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September 18th 1914 - Letter from Mela Brown Constable to her fiancé, Cyril E Sladden Esq

18th September 1914
Correspondence From
Mela Brown Constable, Seward House, Badsey
Correspondence To
Cyril E Sladden Esq, Officers' Training Camp, Churn, near Didcot, Berkshire
Relationship to Letter Addressee
Text of Letter

Seward House, Badsey, Evesham

Sept 17th 1914

My darling Cyril

When no letter is from you this morning, I felt sure one would come this afternoon but I was wrong. I hope the reason you have not written is that you are too busy, not that you are not well.

I heard from Bar again today, and I will quote from her letter the account of Cecil’s hurried departure from the Front. “We had a few lines from Cecil this morning ( ? ). He wrote from Southampton in the rain, on the side of a ventilator. I suppose they were just sailing and are probably in France by now. He said he was very tired but was glad to have succeeded in getting away – eighty men having been sent back. Address all his letters thus:

Private J C Brown Constable
G Company
London Scottish
British Expeditionary Force

That was all the news he could give as, no doubt they sailed under sealed orders. Mother is naturally very upset, but I hope she will get over the shock in a day or two. We can just hope for the best, though the anxiety to all is very great. There were some men in Cecil’s company who had not even had time to say goodbye to their wives and families so short was the notice.

C and I went to Richmond together and had tea there on Sunday, it being his birthday - and when we came back the telegram was waiting here for him, telling him to report himself that same night and to bring boots, socks etc. etc. He took a taxi straight away to Headquarters and was told to be ready by nine o’clock the next morning. He had no kit and had to buy everything before roll call next morning. Then they went down to St Albans and you know rest. Mother sends her love, she is too worried to write as you can understand and is having rather a bad time of it.

Hope was wired for by her husband, who is staying temporarily at Ostend, the Belgium Headquarters having been moved there for a while. She must be delighted. We had dinner with her the other night and I saw their little flat at Queen Anne’s Mansions and afterwards we dined at her Club the New Century, she seems to have taken to her new life very easily.

So Cecil is now in France – that was quick work if you like. I see in a piece of poetry in the Times today called ‘The New Army’ that it alludes to the Scottish Covenanters, the Cymri and the Irish devils, as though they were fighting now in France. It makes me think these must be Territorial regiments, the poem runs as though alluding to volunteers.

Betty goes to school tomorrow and is busy packing now. May opened her school today, so we are all gradually drifting to our several posts.

I will continue this tomorrow.


at Seward House

Sept 18th 1914

My dear One,

Your letter, giving me the joyful news was most welcome this morning. I am simply delighted and so are the others. Betty is sorry she has to go today and thus miss seeing you with that alteration in your appearance, which when she and I heard of it made us collapse on the stairs! We suggest you should avoid any tendency on its part to grow upwards in case you should be mistaken for a [see picture in letter image below]. Doubtless at this early stage you may be able to check tendencies of this kind!

I will not write at length, darling, as I shall soon be seeing you. I shall be back from Birmingham in time to meet you at the station at Badsey. I can hardly live through today thinking of tomorrow.

I commenced a letter to you yesterday which you will find over the page.

Au revoir – Sweetheart. What joy it will be to be together again for even a short time. Yoicks! Best love and a kiss from

Your own

Hope sent me some of her wedding cake.

Letter Images
Type of Correspondence
Envelope containing 4 sheets of notepaper (3 written on 17th and 1 written on 18th)
Location of Document
Imperial War Museum
Record Office Reference