Letter from John Valentine to his wife Ursula



Letter from John Valentine to his wife Ursula


Writes that he hoped she got home safely and how much he enjoyed her visit. Describes his journey via Shrewsbury and Wales to Aberystwyth where unusually they were expected.



Temporal Coverage



Eight page handwritten letter


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1251404 AC 2 Valentine
D Flight
1 Squadron
[inserted] Queens Hotel [/inserted]
[deleted] ABERYSTWTH [/deleted] ABERYSTWYTH
[inserted] [circled See if you can do it first shot] [/inserted]
[deleted] Aberywth [/deleted]
Ursula Darling,
These few lines may seem a little incoherent but at the end of a long day & while waiting to have a bath 10 days overdue I am feeling a little jaded. Having so much that I would like to say & not feeling able to marshal my thoughts properly. I shall probably succeed in sending you a lot of disjointed trash.
I hope, my dearest little wife that you got home safely, were not too tired, had an uneventful journey & were not so foolish as to over exert yourself in any way. I know that you are sensible enough to try to restrain your impetuosity but there are times, I know, when you try to undertake too much. A suitcase, mammoth handbag & a high spirited dog comprise quite a handful for a woman in your condition I am just praying that you managed
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everything successfully & arrived home intact & not worn out. I hope the taxi turned up promptly and did not overcharge you. Let me know about your journey especially the last part from Paddington to Hendon. I was outside your bedroom window shortly after 5 am today and longed to wake you up to give you a good morning and another farewell kiss but I didn’t want to rouse the whole house at that ungodly hour so I contented myself with slipping a note under the door. Did you get it, my dear? I cant [sic] remember what I wrote for I did it about 4.30 am. but my heart was so full of you your sweetness to me, your [indecipherable word] to me after my confession, your great love for me, the thousands of kindness both large & small that I have had from you that I was moved even [deleted] that [/deleted] at that bleak hour to write you a few lines. They may not have read too well but the fact that I was unable to stop myself from writing only a few hours after seeing you proves what a terrific power
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you have become in my life.
I have now had my bath & am sitting uncomfortably in bed feeling very sleepy for I had only 180 minutes of sleep last night. Nevertheless I know that I shall continue writing until the other fellows insist on putting out the light so completely am I under your spell just now.
I loved the Christmas we had together despite the unpleasantness at P.M. Your many kindnesses in the form of [deleted] the [/deleted] a multitude & variety of [deleted] your [/deleted] presents completely overwhelmed me leaving me almost speechless when I had opened the lot. I feel that the precious days we had together [deleted] on [/deleted] [inserted] during [/inserted] your two visits were truly marvellous. The more so because they were wrested from the tentacles of the R.A.F, & not merely free gifts bestowed in a moment of weakness. We, particularly you, seized every possible moment and made the most of them all. I shall always treasure this happiest of memories of Stratford-upon-Avon almost as much as of Kellin.
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After I left you last night I made straight for my billet & marched boldly up to the front door. To my releif [sic] there was no guard at that time – he was prowling about somewhere in the house – and I was able to get into my room unobserved. Soon after I got in another night prowler arrived, he too was not caught and with the light of my torch we climbed into bed and had a final cigarette. I dropped off to sleep about 1 am, I think, only to be awakened at 4 am. sharp. We had, all thing being considered & in the light of my previous experiences of travelling with the RAF a positively delightful journey here. We waited about at Stratford for rather longer than we liked but after we started moving the journey became quite enjoyable. We had only 1 change & [deleted] always [/deleted] travelled in reserved coaches all the way. It was a truly glorious day
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bright sun and blue sky prevailing all the way. We went via Shrewsbury and then right through mid Wales. The scenery was most attractive & I spent most of the time in the corridor gazing out at the hills, trees, woods and streams, drinking in impressions of a lovely landscape bathed in sunlight and crowned by a clear blue sky. The sight of the hills brought back many happy memories of the happy times you and I have spent together in the mountains. I love hills; they grip me in a way that defies description; there is something so superb in their size compared with the paucity of men, their apparently haphazard shape, their clothing of grass bracken or wood gashed by little silver slips where water comes tumbling down, their silence and massive immobility combine to thrill me in a [deleted] most [/deleted] vague but very real manner. With you by my
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side I am sure that I could live out my days happily among mountains. Unfortunately we had to get here sometime although the train was obliging enough to arrive over an hour late.
We were expected here, which is quite a new experience for us. Two or three officers & N.C.O’s met us at the station, called the role & then marched us to our billets. I have been allotted a room with five others. Thompson is one of them but I am not very keen on the others. Since we arrived at this pub at 3.30 I have not been out for there has been quite a lot to do & to learn before one can settle down for the first night.
We have had a short talk from our corporal who gave us a rough idea of what lies ahead. It is certain that we are in for a really busy time. He told us so & this was confirmed by several fellows who have been here for a few weeks. They say that we shall not have a spare moment from 6.30 am until 5.30 pm.
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The whole station seems to be really well organised but very very [sic] strict. We are now entitled to wear white “flash” in the front of the forage cap. A privilege granted to enable us to be distinguished as “Air Crew under training”. We are obviously to be allowed very little chance of developing bad habits for the place abounds [deleted] in [/deleted] [inserted] with [/inserted] rules & regulations and we have a very full timetable which is adhered to strictly. The course lasts 8 weeks & we ought to be granted a 7 day leave upon completion. We have about half a dozen exams during the course, at each of which a few will fall by the wayside – I hope.
Someone has just hinted that they will be turning out the lights soon so I shall prepare to stop at a moments notice.
I hope your cold is better dear. Let me know how it goes I seem to have developed another in real earnest & will dose myself with aspirin when I go to sleep.
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I hope you can read these jottings. I am lying flat on my back holding the pad up with my left hand. It is not easy to write [deleted] like [/deleted] in this way because one can’t hold the paper still enough. Nevertheless it is the warmest posture.
Tomorrow, given time, I shall attach the accumulated arrears which have piled up against me since Xmas so please forgive me if I dont [sic] add to this.
I am dreadfully sorry, darling, that you should be saddled with so much of the fag of making arrangements for April 4th. It is not fair that you should have to do it. Please let me know of your progress & also whether you still want to inform my folk of our change of plan.
Goodnight dearie, fondest love May we have many more days as happy as the last few.



John Ross Mckenzie Valentine, “Letter from John Valentine to his wife Ursula,” IBCC Digital Archive, accessed March 5, 2024, https://ibccdigitalarchive.lincoln.ac.uk/omeka/collections/document/19159.

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