12 Charleville Circus
Feb 2nd 1915
My dear Mother
I am so sorry to hear that the postcard I sent off on Friday evening did not arrive until Sunday morning. You must have wondered what had happened to Arthur and Mary when they did not turn up. Kathleen was unfortunate in just missing Mary when she came for her boxes today. It was altogether rather unfortunate that Arthur had to delay his departure from Nantes. I wonder where he will be sent to on his return to France.
Thanks very much for the piece of Stilton which is very good indeed; and will last us a long time. George and Juliet were able to help us start it. George was looking very well and had a very good appetite. He seems to have quite shaken off his influenza cold. Betty had not lost all traces of her cold, but all the same was in quite good spirits. George does not know of course when they will be going abroad, but confidently expects it will be within a few weeks. He says six divisions of Territorials are to be sent abroad. After the result of the latest German raid, it looks as though most of our troops can safely leave these shores.
Everybody was very pleased with the sinking of the Blucher and the extensive damage done to the other German cruisers. The hours of daylight will be a good deal longer when they are again in a state to attempt a raid. The Illustrated London News this week has some very good photographs of the Blucher just before she sank, and of several of our own cruisers. Kathleen heard a day or two ago a story how some people who lived about a mile from the ammunition factory at Enfield heard some strange noises on the night of the 26th which they could not account for. The next morning a workman who chanced to be repairing a house close by came and told them that the roof of their house which was flat, and not visible from below, had been painted white all over. They informed the police at once, who took a serious view of the affair and immediately painted it black. It certainly looked as though a Zeppelin raid in celebration of the Kaiser’s birthday was contemplated. The person from whom Kathleen had the story knew the people who lived in this house.
The general meeting of the Inland Revenue Volunteer Force was held the other day. There is trouble over getting recognition from the War Office, as they are not willing to accede to all the conditions laid down by the War Office. If we don’t get recognition, the Force will probably die a natural death. Already the uncertain position in which we stand is having a very bad effect. The real root of the difficulty is the Board of Inland Revenue who are evidently determined not to take the slightest risk of losing any of their men, but no one cared to say as much at the meeting. Two assistant clerks in the Estate Duty office who enlisted without permission the other day were permanently dismissed. I dreamt some nights ago that I went to Brussels of all places for my holidays! I don’t know how I got there, but when I wanted to return the Germans promptly interned me. I am glad Ypers is really better and is now taking his food properly. Is he still as fond of Father as he was?
If Arthur returns through London I hope there will be a chance of meeting him, if only for an hour or so. I daresay we shall hear from him before he goes back. Letters are evidently taking longer to go through now. K’s letter from May posted yesterday morning did not arrive until this morning.
With love to all, I remain
Your affectionate son
John D Sladden
PS – I enclose two letters for Arthur which arrived a few days ago.