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October 8th 1914 - Letter from Mela Brown Constable to her fiancé, Cyril E Sladden Esq

8th October 1914
Correspondence From
Mela Brown Constable, c/o Mrs Ashwin, Badsey
Correspondence To
Cyril E Sladden Esq, The Officers' Mess, 9th Battalion Worcestershire Regiment, Bhurtpore Barracks, Tidworth
Relationship to Letter Addressee
Text of Letter

c/o Mrs Ashwin

Oct 8th 1914

My darling Cyril

I came over here yesterday to be with Mrs Ashwin while Muriel is away. She went up to Town yesterday to meet her brother but a pc came this morning saying she had failed to meet him and that she had wired to Kath asking her if she could put her up for the night.

I feel as though I had gone back about 8 years being over here, it gives me quite a youthful feeling!

I heard from Mrs Herapath today and enclose her letter for you to read. She thinks perhaps a Col. Carr RAMC and his wife may still be at Tidworth, they had the other half of the hut in which the Herapaths lived. I did meet them but they would not remember me but if you feel inclined to make friends and come across Col. Carr in your work, you could call on his wife and mention that you have an introduction from the Herapaths. Elsie means this for an introduction because I asked her to give you an introduction to any of her married friends if there were any still stationed at Tidworth. It would be nice for you if you knew people you could visit in your spare time on Sundays.

I heard from Mother yesterday. Bar and she are now at Folkestone staying with Aunt Martha. Mother wants to get back to France at the earliest opportunity. She has heard several times from Cecil who said that for a few days they were kept in the rear of the battle and given ‘fatigue duty’ to do within sound of the firing to accustom them to it before they actually took part in any encounter. The L. Scot. were employed in digging trenches for burying the dead and for ambulance work. Cecil struck up a friendship with the Chaplain in consequence. They slept 50 in a hay loft and he and 7 others clubbed together and had meals in a house in a village. This news was the 27th. Previous to this Mother had a p.p.c. of Orleans but not a word on it except the address, sent she thinks as a hint as to their whereabouts, and if this is so it looks as if they have been sent to reinforce the right wing or the centre as it is miles away from the left.

I went to the Early Celebration this morning and encountered Ethel after Church who told me there was a letter from George so I will just run across and see what his news is.

15 minutes later. George has been quite ill after being inoculated so only wrote a short letter. He has done no work since Tuesday week. Fortunately for him he had made friends with a farmer and his wife and the latter took him into their house and made up a bed on the couch and has looked after him herself. He says he would never have got on so well if it had not been for her kindness. He is better now but seems to have had a nasty time – he hopes sincerely that the second inoculation will not have such a disastrous effect.

Your Mother sends her love and says she has not been able to write because in her spare time she entertains Miss Pollard but you may hope to hear soon.

By the way, the Civil Service Rifles are not going abroad yet. Lord Kitchener went down to St Albans and inspected them. The 1st Battalion are efficient and fully equipped but not the 2nd Battalion and Lord Kitchener says he is not going to send any more Territorials on Active Service until their second battalions are fully equal to their first, in order that the former may take the place of the latter for home defence.

Your Mother is very relieved but George is disappointed.

Major Noel of Broadway has again heard that his son is alive but a prisoner. He first heard his son was killed then the report was contradicted then it was again reported he had been killed in action and now comes the news he is safe – but Major Noel says he will not believe it until he sees his son’s handwriting. He is a friend of Mr Collins Ashwin.

Your Mother heard from Mrs Butler. She has not been very well and says this war gets on her nerves and upsets her very much. One of your Uncles, not the one from Brussels, but one who is not very well off, went to his bank in London the other day and drew out £20. A few minutes after he was pickpocketed of the whole lot. Wasn’t this bad luck?

I am getting on with that belt and hope it will fit you. I am shaping it a little so that it will fit well, I hope and not slip up. Remember to slip it over the feet and not over the head, so as not to stretch it more than is necessary. I will make you two so that one can be washed while the other is in use.

Betty has been in bed with a cold but perhaps you know her news as she mentioned she either had written to you or was going to write.

Mrs Ashwin sends her kind remembrances.

The Warmingtons have moved to the Byrds old house. It is rumoured that the Moutresoes? have taken the other house.

I shall have the extreme felicity of having tea with Miss Hammond and her son this afternoon at Bretforton Hall! They are to trying to sublet their house, having bought a place somewhere near Pershore.

With much love, dearest, hoping to hear from you tomorrow. God bless you – my own.

Ever your affectionate

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