Skip to main content

November 12th 1914 - Letter from Mela Brown Constable to her fiancé, Cyril E Sladden Esq

12th November 1914
Correspondence From
Mela Brown Constable, The Nurses' Home, The General Hospital, Birmingham
Correspondence To
Cyril E Sladden Esq, The Officers' Mess, Bhurtpore Barracks, Tidworth, near Andover
Relationship to Letter Addressee
Text of Letter

The Nurses’ Home
The General Hospital

Nov 12th 1914

My dear Sweetheart

I am afraid I’ve sadly neglected you this week but I will try now and write you a fairly decent letter although I haven’t much news.

I had a letter from Margery Slater’s friend, Mrs Jarvis, who lives at King’s Heath, Birmingham, inviting me to go and see her. I am going to do so when I get a half day – which will be either tomorrow or Saturday. It will make a nice change and also it will be nice to know someone in Birmingham that I can go and see occasionally.

Mother saw Cecil not many days before his regiment was in action. Many of the London Scottish wounded were brought to Boulogne and Mother visited the hospitals to get news of Cecil, and one man told her he was safe and unhurt. Curiously enough the RAMC in charge of one of the hospitals is a Col. Berryman whom we used to know in India. He was very surprised to see Mother and made enquiries about Cecil for her. It is a miracle that he or any of them escaped as those who were in the front were mown down man for man, as a spy, masquerading as a friend, led them straight into ‘the enemy’s’ hands.

I have been having that horrid feeling lately which we have both experienced and which makes one feel as though one is turned to stone as far as caring for anyone is concerned. I expect I shall get over it soon but in the meantime it is rotten and I turn over and over in my mind what course to take and whether after all everything is a delusion and we have made a mistake. But, with your permission, I will let things rest as they are in the hope that, as before, I will return to my old self again. I don’t feel depressed or unhappy, but simply like an icicle. This feeling was coming on slightly a few days before I went to Badsey and I was hoping that if we could have met it would disappear. While with the home folks I was better, but it returned when I got back and it is most annoying. I’ve tried to keep all this out of letters but the result is that I cannot write at length because my pen does not flow easily as it usually does.

My patient still lingers and it is sad to see his daughters come and sit with him absolutely broken hearted.

It would not be kind to wish him to live as life would only be a burden to him but his relatives naturally do not realise this like we nurses do. It is not a very nice case to special but still someone must be there with him constantly or else he gets up and takes off his bandage and dressing and wanders round the hospital. He is in a small ward by himself so there is no one to warn the nurses in the big ward unless he has a special, so I have entire charge of him and it is not very pleasant or healthy work.

But in nursing one has to take one’s chance as to what kind of cases one is given and it is all experience after all. As a matter of fact I am considered honoured to be put in charge!

I am gradually getting to make friends with one or two of the nicest nurses which makes things jollier when off duty.

With best love hoping to hear from you soon and that you will understand and forgive this horrid letter.

Ever your affectionate

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