Letter from Arthur Powell

Scope and Content

Arthur's thanks his parents for their recent 2 letters, and is pleased to hear that they have received his long letter of the 20th January. Arthur's parcel 'No 6' has arrived safely, 'The ham was a great success', Arthur however is 'not too keen' on tinned food. Tinned food can general be bought where they are, and they are very heavy in parcels. Arthur's unit has been out on fatigues which is why he has not written sooner, he says he will probably write to a family friend, the' Warburtons' soon. Arthur then wants, particularly, to wish his brother Norman 'Many Happy Returns of the day' and also to wish him well in the career he has just embarked on. Arthur's letter then take a more personal tone towards his parents. It may be possible to glimpse the anxiety his parents have for their son, some of which may be reflected in the letters from them to Arthur. He addresses them directly, 'You talk about not being as cheerful as you ought to be, well look here. Well I'm as cheerful as punch'. Arthur admonishes them in affectionate tones by saying he looks 'on the bright side of everything' that it is no use being 'down in the dumps', if he can afford to be cheerful, then Arthur is sure parents can be too. This goes to demonstrate, in some way, Arthur's strength of character and his need to know all is well at home. Arthur's positivity, in the face of such obvious hardship and devastation is able to shine through when he comforts his parents, 'Well then buck up. Remember the end is now near and then - swish what oh!'. It is remarkable that Arthur is able to give his parents advice at all, 'Your name isn't Murray or James is it? No! Well then buck up.' Arthur suggests that they should', 'look as if you have just found something, all the time' so they can be 'one mass of smiles '. Arthur finishes his letter by saying there has been a great deal of frost and snow, his small daily ration of bread has frozen solid and he, at present, does not have any more news for them.

Dated at: France.