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Cyril in Mesopotamia 1918

On 11th March 1918 Cyril Sladden wrote to his fiancée, Mela Brown Constable:  “One of the officers of my company took a couple of photographs of me a little while ago, standing just outside his tent.  As he manages to do his own developing and printing he soon produced the results, and was good enough to give me copies.  One is not bad at all, but the other is spoilt by my having my helmet on, though in other respects it would have been better.  As it is my face is just a deep shadow.  I don’t believe in being snapped in a topee, it is never any good as regards features; I only put it on for the second, and on this occasion at his request.  I am sending you one print of each, and hope you will think the better one good enough to be worth having.  Quite a long time ago Price took one of me which gave a promising negative, but he cannot get any prints done, so I don’t know whether it will be any good or not in the end.”

On 11th May 1918, Mela responded:  “Yesterday two dear letters came for me from you, enclosing 2 photos of you taken standing by your tent.  In their way they are very good of you and it did my heart good to see how well ‘set-up’ you are.  All you’ve gone through has made you look a bit older perhaps but you look none the worse for wear so to speak!  I am so glad to have the photos, dear.  I’ve just longed to have one more up to date.  The one with your topee on makes you look as though you are giving me a very naughty wink with your right eye, as much as to say, ‘I can still see a joke – despite my martial and war-like appearance.’”

© The Sladden family descendants and by kind permission of the Imperial War Museum (reference 60/98/3