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October 31st 1915 - Letter from Kathleen Sladden to her mother, Eugénie Sladden

31st October 1915
Correspondence From
Kathleen Sladden, Arlington Hotel, Brighton
Correspondence To
Eugénie Sladden, Seward House, Badsey
Relationship to Letter Addressee
Text of Letter

Arlington Hotel

Oct 31 1915

My dear Mother

As Jack found that it would be possible for him to get Monday off, we decided that we would get away from the Zeps for two nights and come down here from Saturday to Monday in the hopes of getting a little sun and sea air. We took the 4.30 from Victoria yesterday as Jack could not leave the office until 4 o’clock. We had written to book rooms here; it is quite a comfortable small hotel. The weather has not been kind altogether, though it might have been much worse. Last night a regular gale came on and a lot of rain and until about ten o’clock it was hopeless. We decided to go to church and then as we were starting it cleared up and the sun came out so we changed our minds, put off church until this evening and went off instead for a walk along the sea and were out until lunchtime. There was one short shower but it was sunny most of the time though very windy. It is most glorious air here and we have had a good deal of it as we went out again this afternoon to Rottingdean, walking most of the way there and coming back by motor bus. I hope tomorrow will be less blustering and more sunny. An old lady down here told me some days last week were like July days.

We shall get back tomorrow about eight o’clock I think. I have had not letters from you this week. I expect one arrived at Sydenham after I left on Saturday and if so Mrs Horsman would send it on and it should reach me tomorrow morning. I am getting very anxious for further news of Cyril. We know nothing later than that he left Alexandria Oct 2, and as we have no word from home I suppose you have heard nothing either, or Mela, who would have let you know.

I had a letter from George last Tuesday dated I think the 22nd; I think that may be later than your last. He said they were all in very good spirits; as hopeful as they had ever been. He asked me to send him a shirt and some candles which I sent off yesterday morning together with chocolate, potted meats, biscuits, tinned milk and cocoa. He says he washes his own shirt when opportunity offers as those sent back as clean from the military laundry are apt to have undesirable tenants!

I had a good long letter from Arthur too this week. I am so glad he is doing more satisfactory work now but I hope they will hurry up and have the huts ready.

If Jack had not been able to get off this weekend I meant to propose coming down for a night or two to see you and make my little niece’s acquaintance which I should have loved to do; but as Jack been looking rather Londony lately it seemed a pity not to get a little break and change, since he could come away. However she will go on getting more and more sweet for some time now I expect. I am very glad she gets on so well at Badsey. I think it must be a place which suits babies to judge from the look of most of them.

Jack went to Dr Grace’s funeral on Tuesday. It was at Elmer’s End Cemetery near Beckenham. Mrs Grace was there herself and Charles Grace, not the other son of course but his wife and I think Edgar the elder boy who is now at Dartmouth. There were a great number of people there, among them Ranjitsinhji. I saw Conan Doyle’s appreciation of him and thought it very nice.

On Wednesday we went to the Queen’s Hall to hear Ashmead Bartlett lecture on the Dardanelles campaign. It was crowded and we only just got in. He was most interesting, gave an account of the whole thing from the beginning, but he thought there had been serious lack of judgment and decision. In his view it was clear by about May this year that the Turks were stronger than had been thought; that after several unsuccessful attacks on Achi Baba, it was clear that it could not be taken by direct assault, at least without much stronger forces than we had; also the appearance of German submarines about then stopped the battleships from giving assistance. At that time, therefore, the whole affair should have been reconsidered and a definite decision made either to get it up or to send enough forces to carry it through; instead of which we muddled on for two more months, losing men in futile attacks and giving Bulgaria time to decide to come in against us. Then when large reinforcements were sent, he considers that it was a great mistake to use them to make the Suvla Bay attempt. It was a most difficult attack; none but seasoned troops could have hoped to succeed and he thought even if they had the effect though important would not have been decisive. He believes strongly that an attack on the Bulgarian lines would have been a far better plan; they were lightly held and success there could have absolutely cut off the Turkish communications by land. As he says the work of our submarines in the Sea of Marmara is simply wonderful (he could not say much more about it) the result would have been practically to cut off the Turks in the Peninsular and starve them out. I wonder if he is right. He warned the audience most seriously against being carried away by the outcry about sending troops to Serbia. He said it was too late. That before a sufficient number could possibly get there the Germans would have got through, especially as men sent out from England arrive after the journey so much disorganised that it is necessary to give them a week or two in camp and if possible a little light work before using them for serious operations. I do wonder what they will do about it. Joffre I suppose came even to make some decision.

Well this letter has grown rather long and I must close. Tell Ethel to send me a card to the County Secondary School, Munster Road, Fulham, to tell me what train she is taking up on Tuesday. I might be able to meet her at Paddington if she lets me know the time. If so, I will look about for her near the front of the train; tell her to look out.

Much love to you all.

Your affectionate daughter

Letter Images
Type of Correspondence
Envelope containing 5 sheets of notepaper
Location of Document
Worcestershire Archive and Archaeology Service
Record Office Reference