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October 22nd 1915 - Letter from Mela Brown Constable to her fiancé, Lieutenant Cyril E Sladden

22nd 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

Oct 22nd & 23rd 1915

Sister's Quarters
University House
Edgbaston Pk Rd

My own dear Cyril

The news tonight is better & we hope it is true. Just lately there have been so many false reports. The evening papers say that the Russians have gained a big victory & taken 80,000 prisoners and that the German casualties in Serbia are 60,000. The morning papers did not give a very hopeful account of the Serbian campaign so it is difficult to reconcile the two reports.

I have been out with Mrs Jarvis this evening. We had tea at the library which was interesting as well as pleasant as we were able to read the papers. One illustrated paper had photos of several nurses who have distinguished themselves at the Front, one of them a Nurse Ritchie, with whom I was trained at Bournemouth.

Mrs Jarvis' husband is on duty tonight guarding Kynoch's. She says they expect the Germans to make an air raid on it any day now. It is not a very “cushie” job these foggy nights and he can only hear with one ear so that when it is foggy and he cannot see he is always imagining something may be wrong on the side on which he cannot hear!

There is a pillow fight going on in the big hall. It is so dark that the Sisters cannot see exactly who it is! Someone who is convalescent I should think & getting a bit restive. My patients are too frightened of me to be very obstreperous. At least they always stop any nonsense immediately I ask them. I cannot help being amused at Wilfred's cool way of planning his time so as to go to the Front in France next Easter! He has done a pretty fair share in going through a whole year in W. Africa but six months ahead is a long way off to make plans.

Do you know, dear, I've actually had a letter from Mother in which she agrees with me? A thing I've never known before! I wrote & told her that as long as I am well I intend to remain at my post. She, as you already know, wrote suggesting me joining them as she considered I was not strong enough to go on much longer. I told her that as this war is a war to the death, I must stick to my guns and not desert my post. I am glad to say that instead of cutting up rough as she would have done a few years ago, she wrote saying I'm quite right.

Did you meet Miss Swain at Aunt Jessie's? She called to see me today but I was in bed – however I am to meet her at 10 am tomorrow. She is just passing through Birmingham. She left her card & I wrote a message on it. I have never met her.

Mother tells me Uncle Ben had a “seizure” the other day & nearly died. She does not explain what kind of a seizure. I must write to him tonight. I gather he must be in England.

I am feeling a bit off colour and have an awful backache. I envy the patients, especially those who are convalescent, in their comfy beds. By the time I get in tomorrow after meeting Miss Swain I shall have been up 19 hours as I got up to meet Mrs Jarvis tonight, also I only slept 4 hours fitfully before that. But perhaps I shall sleep after getting tired out tomorrow.

I think there is only about another 12 days or so before we are taken off night duty – then I hope I shall get put into a nice ward on days.

I think of you practically all night, Love – and wonder where you are, how you are and what you are doing. If I were rich I would send you all kinds of little comforts but you know that I would if I could, don't you, dear?

The postman is a long time bringing that letter from Lemnos. I expect to get it any day now.

With much love, Sweetheart, God bless you.

Ever your Devoted

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