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June 6th 1915 - Letter from Mela Brown Constable to her fiancé, Cyril E Sladden Esq

6th 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, Birmingham

June 6th 1915

My own dear Cyril

We are rather slack this afternoon and 5 of us on duty, and being visiting day, we cannot do much in the ward, so Sister has given us permission to sit down and read or write until 4 o’clock when we expect a convoy of wounded in.  I am off duty this evening from 4.30 until 10 pm – I am meeting Sammy and going for a bus ride to the Lickey Hills.

That is an awfully good plan of yours about the dots under the letters – it will be so much nicer to know where you are.  I can then follow the movements of your division in the papers to a certain extent.

I should love to have a fountain pen some day but what I want more than anything just now is for some kind soul to help me to belong to a library.  In my off duty time during the summer I shall probably spend a good deal of time in the garden lazing and could get through a good deal of reading this way, and we need to read to keep our minds off our work which is very sad at times.

There is a lad of 19 in our ward who has had to have his arm off at the shoulder socket, he has also wounds in his other arm and several head wounds.  He is in the Hussars and is a regular “plucked ‘un”, such a dear fellow and so civil and grateful.  It is difficult among soldiers to prevent any incivility occurring, although I’m thankful to say they are all quite civil to me, but I have heard them being very familiar with some of the nurses.  This young Hussar’s father and soldier brother came to see him yesterday.  It was pathetic to see the meeting.  They brought him the sad news that a sailor brother has been killed in action.  He has four brothers, two in the Army and two in the Navy.

I was very glad to hear from you this morning and to know you are still in England.  I’m not very keen on you being hurried out now that I have seen some of the casualties!  But there is this about it, they seem to manage almost as well without a limb as with it.  It is the abdominal wounds and about that region of the body that seem to hurt the most.

There is one Sister here who is married.  She was given a fortnight’s leave to get married before her husband went to the front.  So when you get made a Captain and get some leave you could come home, I’d get leave, we could get married, then I’d come back here when you went back to the front!!  But of course it was different in her case, she is a fully trained Nursing Sister and her services are very valuable.  I doubt whether I should be allowed the same privilege!

I will write you again on Monday night if I have time which is more than probable, at the latest on Tuesday.  One never knows here when a big convoy of wounded may come in and one’s off duty be cancelled.

The VADs in our ward are much nicer than many of them and I have succeeded in reducing them to their proper level pretty well already!

I dreamt about you last night – you were in such a nasty mood!  The scene was laid before you went into the Army because you had no moustache and wore a bowler hat.  I wanted to have some time alone with you but you said you would prefer to remain with the others and on your way to the station you would not have anything to say to me at all!  I woke up quite unhappy.

Bye-bye for the present, darling.  I hope you are spending a nice peaceful Sunday.  With my best love and a kiss (only one!).

Ever your own devoted


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