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November 26th 1917 - Letter from Cyril Sladden to his fiancée, Mela Brown Constable

26th November 1917
Correspondence From
Cyril Sladden
Correspondence To
Mela Brown Constable, Unit Administrator WAAC, Command Depot Camp, Sutton Coldfield; redirected to Depot Hostel, Handsworth, Birmingham
Relationship to Letter Addressee
Text of Letter

Nov 26th 1917


My dearest Mela


A few days ago I was led to believe the English Mail was close at hand; apparently the report was wrong, as it ought to have reached us at latest by yesterday afternoon.


However I now hear definitely that a mail of some kind reached HQ this morning, so I hope it will turn out to be the one I want.


Yesterday I took my courage in both hands and wrote to Mrs Hiscock as you asked me to. I just hate writing these depressing letters. I will enclose it with this and leave it to you to send on or not according as you think fit, and if you still have her address. I shall leave it open so that you can read it before forwarding, and if you don’t like it don’t send it. I can’t write that sort of letter a bit, and it will probably only open old sores and make her more wretched than she need be.


The dusty wind I wrote of last week proved to be the forerunner of rain; just a nice amount of rain too that did nobody any harm and has remade a nice intact surface and freshened the whole place up. It has been fine since, with cold nights and a heavy dew which counteracts any too thorough drying by day miserable as it used to do.


I have done a silly thing this morning before breakfast, and strained my back. I did it in an odd sort of way. I have two little sores low down on the left calf, right at the back of the leg. I was bathing them with hot water and in order to try and see what I was doing clearly, and at the same time get the light from the sun directly on them, I tied myself in knots more or less, as one does in trying to get at inaccessible spots. When I came to straighten myself I couldn’t do it at first, and it hurt very considerably. I can only walk about slowly with a good deal of discomfort, and shall be compelled to take things easy for a day or two I am afraid. It is not likely to last long, as one could not strain oneself very badly in any such absurd way. I propose getting it well rubbed. I feel such a fool when I try to walk about, like a Doan’s BH Pill advertisement, because I cannot stand up quite straight!


Later – The mail is a silly thing and brings nothing. So once more I have to make bricks without straw, write a letter with nothing from you to serve as inspiration.


I am feeling perfectly wild because warning has just come that tomorrow we have to re-shuffle, and I anticipate that I shall have to hand over most of the places I have occupied these last two months and take others.


Apart from the trouble of the mere move it is hateful to leave places one has been improving to one’s taste and making convenient and comfortable as possible for so long. We have no detailed orders yet.


Also it upsets my plans for posting letters tomorrow. My usual arrangement of sending a groom as a special messenger is very likely to be interfered with, and I don’t think I shall trust to it. I can get this away tonight fairly easily though the bulk of letters has gone already.


As I write a wire informs me that the move is postponed one day, so that eases things a bit. There will be no change in the kind of job, but just a change in frontage.


I have worked out that I can raise enough money to buy £100 of National War Bond, so I have written to my bank to get it for me. I am converting my old Exchequer Bonds too. When everything I have on order is actually purchased my “unearned” income will amount to £30-10s a year, which is quite a useful extra.


I feel as if I had not heard from you for ages, though it is really only just about a fortnight. That is the worst of getting an extra quick mail.


I am glad I just got news of your job at Sutton Coldfield; but I want to hear lots more.


We are just getting news of the sudden offensive on the new front in France opposite Cambrai. So far we have news of the first two days fighting, the results of which are so good as to raise hopes of great things, and I am keen to hear more about it. I don’t think we have ever broken in so far in so short a period before.


I don’t think my back will trouble me long. It is better this afternoon, and I hope a night’s rest will put it right.


Very best love, dear, from


Your own affectionate


Cyril E Sladden

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