January 1st 1918
My dear Father
I must write this week, having missed last, although we are still awaiting our long expected batch of Christmas mails. They appear to have been sent wandering over Mesopotamia, and have for the last few days been only a few miles distant waiting on the further side of a broken bridge.
We have had no sort of letter from home since Nov 30th, and are beginning to feel as if we belonged to a Lunar Expeditionary Force. The large majority of more fortunate people got their mails a day or two after Christmas up in this region of the country. They seem able to get about one bag a day across, as I had yesterday an advanced guard in the arrival of Aunt Lottie’s Christmas parcel which she has never failed to send me.
Today brought me a War Atlas sent me from India by an old officer of the company who recently took a regular commission in the Indian Army.
What I most want in a hurry though is letters, and letters will not come.
Our Christmas was comfortable and pleasant enough without being exhilarating. The men were much disappointed by non-arrival of any mails, in this matter all ranks feel alike. The responsibilities of our present job though not arduous at all forbade all possibility of gathering together for festive purposes; especially do we have to be at our various posts after dark, so that concerts etc are not feasible.
We can manage football and other games. The men have had quite a lot of success, and we have fixed up a rugger game for tomorrow.
It will be about as much as we can do to collect 30 players though, out of the whole battalion.
After the spell of cold frosty weather it was wet for a day or two, but has since been fine, though more or less cloudy as a rule, and moderately warm. There are many signs of grass and other things beginning to sprout again, so it looks as if the place will soon have the interminable brown broken rather more by green.
I wonder if this year is destined to bring peace. In a way things don’t look quite so rosy as in the autumn, but I don’t think there is much wrong, and a little will very soon alter the appearance of things again much in our favour. I always mistrust very much any persistent rumours of a strong enemy offensive in any region. Few of them ever develop, and most of the actual offensives have come as a great surprise to the public at large.
I hope as soon as my letters begin to roll up (as I suppose they must some day) to be able to write at greater length in reply.
Best love to all from
Your affectionate son
Cyril E Sladden