12 Charleville Circus
Dec 1st 1915
My dear Mother
I will write this evening to wish you many happy returns of the 3rd. I hope that by posting in good time tomorrow my letter may arrive on your birthday. One cannot rely on letters posted here in the evening being delivered next day. Similarly, your letters posted in the morning do not always arrive until the next morning, and those posted by the night mail frequently do not arrive until the second post at midday. I expect you were very surprised to hear of George’s engagement. Both Kath and I were. When he told me he was engaged I thought for a moment he must have met some fair damsel in France, until he said who she was. Kathleen will have given you her impressions of the lady.
I hope Father’s cold is better. The return of milder weather may help to get rid of it.
The Claims branch is moving at Xmas time to Canada House in Kingsway. It is a new block of buildings near the London Opera House. 300 tons of papers and furniture will have to be moved, and even so the repository where the old papers are kept will still remain in the vaults of Somerset House. It is said the Secretary is the originator of the idea as he considers we have not enough room, but the head of the Claims branch I believe does not consider it necessary. The staff does not much like the change, as we shall be in large rooms heated with hot water pipes, so that it seems likely there will be less comfort and more noise.
Ethel’s postcard has just arrived. Sorry to hear Father is still poorly and Ada laid up again. You must be very glad to have Ethel back again. I had a call from a recruiting canvasser a few evenings ago. I explained the situation and showed him my letter from the Secretary, with which he seemed satisfied. The Civil Service battalion has had a lot of recruits during the last few days. I don’t know what proportion are civil servants. I also fell in with some 20 recruits for the naval brigade at the Crystal Palace. They were mostly from the north or Midlands apparently and quite crowded on the train.
With love to all.
Your affectionate son
John D Sladden