Letter from Arthur Powell

Scope and Content

Arthur's letter is fairly long and details his arrival in Greece. Arthur is now quartered at a fixed address with the British Forces in Salonica for the foreseeable future. He is employed in the supply offices in town working long hours, which does not afford him much time for letter-writing he commiserates to his parents. He is allowed half a day's leave once a week, but the advantages of his new position is that he is pleasantly stationed and the food is good. Arthur is expecting to be working on Christmas day and especially during this time, will miss letters and cards from home. Arthur feels consoled however by the fact that he knows his parents will be receiving letters from him, and is anxious to know how they 'are all faring'. Arthur reveals his affectionate attachment and love for his family, by explaining his reasons for choosing to go abroad again, when he could so easily have stayed at a depot at home. It was only out of consideration for his family's feelings that he chose to stay at home after his last leave. Arthur found this period of time at home 'very unsettled', on his return from France he'd had a 'rough time', although he was glad to be back with them, he felt it was his duty to go out again. He acted not out of heroic reasons, but merely for 'patriotic motives', he still wishes to see more of the world. We learn that Arthur had initially been offered a post as a staff instructor in Africa, but this clerk's post in Greece had come to him by error. Arthur interestingly mentions that he had been turned down at the beginning of the war for a post to the Dardanelles, he was too young at the time to be considered. Arthur reassures his parents that he will not become a 'wandering spirit' once he comes home for good. Arthur tells his parents he 'thanks his lucky stars' that he is a 'Britisher' and has never witnessed a, 'dirtier, greasier, poverty stricken, mice ridden place' in all his travels. England is, Arthur writes; 'a grand old place and to appreciate it, one must leave it for a while'. He tells his parents that the locals of Salonika, and also wider afield in the rest of Greece, are desperate for food. On his travels Arthur has met people who bartered astonishing sums; for butter, corned beef and jam. He notes that although the towns and villages look 'very pretty places' once you pass through them, it reveals a very different story. The weather can be very hot during the day, but during the night the temperature drops below freezing. There is no drainage, except what the soldiers dig and consequently when it rains there is flooding making 'everywhere very dirty'. Arthur informs his parents once he returns to England he will travel straight up to Manchester and be demobilised form Heaton Park. He concludes his letter by saying he has 'exhausted' his stock of news and along with his usual love, asks in a 'P.S' for his parents to inform his friends of his new address.

Two A4 unlined sheets folded into thirds, NB: the letter no.2 has been inserted inside the first letter

Dated at: Salonika, Greece.