Skip to main content

February 22nd 1918 - Letter from Mela Brown Constable to her fiancé, Captain Cyril E Sladden

22nd February 1918
Correspondence From
Mela Brown Constable, WAAC Depot Hostel, Handsworth College, Birmingham
Correspondence To
Captain Cyril E Sladden, 9th Worcesters, 13th Division, Mesopotamian Expeditionary Force D
Relationship to Letter Addressee
Text of Letter

WAAC Depôt Hostel
Handsworth College


My own dear Cyril

When I was at Badsey last week your Father handed me the enclosed letter from A E Donaldson, Christ College, Brecon. I sent him a line mentioning I was sending this on to you.

Well, dear, I feel better for a week’s rest. I have had plenty to do as my deputy is away and therefore naturally a certain amount of the work she did falls to me. As a matter of fact I am rather glad because one gets a better insight into matters – and a better grasp of things all round if one has to do them oneself.
There has been a lot to pull up one way and another and I have come up against things that I could not have dreamed of in my wildest imaginations. I’ll tell you all about it some day but one cannot discuss many things in letters now-a-days because one does not wish one’s innermost views on subjects laid bare to the censor even if he does not know one personally.

This afternoon a Mr Barnes, Lieutenant from AG.XI turned up unexpectedly and took up a lot of my time looking up our “draft” book – and talking things over. I think he was rather abashed that I was not more impressed by him – but he came down from his pedestal and became quite natural and nice before he went. He began by saying, “I expect you don’t know who I am, I am from AG.XI” and I said “Yes-but still I don’t know who you are”. Then he explained very humbly he was Mr Barnes, and would like to see the Drafting Officer!

He stayed on to tea and sang to us until I thought he would never go. A pretty Irish girl on my staff said, “It was worse than a gramophone, ma’am (I’m always known as ma’am to officers and women alike) because you see one can stop a gramophone but one couldn’t stop him”!

Enclosed is a picture of the College. What do you think of it? You cannot quite see it all in this picture – the big window on the left of the picture is my Orderly Room. It is a lovely big room and the envy of many in the Corps.

We have a new batch of administrators for training coming in on Monday. I wonder what they will be like. It is awfully difficult writing up reports about each of them and stating for what appointments you think they are suitable.

You can guess we are kept pretty busy. AG.XI says we must draft out 1000 women a week from 3 Depôt Hostels. You see we have to equip them, drill them and lick them into shape in a week!

I have finished working that “duchesse” set for my toilet table and hope to start something fresh soon. This and a signet ring and a bowl for flowers from Liberty’s is as far as I’ve got in the spending of your Xmas and New Year present to me.

I am simply longing for you to come home and when I feel like this I simply cannot write – letters convey next to nothing of what one feels - and news is barred to a great extent by the censor.

Maud Wall is undergoing further training at the Crystal Palace for her post in the Women’s Royal Naval Service. She is very keen and excited about it all.

Irene wrote me a great letter of congratulation and pleasure about your having received the Military Cross. They all sent their love to you and best wishes and good luck.

There is another big move on 15 miles east of Jerusalem – the British having advanced 2 miles. There is movement of some sort at Trebizoud and I am wondering whether there will presently be movement in your part of the world.

With all my hearts love, dear Sweetheart. God bless you and bring you back safe to me. The years are passing and I want you.

Ever your devoted

Letter Images
Cyril received the letter on 15th May 1918.
Type of Correspondence
Envelope containing 2 sheets of notepaper
Record Office Reference