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September 27th 1915 - Letter from Cyril Sladden to his fiancée, Mela Brown Constable

27th September 1915
Correspondence From
Cyril Sladden, Union Club, Alexandria, Egypt
Correspondence To
Mela Brown Constable, Sisters' Quarters, University House, Birmingham
Relationship to Letter Addressee
Text of Letter

Union Club

Sept 27th 1915

My own Darling

I have not any very exciting news to give you, but a mail leaves this afternoon, and I find myself unusually free this morning so the chance must not pass. So far as I can tell I think, Thursday is a likely day for me to leave, but I don’t know for certain, and shall not until shortly beforehand.

Yesterday morning I was duly called at 5.25 instead of 5.0 sharp, so it was out of the question to be present in camp at 6.0. This being so I decided to stop where I was a bit and then got up for the 7 o’clock service at St Mark’s. As the 8 am duty is rather an unnecessary one there was no harm done in missing it, and I really felt rather grateful to the servant who didn’t wake me, as I wanted to go to church. Afterwards I went to Carlton camp, where I had arranged to get my meals for the day, and was able to take on many and various duties from 9 o’clock onwards. I was busy almost all the morning, had a slack and dull afternoon, some more work after tea and a heavy round of scattered guards to visit between 10.0 and 11.0. The camp is a pretty dreary place to have to hand about in all day.

This morning I saw George’s friend Lintott. He is a captain and adjutant in the armoured car squadron of the RND, and stationed at Mustafa barracks; he saw my name on the base depot orders, and left a message with the 13th Division base CO that he would like me to look him up, so I went round this morning and had a chat. I am going up there to have dinner with him this evening. I had met him once at a regimental concert that I went to once with Kath and George. Lintott left the Civil Service Rifles in the spring and took a commission in this show, and reached here the middle of last month.

Walton has got a week’s leave on the doctor’s recommendation, and has gone to Cairo. I should think it ought to do him a lot of good; he was showing some improvement here at last.

A most cheering telegram has just been posted this morning announcing substantial advances by the British and French, with capture of a lot of prisoners. I had felt that the almost ceaseless bombardment must be leading to some activity, and one hopes now to hear that the advantage is pushed further before the Germans can recover properly. The air is full of rumours and empty of official news concerning affairs out here. The former are so persistent that one is much disposed to think that there is something more than the normal activity in progress. By the time you get this letter there will probably be news, if there is any news to publish.

I fancy the regiment has got back all the officers who survived through being away sick. Two have been on duty here not many weeks ago, so I presume they have returned to duty some time ago. I hear a major of The King’s Own has been given command; also I met yesterday a sergeant who accompanied a draft of 200 or so, including a captain and a subaltern; he was put off here sick on the way out. So I am in hopes of finding them considerably recovered from the rough time we had before I left.

I called for letters this morning without any luck. The next mail from home may bring me letters addressed to Cox’s, and I think it is due on Wednesday. I am therefore in great hopes of getting some just before I go after all. Up to the present we have newspapers up to the 16th, and The Times Weekly edition of the 17th which is published during the 16th I think. Those came in on Friday night the 24th, so a mail on Wednesday should safely bring in letters posted up to the 20th, and I hope the 21st. My cable should have arrived on the 18th; so I think my chances are quite good.

I think it is a very great pity you could not have been sent out here just temporarily, which I have been here. There are such lots of nurses about, and it is very nice to see English girls and women again, but it is never the right one! A few little teas together at my nice tea shop, occasional dinner at the Majestic where there are generally to be seen nurses either dining together, or as guests of doctors or officers.

Of course if you really came here I should either live a prolonged and charmed existence on the peninsula, or else get shot straight to England on any provocation great or small!

I had my second dose of cholera inoculation today. I have now had, since joining the army, enteric (two doses), vaccination (one), tetanus (one) and cholera (three). So very soon I shall be able to earn my living by getting people to stick pins into me and collecting coppers as reward for my trouble!

All my love, dearest, from
Your ever affectionate
Cyril E Sladden

Letter Images
Type of Correspondence
Envelope containing 3 sheets of notepaper
Location of Document
Imperial War Museum
Record Office Reference