Letter from Arthur Powell

Scope and Content

Arthur in this letter to his parents now explains why it has taken three weeks to reply. Things have been 'rather busy' for Arthur as he has been 'wandering about France' chasing his battalion, from whom he had become detached during the fighting. It may be interesting to note that this possibly refers to the Battle of Le Transloy, the final stages of the Battle of the Somme. Arthur tells his parents that he is 'A1' and thanks them for a parcel which has been received in excellent condition. He asks his parents to thank the families of Hislop and James, and for their good wishes. Arthur then goes on to ask his parents to send out non- perishables, and other food stuffs as frequently as possible, and for them to be numbered progressively. Supplies are 'far from plentiful' and one gets a sense of the desperation of warfare from the letter, 'you are right, you can never imagine the life out here, I don't think that you could stretch your imagination far enough' the fighting has been hard and arduous. Arthur is in need of a good indelible pencil, a match box holder for safety matches and night lights, the most needful of these are the candles and a tin of Milkmaid cocoa or coffee au lait. Arthur asks them to take no notice of what is written in the English papers about the war, it is all 'twaddle' anyway. The soldiers have been issued with leather jackets, in lieu of sheepskins; his parents are not to send him any mufflers yet, as everything has to be carried in his kit bag. His regimental number has been changed again (this has been removed by the censor, but unusually the number he gives for his friend Harry, has not). Harry is being sent back to 'Blighty' with 'Hang nail Toe' (a sort of in growing toe nail condition). Arthur tries to cheer his parents and tell them not to worry about the 'dark streets' back at home. He is pleased to hear that Norman is 'settling down' well at work, but sorry to hear that his mother is not well. Arthur concludes by apologising for taking three days to write the letter, as they have been 'up the line every day' repairing trenches. His detachment have moved to a supposedly quieter district a few miles north to where the current fighting has been. Arthur sends his usual love to friends and family, a parcel has been received from Grandma, and James has forwarded a 'Stand Easy' to them. Arthur asks for them to 'keep it' he intends to come through this war through in one piece

Dated at: France.