12 Charleville Circus
August 4th 1914
My dear Mother
As I feared, I shall not be able to get down to Newport. All leave in Government offices is stopped and those already away are being recalled except of course Territorials. It is disappointing of course to be deprived of one’s holiday, but I shall not complain if it is a necessary step to take. I do not know at present what the reason is, but I expect that the Admiralty and War Office will require the loan of men from other Departments. If that is so, we shall at any rate feel that we are either directly or indirectly assisting in the defence of the country.
George turned up here again on Monday morning. They went down to Salisbury Plain on Saturday night but about 10.30 on Sunday evening they received orders to break up camp at once and return to London. The Civil Service battalion was ordered to mobilise at 11 o’clock this morning in Somerset House Square. Judging by the crowds of clerks at the windows, I fear the official work this morning was sadly interrupted. The men after inspection left their kits in the corridors of Somerset House and are to parade there at 9 o’clock tomorrow (Wednesday) morning. Most of the men were able to return home for the night. George is however among the men who are to look after the kits tonight. He came in to see me during the afternoon and said goodbye. He doesn’t know where they are to be sent to. I mean to get up to town at 9 tomorrow and see them parade.
Mrs Horsman does not much like the idea of going away and leaving me here and she is also a little perturbed whether she will be able to get down to Margate and back again all right. I don’t think myself there will be any difficulty, but I shall make inquiries for her. I certainly want her to get her holiday if possible and I knowKath does too, and if I can get Mrs Drywood to come in and look after me morning and evening I shall do all right.
I spent most of yesterday at the tennis club and had some very good sets. There was not a very large muster as a good many people are away, but most of those present were tolerably decent players.
I hope you had a good journey from Badsey to Newport on Saturday and that Kathleen got down all right on Monday. Please tell K a bill of 1/- for camphor has come in from Makepeace addressed to 12 CC but not in our name. I wonder if it is intended for her; if it is not I will send it back.
Nearly everybody I have come across seems to agree that the Government has done its utmost to preserve peace and that the war has been forced upon us. Some of the men I was talking to at the office today expressed their regret that we were fighting for Russia. I do hope we shall get good news before long.
People in London so far seem to be behaving with restraint, but I fear a good many people are laying in stores as if for a siege, and are consequently sending food prices up to quite an unnecessary figure.
I am very sorry I shall not be able to come down to Newport as I was looking forward to my holiday there.
With love to you all.
Your affectionate son
John D Sladden