Letter from Arthur Powell

Scope and Content

Arthur is grateful for the letters he has been recently receiving form his parents, he has not been able to write for some time as they have been kept busy on fatigue duties, he is not his 'own master' he says. Arthur feels that all this extra activity signals the end of the war, for he feels, is this not 'the Year of Victory?', and this he says, 'cannot be got without work'. Harry his friend, who has now been demobbed due to being unfit for active service, has been round to see his parents, something which Harry had mentioned in a letter to Arthur. Arthur says that his parents may find him 'interesting' perhaps even a little 'eccentric', I think however that Arthur is grateful for this kindness paid towards his parents. Harry had also forwarded a 'Stand Easy' to him, but currently Arthur is very upset 'at losing two more of his chums through sickness'. Arthur Wood has been sent to the 'Casualty Clearing Station' with Trench Fever, Arthur believes him to be either at the base or back 'in Blighty'. The final upset came when his long standing chum Norman was sent to the hospital with the same compliant. A 'Mr Turner' was also sent away with the same condition, but did not come back, Arthur expects Norman to be away for some time. Arthur bemoans the fact that 'good chums are hard to find', they are he says, a valuable asset to a person's well-being and we sense from Arthur's tone that only 'dopes (are) in the army at present, a lot of married men and single shirkers'. Arthur compliments his parents for their parenting skills, the way in which his 'early rearing' has helped shape the man he is today, strong, healthy and able to cope with 'this terrible existence' in which Arthur has seen 'so many men (...) breaking down'. Arthur says he has 'never felt better' although he wishes he felt 'fuller inside and incidentally cleaner'. He hopes his parents 'are keeping ok '

NB: This letter now continues at length after it was thought to be incomplete, or lost; the pages of the thick paper were stuck together

Dated at: probably France.