Letter from Arthur Powell

Scope and Content

It is important to note at the time Arthur writes this letter the final stages of the Battle of the Somme' are being fought. However Arthur does not make any direct reference to this. The battle ended on the 18th of November. Arthur thanks his parents for the letters to him, dated the 2nd and 3rd of October and a copy of the Sunday Chronicle, it is the first mail he has received for a week. He naturally thinks that it is Zeppelin damage to the British railway network, as mail sent within France has not been affected. Arthur believes that the British Army are gaining control every day. The 'tables have been completely turned' he says, and Arthur is optimistic about their success as he feels the British have superiority of the air in France, and it is now, 'only a matter of time'. Arthur describes the pitiable sight of German Prisoners of War as they pass through his base, Arthur makes a quip about delivering the Huns 'Iron Rations' as expediently as possible. Arthur mentions a friend Len, who has now been moved further north to where he is currently positioned, this information is given to him in a letter from his parents. They were at one time currently stationed in the same area, but not together. It gives some indication as to the constant movement of the regimental detachments, something to which Arthur refers and apologizes for the irregularity of his letters back home. The letters have to be censored by their own army officers, which is seen as a 'thankless task' and something of a hindrance when the soldiers are constantly on the move. Arthur mentions a friend of his father's whom he has seen, 'The Bloodsuckers Boss' dressed in khaki, looking very much like the friends brother, a 'big fat bluffer', not at all complementary. Arthur's brother has started work for which he congratulates him. Arthur looks forward to a normal life and talks of attending evening classes to study languages. Arthur concludes his letter by saying he has received a letter from his Uncle Dick, to which he has written a reply, as well as a pair of socks from Sale. Arthur is to write a letter to an Annie Drape, and acknowledges again, a parcel he has received from his parents. He sends his parents 'heaps of love' and mentions that he did not know 'Albert' was in France until he passed him on the street in France.

Dated at: France.