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July 22nd 1915 - Letter from Mela Brown Constable to her fiancé, Cyril E Sladden Esq (Lieut)

22nd July 1915
Correspondence From
Mela Brown Constable
Correspondence To
Cyril E Sladden Esq (Lieut), 9th Worcesters, 39th Brigade, 13th Division, British Mediterranean Expeditionary Force
Relationship to Letter Addressee
Text of Letter

July 22nd 1915

My own dear Cyril

I am sitting down for the first time today, excepting meals after a most exciting and tiring day.  We were inspected today by the King.  We were not supposed to know he was coming but the news had leaked out.  You never saw such a scrubbing and a polishing everything had, including the patients!  We were very busy in the operating theatres this morning, getting in 15 cases before one o’clock and then set to and cleared everything up, polished brasses etc, etc, as though our lives depended on it!

We had both theatres laid out as though ready for operating.  We were well repaid for our efforts because the King came right inside and Sister Jones, the Theatre Charge Sister, was presented to him by Colonel Marsh, our House Governor.  She curtsied but the King showed by his manner that she was not to finish curtseying and shook hands with her and acknowledge our curtseys with a bow.  The King decorated one of the wounded officers with the DSO.  You’ll see his name in the paper cutting.

I was so delighted, darling, to get your long letter and to read at the end of it that in spite of all your adventures you miss me.  It must be difficult for you to realize sometimes that I exist – everything around you being foreign and strange.  It was sweet to read that you feel even out there that I am absolutely bound up in your life as it were.  You say you wonder if it is selfish to wish to be one of the lucky ones for my sake.  I don’t think it is selfish of you to wish it for another’s sake.  It would be selfish of me to wish it so much as to begrudge you risking your life with others, because I am the one who will suffer most if anything happens to you.  Never feel, dearest (if there is ever anything that comes your way which needs doing, and you feel you are the one to do it), that I would stand in the way.  Your “duty” must come first these days and when that is done then, God will, you will come back to me.  I don’t pretend to be a heroine and, God knows, that I am ever praying for your safety, but I am trying my best to see God’s Hand in my life, and maybe He will give me strength for the future.

So cheer up, my own man, don’t worry your head about anything but just live from day to day, doing your “little bit”.  It is hard luck for you and for me not to have had some time together, absolutely everything to each other – but perhaps we shall be happier in the end for this.  I saw a picture in a shop window this evening of a soldier lying on the battle-field and behind him Our Lord on the Cross, with the words, “Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends”.  This picture helped me – and I am sure you feel the same.  Dear Heart, I must close to catch post.  I’ll write soon again.  God bless you.

All my love from

Your devoted Mela.

Letter Images
This letter took a long time reaching Cyril; it was directed to Mudros, then indicated that he had been wounded, sent to Blue Sisters, Sliema, then "Returned to Active Service".
Type of Correspondence
Envelope containing 2 double sheets of notepaper
Location of Document
Imperial War Museum
Record Office Reference