Skip to main content

November 1st 1918 - Letter from Cyril Sladden to his father, Julius Sladden

1st November 1918
Correspondence From
Cyril Sladden
Correspondence To
Julius Sladden, Seward House, Badsey
Relationship to Letter Addressee
Text of Letter

Nov 1st 1918


My dear Father


It is ages since I wrote to anybody at home. I give up writing as a bad job when I cannot get letters. However an English mail actually did reach me last night, a comparatively recent one, as there must be at least two older ones straying somewhere. It brought me one letter from Mela written on Aug 8th (the last from her I have had was written in May) and the Observers of Aug 4th and 11th. Mela’s letter was brief, and she was suffering from the same grievance that I have had, that is no mails. It is possible that the whole of this particular mail has not yet reached us.


A momentous telegram arrived this morning saying that an armistice with Turkey had been arranged starting today, hostilities to cease forthwith. As far as we immediately are concerned this would have been more useful about a couple of months back. At the moment it has no very pronounced effect on our doings, no Turks being anywhere on the horizon with whom we can either continue or interrupt any hostilities. Everybody takes the thing very quietly, and we wonder what changes in plans will result, and where we shall go if we don’t stay where we are. We are far too much in the wilds for any very sudden changes to be effected, and none of us rashly supposes that an armistice means a hasty ticket to England.


Excellent news rolls in so fast daily that one cannot keep pace with it. The armistice (the terms of which we do not yet know, but are promised as soon as they can be ascertained) alone prevents capture of Mosul following rapidly on that of Aleppo, which after Allenby’s spell of silence came as a pleasant surprise. Now that the Italian front has joined in to add to the general contribution the end must almost certainly come very soon with Austria; and Germany alone cannot last long.


How long settlement and general clearing up will take I do not know, but I imagine it will be a rather troublesome business. And Russia and the Near East generally will be the biggest problem. I hope we may avoid being tangled up in that job too much, though we are unlikely in our position to escape it altogether.


Whatever happens I shall soon be agitating to get home on some pretext as soon as it seems clear that the bulk of the job is done. It will be bad luck if leave arrangements are all dropped, and yet it is only common sense that they are not likely to send men home with intention of bringing them out all this way again when once hostilities have ceased. Apart from this I have had some hopes of being granted my long awaited leave in the early spring. Of course with the risks of war removed, or largely so, the urgency for leave matters less. One is contented enough - to wait a few months longer with the assurance of vastly improved prospects of being alive and able to get it when it comes.


If it comes to a question of demobilization schemes superceding leave I hope the fact of having a job reserved for me will assist. If I am delayed I have this consolation that life under active service conditions at my present rate of pay is most beneficial financially. On the other hand it will be as well for me to get back into my own profession early if I can, before I get any more out of touch with it.


Shortly after my last writing to Ethel, Major Gibbon returned and took over command of the battalion. Since then there has been really some uncertainty as to my actual rank. According to official records received by us (which have been few) I was still only ‘temp captain (acting major)’ and therefore due to return to my original rank. However my name went forward so long ago for promotion to the vacancy that exists, that there is every likelihood that I have been gazetted temp. major months ago; there has really been no opportunity of hearing about it. In support of this the Order of the Day recently announcing my award put my rank as temp. major, and I do not think GHQ would have made a mistake of that kind.


I notice also now that you and Mela address me as a Major, Mela making no comment on the matter in this letter; and I do not think you would have had my own letters announcing my acting rank quite by the end of July, as I remember it was a long while coming through to me; and acting ranks are generally gazetted months and months afterwards from this country. Anyhow I am wearing a crown at the moment with rather slender authority, and hope I am not qualifying for trouble!


It was a great surprise to me to get an immediate award of DSO. It was a huge piece of luck really, crowds of fellows having done ever so much more for no sort of recognition whatever.


A few days ago I started on a longish march from the station where I have had on the whole a very pleasant six weeks. I have with me not a very large column which I am in charge of, and when I reach my destination I expect to get a good many more to look after. I am not very fond of being away from my own regimental headquarters, but in a vast country like this it happens to many of us.


After three pretty hard days marching, made much worse by heavy rain, I decided it was rather necessary to have a day’s rest, there being no pressing urgency in the matter. We are at a small half way station garrisoned by some of our own battalion who make us welcome guests, and I am taking the opportunity of a quiet day to get your letter written.


The rest of our journey is in a district where little rain is probable, through magnificent rugged hills. Our destination is a town I was not much struck with when I last made a short sojourn there. I would rather have stayed where I was before.


Best love to all from

Your affectionate son

Cyril E Sladden

Letter Images
Type of Correspondence
Envelope containing 3 sheets of notepaper
Location of Document
Worcestershire Archive and Archaeology Service
Record Office Reference