July 29th 1918
My dear Father
- had expected to be far away from here by now; but orders at the last minute were changed somewhat, and so I am still here for a little longer. We had a mail a few days ago which brought me one letter from you and also one from Juliet both posted on May 29th. also heard from Mela of the closing of the Handsworth Depot and her prospect of going to take over the Bulford units.
I gather from your letters that various members of the family are probably spending a holiday down at Folkestone at the present time. I hope Betty has by this time heard of a successful result of her intermediate in which case she will feel she has earned a holiday well.
We have been getting much better sort of news of late which has been very cheering. The Austrian offensive in Italy, and the latest big German effort around Rheims have been such thorough disasters that one hopes it is justifiable to conclude that the enemy’s ability to damage us is pretty securely checked. We are in process of getting a bit of our own back at the Marne at present, but it does not look as if we could yet secure more than moderate successes.
No doubt the trend of general events in the west will greatly affect everything in the east, where the entire political and military situation is very involved at present, and difficult to get a grip of. It is so hard at present to gather facts about it. The papers have little to say, and one knows from local knowledge that their reports are very incomplete and leave out a lot of interesting items. It is rather odd that the Kirkuk operations aroused so little comment in English papers, as I believe they were considered in authoritative circles as of very great importance apart from their direct military value.
The latest telegrams promise American and Japanese assistance to the Czecho-Slovak movement in Siberia, which appears to be growing in importance; it looks as if a little sound moral and material backing may work wonders in that direction. I think a very large mass of Russian opinion is sick of the Bolshevik muddling.
As to the situation rather more in this direction – namely all around the Caspian – it is very hard to get much information out of the papers. Naturally we examine pretty closely all reports we can discover that deal with it.
My next letter will probably be written from quite a different place. I am uncertain how much my mails will be interfered with, but I expect a week or two extra for the journey each way, with possibility of worse interruption about mid-winter.
Best love to all from
Your affectionate son
Cyril E Sladden