Letter from John Valentine to his wife Ursula



Letter from John Valentine to his wife Ursula


Number [censored]. List letters that have arrived and mentions one from Swiss friend promising parcel soon. Food situation now better than it was in first month when there were no Red Cross parcels. [censured lines]. More about food and sport. Time is well occupied and has to use tact dealing with personnel issues. problems with hygiene generally.



Temporal Coverage



Two page handwritten letter


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From Sgt JRM Valentine
POW No 450 M Stemmlager Luft 3 Germany

To Mrs UM Valentine
Tenterden Gardens
London NW 4

No. (19? But censored) 9-9-42
Darling Ursula: letters 1-15 here & the photo of the “champ” is delightful. Letter arrived from Grunfelds Swiss friends promising food parcel soon. Please convey thanks. Food situation better here with new potatoes & fresh cabbage. When we first came there was no Red Cross food & German rations minute. I learned what hunger really is. After 1 month Red Cross started coming in small quantities & 1 month later we commenced getting 1 parcel per week. [words censored] Red Cross does not amount to much in bulk [words censored] as the year goes on [words censored] & any gift will be extremely welcome but just at the moment our stomachs are reasonably full of potato, cabbage & a small quantity of bread. Turkey sends excellent dried fruit. Has not Grunfeld connections there? I hope Frances isn’t getting too much practise at joining in with the “All Clear” Let me know what you can. We do have “fun & games” here - there are all sorts of sports & other organisations here which do provide an astonishing variety of interest out of very meagre equipment but one is never so carried away as to forget imprisonment. Barbed wire & armed guards are effective & perpetual reminders. Our school is held up indefinitely pending accommodation but I have my fiddle, reading etc to pass away time not occupied with official duties. The amount of tact required to handle the fellows is incredible. Tempers are very easily frayed even when appetites are less rampant. You will be amused to know that I have to retire to the lavatories to practise my violin. There is a little cubicle there intended for showers which have not materialised & I grind away to the accompaniment of cat calls from irate washers & the smells of stagnant sewage. (There is no main drainage here). Have been inoculated against typhus & the camp is now undergoing the process of “de-lousing” Both purely precautionary steps. Thanks for everything you do for & send me. Am fearing another mail ‘hold up’ – both ways! Give my love to Barbara & sincere thanks for her photos.
Always thinking of you. Love for ever, John



John Ross Mckenzie Valentine, “Letter from John Valentine to his wife Ursula,” IBCC Digital Archive, accessed June 23, 2024, https://ibccdigitalarchive.lincoln.ac.uk/omeka/collections/document/19222.

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