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October 2nd 1915 - Letter from Mela Brown Constable to her fiancé, Lieutenant Cyril E Sladden

2nd October 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


Oct 2nd 1915


My own dear Cyril


I have just finished writing to Cecil to ascertain whether it is a fact that he has been wounded and if so, where etc.


When the convoy came in last night or rather in the small hours of the morning, I was suddenly inspired to ascertain whether any London Scots had been sent here, and sent my orderly to make enquiries, and to ask them, if he found any, if they could give me news of Cecil. He came back in a few minutes to say there were two London Scots in ward A5, Sergeant Coulson and Private Walker, and that they knew Cecil.


I gave them time to have a bath and get into bed and then went down to see them.


They told me that not long before they were taken off the field, another wounded man had told them Cecil was wounded. They had not heard he was seriously wounded but did not know any particulars.


They are both educated men, very shy, and are sad at losing so many of their comrades. I have not asked them many questions because I do not want to remind them of all they have been through. I took them some books to read when I came on duty tonight and they said they were feeling rested and going on well.


In case Serg: Coulson and Private Walker are mistaken, they said they could not be certain that the man who told them had got correct information, I am not going to tell Mother but shall wait until she hears officially. I wrote to Uncle Harry and told him what I’d heard, so that if we get no wire in a few days, he could make enquiries at Headquarters.


Cecil will be sorry to be out of things now that the Allied armies are advancing but it is nicer to be wounded in a victory than in a defeat, and he must feel proud that he has done his little bit towards chasing the Germans.


I’ve not heard from home (Badsey) for a few days, since Ethel sent me news of Muriel’s wedding, so I cannot give you news of them all. I wrote and told them I’d heard from you from Alexandria and gave them news of your movements. I know you wrote to them as well but I always write and tell them anything I know in case their letter has been delayed or gone astray.


I wonder if Mary and little Dorothy are at Sydenham yet? I don’t think they can be because they were to have stayed at Badsey first, and I am sure I should have heard if they had been there.


I wonder where George has been in this advance. I can imagine the intense joy he will desire from the thrillingness of gaining a Victory. He always struck me as being enthusiastic so I don’t expect he misses much if there is work to be done.


Did I tell you that Wilfred is not coming over with the South African Contingent? He has returned to Hilton College to find all his books stolen and has lost property to the extent I think he said of £60. He thinks he ought to work to get a home together now for Mary Campbell. He is a bit worried because she only writes to him about once a month. He is very loyal to her and says she must be very busy and sick of life in general and hasn’t time to write oftener, but admits it makes him feel “rotten” not hearing oftener. I wrote to him upholding her as far as I could by telling him how heartbreaking work nursing is, and how you feel dead to outside interests; but personally I feel very angry with his fiancée for not treating him better. He has suffered a lot since he has been on Active Service, the “uncivilization” as you call it, revolted him and he used to feel as though he would go off his head. You can understand how he felt - and the least Mary Campbell can do is to write to him.


I expect you would have something to say if I only wrote to you once a month! Shall I try it on? “I don’t think”. It would be no use my writing what I think about Mary C to him. I could only try and comfort him. I dare say she feels as he says unable to write but she ought to make the effort or else her affection is not of a very solid character. I shall be sorry if anything happens to mar their engagement, for Wilfred is a man who could be made or marred by a woman he cares for. He is like Father, he must have sympathy. (I can hear you say to yourself “like his sister too”!)


My patients do not give much trouble at nights. The only thing disturbing they do is to suddenly call out to some German or Turk in their sleep, which is rather uncanny in the silence of the night!


Goodbye for the present, dear Heart. I shouldn’t be a bit surprised if you are home for Xmas.


My time, the first contract is up on my birthday, so I could meet you on that date, unless of course you have anything better to do!!!


God bless you – Sweetheart.


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