Letter from Arthur Powell

Scope and Content

Arthur writes with some relief to his parents that he is now back with his unit, but well behind the Front Line and out of the area of shelling. He writes with some humour to say they are, 'out for what is termed a rest, but which consists of hard training'. They are the only second group of British troops to be sent to this area which is an isolated, 'county place miles from anywhere'. Arthur mentions on his return to the Front Line, and before being sent for training, they suffered heavy bombardment and fighting for which he can thank the author of a recruiting poster for, '[I] shall never forget it [and] will oblige him with all my heart'. Arthur is pleased to hear that his mother is currently on holiday in London enjoying her time in the big city, although he is concerned that London has suffered another big Zeppelin air raid and worries for her safety. Arthur touchingly remarks, 'apart from any danger' he does not wish his mother 'to realize any of the terrible realities of war'. Apart for the obvious damage to buildings, livelihoods and life, the air raids, Arthur remarks, will 'never bring English towns and villages to the same state as those of N. France and Belgium'. Arthur is saddened by the sights of the devastated towns and villages he has seen and feels that they, 'will never be fit for habitation for years to come after the war'. The last time he was in a 'big town' renowned for its production of 'pretty and necessary house decorations', it is now 'Napoo' Arthur says, completely laid to the ground. Arthur completely changes theme and tone by going on to comment on how pretty the town of Richmond must be; somewhere his mother has been visiting, and as far as Arthur believes, where there is 'plenty of boating'. Arthur concludes his letter by saying he has included Harry Longridge's letter who is now the Managing Director of the British Engine Insurance Company. He asks his parents to form their own opinions of the contents of the letter. It is interesting to note though; something which Arthur has not highlighted before, except for asking for letters and parcels to be clearly addressed; for his parents to put letters 'in an ordinary envelope because one does not like ones private affairs known to anybody else in your own company'. Envelopes are a precious item out on the Front Line and only get handed out, 'once a blue month'. Arthur finishes with his love and best wishes for their health and good spirits.

Dated at: France.