June 13th 1915
My dear Father
I received your letter of the 11th yesterday morning, together with the copy of George’s letter. I quite sympathise with George’s wish to “strafe” all the people who are bickering in Parliament and in the newspaper press. Now that the Ministry is finally completed and getting to work, I hope the newspapers will calm down, and perhaps in course of time even the party-ridden Radicals in the House of Commons may get more reconciled to the news state of affairs.
I went to see Bert Idiens yesterday and had about an hour’s chat with him. He looks extremely fit, and his arm is going on well. The right hand is still a bit stiff, and he may possibly undergo a course of massage to put that right. He hopes to get a fortnight’s leave before going abroad again. The butter enclosed with the eggs was rather soft on arrival but recovered to some extent after it had been put in a cool place. It was very nice, and has lasted us till now. Kathleen and I cycled over to Mottingham this afternoon and saw Aunt George and Dr & Mrs Grace. Aunt George has been taking great interest in a canteen put up by the Army Temperance Association for the benefit of the soldiers in the district. It was opened the other day and Aunt has undertaken to go there twice a week and once every six Sundays. The first day she was there from 3 to 9, was on her feet most of the time, and came back declaring she was not tired! Mrs Grace said she could not have been unduly fatigued for she ate a very good supper on her return. I forgot to say she had weeded the rockery in the morning. She really is extraordinary. I wonder how many old ladies of 84 could do half as much. The garden was looking very well, there was a prospect of a fair crop of fruit though some of the trees had felt the effects of the cold winds.
We are to get our leave as usual this year. I hope to start mine on 23rd August. I expect there will be a good deal of fruit coming on by then and I shall be able to assist in picking it.
The exploits of Lieutenant Warneford and the other British airmen seem to have quieted the Zeppelins down as there have apparently been no raids for some days. The authorities always know when they are coming. I heard – I don’t know if true – that nine Zeppelins started on that raid in East London, but that seven of them got turned back at the coast by our aircraft.
The Civil Service Rifles are having a strenuous recruiting campaign. They are raising a third battalion. I understand recruits are coming along pretty well. They are not of course all Civil Servants, but I fancy most of the recruits are men of similar station in life. Just now the organisation of munition workers seems to be even more important than raising men for the army.
With love to all.
Your affectionate son
John D Sladden