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December 6th 1915 - Letter from Mela Brown Constable to her fiancé, Lieutenant Cyril E Sladden

6th 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 6th 1915


My own dear Cyril


I am just longing for your first letter from the Peninsula since your return there.


Two days ago a large convoy of medical cases came here from the Dardanelles and they told us the Australians had made a big advance in Gallipoli, just before Kitchener’s visit. We have seen no report of this advance in any paper but feel the men who took part in it must know. They even told us the extent of the casualties.


We are rather mystified by the sudden retreat of the British from Baghdad but the men are quite optimistic and prophesy a big smash up for the enemy soon in that quarter!


I must say the British Tommy is wonderfully high-spirited. It is quite true that he can never see he is defeated - and therefore will never be defeated.


With whom do you think I lunched on Friday! A very nice old gentleman, I believe you knew him when a boy – by name Mr Julius Sladden! He came over to Birmingham on business and sent me a pc the day before to let me know.


Matron kindly gave me permission to miss lunch so I met Mr Sladden about 1.45 and we lunched at Fletchers in Corporation Street. We had not much time to do much before his train left at 3.55, lunch lasting till 3pm! It was the little Mother’s birthday so we paid a visit to Kunzle’s and bought her some chocolates. I also came in for a packet, which was very nice!


Your Father seemed very pleased to have Ethel home again after her holiday. She had a lovely time, and especially enjoyed meeting George in London. His fiancée wrote to your Mother the other day and all at home liked her letter very much. They all seem very happy about the engagement, the only thing your Father said was that perhaps Rose is rather young but otherwise I think they are pleased about it. Juliet will have a sister-in-law of her own age, which will be very jolly. In his letter to Mrs Sladden George gave her to understand that he had not intended to propose so soon, but when he saw her again he “just couldn’t help it”!


Dolly Molly has been short-coated and is growing fast, and is remarkably intelligent, so your Father says.


Your Mother keeps very well, but Mr Sladden himself had just recovered from a bronchial cold. He seemed well and cheery while with me.


We discussed my plans re signing on here and if I am to go abroad if asked.


Your Father’s idea is that I should stay where I am unless there should come a very urgent call for partially trained nurses to go abroad. He thinks the work here is very good war work and seems within my powers, and that if I went abroad and broke down it would be the end of war work for me. He also felt I ought to consider you and his idea is that if you were sent home invalided it would not hasten your progress exactly if I were in Cairo or Rouen or any other part of the world.


Of course I cannot quite see his point about you wanting me with you if you came home! Extraordinary idea?!


Darling – there is a rumour – it’s only a rumour that I am being sent back to the theatre at the end of the middle of this month. I don’t want to go back there a bit but in war time one cannot refuse to do anything.


I wonder how you are getting on? Do you miss your Sunday afternoon teas at the Canadian Hospital?!


I’m afraid this is not a very charming letter – dearest – but I don’t feel charming. Our Charge Sister was in a “divil” of a mood this morning with everybody - and upset us all one way and another.


I’d just love to have you here. You are so dear and good to me when I am in a horrid mood and your patience has the effect of chasing my horridness away. God bless you. I long to have you again – Sweetheart – the time seems so long and empty without you.


All my best love now and always.


Ever your devoted


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