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September 27th 1915 - Letter from Mela Brown Constable to her fiancé, Lieutenant Cyril E Sladden

27th September 1915
Correspondence From
Mela Brown Constable, Sisters' Quarters, University House, Edgbaston Park Road, Birmingham
Correspondence To
Lieutenant Cyril E Sladden, 9th Worcesters, 39th Brigade, 13th Division, British Mediterranean Expeditionary Force
Relationship to Letter Addressee
Text of Letter

Sisters’ Quarters, University House

Edgbaston Park Road, Birmingham


Sept 27th, Midnight


My own dear Sweetheart


Time passes quickly on night duty. I was quite surprised when I realized just now that we are nearly into October.


Were you at Didcot this time last year or had you migrated to Tidworth? I am glad one year has passed since then – those mouths of working waiting and suspense were weary ones – we were both training for our present occupation and now we know to a certain extent what lies before us. Let us hope this time next year may see us together.


One of my patients lent me 3 books of postcard views of Egypt to look at tonight. I was very interested in them especially the views of Portsaid and the Suez Canal which of course I remember. I notice many of the Egyptian words are like the English – Rodd for road and so on.


Yesterday morning the patients greeted me by what appeared to me at first to be signing themselves with the sign of the Cross. However, I discovered they were only saying “good morning”, Turkish fashion.


It is wonderful what discipline does for the average man. The men who have been out to the Front are 3 times as easy to manage as the Central men are. They obey like children.


I hope Active Service will have the same good effect on you! I never forget Mrs Ashwin’s remarks in her letter of congratulation, namely, did I realize what a responsibility I had undertaken in becoming engaged to you?!


This is Sunday or rather it was Sunday when I came on duty and the day passed with no chance of going to a Service. Indeed one gets very few opportunities for worship, even in one’s room it is difficult to get any real privacy sharing it with someone else. I never feel able to meditate or read my Bible properly. Sometimes now on night duty I try to turn my thoughts to spiritual things just for half an hour or so but am not always successful. Life seems so very material and yet when one sees the courage of the men whose sufferings one witness, one ought to be able to see God in their lives more than one does.


In my letter of last night I mentioned Nurse Hamilton’s brother having been sent here. He was wounded on Aug 21st in Gallipoli, was operated on in Alexandria and 5 weeks after is in England. Most of the convoys have taken nearly a month to come home so he left hospital after about 10 days. He is very well in himself but has lost his left arm. He is a great sportsman and lived out in Canada, coming over with the Canadian Contingent but on getting his commission was attached to the Scotch Borderers. He is a married man and has one little child. I am so glad for his wifes sake that he is unable to go back to the Front.


You mustn’t by any chance come home while I am on night duty! I look so old and ugly and washed out that you’d run away from me! All the night nurses are the same but one soon regains one’s normal appearance when one returns to day duty.


I hope, darling, you are keeping fit and not getting out of sorts like you did when you were on the Peninsula. From the descriptions my patients give it is a wonder you were not more ill than you were. Every surgical case is practically medical as well.


We have any number of typhoids in. They had all been inoculated so are not as bad as they would have been if they had not been done.


I don’t expect to hear from you until the end of next week as you must have been a week getting to Alexandria and then the post from there home will take a fortnight.


God bless you, Love of my Life. Remember, I am always with you in Spirit, sharing all your hardships and trying to comfort you. Oh, my dear One, how I long to be everything to you, to help cheer you and make life a little more worth the living.


Life is worth living even in the midst of so much that is horrible and sad – for you are living to crush out all that is horrible and that is something to live for.


All my love and prayers.



Your ever devoted


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