Letter from John Valentine to his wife Ursula



Letter from John Valentine to his wife Ursula


Writes that he has been informed he is going to Stratford-upon-Avon which will be very convenient for them to see more of each other. Continues with domestic matters and income tax issues. Sorry that two of his best friends are not going with him.



Temporal Coverage



Two page handwritten letter


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[inserted] When you next send me something may I have a cake of soap & the largest tube of Palmolive shaving cream sold – 1/6 – it is the most economical tube.
Your cake is excellent much appreciated by Bowack & Thompson – more by John V.
1251404 AC 2 Valentine John
MQ 44 12 F.T.S.
R.A.F Station
[deleted] Bridgnorth [/deleted] [inserted] Grantham [/inserted] Lincs
Tuesday 10/12/40
My nDearest ursulla,
I may not have time to make this as long as some of my previous epistles for I must send it off by this afternoons post. I am going on guard again at 5 pm until 7.30 tomorrow so that I may be unable to let you know my news any earlier than by this letter.
We had a grand surprise this morning when we were informed of our posting next Friday to Stratford-on-Avon. It pleased me immensely for, after consulting a map I saw that Stratford is not more than 12 miles from Leamington. Should you move to G.M. soon, we ought to be able to see a lot of one another. I pray fervently that my stay there may be considerably longer than any previous sojurn [sic] at an R.A.F dump and I am trying hard to stifle the many castles that I am building in the air about the glorious prospect of being able to see my own darling wife more frequently than I have been doing of late. Mind you there is a considerable amount of concrete in these castles for I should obviously be able to get over to Leamington (or further) on any day when released at 12.30 so that we need not have to wait even for a 48 hour pass [deleted] before [/deleted] for a chance of meeting. However it would be stupid to indulge in any serious making of plans before knowing a little more of my exact address and hours of duty. I shall, of course, let you know these just as soon as I can and then we shall wee what can be done about it. Anyway, the outlook is considerably more promising than it was a few hours ago and I am very excited about the possibilities. I long for you always – now it looks as if I may be able to satisfy at least a very small part of my longing.
Barbaras letter & book, your letter & the Inc Tax form all arrived this morning. Will you please thank Barbara & tell her that I shall write as soon as I get a chance. I expect the last few days here to be fairly busy for my now regular alternate day & night guard duty will continue to the last & we have all been given an enormous form to be signed by an officer in each of the 20 departments in the camp, certifying that we are not leaving with any camp property. Even to find a man you want [underlined] when [/underlined] you want him in this place is well nigh impossible so I anticipate a spot of both in completing this wretched form
[page break]
The Income Tax apparently is now O.K. so I am returning the form & letter. Don’t, for Heavens sake pay the amount demanded because I shall now write to Touches to make sure that they are not going to pay it too and then commence deducting it from my pension which even now is niggardly enough. I shan’t write to them from here so you wont [sic] hear from me on this subject [deleted] any [/deleted] again for a week or two.
I have only one regret at leaving this place. Out of the 26 who arrived from Bridgnorth 20 are posted but the six remaining include two of my best friends – Grant & Bowack as well as four [inserted] fellows [/inserted] of the better type [deleted] of fellows [/deleted]. All the riff raff & rabble are coming with me and out of the whole bunch of 19 only Thompson is a real friend. I shall miss Bowack & Grant enormously – all four of us are sorry that the quartet is being split in two. Thompson & I hope anxiously that we do not go into large billets at Stratford and once again have to put up with the filthy language and noise of some of our Bridgnorth colleagues.
The conditions here have shown one or two improvements lately. Sheets arrived and pillows, the electricity [deleted] lights [/deleted] was switched on (but we had to buy our own bulb) and we managed to scrounge some coal dust and coke to supplement the wood stolen from the builders yard. Good lighting plus a more durable fire chain that provided by wood have combined to make life a little more cheerful.
It was lovely to speak to you on Sunday. The sound of your voice was like sweet music to me. I hope to be lucky enough to hear it again tonight. If I don’t, please don’t send anything more to Grantham – the place is so badly run that I might never see it again. Could you be kind enough to let Barnes know so that they don’t write to this address. I shall tell them my new one after I have told you.
I am now going on guard duty regularly with Grant which makes the job as pleasant as it can be. Luckily we haven’t had a single wet night yet and [deleted] as [/deleted] the cold doesn’t now worry me with all the extra clothes that you sent. I am getting quite used to prowling about the drome at all hours of the night. The most startling noises are made by the canvas draped over the cockpit & engines of the planes which flaps [inserted] in the wind [/inserted] against the wings and fuselage making a most weird & eerie hollow sound. The planes in scores are left at night time scattered all over the ‘drome and one hears the ghostly noises coming to one from all quarters when there is anything like a wind blowing. The planes, too, sometimes look like grotesque animals or birds when you catch a glimpse of their outlines from certain angles.
Must stop now dearest – going for tea & then on duty. All my love – as ever – [deleted] and [/deleted] I am hoping for great things at my next station - We may see one another soon – John.



John Ross Mckenzie Valentine, “Letter from John Valentine to his wife Ursula,” IBCC Digital Archive, accessed June 22, 2024, https://ibccdigitalarchive.lincoln.ac.uk/omeka/collections/document/19119.

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