Skip to main content

July 27th 1915 - Letter from Mela Brown Constable to her fiancé, Cyril E Sladden Esq (Lieut)

27th 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 27th 1915, 9.30 pm


My own dear Cyril


I am just going to write you a few lines before going to sleep.


I played 21 games of tennis this evening after coming off duty! The girl I was playing with and I play pretty evenly and we couldn’t finish the “sett”.


We had decided to play until one or other was two games ahead but when we reached ten all we thought we had better have “sudden death”!


In the last game we had “deuce” several times and then finally my opponent won the last two points!


It was rather a madcap thing to do after having stood at my work for so many hours but one needs recreation after having seen nothing but operations all day.


The two girls who share my room had a day off yesterday so I slept alone. I generally prefer sleeping alone but after having had them so long, I was quite miserable without them.


We are all very good pals and I seemed so lonely without them. I set to work in their absence to sort my letters from you. I read most of them through that I have received here which brought you very close to me. I feel you with me constantly now and I will tell you more about this when you come home. It is good to know that even distance cannot really separate us.


I also wrote to Eva Money. By the way, have you received a letter from her enclosed in one of mine which ought to have reached you before sailing but didn’t? She wrote to wish you luck. If ever you have a moment, dear, you might send her a pc.


I had a letter from the little Mother yesterday from Folkestone. She mentions having seen casualties among the 9th Worcesters in the paper of the 25th July. So you must have been in action?


Goodnight, dear Heart – you are with me now as I write these words. God bless you – dear Love.


July 28th, 9 pm


I had intended finishing this letter this afternoon. Instead of which I slept soundly being rather tired!


Life is very sad – dearest. One sees so much of the under-current of men’s lives in hospital. The surgical cases are not the saddest. We have some dreadful cases of paralysis caused by that awful disease and worse things than that in loathsomeness. One must not judge these men too hardly for one does not know how they have been tempted but it breaks my heart to see and know all the evil there is in the world.


We had a dreadful case in the theatre today. One of the Sisters passed a harsh remark and the Sister in Charge rebuked her, telling her that women ought not to judge until they know the circumstances and that we do not understand man’s nature and how difficult it is for them to keep straight. It is so easy for us in comparison.


This is not a subject to write about or for that matter to talk about but it has worried me so much lately. One man is paralysed and has lost the power of speech too and yet he may live for some years. It is so dreadful because no one ought to go near him really. He is married. Isn’t it dreadful for his wife? It is by no means confined to the lower classes either. Men from refined homes who to all appearance are most fastidious and yet they sink so low. It is so hard to understand and so hard to forgive. I mean when one thinks of the lives of one’s fellow women yoked to men like this. I shall be glad, darling to get away from all this some day.


In our little home you must help me to forget. It is difficult to keep one’s Faith amongst all this. But I suppose it is good to know it because one can help to stamp it out but oh – how it nauseates one.


I am anxiously waiting to hear from you again. Ten days have passed so I expect a letter any day now.


A year ago, my Darling, we were at Uncle Harry’s. A year, the day after tomorrow we were at that dance. It seems as though we have lived a life time since then – doesn’t it?


My legs have been much better since I have worn bandages. The veins are less swollen and look as though they may become normal if I am careful.


Goodnight, Sweetheart.


I trust you are safe and well as we have had no cable since you’ve been in action.


All my love.




Your devoted


"Wounded" has been added to envelope, so it may have been redirected to Blue Sisters Hospital, Malta.
Type of Correspondence
Envelope containing 3 double sheets of notepaper
Location of Document
Imperial War Museum
Record Office Reference