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March 21st 1915 - Letter from George Sladden to his mother, Eugénie Sladden

21st March 1915
Correspondence From
George Sladden, British Expeditionary Force
Correspondence To
Eugénie Sladden, Seward House, Badsey
Relationship to Letter Addressee
Text of Letter

British Expeditionary Force

21 Mch 1915

My dear Mother

This is the first opportunity I have had of writing since we have been over here. We had a very quiet journey on the boat – sea much smoother than most mill ponds - and arrived quite early in the morning at the port of our destination. We had to lie up outside for some hours before we moved to the quay and carried on with the business of unshipping. This was a less troublesome business over unloading the horses than I anticipated. The fittings of the troopship were excellent for horses – much more so than for men; that, coupled with the smooth crossing had kept them in a good temper. Beside our own there were some horses belonging to other units, about 250 in all, I daresay. I was helping to unload these, of which only about 20 gave real trouble. Most of them are coaxed out of the hold up an inclined plane; the coaxing sometimes resolves itself into the exercise of brute force: a long rope and about 20 men hauling on it will bring most horses up, almost from the bottomless pit; but if they lie down on the floor (forgive the bull), as two of them did at _____, they had to be slung out by a crane. Our two examples did not enjoy their experience; especially as the crane man was a lascar who seemed to enjoy swinging them at full speed through the air. We saw our first lot of the enemy at the port. While we were in the harbour, a batch of German prisoners arrived; dirty, unshaven, nearly all wounded, but soldierly looking nevertheless. Our transhipment was quickly effected, one of the quickest they had had, the embarkation officer said. We marched that day to a rest camp high up on hills at the back of the town. Very cold there: our first idea of the country was not favourable. A cold, rainy, dull, dirty place. However we left next day to come up here by a long and devious railway journey in cattle trucks – 40 or 50 to a truck according to size – lasting nearly 24 hours and struck glorious weather which still lasts. We are billeted some little distance from the front within sound of guns which I can hear as I write. I will tell you something about my impressions of this place and people when I write next, soon I hope. At present space forbids.

Love to all
Your affectionate son

Letter Images
Type of Correspondence
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Worcestershire Archive and Archaeology Service
Record Office Reference