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January 31st 1919 - Letter from Mela Brown Constable to her fiancé, Major Cyril E Sladden

31st January 1919
Correspondence From
Mela Brown Constable, QMAAC, Bulford Camp, Salisbury Plain
Correspondence To
Major Cyril E Sladden, 9th Worcesters, Britforce, Baku, Caspian Area (readdressed to Badsey)
Relationship to Letter Addressee
Text of Letter

QMAAC Quarters
Bulford Camp

Jan 31st 1919

My own dear Cyril

Please forgive pencil. I am writing this in bed having a slight internal chill – nothing much but bed is the best place in this weather!

It is very cold and raw – even people who have been in Russia say they haven’t felt so cold for years.
Will you write me a letter which can, if necessary be shown to those in authority at Headquarters, asking me to obtain my discharge on the grounds that you want me to be free when you come home? I may or may not have to use this letter but I would like to have it – in case it was necessary.

There are many reasons why I feel I should get my discharge within the next three months or so. Many things are taking place of which I cannot approve and am doing all in my power to eradicate. I wrote such a strong report last week that within three days I obtained the services of a Deputy Patrol Officer and 5 patrols. You can probably guess the results of the Armistice. In some ways there is more work but the hours on duty are not so long and – to quote an old proverb – the “devil finds some mischief for idle hands to do”.

If I can get the full support of those in authority to eradicate the evil then possibly I will stay in longer, but if things go on as they are doing here and elsewhere I certainly shall protest pretty violently. I do hope I am not saying more than I ought in a letter but I have been wanting to tell you for ages but kept silent so long as the war was on. You can have no idea of the uphill work it has been. One has to try and live “above reproach” oneself which means a constant look out on one’s own actions so that if one complains of other people’s they can have no handle to quote “people in glass houses” etc. The actual routine is child’s play, it is the influence one has to exert constantly and continuously in order to keep control. Controllers tell me the discipline here is good – but it is only on the surface.

Luckily since I have been here I have had a very loyal second in command, Mrs Bryant, who backs me up in every way. If it hadn’t been for this I should often have felt like throwing up the game.

All this has told on me, my darling, and I feel I want to get back to things sweet and wholesome before we are married. Life holds distorted views for me at present and all one holds most holy seems spoilt. It is only a temporary phase – dear – I am sure you will understand that it does not mean I love you less. It means that I want to give you the best that is in me, my highest thoughts and holiest desires – to come to you fresh and invigorated in mind and body.

I have all sorts of visions of what life will be like when we are married. I love the old expression to hold “sweet counsel together”. You will tell me all that is in your mind and I will tell you what is in mine, when you have helped me to say what is there. You know the difficulty I have in expressing myself – the words won’t come. But you understand and help me out in such a dear kind way.

Maud Wall has been made a Divisional Director in the WRNS – for the Chatham Division. She has ten naval stations under her command which includes about 100 officers nearly all years older than she is. Isn’t it splendid? She must have wonderful organizing powers to be given such a splendid post. Her area includes Ostend – she crosses over there in a destroyer. Swish!

I am going to give £2 of that £10 you sent me towards the memorial to Boys fallen in the war at Cecil’s school. I will subscribe to it myself as well. I feel you’d like to give something. I’ll write another letter during the week, old fellow.

God bless you.

All my love as ever.

Your ever devoted

Letter Images
Cyril did not receive the letter until 1st April 1919 on his return to England.
Type of Correspondence
Envelope containing 2 sheets of notepaper
Record Office Reference