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Mela in new uniform

According to a letter of 27th October 1916, Mela Brown Constable, whilst working at the 1st Southern General Hospital, Birmingham, bought a new uniform:  “This morning I went out for an hour or so and invested in the hat for my new uniform.  It is just a plain blue felt with a blue band round it.  I must get one of the nurses to snap me in my new kit so that you can see what it is like.  The coat will be much warmer for the winter than my cloak and I’m quite looking forward to wearing it.”

The photograph was duly taken as, on 3rd December 1916, Mela was able to send a copy to her fiancée, Cyril Sladden:  “What do you think of these cheap photos of Barrow and me taken on night duty after we had been up over 14 hours?!  We look like right owls, don’t we?!  It is very bad of Barrow, she is really quite a pretty girl!  I am in my new uniform – navy blue hat, navy blue coat with red pieces let in to the corners of the collar.  I expect you’ll recognise the muff?!”

© The Sladden family descendants and by kind permission of the Imperial War Museum (reference 60/98/1)