Letter from John Valentine to his wife Ursula



Letter from John Valentine to his wife Ursula


Starts with long discussion on getting rid of piano. Discusses remustering and his preference unlike other not to go to pilot but remain as observer. Writes he has booked her bed at nursing home and accommodation. Writes of when he will be able to get off to see her during the day. Describes accommodation and landlady. He has sorted out the dog but still needs to get her travel vouchers. Insists she doe not delay coming to Aberystwyth. Lists 12 or more things that she needs to do before leaving. Writes that fathers letter mentions bomb that fell through road outside Bank underground station.



Temporal Coverage



Eight 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.




1251404 AC2 Valentine
D Flight 1 Squadron
Queens Hotel,

Sunday 19/1/41

Darling Ursula. There is at least one thing I forgot to mention in my last letter. Is it absolutely essential to get rid of the piano? I know it is not a good one but I am sure that there will be a decided death of them after the war. The one we have can be improved by a little cash being expended upon it but it if goes to a club or some such place I know that it will suffer very badly. It is all we have or our own in that line & as we might not be able to afford a new one after the war even if there are any to be got, please don't part with it unless it is absolutely necessary.
That being off my chest I have some things to tell you which I think may interest you more. First of all the re-mustering proved to be voluntary & very reluctantly I stated a preference to remain as an observer. Only four fellows out of 50 did so for obviously everybody wants to fly a machine all by himself & to feel the thrill of taking off, landing & handling the huge piece of machinery. However the die is now cast & I am to be an Observer still. Secondly, I have booked you a bed at the Nursing Home. I saw the same nurse whom I had interviewed the time before, & she recorded the booking for a bed in a general ward & wants you to go up there as soon as you can to talk about things. Thirdly I have booked you a room at the digs I described in my last letter. The address is: Mrs Jones (of course) Aston Villa, Bath Street, Aber.. I had some free time yesterday all games being cancelled on account of the awful weather, but I am afraid that I didn't do any more digs searching. It was so atrocious out of doors – with a howling gale & extremely thick & cold snow blown into the eyes so that one was almost blinded. There were also one or two points which particularly favoured the choice of Mrs Jones. The house is not far from here & yet is not far from the places in the town to which we go for our various lectures. We have a half hour break every morning (10-10.30) so that no matter where I am working I ought to be able to look in for say 15 min. & have a cup of tea with you. I shall be able to spend a few minutes with you after dinner each day too & possibly a very brief look in during the afternoon. We have 15 minutes break from 3.30-3.45. the house is also next door to the church to which we go for Church Parade so that its general convenience made me decide to clinch the matter with the landlady instead of doing some more tramping in the deep snow & howling gale.
My second visit to the house produced rather mixed feelings. It was smaller & darker than I had expected & it smelt vaguely of cooking. The landlady however confirmed my first impression that she was a kindly friendly soul. On the whole I think I have done as well as I can. A room is booked for you & if it is not suitable you will have a little more time than I for looking for an alternative. I still think that if you get to like her & she to like you, she will take you back with baby. As you suggested, I did not ask her but she knows of your condition & how much longer you have to go.
As regards Jane, Mrs Jones is to make enquiries at the place she told me about when I first called & she does not anticipate any bother in that direction. So bring the dog with you. There is one snag though & that is that your room has no fire, although one of the larger rooms might become vacant later on. She says that the general room is never crowded, but when I call on her next I shall ask if she would object to our using electrical heating if we particularly wanted to be alone. If she has no objection, would you bring down our bowl fire. You can take out the centre filament & wrap it carefully in swaddling clothes while the rest is not too bulky to go in a suitcase.
The only thing remaining for me to do is to get your travel voucher, send it to you & expect you by return. Please don't delay coming down here once you have squared up everything at Lido, although I realise to the full that you have an awful lot to do. Mrs Jones will take you whenever you come but the official booking date is Feb 1st. If you feel inclined to try the 'Apartments' house, I suggest that you have full board for the first week, just to see how the land lies & to get settled in. Thereafter, knowing more, you will be able to make your choice more easily.
You, of course, will know far better than I what you have to arrange before you leave but there are one or two points which have occurred to me. 1) Find out as soon as you can the necessary formalities to enable you to get your RAF pay as soon as you can down here. 2) Advise GAT of your change of address. 3) Fill in & lodge at the Post Office the appropriate form requesting forwarding of mail. 4) Advise Police Station of your change of address. 5) Send as much luggage in advance as you possibly can. 6) (I insist on this) Hire a car from Lido to Paddington. 7) this is just a suggestion, ring up the telephone operator & say that the house will be vacant for at least 3 months & ask if it would be cheaper to pay a fee for disconnection & reconnection (thus saving the rent) or to remain as a subscriber the whole time. 8) Don't forget your ration books. 9) If the good lady doesn't object to the bowl fire – bring it with your personal luggage if the 'in advance' stuff isn't very much in advance. You might like the bowl fire for ordinary purposes (eg. dressing by) apart from heating the room for you & me. 10) Ask the Neales to forward any mail that the PO might deliver by accident. 11) Pay all outstanding bills before you come. 12, 13, 14, 15, & 16...Come quickly! If you have time could you send me the last box of cigarettes & a small tin of grip-fix or something similar. I am starting a scrap book for aircraft photos. On second thoughts there is no need. To send these things – just bring them with you.
I hope you have sent me 2/6d. I have only that sum on me now to last until Friday. Many thanks for your first Aircraft photo – I had seen it so I knew the name, but I hadn't been able to get a copy. I had also read about George Balfour's appointment. My father told me this week about the bomb which fell through the roadway at the Bank tube station went down the escalator shaft & exploded at the bottom. He says that everything fell in - road & all - & his firm have been given the job of clearing it up. It will take months & months.
I think I have said all I wanted, dearest. I am longing for you to be here & praying that the digs will suit you & that all other difficulties will resolve themselves, in time. I am getting quite optimistic about the possibility of my staying here until baby comes. This severe snowy weather will hold up flying training everywhere & therefore cause delays at places such as this. Please don't wear yourself out during the next ten days & remember that I will give you a warm welcome when you step off the train at Aber. Station.
Until that happy moment, all my fondest love, yours for ever John



John Ross Mckenzie Valentine, “Letter from John Valentine to his wife Ursula,” IBCC Digital Archive, accessed April 24, 2024, https://ibccdigitalarchive.lincoln.ac.uk/omeka/collections/document/19175.

Item Relations

This item has no relations.