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November 19th 1917 - Letter from Cyril Sladden to his father, Julius Sladden

19th November 1917
Correspondence From
Cyril Sladden
Correspondence To
Julius Sladden, Seward House, Badsey
Relationship to Letter Addressee
Text of Letter

Nov 19th 1917


My dear Father


A mail yesterday brought me your letter of Oct 2nd – 3rd, and an Observer of about that date. I had a letter of the same date from Mela a week before which for speed was a record; so evidently the mail got split at some point.


Quite late last night I had the sudden and unexpected wire announcing General Maude’s death. Everybody feels the loss very much, as he had the most complete confidence of the whole force. We only know he was ill for two days, and are naturally wondering what his illness was. No doubt his long strain of hard work must have told upon him and was probably largely responsible. It is more than two years since he came to command the Division in Gallipoli, so we have seen a lot of him from time to time. It is not many weeks since he paid us a visit in this part of the line.


General Allenby seems to be well on the way to making a similar name for himself in Palestine, and his consistent progress there goes far to balance the Italian collapse.


I hope to see him making continuous progress right up that coast. With the help of the Navy and successive harbours he should be able to make his line of communications pretty easy all the way. We have just heard of the occupation of Jaffa.


Our GHQ seems to be kept in close touch with the progress of events there; as we get very prompt news by wire, long before the ordinary Reuters give it.


There are plenty of items to set against the Italian news, of which the last weekly shipping report of one big one only sunk, very few small ones, and 8 unsuccessfully attacked, is perhaps the most important as a sign of the very sound effect our efforts have been able to produce. Could this be even approximately kept to such a low level we shall easily be able to start increasing tonnage again. The second good thing is the capture of Passchendaele, the value of which is measurable by the efforts made to retake it. We are gradually storing up rods in pickle for the Bosche by taking all his most important points in Flanders.


The latest suggestion is that Germany may follow her old method of attacking on the line of least resistance, and perform a spectacular push in the Caucasus area. It ought to be easy enough, unless they are nervous of Allenby, and the threat of landings further north to co-operate and get Aleppo. At any rate it offers far better prospects than any sort of effort down this way.


Mela’s first letter from Sutton Coldfield was a very cheerful one, and she was plainly enjoying her new job there. I always thought from the first time I heard of her getting the appointment that the work would be of a kind she would like. She likes a well-organized and methodical sort of business, where everybody knows how they stand. It was obviously hard work and will probably remain so, though I expect as things get into working order it will be easier than just at first.


You mention in your letter where you think I have been (and still am). You are not quite right but more or less in the right direction. It was rather odd that the following up to Bagdad from Kut caused almost the entire force to cross the Tigris, so that the troops from Sannaiyat fought later on the right bank up the railway, and these from round Kut on the right bank mostly worked on the left bank subsequently. In the main this general distribution has naturally remained the same.


Best love to all.


Your affectionate son


Cyril E Sladden

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