June 23rd 1917
My dear Father
The letter I intended writing last week never got written, but I expect you will hear some news from Mela.
We got sudden orders to move camp as there was trouble with the water supply just where we were and it was necessary to put some of us rather handier to a reliable supply. After being settled down for a month or more one collects a surprising lot of stuff and a move becomes rather a big job; also the big hot weather tents are a good deal of trouble to move. The distance was nothing, but the packing and unpacking had to be done, and we did the former on Sunday morning chiefly, and marched off at 3 am next morning, and were busy at the new camp until it was decidedly hot. We are in an excellent site, and comfortable enough, but a change of duties is to take place in a week, and that will involve another move, so it is rather a nuisance that the last was necessary.
I had Mela’s cable this week to say she could not get a passport, and I was of course not a bit surprised. When the scheme originally entered my head and I wrote suggesting it the ruthless submarine campaign had not been threatened, and there was no thought of such restrictions as have become necessary in consequence. Latterly, until the cable made it a matter of small importance either way, I had been growing more anxious about my chances of getting leave, but had hoped a special application might be successful. As things are I do not at all expect to get away after all.
Before another leave season can come round I hope the war will have been brought to a satisfactory end. It certainly seems to be reaching the later stages, and there are always hopes that the end may be sudden when it does come. At present Russia seems paralyzed, and from our scanty news I should gather Germany and Austria have been able to release unexpectedly large forces from the east. Perhaps Russia may yet have another surprise up her sleeve, in which case I think things would move very quickly somewhere or everywhere.
The mail this week is a little later than it has been recently, but should turn up soon I think. Just the last week or two they have been quite regular, and fairly quick considering. It takes a terrible long time though to get any reply or acknowledgement of any letter. I shall be looking in a week or two for your acknowledgement of my long letter posted about the beginning of April, and describing our share in the Kut operations as carefully as I could.
Two years ago this morning the Cawdor Castle sailed with us out of Avonmouth docks, since when many things have happened. It is my intention to discover later on how many there are with us here now who were on board on that occasion; the number would be a good deal larger if nobody were away on leave, as naturally there is a pretty large proportion of originals among those who have gone to India.
Tomorrow I shall be thinking of you reaching (if my much improved active service memory is not playing me one of its tricks) the allotted span of 70 years. It is such a pleasure to me (and all of us) to think that you have done so without loss of your powers of work or of your full interest in the many affairs which have filled your spare time. May it be that you have yet a large reserve to carry you on for many years to come, happier and more restful than recent ones have been.
My best love to the girls and yourself.
Your affectionate son
Cyril E Sladden