Letter from John Valentine to his wife Ursula



Letter from John Valentine to his wife Ursula


Writes he is worried about her due to reports of air raids on London. Describes his current activities including cross country run, PT, drill and lectures. Mentions Royal Artillery battery in town. Comments on parcel from mother that arrived in a mess. Discussion on food and parcels. Has heard that some flights might be posted overseas at the end of course but she must not tell anyone this as a draft to Rhodesia was cancelled because someone talk about it to friends and family and authorities found out.



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.




Wednesday 1/1/41

Darling Ursula, Another hectic day is nearly ended & I am now quite anxious to hear about you. I am specially worried after the raids of the week end, although it would appear that most of the damage was inflicted upon the City itself. As there is no radio here & we don't get enough time to read the paper I am rather out of touch with daily events in other parts of the country. In any case the papers rarely give adequate details of the raids of the night before so I just worry about you & await anxiously a reassuring letter. Perhaps tomorrow will bring it, but if not, I shan't hold up this letter of mine any longer & will send if off at dinner time.
We are all very weary tonight – physically tired. Yesterday we had either gym or a cross country run all afternoon followed today by 1 hour's very hectic PT & 2 hours drill mingled with 2 hours Maths, 1 hr. Law, 1 hr. Plane recognition. Since 6 pm I have again been swotting. This station prides itself on being super smart & to convey that impression to the public we are not allowed to march anywhere at less than 140 paces to the minute – almost a brink trot. Just marching to & from lectures at this speed is bad enough, but an hours drill is positively exhausting while two hours has killed quite a few of us. There is an RA battery in the town which also drills & parades in the street & even allowing for a natural bias, there is no doubt that we are far smarter. I have at last contacted the right person in the matter of my tunic & it has been decided that it is far too small & cannot be repaired so that in a day or two I ought to get a new one. I tried the same dodge with my greatcoat but had no luck. I am satisfied however with a tunic for the time being.
Mother's long promised parcel arrived today – in an awful mess. All the paper wrapping had been torn off & the wooden box was broken. It leaked broken biscuits whenever it was moved, I am sorry to say that I wasn't awfully thrilled by the contents which were: 1) 1 packet of soft mashed biscuits all flowery & powdery. 2) 1 Packet (quite small) of bashed cake, also flowery & powdery. 3) 1 Packet oatcakes – intact – would you like them? 4) Tin Cocoa, Tin figs in syrup, jar honey (Don't want any – would you like them?) I am so well fed just now that I really don't require supplementary rations so please don't bother yourself on my account with cakes etc. Your lovely Xmas one to me was broached last night to celebrate New Years Eve. It is a positive joy to the palate & having given a fair bit of it to others I intend to eat the rest at odd intervals when no one else is in the room. That is the worst of living with others. I am the only one in the room who is married & gets cakes from lovely women, but I really can't produce a cake several times in the presence of my bed mates & munch away without offering them a piece.
The more I consider the suggestion that you should move down here, the more I like it but today I heard something that made me ever keener. You must promise on your honour Ursula not to tell anyone this – not even Barbara. Our CO told us that some Flights (not all mind you) upon completion of their course here have been posted overseas for the rest of their training. That is an actual fact, & about one of these drafts to Rhodesia there was a hell of a row because one of the boys broadcast this news to all his friends & relations, telling them the departure date. It got to the ears of the RAF & the posting of the whole draft was postponed. So don't tell a soul dear & remember that I may not be sent abroad. Nevertheless it is possible & it is also probable if not certain that I shall be more than 8 weeks here. Certainly I shall get leave in 8/10 weeks. So think again about moving down here – we might even take a furnished flat for you so that you could stay on a bit after baby is born. There is a hospital here but I don't know about a nursing home. However let me know how you favour the plan – if I am to go abroad we would be able to spend my last few weeks nearer together but again it is more likely that I shan't be sent. Closing time dearest. Lots of love again & much longing for a letter from you. Yours in a hell of a rush, John



John Ross Mckenzie Valentine, “Letter from John Valentine to his wife Ursula,” IBCC Digital Archive, accessed March 3, 2024, https://ibccdigitalarchive.lincoln.ac.uk/omeka/collections/document/19163.

Item Relations

This item has no relations.