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October 23rd 1914 - Letter from Mela Brown Constable to her fiancé, Cyril E Sladden Esq

23rd October 1914
Correspondence From
Mela Brown Constable, The Nurses' Home, The General Hospital, Birmingham
Correspondence To
Cyril E Sladden Esq, The Officers' Mess, 9th Battalion Worcestershire Regiment, Bhurtpore Barracks, Tidworth, near Andover
Relationship to Letter Addressee
Text of Letter

The Nurses House
The General Hosp

Oct 23rd 1914

My dear Sweetheart

I think it is time you had a decently written letter from me so am being a good girl and writing in ink tonight. I was very glad to hear from you on Friday just to know how you are getting along. Letters are very inadequate though and seem very unsatisfying but are better than nothing. I have only been here 9 days but feel as though I’ve never lived any other kind of life except in dreams!

Did I mention in my last letter that a letter to me from Arthur had gone astray – I received it yesterday, it having gone to another hospital I don’t quite know why as your Mother had re-addressed it quite correctly. I enclose it for you to read – also a ppc snapped when I was not looking so you see me looking quite hunched up!

Three of our Belgian wounded returned to the Front today. I enclose their photos as shown in the Daily Sketch.

This evening a lady came in and sang to them in French – they were so delighted.

In the middle of this entertainment an English wounded soldier was brought in from another ward, he is in the Coldstream Guards and was wounded in the Battle of the Aisne. His face looks as though he had been through a great deal. He seemed so quiet after the excitable Belgians! The latter say the English are very cool under fire and they have a great admiration for them.

I have not heard anything from or about Cecil for ages and have only had a short pc from Barbara since I came here. Perhaps Mother does not approve of me taking up nursing again.

I am still feeling fit – dear – but there will be times when the long standing will be very trying. I find that “extras” do not get ‘long Sundays’ but have half a day a week instead. However Sister says I may stay out from 10 to 1 instead of until 12.30 – so that I can get to Church.

It is strange your feet are still tender. Mine are almost better.

I wish to goodness they’d feed us better here – it is a scandal that nurses should be paid very little, have very little to eat, and yet they work so hard. I don’t mind so much for my own sake, but I do not want to get run down for your sake. The work agrees with me but I get frantically hungry! I think often of our future, dear one, and how necessary it is for me to keep strong so you can count on me looking after myself to the best of my ability but I cannot afford to have meals out very often and yet everyone here does supplement their meals here. I am hoping in time to get used to it, and this would not make me give up the work or anything stupid like that.

I manage the work in our ward all night. I think they consider me very quick. I certainly get through more than other junior nurses and in less time.

I must send Cecil a few lines so you must forgive rather a short letter.

No one here will believe I am nearly 27! They think I am 22!

The Belgians in the ppc have got on miscellaneous clothes. Some had their uniforms stolen.

Well – my darling – I will close now – am absolutely aching for you at this moment. Just five minutes of heaven would be very welcome after a hard day's work. Never mind – the future is still ours.

God bless and keep you and may He give us His Grace to perform the task He has given us to do as He would have us do. It is difficult to meditate here when one reads one Bible. You think Night Sister will come along and turn off the lights. I feel sometimes as if I am neglecting my duty to my Creator very often but I think dear, He understands and is merciful.

Goodnight – Best Beloved

Ever your own

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