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October 14th 1915 - Letter from Mela Brown Constable to her fiancé, Lieutenant Cyril E Sladden

14th 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 14th-15th 1915


My own dear Cyril


As I write, I can hear peals and peals of Church bells. I wonder why they are ringing so late at night?


They remind me of Sunday evenings at Badsey.


How long will it be before we hear those bells together again? I wonder.


I got up at 4pm today and went for a bus ride to the Lickey Hills. The blow freshened me up considerably and the lovely scenery seemed to bring peace to my mind.


We are having an exceptionally beautiful autumn. The trees and hedges are all shades of brown and red. On the way back the evening mist began to rise, making everything look eery and uncanny as it shifted about from place to place.


As usual, the one thing needful to bring my happiness to perfection was missing. Can you guess what or rather who that is?!


In the Times there is a rather nice letter from a lady working in France in answer to the Chaplain General’s appeal for more faithful prayer for the troops. It is quite short and runs as follows:




The Chaplain General’s appeal for more faithful prayer for the troops recalls to my remembrance, what a Canadian Highlander just down from the trenches said to me one evening in a camp in France – “Go home and tell the women to pray for us, and never to leave off. We are helped more than you know by the prayers of those at home, and in the trenches we know when they have had a slack day”.


Everywhere over there one is astounded and uplifted by the reverent perception in our fighting men of the spiritual forces, which are as necessary as the material one to the conduct of the war. Shall we fail them then?


God forbid!


Yours etc


A fact, such as is recorded in this letter, helps me more than fifty sermons.


Another article which interested me was about a wonderful spinal operation performed by a French doctor, for the first time. He, Dr Emile Girou, sutured or stitched the spinal cord.


The patient was a soldier who had been hit by a shell splinter which embedded itself in the whole breadth of the vertebral canal, completely severing the spinal cord.


The operation which was performed in disastrous conditions on a man apparently dying, gave results far beyond anything hoped for. The man is now able to move his lower limbs and is gradually recovering his sensory powers. The enormous sloughing sore, which normally ought to have killed him in a few days, is healing up. The fever has disappeared and his general condition is good.


This is a wonderful piece of surgery and I doubt if two men could be found to do it. I hope the Times will let us know if the patient recovers completely.


Mary and little Dorothy are at Badsey tonight. How I should like to be there too! It would be the next best place to being at the Dardanelles with you – even roughing it would not take away from the fact that it is the place in the world I want to be – that is as long as you are there!


Another Sister has had a proposal from an Australian patient. It seems to be catching! I’ve not had any proposals yet. I’ll let you know when I do!!!


With much love, darling, and a kiss. God bless you.


Ever your own devoted


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