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June 16th 1915 - Letter from Mela Brown Constable to her fiancé, Cyril E Sladden Esq

16th 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

University House, Birmingham


June 16th 1915


My own dear Cyril


This letter from Eva came enclosed in one to me. I sent off the photos in a hurry this morning and had no time to write so am scribbling a few lines at an odd moment in the hope of this reaching you.


Our letters lately have been so full of one subject that I’ve neglected to tell you how nice some of the nurses have been to me. The other evening Nurse Shephard took me out to dinner and to the pictures, her sister was over to see her. This evening Nurse Rose is taking me to dine with the Hospital Chaplain and his wife, that is if we can get off at the same time. I’ve also had an invitation from a friend of one of the nurses to spend any of my days off at her house, going the night before, and having a lazy day the next day.


I am sure you will be pleased to hear all this because you’ll know I am making friends who are good to me.


All the VADs who have been here a month are being sent on to other hospitals in a few days. Miss Cottam, Matron of the Sister’s Home has been made Matron of Stourbridge Infirmary; Miss Carsgill, Matron under Miss Musson also goes elsewhere so there are many changes in progress.


I heard from May this morning. I hope to go to Badsey for my day off and shall give them the bulk of my news then. It will be much more interesting for them if I give it to them then than telling them by letter first and leaving nothing to talk about.


It seems to me that Kitchener’s New Army is to do the trick and get into Germany through Austria with the aid of Italy and Greece etc. and that the British and French will only hold them on the West Front. I am sure it would take years to get into Germany across the Rhine, as it is so strongly fortified. You are lucky to be going to a part where we are advancing, it will be more inspiriting than having to hold the enemy and gain practically no ground.


Answer Eva’s letter after you’ve left England. She will appreciate getting news from abroad. She says in her letter to me that she met Mrs Hayward the other day who gave her news of you.


Soldiers are queer creatures. They are always grumbling at conditions, breaking out of bounds and getting put into the detention ward.


One of our men, a Canadian, who was sent to Norton Hall, returned yesterday having been sent back to report himself to the Major for breaking the rules by going out of bounds! He gives the most awful account of Norton Hall and Miss Bruce’s severity! I’m sure they are not true.


All the men are most frightfully untidy – I often think of all the difficulties you’ve told me of regarding them keeping their kit tidy etc. It is perfectly hopeless here – we nearly go crazy!


One has to chase the orderlies round from morning until night or else they would do no work at all.


In the Army one seems to spend a lot of time standing about doing nothing - and various officials turn up to inspect but don’t!


The orderly officer comes round every day and a soldier with him who pompously declares “Orderly Officer” and everyone salutes but that is all that happens. Sometimes the officer says “Any complaints?” but is gone before anyone has time to complain!


Now that we have thrashed out the subject that was troubling me I must try and settle down and not worry, but live from day to day. It is and will be difficult but I shall do myself no good by worrying. We must hope and pray for the best, dear Heart, and leave the future in God’s Hands.


May He watch over you and in His Infinite Mercy help us both to resign ourselves to His Almighty Will.


Al my heart’s love. Au revoir.


Ever your own devoted


Letter Images
Type of Correspondence
Envelope containing 3 sheets of notepaper
Location of Document
Imperial War Museum
Record Office Reference