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August 17th 1916 - Letter from George Sladden to his father, Julius Sladden

17th August 1916
Correspondence From
George Sladden, In France
Correspondence To
Julius Sladden, Seward House, Badsey
Relationship to Letter Addressee
Text of Letter

In France

17 Aug 1916

My dear Father

When I wrote to May a few days ago I said I would write to you soon. I hope her letter arrived. Our inward post has been entirely disorganized for the last four days for some unknown reason, but I hope that the outward letters are not being held up.

We have been expecting to leave our present quarters any time during the last week; but our movement has been put off from day to day and it is still uncertain. We don’t mind how long we are delayed. As some of the more optimistic spirits say – if they go on putting us off for a fortnight more the war will be over and we shan’t see any more fighting! I can’t share this extreme optimism (which is very common out here). I think there will be a better part of a year of fighting before the end comes. Bulgaria and Turkey ought both to have made peace before the end of the winter. Austria would if she could; but I think she is so closely bound to Germany that she is no longer in a position to extricate her armies from German control. Unless there is a great military rebellion, I can see no way for Austria to make peace separately from Germany. The Germans seem to have realised that; and the appointment of German Generals to command nearly all the Austrian armies and army groups makes it very difficult for any great mutiny to be organised. I suppose Germany will try again –probably many times to conclude separate peace with Russia. Not a very alarming danger: but it seems to be the last hope that they have. Of course it might be possible for them to buy out Italy; but I don’t think that would give them any chance of victory. It might have very little effect, even, in dragging out the war to a greater duration; though it would be certain to add a period to its length.

A letter written by Kath from Budleigh Salterton arrived today. I was very pleased that its tenor showed that she is having a holiday there which is a real rest mentally and physically. I was very disappointed though to hear that the news of the safety of Mela’s brother is not confirmed. I had thought that he had been reported a prisoner in the lists: the letter which told me about it gave me to understand that. How does the uncertainty arise?

Also she tells me Boo has gone to rejoin his battalion. I am afraid that means a long stretch of Mesopotamia heat for him; for I think the summer lasts many months yet, does it not? However he had a fairly long and, I am sure, a very pleasant time in India during which he might have been sweltering on the Tigris but for that mild mannered bullet. He need not feel too bitterly against the Turk!

I think Arthur’s has met entirely representative French opinion concerning the prowess of the British Army. I have noticed the same triumphant satisfaction, everywhere I have been. It is the satisfaction of pious but slender hopes suddenly realised. Before July 1st the average Frenchman believed that we were certainly growing an army and that in proportion as it grew we were gradually taking over more line. But they never believed that we should also produce a great army that would be able to conduct attacks on a great scale.

I don’t think they distrusted our intentions; but I am sure they distrusted our powers. Now they have suddenly imbibed an almost ludicrous notion of our military power. They are quite willing to assign to us the lion’s share of the work on the Western Front: - a tremendous compliment to be paid by a Frenchman! They cheerfully predict incredible victories and they are all as sure as sure can be that the war will end before the winter!

The weather has been broken by a few thunder showers during the last few days, but it is still very pleasant; though muddy under foot in the horse-lines.

I must finish, for I have another letter to write.

Love to all from

Letter Images
Type of Correspondence
Envelope containing 4 sheets of notepaper
Location of Document
Worcestershire Archive and Archaeology Service
Record Office Reference