Letter from John Valentine to his wife Ursula



Letter from John Valentine to his wife Ursula


Writes it is end of first day of new exhausting schedule. Wishes she was already there and safe from bombing. Suggest she comes 31 January or 1 February if not sooner. Mentions shopping in Woolworth and arrangements to pay inland revenue. Hopes she will not be disappointed with Aberystwyth. Writes of activities, maths and navigation as well as interesting meteorology lecture. Hope she will help him with aircraft recognition when she comes and mentions books required. States he has not had interview with squadron CO yet. Concludes with comment on his morse and other banter.



Temporal Coverage



Four page handwritten letter


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1251404 AC2 Valentine
D Flight, 1 Sqdn.
RAF Aberystwyth

Monday 13/1/41
Dear Darling, It is nearing the end of the first day of our new programme which promises to be more exhausting than ever. I am feeling very tired tonight & am wishing most dreadfully that you were already down here. It will be grand when you come & I, not only have you with me but know that you are safe from the ferocious raids on London. I see that you had another on Saturday night & I hope that it was well away from Hendon. I now find that as a result of our changed routine our organised games are on Fridays instead of Tuesday so that I now suggest either Fri. or Sat. 31st Jan & 1 Feb as dates for your journey – IF you cannot come earlier. How I long for it! How are you? Is the cold gone? Are you tiring yourself too much & too often? I visited Woolworth's this morning & bought a really excellent tobacco pouch for 6d. I am so glad that I didn't waste the gift token on a pouch & that you were able to get something useful for yourself. I have sent my PO Savings book to the PMG with a request for a Warrant for £8.16.0. in favour of Commissioners of Inland Revenue. It will be sent to Lido so will you open the envelope & use the Warrant together with a cheque for £4.9.0. in payment of the Inc. Tax for £13 5/- . To avoid having to make a similar payment in July you must produce Walpole before 5th April & I promise that you may have all the savings when my PO book comes back, will you send it to me just in case I become acutely short of funds. You will see that I have recently paid in the £2 which your parents so kindly gave me & my dividend of 14/-.
After my enthusiastic description of Aber. I hope you won't be disappointed in the town which in itself is not very exciting. It is the environs which I love so much but as the surrounding district is steep & hilly you may not be able to enjoy it so much. I don't know what your powers of physical endurance are like just now. Both our exams this week, Maths & Gas, take place on Wed. think of me then & send me a silent wee kiss. Once the Maths are disposed of we go on to Navigation which promises to be full of interest. Actually we have had a preliminary step in Maths with some simple scale drawings of course & tracks & an introduction to the triangle of relocation. I think I shall enjoy the Navigation although it looks very complicated with land speeds, air speeds, magnetic variation & compass deviation. The one subject that you could help me most with is Aircraft Recognition at which I am a complete dunce. Cut out every single aircraft photo that you can find & when you come, if you can be interested too, we can go over them all together. I asked you if you could scout around for a good publication on the subject. The ones I don't want for I can borrow them from several of the fellows are: 1) 2 books published by Hutchinson & Co @ 1/- each - one on British Craft & the other on German & Italian. 2) a series of about four 2/- books published by 'The Aeroplane' each book dealing with different classes of British & enemy planes. Don't get these but if you can see anything else tell me about it before you buy. I don't want anything expensive & I don't think that you will be able to get anything.
We have had a couple of very interesting lectures at the University on meteorological matters – clouds, weather, fog etc. I shall be glad when the 'Gas' is disposed of. It is a dull as well as hateful subject although its successor – Armaments, is very uninspiring. We learn the parts of & how to strip & assemble a machine gun & I hate anything mechanical. - it savours of soul-lessness. I probably won't be writing tomorrow evening for I shall be spending about 2 hours cleaning out & relaying all the fires in the pub – a job which comes round every so often. Three of us have to do about 26 fires. I haven't had my interview with the Squadron Commander yet but it should come tomorrow for they are taking it in alphabetical order & have disposed of the “S's”.
My morse is getting on fairly well but I am not having as much practice as I would like. We have a buzzer in our room but the temperature is so low that it is too uncomfortable to sit up there & there is no alternative. When you come, I hope that you will join me so far as you can in my studies. You might get a lot of interest out of them & you would help me a lot. Next week we will take our turns in guarding the various RAF premises during the night. Fortunately they only give us one 2 hour period per night because we have very full days to put in as well. 9.30 – time to start work again. Come soon darling & keep at a safe distance from bombs. Lots of love, 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/19172.

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