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July 24th 1915 - Letter from Mela Brown Constable to her fiancé, Cyril E Sladden Esq (Lieut)

24th July 1915
Correspondence From
Mela Brown Constable, Sisters' Quarters, University House, Edgbaston Park Road, Birmingham
Correspondence To
Cyril E Sladden Esq (Lieut), 9th Worcesters, 39th Brigade, 13th Division, British Mediterranean Expeditionary Force
Relationship to Letter Addressee
Text of Letter

Sisters’ Quarters


July 24th/15


My own dear Cyril


In case any of my letters have gone astray I will repeat that we are not allowed to put our address on our letters going abroad but I’ll let you know somehow should my address get changed.


Five of our Sisters sailed for Egypt today with the view of going on to the Dardanelles.


A week tomorrow is my day off again. May wrote today saying she would like to pay my fare as they want me to go home for it, she tells me to have no qualms about accepting it as they would spend it if they came to see me so that it will come to the same thing.


Isn’t it sweet of her?


Juliet will be at home and perhaps Kath, so we’ll be quite a jolly party. If you had any sense you’d run home for the weekend too!


By the way, when first coming here I used some of the money out of the Post Office. I got it together again late in last or early in this month then spent some of it in going home last week end and I needed some underclothing very badly and as the Sales were on I took my opportunity and bought what I required.


My visit home last time cost me something like 12/-, Train 2/8, trap 2/6. There was a thunder storm so I had to taxi back to Evesham, no trap being available, and then catch the motor bus to Birmingham – Taxi 4/6, Bus 2/5. Pretty expensive for a journey of 30 miles!


I am going to put the money back in the Post Office as soon as I can. This month I may not be able to do so as I may have one or two extra incidental expenses in connection with something which has gone wrong with my legs.


I have developed varicose veins behind the knees. I have been advised to wear elastic bandages and then to show my legs again to a Surgeon to see if there is any improvement. I may have to get special elastic stockings which are fairly expensive.


It is hoped that if I do this and rest when off duty that it will not be necessary to have the veins taken out under an anaesthetic.


I do not mind so much for myself, but I am sorry because I shall hate to come to you anything less than perfect in physical well-being. It has been a joy to me to know that although I am not beautiful I was at least sound in every limb and organ. So I shall try by every means to prevent my legs getting worse – not only for my own comfort but also because I am vain enough to wish to be whole and sound for your sake!


I’ll add to this letter tomorrow.


I could say a great deal more in my letters if only I were sure of them reaching you unopened. I nearly always now feel you with me when I am dropping off to dreamland. It is wonderful when you think of the distance which lies between us.


Goodnight, dear Heart. I wonder where you are and what you are doing.


Sunday. July 25th 1915


It is my evening off and as it is pouring with rain I think bed will be the best place after I’ve finished this and written to Cecil.


As you know, I share a room with two others, Nurse Holtom and Nurse Shepard. We take it in turns to provide supper in our room on Sunday nights, partly to ensure getting to bed early, partly because for some unknown reason food is scarce downstairs on Sunday nights, and partly we do it for a lark. Nurse Shepard gets ripping hampers from home. It is her party tonight but I have just finished laying out the feast as I am the one off duty. It will be ready for the others when they come off at 8 pm. This is our menu:


Galantine of Beef

Swiss Sandwich (almond Paste in between)

Biscuits and Butter




Tea and Milk or Tea without Milk

Adam’s Ale


I have written the Menu on the table in French in honour of our Brave Allies!


I went to the Early Service at 6 am. It was very peaceful and we had a very good Congregation of convalescent patients. We were not busy this morning in the theatre so Sister let me go to Parade Service.


The Chaplain preached a sad sermon which nearly did for me all about sacrifice and bravery etc.


His text was about David expressing a wish for a drink of water and the three men who fetched it for him having broken through the Philistines lines to get it for him. He applied this to the present war.


Isn’t it strange? I always get unnerved if I go to Church, but am fairly all right at an Early Celebration, but at Mattins I think the war hymns etc upset me. I get so annoyed with myself. It is awfully sad to see the patients all of them bandaged up. Some part of them. One realizes war so vividly when one sees them. They are so reverent and pray and sing so earnestly.


I find the bandage round my legs a great support and think in time they will get better or at any rate will get no worse.


I’ll write soon again, dear One. May God have you in is Almighty Keeping.


All my love


Your own little


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 3 double sheets of notepaper and newspaper cutting
Location of Document
Imperial War Museum
Record Office Reference