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February 10th 1915 - Letter from Mela Brown Constable to her fiancé, Cyril E Sladden Esq

10th February 1915
Correspondence From
Mela Brown Constable, The Nurses' Home, The General Hospital, Birmingham
Correspondence To
Cyril E Sladden Esq, 9th Worcesters, billeted at The Vicarage, Basing, Basingstoke
Relationship to Letter Addressee
Text of Letter

The Nurses’ Home,

The General Hospital, Birmingham


Feb 10th 1915


My Darling,


Just a few lines to make up for my naughty outburst of temper in my letter of yesterday. You have seen another naughty trait in my character now! Finding me out by degrees, eh?!


I heard from Aunt Jessie today saying she had been in bed with “flu”. She said she had not forgotten me but that she had been taking part in a ten-day mission and whenever she thought of sending my allowance she was either in church or going to church or somewhere away from her cheque book and then she caught cold and developed influenza.


In a way I see how it came about that my allowance did not come and I am sorry Auntie has been ill, but all the same it was quite possible for Irene or Maud to have posted to me for Aunt Jessie. However it is no use crying over spilt milk.


I heard from Eva Money today saying Cecil had spent a few hours with them en route and that Mother and Bar were also at Tunbridge Wells. As this is the case perhaps it is just as well I cannot get away – not but that in many ways it would be a good opportunity to renew friendly relations with Mother – but there is the chance that we might disagree about my work here or something – so perhaps an All Wise Providence has planned for the best.


I wrote to Cecil and asked him to try and fit in a visit to me but I doubt whether he will have time.


Eva tells me Mr Playfair is engaged to be married! We are all very astonished as the majority of the Parish Church parishioners thought he was a Celibate!


We have been given our orders as to what to do and where to go should the Town Hall hooter sound at night to warn us of an air raid. It will not necessarily mean that air ships are over Birmingham, but may mean they are in the vicinity, or it may sound simply for practice.


The ward nurses are to put on anything they can find in the dark including shoes and stockings and make their way to their several wards. The theatre, casualty and battery nurses are to render assistance in the wards on the top floors as the danger will lie there first and patients will have to be moved. The stretchers and ambulances are in readiness. No lights except a few candles in the corridors in the centre of the building which do not have windows.


Matron is most emphatic that we should none of us appear in our nighties without dressing gowns, even if a bomb should blow us up while we wait to put them on! The hooter will sound five times and the 6th will go on for five minutes.


I am so happy to think you are comfortably billeted but feel very jealous of everyone who is able to be with you and I cannot!


I daresay Red X nurses do a certain amount of good but what hospital nurses feel is that they get posts and deprive experienced trained nurses of billets, which hardly seems right. Matron’s experience of them is that they are hopelessly incompetent as a mass, and the nursing magazines say they are very much so at the front. Of course, individually, there are good Red X nurses but as a whole it would be better for the wounded soldiers if they were provided with trained nurses as far as it is possible.


You need not, of course, tell Miss Blockley all this and doubtless she is one of the exceptions!


Give your little sweetheart of four years old a kiss from me, she won’t know it’s from me but that doesn’t matter.


I am looking forward to seeing Mary and Ethel on Saturday. They are calling at the hospital for me at 5 pm and going to take me out to tea.


With much love, dear Heart, and many kisses, not too many as I must keep some in reserve, you forget one must practise economy in war time! Hit me – if you like!


God bless you, dear.

Your own


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