Aug 12th 1917
My dear Father
I have two letters from you unanswered, both of which came a little over a week ago.
It has been most satisfactory to read in your letters of the excellent progress made by the various crops after their late start; it will mean such a lot especially to the locality if they do well.
I see by the latest news of the fighting in France that the weather there has lately been bad, but I hope it is not so bad generally as to interfere with harvesting at home.
I was glad to get acknowledgement of my long letter describing the Kut fighting. I believe General Maude’s dispatch was published some time ago, but it has not reached us up here yet; the Indian papers ought to bring it along soon. I am always very much interested in despatches of any fighting I have been through, and these ought to be more interesting than usual. Now that we are approaching the season when movement begins to be less impossible we are wondering what may be happening in this area in the future.
I find it very hard to think that the Turk will dare to try and recover Bagdad, though I suppose he may be urged to try by Germany who would score well by success and not lose much by Turkey getting an army cut to bits. I have every confidence that the latter would be the actual result. One hopes too that we may later on give Turkey plenty to do in Palestine, which may make it difficult for her to spare a lot of men down this way.
Meanwhile the longer the best interests of the cause can be furthered by our sitting still the better I like it.
Aunt Lottie sent me a Folkestone Herald describing the air-raid. It must have been a pretty trying sort of experience, but she seems to have taken it pretty calmly. It was really sheer bad luck that the casualties were so bad.
I imagine that what they were really trying for was the harbour and the viaduct.
If these affairs were really of frequent occurrence people would have to get into the habit of digging emergency dug outs in the back garden; old soldiers invalided out might make a very useful living this way by setting up as dug-out architects.
We tried to amuse ourselves last Monday, being bank holiday; the parade attached to us worked up a few swimming and pontoon rowing races, and then after dark we followed it up with a concert; not a very elaborate one, and only just a regimental affair but it wasn’t a bad success.
The men get a concert once a week at the YMCA tent, and a certain number of other regimental ones get organized, and an occasional party comes round; so we continue to make a little variation.
The high temperate breeds a sort of general inertia, and nobody readily gets enthusiastic over anything out here. This makes it all the harder to run a successful show of any kind. One would have supposed that with so little amusement doing everybody would have been keen to make the most of what there was, and be very uncritical, but this doesn’t seem to be the case.
Best love to everybody at home.
Your affectionate son
Cyril E Sladden