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October 9th 1915 - Letter from Mela Brown Constable to her fiancé, Lieutenant Cyril E Sladden

9th 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 9th 1915


My own dear Cyril


We had a big convoy in last night so I missed writing. Also I wanted to write to Wilfred if any spare time cropped up as I heard from him this week.


He was very distressed because Daphne Campbell, his fiancée’s sister, told him I was giving my services free as a nurse – and he wrote to say that had he known he would have sent me pocket money. I daresay Daphne meant well but she might have known that I could not be living on air and must have been receiving an allowance from someone. I have written and explained to him that I have been quite all right and not suffering from lack of funds and that Aunt J. made me an allowance.


He says he is sending me £5 in October, but I have told him not to do so as he must save to build up a home for Mary Campbell. The latter is having the extreme felicity of nursing German prisoners and does not relish her job at all. She is still somewhere in German West Africa.


I wish people would mind their own business. What was the use of Wilfred being worried about my affairs – he has quite enough of his own worries.


The convoy we had in last night was from the Dardanelles, chiefly Australians and New Zealanders, who had been in hospital at Malta and so are very nearly convalescent.


From varied and various accounts the accommodation for wounded men on boats is not up to much. Many of them speak of sleeping on damp boards. The floors used to be washed down before they went to bed and were not dry when they made up their beds on the floor. The consequence is many of them have colds and coughs. It is pathetic to see how glad they are to be in real beds again. The consequence of all the vicissitudes of their lives lately is that they never give any trouble and are so grateful for the least attention.


I wonder if you have crossed over to the Peninsula yet. I expect you will find many changes, in climate and conditions generally, as the troops out there seem to be at a standstill just now.


I have been a bit run down lately so Matron got Captain Wynne to see me and he prescribed a tonic, Mist, Ferri, Pench, Strych – which I began to take today and hope soon to benefit from it.


I was beginning to look washed out as I did at the General so I thought “what would Cyril say if he suddenly came home and saw my face looking like a washed out boiled suet pudding”! See how frightened I am of you!


I braved Matron’s criticisms and asked for a tonic.


Italy is very sarcastic about Germany’s attitude towards Serbia. She says Germany finds herself powerless against Russia, a big country so is going to see how much Germany, Austria and Bulgaria can do against Serbia, a little country.


I do hope, darling that you will not be sent to Bulgaria or any of the States. I feel I should never be able to receive letters from you were you there. Everything would be in such a muddle that letters would get lost, delayed or never posted.


Cecil is still safe. I saw a Captain Mackie, London Scottish, Brigade Machine Gun Officer, has been killed, in today’s Times.


I take The Times every day now. The other nurses think I am extravagant to spend a whole penny on a newspaper when one can be had for a halfpenny! But the point is, they get agitated over news in the halfpenny papers, which is concocted, while I smile on serenely having full confidence that if the news were bad the Times would have it in, and so often lately there has been no mention of reverses when the halfpenny papers are headed by “Great Set-Back by Germans”. “Germans claim to have taken thousands of English Prisoners”. Etc.


Arthur has been made Bacteriologist to the Meerut Hospital at Rouen. It sounds a fusty job but I expect he revels in it!


I have been wondering lately, dear, whether, when you come back, we shall fall into our old happy intimacy or whether it will be like beginning all over again. Of course, I know we shall still love each other, but won’t it seem strange to be together again. I’m sure I shall feel shy of you. You’ll seem so different after all you’ve been through. No one kisses me except “Sammie” from one week’s end to another, so I shall have almost forgotten what it is like and think one kiss a week quite sufficient. I shall feel that perhaps that will be rather stingey when you’ve been away so long, so perhaps one and a half to two a week to begin with would be more generous! Of course if you take an extra one without asking, that will mean one less for the next week!


No, but joking apart, I wonder how we’ll feel when we meet again. The life here seems to deaden one to the joy of life and I expect you feel that too. Perhaps though when we see each other everything will be just the same as of yore, and it will be our present life that will seem like a dream, or rather a nightmare, from which we have awoken, never to go back to again.


God bless you, dear Sweetheart. I look forward eagerly for your letters – try and throw yourself into them so that we can keep as near in thought as possible.


With much love, Beloved - and a Kiss, only one!


Ever your devoted



Letter Images
Type of Correspondence
Envelope containing 4 sheets of notepaper
Location of Document
Imperial War Museum
Record Office Reference