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September 4th 1916 - Letter from Mela Brown Constable to her fiancé, Captain Cyril E Sladden

4th September 1916
Correspondence From
Mela Brown Constable, Sisters' Quarters, University House, Edgbaston Park Road, Birmingham
Correspondence To
Captain Cyril E Sladden, 9th Worcesters, 13th Division, Mesopotamian Expeditionary Force D (redirected to "Again left for ? 14/8/16")
Relationship to Letter Addressee
Text of Letter

Sisters’ Quarters
University House
Edgbaston Pk Rd

Sept 4th 1916

My own dear Cyril

I don’t know what kind of a letter this will be as it is most difficult to write under the circumstances!

There are four of us sleeping in a room and the others are jabbering hard! We are very overcrowded. Another house, the fourth, has been commandeered but the people who have it are not yet out of it. As soon as they are, we shall be less crowded here.

I am in wards Bix and Bx – officers! I’ll tell you whether I like it or not when I have been in there longer. It is absolutely different to nursing in the men’s wards, and calls for the need of a good deal of tact and patience! I was rather sick when I heard I was being put in these wards. However, I shall see presently how things go. Some of them have the most extraordinary girls to see them – I feel inclined to pick them up with a pair of tongs and drop them out of the window!

I am sleeping in the same room and the same bed as I did before. Holtom is also in here.

Wilfred wired me on Saturday morning that he was coming to B’ham that afternoon and would I try to get an evening pass. I managed to do this. He had a friend with him, a Mr Withers but known as Waggers – a charming fellow – I think you would like him very much. We went to the theatre, a seven to nine show called ‘’A little bit of fluff’’. They could not get back to Lichfield if we went to a later show. It is a silly sort of farce and rather “rather” in parts but we had a good laugh which did us all good.

Wilfred gets 3 weeks’ leave in October – before joining his regiment. He hopes to go and see your people for a day or two there. He likes your father very much and is keen to know them all better. He told me Mother has had a letter from the War Office saying that they cannot trace Cecil in any German prison camps or hospitals, so I expect soon we shall get official notification that he was killed.

I had quite a shock this evening – Nurse Sampson was with me and noticed the same thing. We saw a Scotch officer almost exactly like Cecil and of the same regiment, the difference being in the shade of the hair – it was most extraordinary and made me feel quite queer.

Sept 5th
I was very surprised to find a letter from you in the pigeon holes when I came over from tea. The mails have been so late lately that I did not expect to hear until the end of the week. You posted from Karachi – I can remember the docks there quite well and driving around the place. We had an awfully dusty journey, or rather sandy, through the Sind Desert. Your letter was not a very exciting one – I expect you were not feeling exactly in an exciting frame of mind, going back to that beautiful land.

I note you’ve left a box of things with Cox’s agents at Karachi – I remember you said you would leave some things with them, only you were thinking of Bombay when you wrote.

I have not formed an opinion yet of the work in the officers’ wards, but I have got as far as thinking they are the most untidy wards in hospital! I hope you did not give the nurses so much trouble!

I will write a longer letter next week, dear.
God bless you – you are always in my thoughts.

Ever your affectionate

Letter Images
Cyril received the letter on 6th November 1916.
Type of Correspondence
Envelope containing 2 sheets of notepaper
Location of Document
Imperial War Museum
Record Office Reference