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December 31st 1915 - Letter from Mela Brown Constable to her fiancé, Lieutenant Cyril E Sladden

31st 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 31st 1915


My own darling Cyril


I have been very fortunate in having a half-day today.


Kathleen and May were to have come over today but as there has been a perfect deluge of rain here and a hurricane of wind, I put them off until next week.


The wind has been so strong that nurses and orderlies have been thrown down and injured. One Sister broke a rib and is very much shaken. I was taken off my feet but landed on them again! Indeed, I rather enjoyed the sensation of being carried through the air.


Sweetheart – your people are simply marvellously good to me. George, Arthur and Jack all wrote to me, and Kath, Ethel and your Mother. I often feel so unworthy. They are so much better than I am in every way, and yet they do so much for me. Jack wrote to me from Sydenham, after he returned there from home – such a nice letter. He was awfully pleased to have met Mr Neame, who lunched at Badsey last Sunday.


By the way, the note-paper I am writing on is from all your sisters for my birthday. I think it was a good idea, don’t you?!


There is an entertainment and fancy dress dance going on tonight for the nurses. I have gone to bed, partly because I feel rather worn out, and partly because the Church has ordered that Dec: 31st, Jan: 1st, and 2nd are to be kept throughout the length and breadth of the land, as days of Intercession, self-denial and prayer.


Besides these reasons, I would rather spend the evening writing to you, than go to a fancy dress dance. I daresay it will be very jolly in its way, but no men are allowed! Imagine a dance for men only, no girls allowed! Of course, I don’t consider you consider yourself a lady-killer exactly, but I give you credit for enjoying to dance with a girl, better than dancing with another man!


It is awfully kind of you to send me the wherewithal to buy myself a birthday present. I fully thought the wrap was meant for Xmas and the 31st as well. I did not buy a trunk with the money Wilfred sent me, as I mentioned to you I intended doing. The sales are on, and being badly in need of a new costume, my old blue one having seen its best days, I invested in another well-fitting navy blue costume. Nothing beats a nice dark blue coat and skirt. It won’t be worn out before you come home, because I can only wear mufti on my days off, and when I get a holiday, probably in the Early Spring, so it will still be smart enough to be seen out with you if you get home any time next year at all!


Everyone at home is hopeful that another New Year may see peace established. God grant that it may be so.


Today’s Times has a splendid account of the evacuation of the Peninsula. Poor old Turk, what a shock to find the birds had flown! I’m afraid Turkey was a Goose that time! It is awfully tantalizing not knowing where you are. Do hurry up and let me know, unless this is forbidden, where you are etc.


Did I tell you that Wilfred’s engagement is broken off. I am so sorry for him. It is next to impossible to share this kind of trouble with anyone. It has to be fought out alone, with God’s help. We can understand to a certain extent but cannot put into words what we feel.


I’ve invested in a cheap style pen, hence the thin writing.


I know you have been thinking of me even more than usual today, even if you have been very busy. I feel it in my bones. I miss my birthday kiss very much!


Cecil was home with Mother for Xmas. Wasn’t he lucky to get leave?!


I am very weary, dear Heart, so please will you forgive a short letter.


May the New Year bring you back to me and grant us our heart’s desire. As days go on, even if the war lasts longer than we expect, still the time of our re-union draws closer. God bless you, Beloved – it is hard to wait patiently to see you again.


All my love!



Your ever devoted


Letter Images
Cyril received the letter on 23rd January 1916 at Alexandria.
Type of Correspondence
Envelope containing 3 single sheets of notepaper and newspaper cutting
Location of Document
Imperial War Museum
Record Office Reference