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January 10th 1918 - Letter from Mela Brown Constable to her fiancé, Captain Cyril E Sladden

10th January 1918
Correspondence From
Mela Brown Constable, Somerfield Hostel WAAC, Manor Hill, 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 Hostel
Attached Southern Command Depôt
Sutton Coldfield

Jan 10th 1918
My own dear Sweetheart

Time slips by simply and work seems to increase instead of decrease and I feel that I shall soon have to do all private correspondence by wire!

I now have to take two probationary WAAC officers for periods of 14 days at a time, and this is to go on indefinitely. I have to train them on the way they should go etc, etc! Besides this the paying of the women is to be handed over to me. It has been done by OC D Company up to the present. WAAC pay is much more complicated than the men’s – the different grades are paid and rationed differently. The actual rations are the same but one section will have a debit made for rations, and another one has no debit etc. Then a new ACF comes out every month or so to tell you that the rates are changed and the Command Paymaster sends her observations, strings of them, asking you why the rates of pay are not those contained in the new ACF and so on. I have probably never received the new ACF!!! Such is life!

Ada Woolloff, the servant at Badsey wants to join up. Knowing she was valuable there I did not take the matter up – but she sent a message through another Badsey (Willersey) girl who is a clerk in my unit, to say she is going to join up. Betty told me that although Ada is valuable to them, they think they ought to let her join up and replace her by someone older, not eligible for the Women’s Army.

Have you read about the Women’s Royal Naval Service – the Wrens, as they are called? Maud Wall is going to be an Officer in the Wrens. I envy them their becoming uniforms – navy blue coats and skirts, brass buttons, and three cornered hats (like Admirals!). Three cornered hats suit me beautifully!

In the middle of all my work I constantly think of you and wonder what you are thinking about and whether you’re surprised to hear I am in command of an Unit etc, etc.

My Assist-Administrator who does the Messing has been away on leave, so I have been extra busy lately. Besides the actual duties of the day I am expected to undertake all kinds of social duties and attend dinner parties, official and otherwise. So that most evenings are occupied, either at the Girls’ Club WAAC, or else attending social functions.

All the time I feel in a sort of dream and when things are troublesome and difficult, it is like a nightmare! I know some day I shall wake up to find you with me and the war over. I often wish that literally I could wake up one morning and find you with me. If it were not for this longing, this life of activity would be all I could wish for. There is nothing like competition to add a zest to life, pitting one’s brain and personality against other peoples, and against odds very often.

Bernard has made you and me a present of a nice Worcester china bowl, which he bought when he went over Worcester china factory the other day. Isn’t it nice of him? I must write and thank him. I haven’t seen it yet but May wrote and told me about it. It is pale blue, I think.

I haven’t spent any of the £5 yet you sent me – having not quite decided the best way of doing so. You’ll be glad to hear I’ve invested in a lovely warm overcoat – so snug and cosy and beautifully cut. I know it looks nice because I overheard a midshipman say, “I say, I hadn’t seen a Wack before. I quite like the uniform, that coat is quite chic”. He had evidently been in French waters.

I keep intending to be photographed for your benefit but in the whirl of military life, my good intentions seem to remain “intentions”!

With all my love – dearest – do end the war soon. Surely now that we are both in it, something could be done to stop it! I don’t want you to come home in case you get sent to France. At the same time I long to see you.

God bless you, Man of Mine, and may you keep safe and sound in every way.

Ever your devoted

Brown-Constable – Unit Administrator

I put my surname and rank in case this letter went astray and had to be returned to me!

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