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August 19th 1917 - Letter from Cyril Sladden to his fiancée, Mela Brown Constable

19th August 1917
Correspondence From
Cyril Sladden
Correspondence To
Mela Brown Constable, seward House, Badsey; redirected to Unit Administrator WAAC, Command Depot, Sutton Coldfield
Relationship to Letter Addressee
Text of Letter

Aug 19th 1917


My dearest Mela


I have just had a Sunday morning mail in bring your letters of June 17th, 28th and July 4th, also three postcards showing views of the river as seen from your new house – a delightful prospect – and of the church. I had a letter from Kath too, and three Observers but no letter this time from Badsey. One XIXth Century and two Natures completed a pretty fat mail.


You wrote in excellent form to my very great delight, and I could tell you liked being home again for which I am very glad indeed. My letters all came rolling in together, so that had pleased you a bit extra, and gave you all the more to write about.


I had a letter two days ago from Wilfred, written at the end of last month from Bombay while he was spending a few days there fitting himself out. He wrote quite a long letter which is unusual for him if I remember right. He enquired at Cox’s to find out if I was on leave in India, but they could not tell him anything about me, so he guessed I had not got away. His journey took him a pretty long time altogether, and I expect he is glad to have got to the end of it. He has given me his address as 94th Infantry. I don’t know anything of that regiment, and whether or not it is out here; but I cannot remember ever hearing of it. I hope it is in India and will stop there. If I can ever get to India myself I shall try to go and see him, because we are not likely to have lots of chances of meeting. I can imagine he got sick of Malta after having 2½ months there, it is a most interesting place for a short time but I should not care about being there long.


I had quite a long talk with Dixon who was in the boat with Wilfred when they went down. I gathered from his account that he was on a different destroyer, Wilfred having been probably on the Nemesis. As there were 250 officers on board it did not surprise me that they didn’t know one another, after so short a time. It seems to have been a supply boat, and big with several thousand troops on board, so the casualties were relatively slight.


While in process of writing the above I was called away by the arrival of Holmden and Gibbon who are glad to have got the tiresome journey up river over; they seem to have enjoyed their holiday thoroughly. As in Inwood’s case the extent to which they have benefited will be more apparent in a day or two when they have got over the effects of travelling.


The weather is bearable enough in a standing camp – about 110° maximum as a rule – but trying on trains and boats or moving about.


I am very glad indeed to see Major Gibbon back again to take over all the jobs I have been doing for him in his absence. He is just in time for another big consignment which is coming in tomorrow evening.


20th – I did not continue yesterday after lunch as it was rather warm and windless. Now this morning I will continue after having to my great satisfaction and relief completed handing over my stores and accounts to Major Gibbon. I feel quite as if on holiday in consequence.


I hear there is a Reuters just in, which I have not seen yet, which announces the Turkey has been making overtures for a separate peace. I fancy she has been that way inclined for a long while, but perhaps now that another cold weather is in prospect she is making a rather more definite move in that direction. It would be a fine thing if it could be worked on satisfactory terms; it would open the eyes of a great many Germans to the real situation.


Fighting in France seems meanwhile to be about as severe as it possibly can be, with the great balance of gains going to us and of casualties apparently to the enemy. One feels it cannot last at that pressure indefinitely.


It was so nice to get a long and cheery letter written in a happier tone than any I have had for a long time. I could feel that you were thoroughly enjoying being at home, and evidently you were feeling much fitter and stronger than you had been for a long time. How I echo the wish that runs as an undercurrent throughout all your letters, that photo of the interior of the church looks most inviting for a wedding too!


With reference to what I suggested in my last letter about purchasing now any useful things that you might have use for immediately, and which would finally come in as part of our furniture; I know from your last letter that you have £50 in your control, so that you can draw upon that, and I can refund it. I think too it would be a sound idea if you keep your eyes open for any specially good bargain where it is something certain to be useful. Had I been at home while waiting for our wedding it was always my intention to do this to some extent with any money I could collect available for the purpose. As things are I am rather limited in my powers (except for Persian carpets), but there is no reason why you should not act for me. Luckily I always seem to agree entirely with your taste, so there is no fear I am quite certain that this method of purchase enables me to get the utmost value for money if carried out the right way. I would not recommend all women to try it, but I know you are not likely to make many mistakes – not more than I should myself I am sure. You don’t get so excited with buying that you buy useless things. But every now and again a really good purchase comes to one’s notice, so if you run up against such a thing don’t let it go because I am not there to consult, but use your own discretion, and my (really our) money and get it.


21st - Lunch having made me break off yesterday the weather prevented me starting again as it got very suddenly dusty owing to a strong wind. We had a short night outing before a rather late dinner, and were parading again this morning before it was really quite light. Now after our return and breakfast I am seizing a short time before the mail goes to finish.


I meant to write to Kath by this mail but that will have to wait now.


Best love, dearest. Write lots more cheery letters like your last.


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