March 4th 1918
My dear Father
I had quite a big mail two days ago, bringing your letter of Jan 1st, and one from Betty enclosed. The latter I must answer before long, but I shall not have time this week, as the very last time for posting is tomorrow, and I am more than usually busy at present.
I did not even get the free day yesterday that a Sunday usually brings, but was out on business all the morning. A look into the state of my accounts in the afternoon, and a letter to Mela later on filled the rest of the day pretty well up.
We are still doing a lot of shooting on the range, this being the best time of year for it when the sun is not so strong as to make a difficult glare, and yet it is quite comfortably warm most days, especially when it is sunny.
We are hoping that a good number of men will be able to go for a month’s leave in India. The general instructions on this subject are out already, and I have a big job ahead in drawing up the list of all of the company who are eligible and getting the order of preference arranged. I have no intention of taking any leave to India while I continue to feel perfectly fit, and while there is a ghost of a chance of ever getting leave to England with which it would probably interfere. It costs a lot to spend a month on leave in India, and I don’t want to incur the expense without good reason. Last year after so much fighting I was so worn out, and my nerves sufficiently jagged to make me rather hopeful to get it. However a year of easy going has set me up entirely.
You seem to have assembled quite a large party for Christmas. Bernard must have been fairly badly gassed as the effects are so lasting. I see some suggestion now that the Germans would not be averse to both sides abandoning gas; I believe we have effectively beaten them lately at that game, so very likely they would be glad to be free of it.
We anticipate important things beginning again in France any time now. So by the time this reaches you lots of things may have happened. The Germans are very pleased with themselves at present apparently, though perhaps not a little of the attitude is bluff designed to upset the Allies.
I judge from papers that Bourlon Wood was one of the very nastiest spots the fighting in France has produced. So I imagine George must have had a pretty rotten time around there.
Best love from
Your affectionate son
Cyril E Sladden