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November 29th 1915 - Letter from Mela Brown Constable to her fiancé, Lieutenant Cyril E Sladden

29th November 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


Nov 29th 1915


My own dear Cyril


I don’t think I’ve written since Friday when I wrote at the Jarvis’ house.


The weather is so cold that my brain seems quite numbed and I don’t feel able to remember anything! Poor fellows in the trenches – how awful for them. It must be bad enough where you are but I believe in France just now the weather is exceptionally cold and already we are having men in with frost-bite.


I heard from Cecil the other day. He says he will practically be out of the trenches all the winter. He is now quartered in a Bomb school, instructing men in the gentle art of bomb throwing, and being visited by Staff Officers every other minute. He calls it a soft job. Of course he went through last winter’s campaign so it is good that he is in more comfortable circumstances this winter.


As I’ve mentioned before, Elsie Jarvis is having singing lessons. She sang to me the evening I was there, some charming Elizabethan Love Songs, very simple and old-fashioned and also some others from a Cycle of Songs called “Old Furniture”. When you come home, will you get the latter for me. You will love them – different pieces of old fashioned furniture fall under the auctioneer’s hammer, and each in turn sings a song of past memories. They are absolutely charming.


I am feeling rather horrified at the festivities which the Sisters are getting up to amuse themselves this Xmas. Concerts, and a fancy dress, the latter on Dec 31st. How they can think of jollifications of this sort while their brothers are at the Front I cannot imagine. Very few of the nurses and VAD’s are taking part. We are just going to keep the Church Festival of Xmas and spend as peaceful a day as we can.


We do not mean to be mopey but as for dancing, (with girls only!) when those we care for are fighting for us, well, we simply couldn’t do it. Just imagine, if, in the middle of our revelry, a large convoy came in from France or the Dardanelles – they’d feel very hurt to know we were so callous. If we were doing these things for the amusement of the patients I would join in, might and main, but I cannot see any point in amusing ourselves when all the world is suffering and heartbroken.


Private Yates of the 9th is up and about now, his arm is only dressed once a day now.


The Bishop is treating the Senior Nurses and Sisters to the theatre on Wed. and Thurs: to the play “The Merchant of Venice” – in honour of his birthday on Tuesday.


On Tuesday, the men are having a special concert with refreshments provided by the Bishop. The nurses and Sisters are presenting him with a large armchair for his study. He told Matron he did not possess an armchair in his study. This seems rather odd in a Bishop – but I suppose he tells the truth!


I wonder if I shall be lucky enough to hear from you this week. I am very greedy as regards letters from you and would like one every day, and should not grumble if I had two a day!


Best love and a kiss, Sweetheart. God bless you. It won’t be long before you see my handwriting again!


Ever your devoted


Letter Images
Type of Correspondence
Envelope containing 2 sheets of notepaper
Location of Document
Imperial War Museum
Record Office Reference