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December 1st 1915 - Letter from Mela Brown Constable to her fiancé, Lieutenant Cyril E Sladden

1st December 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


Dec 1st 1915


My dear One,


Your pc dated Nov 14th reached me yesterday in which you state that you were on the move at last. In some ways you will be glad to leave Lemnos, your description of life there does not sound very thrilling.


Then today a letter came from you dated the 7th in which you describe two attempts to cross to the Peninsula.


I have received 2 letters dated later than the 7th, last week. I am really doing pretty well for news from you and know your movements up to a fortnight ago.


I wonder if a letter from George will reach you before this does, giving you the great news. He is engaged to be married to Rose Lintott, niece of Captain Lintott, whom you met at Alexandria. George met her when in camp at Watford, and it was a case of love at first sight.


Kathleen wrote me a long letter, a very confidential one, so anything I tell you must remain a sealed book between us three. Not that Kath has anything serious against the engagement but she is rather disappointed I think that he did not ask Clara Jones again. She is so afraid that this is a reaction and that George is not as much in love with the girl, as she is in love with him.


Kath describes Rose as rather pretty. With golden brown hair and blue eyes, a gentle sympathetic manner and a quiet voice, but that she has just a little of the telephone type of girl about her. She is a telephone operator. Although George met her at Watford, her home is really in Edgware. Her Mother has married a second time but not very successfully. George told Kathleen himself that she is not clever but very lovable. Rose is only a month older than Juliet, so she will be quite the baby amongst the 3 new daughters of the Badsey household.


In my answer to Kath’s letter I told her I quite saw her point of view that perhaps George might have chosen differently, but pointed out that nothing really matters so long as the two concerned are happy, and that Rose Lintott’s gentle loving ways, will twine themselves so lightly round George’s heart, that the old affair, although it may not be forgotten, yet still will be but a far away memory. She has the kind of disposition I should imagine that could be blissfully happy so long as she loves a man herself, and Kath says she is very deeply in love with George.


Another thing, I pointed out to Kath, is that she is so young that her character has not had time to develop, and George will probably have a hand in the moulding of it.


Kath says she does not wish to be snobby when she writes so critically - and that she is not mentioning her thoughts to the home people but leaving them to judge for themselves.


Personally I am awfully pleased about it and have written him a letter of hearty congratulations. I believe he was to write to you on the boat crossing to France.


He kept the whole thing absolutely dark! The only person whose breath was not taken away was Ethel! She said she always expected him to have a sudden engagement.


When at Sydenham he told Kath he would be dining out on Wednesday and Friday with a friend! Kath took it for granted the friend in question was a man!


Then on his return on Friday night about midnight, seeing a light in Kath’s room, he went upstairs and told her. K was all the more surprised as she thought from an incident that happened while he has been at home that the old affair had not died down. She does not mention what the incident was – but she evidently liked the idea of Clara Jones for a sister-in-law.


I heard from Mary yesterday. At home they all seem quite happy and pleased. They cannot imagine how it was they detected no signs of the love-sick swain about George when he was with them!


I should think Judy will be awfully glad to have a sister-in-law near her own age. What fun it will be when you all come home and we have a family gathering! I say, we shan’t get the drawing room every night! I wonder if they’ll think we ought to have outgrown all that after 2½ years!


To my surprise I had a long letter from Father yesterday. He is much better for his course of treatment. He enclosed a ppc from Cecil on which the latter says he’ll write a letter when time and inclination combine! Poor old Father has read into this that Cecil has no inclination to write to him. I wrote off to him at once to assure him that I am certain Cecil did not mean that, he simply means the inclination and time to write letters. I explained how war work is such a strain that one’s very brain becomes numbed and the gentle art of letter writing out of the question. Even I sometimes feel so fed up with things in general that I cannot write you a letter worth reading. I hope my letter will re-assure him.


He says Cecil’s manner to him is so reserved that he feels perhaps he does not really want to go and see him. Again I pointed out that he is the same with everyone else. It is just his way. I don’t feel I know Cecil any better now than when he came back from South Africa.


Could you get me some stamps headed “De Secours aux blesses Militaires”, and underneath is written “Les Dardanelles” - and send them through the post if you can – they are more valuable then. There is a picture of a Red X tent on them.


I must close this epistle, now, dear Heart. I was pleased to read in your letter today that you feel you do not want to feel that any other girl is filling the tiniest secretest corner of the great big gap which is the result of “your being always away from me”. It is very sweet of you, dear, and I understand exactly, for, as you know, I feel like that myself as regards knowing other men.


I cannot bear to feel I’ve parted with even a glance, which is under all yours. This is badly expressed but you know what I mean.


God bless you, dear Love, I think the war will be over sooner than I did a little while ago. All the love of my heart.



Your ever devoted


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