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October 24th 1916 - Letter from Mela Brown Constable to her fiancé, Captain Cyril E Sladden

24th October 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
Relationship to Letter Addressee
Text of Letter

Sisters’ Quarters
University House
Edgbaston Park Road

Oct 24th 1916

My own dear Cyril,

Here I am back on night duty feeling like nothing on earth! That is the only way we nurses can describe ourselves on nights!

I suppose Mother is in Liverpool now with the Walls. They are in their own house now near Birkenhead. Mother will be glad to have Uncle Ben’s sympathy in the dark hour of her life. He knew Cecil about as well as anyone and they will be able to talk about him together. I felt very helpless to comfort her for although she wanted me with her, and yet, naturally, I reminded her of Cecil in many ways. I felt powerless to help. We have grown so far apart these last few years that although the love is still there yet the mutual understanding is lacking. We look at life from totally different standpoints. I am very glad the breach between us is healed but it will be difficult to get back or to cultivate the same trust and confidence that a child ought to have in her mother. I wish you were near so that we could talk over this new phase in our lives.

I saw Mr Allsebrooke and he told me Robin Dewhurst is mentioned in dispatches among the honours list for Kut and the relief of Kut divisions. We also saw that Captain Conybeare and Captain Dobson and one of your sergeants were mentioned, also Mr Polack. I am glad the men who gave their lives that day were honoured. It is a source of pride and joy to the parents although it cannot console them for the loss of their dear ones. Mr Miles was also mentioned in despatches.

Did I tell you that I am getting the new Territorial Probationer’s uniform? The Government have given us a grant of £2 in advance out of our uniform allowance of £4 a year to enable us to get it but this does not nearly cover the cost. I wanted to send you your Xmas parcel this month but my expenses have been too heavy. I’m sure you’ll forgive me if it arrives late.

No time to scribble more. We are busy tonight.
I have to go the dentist after I come off duty in the morning – worse luck – only stoppings of no very serious nature, but still I hate having them done, don’t you?

I hope your mail letter will arrive in time for me to add a little to this letter. I do hope Sweetheart to have a reply to some of my letters this week.

Oct 25th
I had two teeth stopped this morning. If they had not just been tender enough to keep me awake I should have gone to sleep in the dentist’s chair! There are one or two more small filings yet to be done so I go to him again on Friday.

On my way to the dentist’s I went to the General to say goodbye to Nurse Sampson who is leaving there on Thursday. I am in correspondence with an association in London which undertakes to find billets for girls of the professional classes to see whether I can get her a job. She is awfully fed up with life as she is very keen to become a certificated nurse. Perhaps she will be able to get into another hospital. A Nurse Galvans, who failed her exam - just like Sampson, about a year and a half ago, is now taking her ‘’final’’ at the North Birmingham Hospital!

Just for an hour I was sent for to relieve two Sisters who were specialling two cases in A3 and A4. One of the cases was a man who was shot through the lungs, the wound became septic and he had to have an operation for empyema. He is dying and his mother is with him. He has the DCM and was to have been given a commission - and this now is the end. He is quite young and a very nice boy. I was glad when my hour was up – it was so sad to see his mother sitting there gazing at him with all her mother soul in her eyes.

The mail is not in yet. I hope it will come in tomorrow so that I can answer it. Although I want to see you frightfully badly, yet I have the fear in my heart that you would be sent to France if your division came home. The wounded we get now are terribly badly wounded and very few escape with only a ‘’cushie blighty’’- most of them are amputations and some of them double amputations. You’ve had your share of being wounded although of course you have been extraordinarily lucky in the normal recovery of both of them. I feel so parched, as it were, for a sight of you. I daren’t give rein to my feelings now-a-days and the consequence is I feel like a wizened old creature who no one loves!

Take care of yourself, laddie mine. You are always in my thoughts and in my prayers. God bless you, darling.

Oct 27th
No mail in yet and I must post today. I am going to tea this afternoon with a Mrs Price, a friend of Miss Allan’s, Mrs Ashwin’s companion. As I have to get up at 3.30 p.m. I must go off to bye byes now.

All my heart’s love, dear one.

Your ever devoted

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