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October 10th 1917 - Letter from Cyril Sladden to his fiancée, Mela Brown Constable

10th October 1917
Correspondence From
Cyril Sladden
Correspondence To
Mela Brown Constable, Seward House, Badsey
Relationship to Letter Addressee
Text of Letter

Monday Oct 10th 1917


My dearest Mela


I don’t think anybody but you will get a letter by this mail. Our rotten mails will not arrive. There is a fortnight now overdue, which should have reached us a day or two ago, but there is no news at present of it. Our hopes have been raised once or twice by false rumours of it but they have all been quite groundless. So in spite of delaying as long as is safe I still have nothing to reply to.


I have for some reason or other found myself remarkably busy just lately and a bit on the tired side in consequence. There is no getting away from the fact that it is quite impossible to get hard and thorough work out of everybody under one's command one must keep going at top pressure most of the time oneself. There are a few rare people who keep things moving well quite on their own, so that it is rather a pleasure to leave them quite alone for a few days and then go and see the result. That they are few even among officers, and I am just going to lose my best, Price, who has not been very long with the company, having acted as substitute for Inwood during the latter’s leave. He is now being taken from the company (where he is 2nd in command) and made signalling officer, to my great loss. I also have just lost my Lewis Gun officer from sickness. He has been out of sorts for some time and collapsed rather badly on Saturday. Price has seen service in France for about a year, and was previously a gunner on garrison duty at home. He has a permanent commission in the 2nd Royal Irish Rgt and is a southern Irishman. He was wounded at the beginning of the Somme, and joined us in April.


Oct 9th – Good news this morning that the English mail is really at battalion HQ. Unfortunately I have to send my groom in to post this letter today; he can fetch my letters on his return, but I shall be unable to reply unless anything desperately urgent should arrive requiring an answer. It would mean sending him riding in a second time to post my reply. So you must look for reply by the next mail. I hope 

the full fortnight of mails due will turn up. We have just had notice that the letters we sent off from here about Sept 8th have been destroyed by fire. I see by my notebook I wrote to you alone that week. It was just before we went out on an all night operation, and I fancy the letter was not very long. I hope it was not then that I sent a few small photos given me by Ainsworth; I think it was somewhere about that time, but earlier I believe. They were nothing much but reminiscent of various scenes and occasions out here. If mails go on getting lost like this I shall have to make a precis of my letters home to refer to in case of accident, so that I can repeat anything important.

Yesterday evening after a busy period before dusk I went to dine with another company, rather a long way off and so a considerable walk there and back. On my return I was on duty till one o’clock this morning. While there I heard a pleasant rumour, which at present I cannot accept as reliable though it seems likely to be so, of a further very successful advance in France with a great capture of prisoners, and still proceeding. If the details are true it would be quite best things since the capture of Messines Ridge, and of course one never knows what developments may follow. The German defences round Ypres must surely be wearing thin. Soon the concrete blockhouses will not be allowed time to set. Building elaborate defences is a mighty big task even when one can do it unmolested; a blessing unknown to the Germans in France I should imagine.


Lake returned a little while ago from his leave in India, looking very fit and having enjoyed his time very well I think. He safely got my carpets to Cox’s in Bombay, so at some great time when shipping is rather more at liberty I hope they will ultimately reach home. I shall probably be wanting to buy more if we are out here long enough and I get a chance on the return journey.


We have now got the unusual number of two VCs with the battalion, Captain Myles VC, DSO having recently returned, and a new officer, commissioned from the ranks, Lt Holmes VC, MM, having just joined up. As we can raise also one DSO, MC, one DSO, and four MCs among officers now with us we cannot complain for lack of decorations.


I wish I had some idea what you are doing, the last news I now possess of you is just two months old. It really is a dreadful long time. I wish we could have a weekly cable each way. I hope anyway you are as well as I am, whatever you are doing and wherever you are.


All my love, dearest.



your own


Cyril E Sladden

Letter Images
Type of Correspondence
Envelope containing 3 sheets of notepaper
Location of Document
Imperial War Museum
Record Office Reference