Letter from Arthur Powell

Scope and Content

Arthur, writing from his base in Salonika, says that he is very much relieved to receive several letters from home, including a letter from his father written on the 21st January from Barrow. He has also received letters from his Grandmother, Harry Wylde and a notification from the 'British' company in Manchester where he was employed before the outbreak of the war, (via the Labour Exchange) to the effect that once Arthur returns home, his job will be waiting for him. Arthur assumes the reason for the delay in not receiving his letters from home is because of being away from base, he has written to his Company Officer complaining of this and asking for more attention to be paid to his mail in future. He has also despatched a letter that day to the 'British' acknowledging his job on return home as well as informing his Company officer. His friend Harry is now back at the British Engineer's Company in Manchester, but complains to Arthur that he is demanding a wage increase even after, Harry says, his wage has gone up expediently by 280%! It appears the workers at the company have set up a Union to protect the rights of ex-service men returning from The Front, already half the female staff at the company have received two months' notice, the rest expect to be given notice to leave very soon. Arthur has written to his Grandmother, he apologises for not taking a girl round, a 'Hilda' to meet her, it would appear from Arthur's wording that this young lady has lost interest in Arthur and no longer writes to him. Arthur explains he is not going to pursue the issue and will try to find out why when he returns home. He has also written to a friend, 'Alf Boswell', and in his reply to Harry has asked him to call round and see his parents. Arthur has also written to two of his Aunts, Annie and Jeannie. Arthur has been busy writing letters to friends and family back home in anticipation of returning home soon; 'It is a kind of final dispatch, for I do not expect to have to write to many of these friends for some years, if ever.' Arthur's writes to tell his parents there has been a strike of civilian workers in Salonika protesting about the high cost of living, resulting in the none publication of the Balkan news. This is the second time that this has happened since Arthur has been stationed in Greece. According to letters from home to Arthur, it reflects much what has happened in 'Blighty' there has been wide spread industrial action. Arthur urges the importance of Lloyd George's conference between the Capital and the labour parties and for a greater understanding to avoid further strike action. Arthur was appalled to hear the news from home that Mons Clemenceau has been wounded by a revolutionary socialist, 'Good gracious! What are we coming to'; Arthur feels 'that peace may be more disastrous than war'. Arthur is worried about revolution he is perturbed over what has happened in Russia, 'At all costs [revolutions] must be kept out of England, and especially Bolshevism.' He does however recognise that something needs to be done to address the current social problems back home, especially for the returning soldiers, 'the army has got to be reckoned with', just the act of demobilising the men is not enough, the question of gratuities has to be addressed Arthur feels. There is great disparity between Officers and other non-commissioned personnel who have carried out the same duties, but received different pay. Arthur concludes his letter by saying, 'it has been an Officers war and it looks like being an officers ''Peace'' for they are to have all the good Government positions.'

Dated at: Salonika, Greece.