Letter from John Valentine to his wife Ursula



Letter from John Valentine to his wife Ursula


Updates her on progress of travel voucher which he now encloses despite it having wrong date. Explains what to do if railway will not let her travel on later date. Reports unsuccessful attempt to visit landlady. Regarding news from her latest letter, disappointed that she cannot travel that week and entreats her to arrive by 1 February. Continues about his smoking preference, current studies, difficulties with aircraft recognition and the weather.



Temporal Coverage



Four page handwritten letter


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[underlined] Tuesday 21/1/41. [/underlined]
Dearest Darling,

I wrote the first part of this letter last night, put it in a stamped addressed envelope meaning to collect your voucher this morning, slip it in and post it off to you without delay.

The form however, was not completed until the afternoon & of course I was not off duty until 6pm by which time the orderly Room staff had packed up for the day & left after locking the [deleted] room [/deleted] door. When I called and found it thus I had to make a tour of the hotel in an effort to find a member of the staff still on the premises [inserted] who [/inserted] both had the keys to the room and knew where to find the necessary document. Eventually I was successful & enclose the form for you – my darling.

I see that they have put the wrong date on it viz 20th Jan but of course when I collected it, it was too late to have it altered. That gave me

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a lever to work upon should the Railway Company tell you that you can use it only on the specified date, so when you get this – ring up Paddington straight away & tell them that you have the voucher for 24th Jan but you don’t want to travel until a later date (specify this) If they say “No can do” return it to me at once & at the same time tell them that they gave me the wrong date in the first place & I want it altered.

I called at your digs tonight (in torrential rain this time) to find out [circled 1] If Mrs Jones been able to arrange anything for Jane &
[circled 2] If she had any objection to your bringing the bowl fire & if not what the local voltage is.

Unfortunately the dame was out & I got no satisfaction from her skivvy, but will let you know in due course. If you want to come before I can tell you bring Jane & the fire with you.

Your MS & N & Sundays letter arrived today. I gather that you won’t

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be able to come down at the end of this week as you had hoped. I am very disappointed but I fully appreciate the amount of work to be done before your leave. But please dearest don’t be later than Feb 1st or I’ll commit suicide. You have positively no idea how much I long for your arrival.

Your parcel hasn’t arrived yet. As you say 2/6 is a bit niggardly although I fondly hoped that it would be enough. I wrote four letters over the week end which upset my calculations & tonight I have only 1/2d left. I have had to borrow 2/6 pending the arrival of yours but even that wont [sic] last me until payday.

Would you let me know if I should send you my usual consignment of socks at the end of the week or keep them until you arrive.

When you come, would you bring me the tube of toothpaste that you gave me at Christmas

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Would you tell Barbara that I have been smoking the Churchman No1 cigarettes which she gave me at Xmas & I have enjoyed them so much that I have given away only two of them Very shortly I shall be forced to buy my own cigarettes, but when you are here I hope to save the odd pence that I spend in the canteen at break times and in the evenings.

Our studies are [deleted] [indecipherable word] [/deleted] getting along quite smoothly but I am still woefully weak on Aircraft Recognition. Have you been able to get anything for me on the subject. I have started getting a weekly publication [deleted] for me [/deleted] called the Aeroplane Spotter which promises to be very useful.

For the first time since our arrival mild weather is prevailing. The frost ceased suddenly this morning & it has been raining steadily all day. The streets are in a shocking mess of slushy sodden snow, through which we have to march irrespective of depth.

Time again compels me to slow. I am anxiously awaiting a promise from you of the date of your journey.

All my love

P.S. Charlie Chaplin in the Great Dictator is on here this week. Come down on Sat. & see it with me

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John Ross Mckenzie Valentine, “Letter from John Valentine to his wife Ursula,” IBCC Digital Archive, accessed December 8, 2023, https://ibccdigitalarchive.lincoln.ac.uk/omeka/collections/document/19177.

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