Skip to main content

September 28th 1914 - Letter from Mela Brown Constable to her fiancé, Cyril E Sladden Esq

28th September 1914
Correspondence From
Mela Brown Constable, Seward House, Badsey
Correspondence To
Cyril E Sladden Esq, 9th Battalion Worcestershire Regiment, Bhurtpore Barracks, Tidworth
Relationship to Letter Addressee
Text of Letter

Seward House

Sept 28th 1914

My darling Cyril

Here are a few lines to greet you on your first day with your regiment. It is now half past three and I am wishing I were with you to show you the way from the station! I shall look forward eagerly for news of how you get on today and whether your first impressions are good.

May has come back with very good news which she heard through Marjory Slater, whose brother returned from Paris yesterday, where he was sent on business connected with the wireless station on the Eiffel Tower. This latter is practically covered with guns. Mr Slater says there is the utmost confidence in Paris that the war will be over by the Spring. The French have held in reserve an army of a million men, and this was sent as a reinforcement to the front on Friday last. N.B. The Times mentions that our present bit of success is due to ‘reserves’ which are now come forward to the front.

Another interesting fact he told is that the French have captured 200 barges laden with coal on the Belgian canals. Underneath the coal was found 12 million pounds of ammunition which was on its way to Paris for the use of the Germans when they got there. It has been proved that these barges were sent off from Germany in July before war was declared!

I expect the figures in these stories have become somewhat exaggerated but there is evidently something big in the way of an army which is now with the Allies.

If this news is true and the Parisians are not mistaken in their summaries then we can all take heart. Anyhow it has acted like a tonic with us here and holds out hope that this time next year we shall all be re-united. We ought to have a great gathering of the clans at Seward House.

There was a letter from Arthur this afternoon. He is still at Nantes in the same chateau, but they expect to move soon. He thinks George’s regiment may go to the front in the near future as he says that there are territorials out there, but he is only guessing that the C.S.R. will be chosen to go. He enjoyed reading ‘Punch’, which your Father sent him. His opinion of the British Tommy has risen high, he says he is seeing another side of him. I never have been able to understand anyone holding anything but a good opinion of the Tommies as a whole. Compare them with Foreign troops, even in peace, and you find they come out very well.

Marjory Slater’s Mother came over from Paris with some of our wounded. The wounds are not severe but the men were utterly exhausted and ashen grey in colour – just played out.

The blotting paper attached to this pad is responsible for the smudges on this letter, it is getting rather the worse for wear.

Little Miss Allsebrooke is to be christened tomorrow. Muriel and Mrs Ashwin were asked to lunch beforehand but they are not going.

May and her schoolchildren saw the Evesham contingent of the 8th Batt., Worcesters off at the Station this morning. I expect May envied them!

I can hardly realize yet that you have gone except the house seems very quiet and dull without you. As you once said of me when I had gone from here and left you behind ‘it is as though the sun has gone in?’ I shall be anxious to know if you are warm enough at nights or whether you would like anything else. Do you ever wear bed socks? I could soon knit you a pair if you’d like them.

I’ll write again in a day or two, dear. Am going to practice in a few minutes, like a good girl.

With my fondest love, Beloved, remember our last half hour together, as I shall. Let it be a consolation to you in the knowledge that you have won me so completely, because you are doing your duty first and not putting yourself or me before it. I always admire anyone who does that – duty first and pleasure after. I never could have believed at one time that so much happiness was possible so that even if God wills that I should remain single to the end of my days, I shall have my memories which will still shed their sweetness over and through my life – but I feel that God will spare you to me and I must just have patience, and a faith in his infinite Love and Mercy. May He have you in His keeping, dear One.

Ever your affectionate

Letter Images
Type of Correspondence
Envelope containing 2 sheets of notepaper
Location of Document
Imperial War Museum
Record Office Reference