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Letters from Alice Amelia (Mela) Brown Constable, later Sladden (1887-1951), fiancée of Cyril Sladden

Mela Brown Constable in 1915

Alice Amelia Brown Constable (1887-1951), known as Mela, was the fiancée of Cyril Sladden.  The Worcestershire Archive and Archaeology Service at The Hive in Worcester contains 13 of her letters written to various Sladden family members between 1913 and 1919, but the bulk of Mela’s letters are held at the Imperial War Museum, London.  At IWM there are some nearly 400 letters written to Cyril.

The letters begin in May 1913 when Cyril and Mela became engaged.  These letters have not been transcribed but may be viewed at the Imperial War Museum.

The war-time letters are written primarily from Birmingham General Hospital and the 1st Southern General Hospital, Birmingham (Bournbrook), where Mela worked as a nurse, or from Seward House, or from the various places where she worked as a Unit Administrator in the WAAC (later QMAAC).  There are gaps in the letters where it seems that several months of letters have been lost in the passage of time.

Cyril left England in June 1915 and did not return until March 1919, so their courtship had to be conducted over thousands of miles.  The post to Mesopotamia was haphazard and it would frequently take six weeks for a letter to arrive.  The last correspondence is a telegram from Mela to her mother on 27th March 1919 to say that Cyril was arriving back in England.