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June 2nd 1915 - Letter from Mela Brown Constable to her fiancé, Cyril E Sladden Esq

2nd June 1915
Correspondence From
Mela Brown Constable, Sisters' Quarters, University House, Edgbaston Park Road, Birmingham
Correspondence To
Cyril E Sladden Esq, 9th Worcesters, Officers' Mess, Blackdown Camp, near Farnborough
Relationship to Letter Addressee
Text of Letter

Sisters' Quarters, University House

Edgbaston Park Road, Birmingham

June 2nd 1915

My own dear Sweetheart

Thank you very much for your letter.  I was so glad to hear from you so soon.  I wish you could see this place, the Sisters’ house, you’d just love it.  It is like an old country house and so nicely furnished, simply and yet in great taste.  We get excellent food and attendance.  The garden is beautiful and there is a tennis lawn in the making for the Sisters.  It is awfully decent for me being put in the Sisters’ House.  The VAD people are in houses in the Bristol Road and have to start 20 minutes earlier in the mornings to be on duty in time.  I went on duty yesterday afternoon in A2 Ward, Men’s Surgical.  I think there are 40 beds, but I’ve not counted.  There was a VAD nurse there and Sister introduced me to her and to my astonishment I discovered she was Miss Binyon of Spring Grove, Bewdley, a girl I knew quite well about 8 years ago.

There are Sisters, Orderly Sisters, Senior Nurses (of whom I am one) and VADs.  The Orderly Sisters are nurses who are certificated but have not been Ward Sisters.  Nurse Wanchope is Orderly Sister in our Ward, rather a pal of mine from the General.  She is going ask Miss Cottam (House Matron) if I may share a room with her.  I must say the VAD people are difficult to work with, they order us about, even the Sisters, in the most amusing way and are most condescending!

This place is naturally not fitted up with everything that is necessary, and one has to use one’s wit and ingenuity in improvising all sorts of things.  My dear, I’m awfully swagger.  I do no dusting or cleaning or any of the unpleasant jobs, Sister lets me do the minor dressings and it seems fairly light in comparison to probationer’s work in a Civil Hospital!

I am writing in the Silence Room, which is a prettily furnished room for writing or where one can sit if one wishes to be quiet.  There is a sitting room, called the Common Room, comfortably furnished and possessing a very nice piano.

I’ll tell you more about the wounded when I’ve been here a little longer; in our ward we seem chiefly to have arm and head cases at present.  We have men from all sorts of regiments, from the Dardanelles and France, Hussars, Royal Scots, New Zealanders, Australians, Yorkshire Regiment, Irish Regiments, etc.  I’m trying to trace Miss Holmes’ brother through the New Zealanders.

I went to the General in my off-duty time and I heard they have four wards full of wounded there, 30 arrived yesterday, the majority of them suffering from gas poisoning.

There is an officers’ ward here, don’t forget.  I’ve no time to write more although there is heaps to tell you.

All my very best love, darling, God bless you and bring you back safe to me.

Ever your devoted


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