Letter from Arthur Powell

Scope and Content

Arthur is aggrieved to still find himself stationed in Salonika, 'No! I have not yet got away: (much to my regret)' he had expected to begin his journey home ion his return to his unit, but was shocked to learn, along with another forty men, there had been an 'embargo' placed on all clerks. The dispatch had come from the Director of Supplies and Transport that no personnel from the; Royal Army Service Corps (RASC), Horse Transport, Motor Transport and Supplies would embark on demobilisation for three weeks; 'All RASC personnel urgently required'. It would appear that the Royal Army medical Corps is also suffering the same restrictions. Arthur consoles with other fellow 'chums' who have been in Salonika since September 1915, especially on one poor man from Preston, who had not been given leave to see his wife since his arrival there. Arthur calls it a 'scandal'. He is appalled by the behaviour of his commanding officers who appear to launder great deals of profit siphoning goods from the Government Stores and Supplies. They are well billeted, often in 'luxurious' accommodation Arthur bemoans, and enjoyed good food. He is shocked by their behaviour towards the nurses of the Women's Auxiliary Defence Service, whom it would appear are quite happy themselves, to go for 'joy rides' with Officers. The nurses' conduct does not reflect how they would normally behaviour in England, this has surprised Arthur, 'Nobody has more respect for women than I but I have not much for the British women out here.' Arthur feels there is a great deal of waste of tax payers money, the officers put in claims for 'extravagant expenditure[s]', money Arthur feels, which is been taken away from, 'pensions of ex-servicemen and dependants'. He wonders at what price 'Peace' will come. Britain he believes is a 'wealthy country' till it comes to paying for the 'lower ranks' especially after the Government has paid for the 'pleasure hunting' of the '"Nuts" (Sam Browns and Red Caps)'. Arthur envisages himself getting in to trouble for 'voicing [his] grievances'. Arthur closes by apologising for his outburst, and assures his parents that he is in the best of health and spirits. It is just the nature of the conditions he has experienced and witnessed which makes him so aggrieved for his fellow comrade in arms. He advises them not to write as he expects to be beginning his journey home in three weeks, he will write only to them from now on, but asks for his love and best wishes to be passed on to the rest of his family and friends.

Dated at: Salonika, Greece.