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June 6th 1915 - Letter from George Sladden to his mother, Eugénie Sladden

6th June 1915
Correspondence From
George Sladden, In France
Correspondence To
Eugénie Sladden, Seward House, Badsey
Relationship to Letter Addressee
Text of Letter

British Expeditionary Force

6 June 1915

My dear Mother

This letter does not follow the FS postcard quite so closely as the phrasing of the latter indicates. The authorities allow us qualification of what they consider should be the situation and intentions of every soldier, “Letter must follow postcard immediately”; if it is only promised to follow soon the postcard will be destroyed. Therefore on the rare occasions when I use the cards you must take what they say with a grain of salt. We are on the move again this evening, I believe, to another part of the line only a short distance away. Though we have nominally been in reserve here we have really been resting since we came here. Nothing to do except for the men to clean themselves: though we have of course to keep our horses and tackle clean as well. But then we have an easier time than the others at normal times, for we escape the strain of the trenches. We lie about four miles from one point of the German line, which we can actually see from this position. There was some very hot artillery work yesterday and we could watch its progress; this was the first time I had had a sight of shells bursting over an enemy position which I could define. With a pair of borrowed field glasses I could trace the line of the German trenches quite clearly. All along it close to the ground rose continual puffs of yellow smoke from the lyddite shells while higher in the air the placid white smoke balls indicating shrapnel continually formed and grew and floated slowly away. Further back over the reserve lines coal boxes were being used to search the ground. From a sudden black dot would grow like a tree a great mushroom shape of black smoke which rose to a great height before dispersing. It is a very fascinating sight from a distance. We are having extraordinary weather now, some of the finest I ever remember: very hot though. It makes me wonder what it will be like later on in the summer. I realise what it must be like in August and I sweat out of pure sympathy when I think of the poor beggars who went through the Mons retreat last year. I am sorry to hear that Miss Holmes has her brother reported missing in the Dardanelles and I hope he may turn up or be reported prisoner. I think a man who falls into Turkish hands stands a better chance than one left to the mercies(!) of the Germans out here. I was surprised and glad to see that Winnie spoke so assuredly and definitely about the prospects of the outcome of that campaign. He has taken his change of place very manfully, I think, and I expect that history will up the scale much in his favour when naval affairs are reviewed. I wish the Headys, Highminds and Richthanks of the Press would learn to show half his stability and forbearance. Also in the House of Commons there are a few who seem to have no aim except to show that even though vanquished they can argue still. Straafe them all.

Love from
Your affectionate son

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Type of Correspondence
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Worcestershire Archive and Archaeology Service
Record Office Reference