Letter from John Valentine to his wife Ursula



Letter from John Valentine to his wife Ursula


Writes that big attack on London is on his mind along with shared recollections of a big fire when the bombing first started. Comments that he is likely to remain at his current location until March/April and asks if she would consider moving to join him. It would be healthy for her but there would be a risk that he was posted away. Says he is finally enjoying the RAF and describes his activities. Talks of gas masks and continues describing all about his current location. Finishes with affectionate banter.



Temporal Coverage



Four page handwritten letter


This content is available under a CC BY-NC 4.0 International license (Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0). It has been published ‘as is’ and may contain inaccuracies or culturally inappropriate references that do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of the University of Lincoln or the International Bomber Command Centre. For more information, visit https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0/ and https://ibccdigitalarchive.lincoln.ac.uk/omeka/legal.




9pm Tuesday 31/12/40

My Darling, I am again reserving the last few minutes of another very energetic day for my own little wife. What has been on my mind today more than most things is the big raid on London, fuller details of which appeared in today's papers. Having very vivid recollections of the big fire we saw together when serious raids first started I can only visualise the week end Nazi visitation. I am worried for you dear. It is hateful to think that you, as you now are, should be so much nearer to horrid dangers than I who am supposed, in my new vocation, to be a unit in the fighting forces. If I can get any assurance or even a well informed forecast that I am more likely to be here in March/April than anywhere else, would you consider, as I suggested last night, moving down here as soon as possible – subject to our finding suitable digs & nursing home. If you are to endure many more serious raids the worry or even fear that they might cause might in time have an effect upon your health. This on the other hand is a lovely spot, it is beautifully quiet & peaceful & appears to be so healthy. You might be slightly bored during the daytime & in the evenings I shouldn't be able to treat you too much excitement. But we would be together for some of the time & it would be far far healthier for you. Of course we would have to run the risk of my being whisked away just before developments occur but if you think that you would be willing to entertain the plan I will try to sum up enough courage to approach my C.O. For his opinion of my probable whereabouts in three months time. Don't dismiss this plea of mine out of hand, my darling. Think it over carefully & let me know.
I am at last really enjoying the RAF. Today has been a repetition of yesterday. I have been hard at it ever since 6.30 am. The morning was fully occupied with maths, Anti Gas & Signals while the whole of afternoon was devoted to PT in the University gym followed by a lovely hot bath & then tea. Since. Tea time I have been studying hard & just before I started writing to you I wrote out, for the first time, the complete Morse alphabet free from error. It has surprised me how difficult it has been to memorise each letter in 'dots' & 'dashes' as we must call them. I don't mind the long hours – I love studying & find the subjects quite congenial. I am longing for a letter from you & I have a hunch that tomorrow will produce one, according to my calculation of times for mails to & from the Capital – or what is left of it. If it isn't too late (knowing you it probably is) please don't send the tin container for a gas mask. I am to be issued with a service one fairly soon. We are really quite well treated here despite the strictness of the discipline & the amount of work thrust upon us. Termed Cadets now, we are in a slightly privileged class of RAF personnel. The white flash is a token of the special consideration afforded us in the way of kit & accommodation & it is comforting to think that at last we are beginning to count for something. We see far more of officials here than ever before & we have a Pilot Officer as a Flight Commander. A young fellow & very aristocratic in bearing & accent; he says that in time he must get to know each one of us personally to act as the first judge of our suitability or otherwise for commissioned ranks later on. I must mind my P's & Q's but I don't want to crawl too much or to attract his attention by fawning & cringing. However, I'll do my best to do the right thing & so far I have fulfilled my pledge to work like stink – as the saying goes. If the time devoted to study is anything to go by I should already be ahead of most of the Flight but many of them start with the advantages of knowledge of Morse & the shapes of different aircraft.
Tonight, my little one, is New Year's Eve – a time of celebration which we have yet to enjoy together. May it be the last time that we are apart. The camp has been granted late passes until 1 am. but I haven't been out since tea time & shall retire in a few minutes for lights out for the stay-at-homes is still 10.30. Although this will be late in reaching you it will record my fondest wishes for a year of happiness for you dearest – may 1941 bring everything you want & bring it without much labour!! For you I wish you everything that you wish yourself. Would to heaven I could do more for you. I know that our love will grow from day to day but even now it is beyond description. Perhaps by the end of 1941 I shall be worthy of you in every way. Keep well & cheery, John



John Ross Mckenzie Valentine, “Letter from John Valentine to his wife Ursula,” IBCC Digital Archive, accessed February 22, 2024, https://ibccdigitalarchive.lincoln.ac.uk/omeka/collections/document/19162.

Item Relations

This item has no relations.