Skip to main content

November 7th 1917 - Letter from Mela Brown Constable to her fiancé, Captain Cyril E Sladden

7th November 1917
Correspondence From
Mela Brown Constable, Residential Hostels, attached Southern Command Depot Camp, Sutton Coldfield
Correspondence To
Captain Cyril E Sladden, 9th Worcesters, 13th Division, Mesopotamian Expeditionary Force D
Relationship to Letter Addressee
Text of Letter

WAAC Residential Hostels
attached Southern Command Depôt Camp
Sutton Coldfield

Nov 7th 1917

My own dear Cyril

I was very glad to receive two letters from you this mail, coming like an invigorating breeze into an atmosphere surcharged with Army Forms!

This past month has been pretty hard work mentally and physically. I joined the WAAC on Sept 3rd and according to the London Gazette in The Times Nov 5th I am gazetted as Unit Administrator = Commanding Officer from Sept 3rd.

It is not an easy task to jump into an appointment of this sort with no previous experience of the inner routine of Army life. Still I am getting on all right and the officers and men in the camp are very decent to me. At first one or two of them were a bit surly but they soon got over that. They belong to Kitchener’s set – “never let a woman enter a camp” sort of style!

While getting my Unit into working order I have necessarily had to spend a good deal of my time in the Orderly Room, and as this is a Command Depôt everything has to be submitted to General Becher, which was first of all rather a trying ordeal. You, who know me so well will understand how this tried my nervous system.

General Becher’s wife is very nice and helps to run the Women’s Clubs.

YWCA Huts are being opened for the Women’s Army shortly, all over the country.

I see that Mrs Hiscock has not been made a Unit Administrator after all, just an Assistant Administrator. I am sorry she has not a better job – she has had so much experience – yet on the other hand I doubt whether her mental balance is strong enough to stand the strain of full responsibility, since her husband’s death.

I am so glad, dear, that you like the photos taken at Marlow – by now you will have had others – even better. I do so long to have a nice one of you.

The air raids in Folkestone number 8 in the last 10 days. I heard from Eva today – she had recently been to tea with Aunt Lottie. Such a lot of people had been invited that when the last ones came the first people started to go because there would not have been room otherwise!

Mother and Bar are in Boulogne settling up home affairs there. They were in a bad raid the other day too.

Your Father sent me the Times History of the fall of Bagdad and asked me to post it on to you. It is interesting and will be even more so to you who have been through it all on the spot.

I heard from Father today. He is frantically proud of me having got an official appointment – just bursting with pride.

Wilfred writes from Nowshera – but as you’ve heard from him yourself you will know his news.
He seems to have to play many parts and changes his acting rank every other week. He was adjutant last time he wrote but had been CO 2M and anything else you like! He expects to go to Mesopotamia and I do hope you’ll meet.

Well, Sweetheart, this is a very sleepy girl of yours who’d just love to give you a great big kiss before going to sleep. All my love is yours as ever – in spite of the fact that someone told me the other day that if you did not come home soon someone else would be running off with me! The only reply he got from me was that it would take two people to run away and I shouldn’t be one of the two! So that ended the matter!

Ever your affectionate and devoted


Letter Images
Cyril received the letter on 3rd January 1918.
Type of Correspondence
Envelope containing 2 sheets of notepaper
Record Office Reference