Bread and butter in Ruhleben

Victor Cusden, one of four Reading-born brothers held in the civilian internment camp Ruhleben, near Berlin wrote to his little sister Iris in Reading. is main concern was the supply of bread, as much of their food had to be sent by their families via the Red Cross.

11 February 1916
Dear Iris

It is a very long time since I wrote you last but I know you won’t scold me too much for not having written more often. You must however not think I have been ill. This winter I have not even been troubled with colds – as yet at any rate. Arch & I have also to write every now and again to our friends in Giessen and in Holland who have from time to time helped us in various small ways. You must not be surprised then that it is Albert who usually writes our letters home, since it would look strange were he to answer these others for us.

We all thank you for the letters received from the various ones at different dates, & thank all concerned for the parcels we have had sent us.

The last kind of bread sent keeps very well and is very good. The toast too keeps admirably. I relish it even when we have nothing to put on it. The butter and margarine arrives also in good condition. There is no need to state whether it is appreciated or not as neither butter nor margarine can be obtained at the canteen.

We do not require any more composition powder as we have now two tins of it. Albert asks me to thank you Len very much for sending him the drawing materials. He has done some quite nice drawings, besides the caricatures that is always at. I’m afraid I do practically nil in this line at present as study is more pressing.

When sending again will you please enclose three or four copying-ink pencils of the durable variety such as the Koh-i-Noor. They need not of necessity be this make however…

I have occasionally written to the Headmaster & one of the other masters, and have received nice letters in return. Numbers of my old school-fellows have either been killed or wounded. Of Sammy Hall I have heard nothing since the war began and for over 6 months nothing of Mr Naulty. Many fellows who were little “squirts” when I was at school have been doing conspicuous things at the front. It does seem strange…

Love to all & much for yourself,

Letter from Victor Cusden to his sister Iris (D/EX1485/4/5/1)