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October 12th 1915 - Letter from Mela Brown Constable to her fiancé, Lieutenant Cyril E Sladden

12th 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 Pk Rd, Birmingham

Oct 12th 1915, 2.15 am

My own dear Cyril

You have been much in my thoughts tonight and I have been dreaming with my eyes open of the time when we shall be together again.

I pictured a nice little home and you coming home at night to find me hastily downing a pretty blouse after cooking the dinner and sort of keeping one eye on the cooking and the other on my blouse!  I can hear you saying as your sister “Where’s Mela” and a flippant reply from me that she is not quite presentable and then your retort that you don’t care a hang whether she is covered in flour or gravy, you want to see her at once if not sooner!

Then we’ll have dinner, while our little maid of all work does her best to “wait” at table. Perhaps the oriental table centre may be in use, that is if it is your birthday or the anniversary of our engagement or something equally important!  The dinner I leave to your imagination, personally I incline to simple fare, wholesome food and not made-up dishes.

The following is a copy of a letter I had from Dr Baker tonight.  He started writing it on Sept 28th!

Dear Miss Constable

Thank you very much for writing.  I am rejoiced to hear that he (I imagine Dr Baker is referring to you!) has recovered so quickly, but I did hope he would have had a spell of rest at home before he had to rejoin his regiment.  I sent his name forward for the water purification work in the hopes that he could be caught in England, but I am afraid they will not send for him from the East.  I have written however to the Scientific people out there to tell them that a good chemist is available when they want him.

I am afraid I have been a long time answering your letter.  I began this a fortnight ago.

With all good wishes to you both.

Yours very sincerely

H B Baker

Isn’t Dr Baker a gem to go to so much trouble?  I am sure that even if his efforts on your behalf are not crowned with success now – yet when you come home for good he’ll get you a decent job.

I met Mrs Wormald, our late Chaplain’s wife, in town last Friday, to have tea.  She was accompanied by a girl friend and a Mr Griffiths, her husband’s curate, who is looking after his parish while he is at the Front. Mr Griffiths is a younger man than Mr Wormald, and one would think he would have gone before his Vicar.  But I believe the authorities prefer the older, more experienced men as Chaplains, therefore Mr Griffiths has to content himself at home.

He is a nice young fellow, thinks a lot of hospital nursing as a profession, has the old fashioned idea of “the ministering angel.”

The latter is what we should be, but what we are is somewhat removed from the sphere of angels!  Needless to say I have left him his illusions – it is refreshing to meet someone with a simple, kindly nature, believing the best of his fellow creatures.  Of course, there are some nurses who come up to his standards, but those I’ve met are few and far between.

The training is so hard that it does not give them time to study themselves in order to make themselves better women.  They have little time for self-examination, and become very opinionated and full of their own importance.

It is bad form on my part to run down those with whom I am working for the time being, I don’t do so to everyone.  The majority of those I’ve met seem to consider themselves perfect and everyone else imperfect.  I think a lot of people’s pride would be humbled if they only examined their consciences truthfully – don’t you?

This is a funny sort of letter but I just go rambling on because I have no particular news to give you, yet wish to write while I have the opportunity.

All my love, Heart of Mine.

God bless you and guard you.

A kiss dear One in imagination.

Ever your devoted


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