Feb 5th 1918
My dear Father
Your letter of Nov 26th apparently got held up as it came all by itself, and only one day ahead of the next mail after the one it belonged to.
You acknowledge two letters of mine the latter of which gave news of our move out of the camp where we spent most of the summer into the line where we have been ever since.
We are expecting before long to exchange with another battalion and go into camp all together again; but it will be in the same area.
We have been within quite a small radius since last May, not having been called upon to take any part in any of the little offensive expeditions that have been made from time to time.
It looks practically certain now that no Turkish offensive can be made before the hot weather. Certainly they have not sufficient troops to attempt anything at present, and collecting them would be a long business with their bad communications. At present both Turks and Arabs in front of us are very short of food, so the supply can be none too good.
Many newspapers confidently assured their readers that a furious onslaught was to be expected by Falkenhayn down here. It makes funny reading to us now, since there has never been any immediate expectation of it here.
At present I am hopeful that the strikes which started in Austria and appear to be spreading now in Germany may have a good effect, both materially and still more by influencing the ruling party in Prussia.
The general situation has been greatly cleared by President Wilson’s and Lloyd George’s statement of their war aims, and the replies made by the Chancellors of Germany and Austria. Although there is still a wide gap between the two it is noticeable how far removed from their attitude of a year or two ago is that adopted now by the enemy.
The prospect of meeting a very considerable force of Americans very shortly must be weighing heavily upon them.
The general opinion seems very convinced that Germany is about to make a great effort in France. I suppose their only possible course is to attempt a last throw somehow to come out more or less on top.
I cannot feel very sure that any stroke will ever materialize that has been so publicly foretold, though perhaps in this case it will. All Germany’s great strokes have been sudden surprises to the public at large so far as I can recollect.
You must have been pleased to see Arthur again; it does not seem long since he was home before. I suppose they have been making use of a quiet period in France to give as much leave as they can.
The latest rumours we get are that attempts will be made to send some of us on leave after three years of absence from England. Should this come to anything it will not be many months before I have reached that qualification.
I suppose it is always a question of transport in these days; but I must say I think after three years we have pretty well earned some leave, and it would not affect a very large proportion of the force.
Best love to all from
Your affectionate son
Cyril E Sladden