather a nuisance being on the move like this all the time, and constantly among fresh people. I have had such an enormous lot of practice in the last year that I am thoroughly accustomed to shaking down quickly amongst strangers; nearly everybody is always making and dropping acquaintances with the utmost readiness out here. But though one may be perfectly used to it, it is not a satisfactory form of existence when carried to excess.

I am doing all that is possible to ensure that I get my letters some day. But when one is landed suddenly with unexpected addresses, in this country of slow communication it is impossible to expect mails to turn up in decent time. I have little expectation of getting any more letters until I join up with the regiment again, though it is always a possibility; then by degrees the strays will find me again. It is very tiresome having to be without news for so long, but as long as one is not expecting letters it is not quite so bad. It is when one has reckoned on hearing and nothing turns up that one feels so very sick.

The weather is rapidly becoming very pleasant. The middle of the day is still decidedly hot, enough to make it desirable to keep quiet and in the shade if possible; at the same time it is possible to get about and do things if necessary without undue discomfort or particular risk of harm. The nights are almost cold when the wind is fresh as has mostly been the case. This wind is an enormous blessing as it keeps all the sand flies away. It gets pleasant and cool almost before sunset, and the mornings are delightfully fresh, so that up to about eight o’clock one enjoys being in the sun. I believe the autumn is about the best time of year out here, as no rain is expected till November, and then only a little. It was clearly a real stroke of genius on my part so to arrange matters that I spent the two worst months of the summer in Simla.

We see Reuters summary of news most days, but it is rather brief, and at best the war news is hard to follow intelligently owing to lack of maps. I have my copy of the large scale map of our front north of the Somme which I made just before leaving Simla from one of Mr Lowndes' maps. Unfortunately it did not go far south enough to take in the French part of the offensive, but still I can follow our part. The perfectly steady advance we continue to make there is most satisfactory and must be lowering German morale considerably.

I have simply been wasting time here, and have only been on duty once, to take a fatigue party one morning. If my draft arrives tonight it will be quite a change to have something to do again. I have had a very slack time since I returned to duty again, but I may have to make up for it later on.

I hope to write to Mela again shortly. From this distance it is difficult to arrange to catch mails to a nicety.

Best love from
Your affectionate son
Cyril E Sladden

Letter Images
Type of Correspondence
Envelope containing 2 sheets of notepaper
Location of Document
Worcestershire Archive and Archaeology Service
Record Office Reference