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September 30th 1915 - Letter from Mela Brown Constable to her fiancé, Lieutenant Cyril E Sladden

30th 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 30th 1915


My own dear Sweetheart


I am indeed rich! Last night a letter from you posted and written from Alexandria and then this morning another written while on your way to Lemnos, and this evening a letter and two postcards. In the letter written on board ship you mention that you have felt nearer to me lately and have been with me in imagination.


I have felt this myself, ever since about your second letter from Malta, I have been conscious that you were coming back to me as it were. When you were in action I used to feel as though there was a barrier, though not of your own making, between us. You felt it impossible to imagine me with you when surrounded by the horrors of war, but what I want you to do is to imagine yourself back with me, not me with you. The other is against all reason, as you say yourself in your letter.


While this barrier has been removed I feel a different person. There are times when I feel like a dried up old stick with no feelings of any sort. That is when I can see from your letters that we are separated. I expect you’ll see what I mean. I almost get jealous of your old machine gun! ! !


In the letter I received tonight in reply to some old ones of mine and posted the 21st of Aug. you say that if you chance to get promotion and an opportunity presented itself that you would wish us to marry. Of course I cannot say at present if this idea of mine will work, but I shall tell Matron when my contract is at an end that I wish to stay on but am not at liberty to sign on for any length of time, but would of course give a little notice before leaving. If this suggestion is not acceptable I will suggest signing for 3 months, and if this fails I may have to sign for six. Up to the present the minimum is six, but I doubt whether they will be so particular later on as there is a scarcity of nurses for the home hospitals.


I daresay you will get furlough after you have been in the Dardanelles some time.


Won’t it be restful and peaceful to be together dear Heart? We’ll forget for a while that we ever had or have to part. It sounds too good to be possible as things are at the present.


The late British and French victories make one hopeful though that perhaps the war is on the turn and that we may soon have a chance of chasing the Germans out of Belgium.


The Hotel Majestic must be beautifully situated, by the view you sent me. You are like Cecil. He always contrives to find a decently comfortable place to live in. The other view gives a very good idea of Eastern scenery – I suppose Egypt is very like India in many respects.


You have managed to get through a wonderful lot of reading – especially for such a slow reader as you are! I read “She” ages ago. Isn’t it about a mysterious being who lives in some caves or mountains and who lives for ever?


It was too bad of you to take Mr Le Fleming out to tea and not to invite me. Especially as it was a French confectioner where you help yourself to cakes. I am used to doing that at Boulogne so my equilibrium would not have been the least upset!


Mr Le Fleming would not have consented to have tea with you had he known I was not to be of the party! You say you got as far as wishing I was there. What was the use of wishing, if wishes were horses, or rather if wishes were transports, I could have sailed! Oh shut up and do be sensible. The only reason (ahem!) I write to you so often these days is to keep me awake. When with you when you’ve been at home the tendency is for me to go to sleep, you make me sleepy, so it is a good thing you are not here or also I should be dropping off to sleep and neglecting my duty.


Please forgive all grammatical mistakes – they are a privilege of night nurses – nobody expects them to be grammatical or anything that is sane.


Have Lieutenants Neame, Marshall and others returned to the Peninsula or were they sent home?


Several new small hospitals were opened today in Birmingham and our staff has been reduced to supply them with Sisters and VAD nurses. These hospitals have been waiting ready equipped until such time as we began to advance, and so the list of casualties increase.


I have got a new orderly tonight – my old one having been sent to one of the new hospitals. The new one seems a good deal more active than the last one, although he has not had so much experience. It is the last word if you have a lazy orderly – one cannot keep nagging him all the time in front of the patients besides it is so tiring on night duty.


I must close now, my dear One – my heart is brim full of loving thoughts which are difficult to express on paper – but you know all I would say, don’t you?


God bless you, Sweetheart, may the time not be long before we meet again. All my love.



Your ever devoted


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