23 Sept 1914
My dear Father
A rather long time seems to have passed since last I wrote home. There has been very little happening; things have proceeded along the lines of the ordinary routine and there has been little to write about. Probably the Sydenham people or Betty have already told you that I was with them last Sunday. It was very nice to catch a glimpse of them; also a few hours of civilisation and a hot bath (particularly this) were wonderfully welcome. One can get through a great deal of talk in 24 hours, and at the end of my leave I had heard everything about everybody and had got pretty well up to date with general news. I don’t miss a great deal of war news; there are not many days when I don’t see a paper. I usually read during meals and generally carry one in my pocket to smell at in odd minutes.
Did I tell you that Mr Kinsman had two days leave, at last weekend, in order to be married? Which marriage duly took place, I suppose his wife was convinced thoroughly of his anxiety to see active service and did not insist on his fulfilling a condition that he couldn’t control. That is the chief item of news regarding the Section except that Todd has left us to take a Commission in one of the new battalions of the Fusiliers. His place has been taken by Andrews, who is an old soldier who rejoined the Forces by recruiting to us at the beginning of the war. He is a very big strong fellow, a good runner and footballer and a very tough proposition generally. I get on very well with him. One piece of news reminds one of another: Lintott and Craig have been able to fix up matters so as to volunteer for foreign service, so the NCOs of the section remain intact with the exception of Rimington, who has gone to the Reserve Battalion. He was one of those people for whom I do not much care, although he was easy enough to get on with pleasantly. I think that is rather a large class of people.
I was glad to hear satisfactory though skimpy news of Arthur’s, but it rather annoyed me to read a letter of his which seemed to indicate that he was taking rather a gloomy view of affairs. He was much inclined to be severe on the British Public for apathy and other crimes. Now I have often been severe on the British Public myself; it is rather a habit of mine. But it is hard on the BP to do anything but praise him now: I suppose that, even when he is at his most exasperating, he only does it to annoy because he knows it teases. When he becomes serious he is a most decent and reasonable person. But I don’t believe he would be half so sweetly reasonable if he didn’t feel sure that it annoyed and teased the German.
My pair is just hooked in ready to take the post bags to Abbots Langley – a daily job – so I must close.
Love to all from
Your affectionate son
George M Sladden