Letter from John Valentine to his wife Ursula



Letter from John Valentine to his wife Ursula


Number 23. No mail since last card. Is fit and has enough to eat. No exercise for two months but hopes to play soccer soon. Has had notification of books on their way but no sign of clothing food or tobacco parcels. Has joined newly opened Toc H branch. Complains about size of room and duties as hut leader. Has lost record of chess moves asks her to send them to him.. He writes about juggling his time whilst in camp and how camp life can effect an inmate if they are not occupied. The first British prisoner of war has been in the camp since 4 September 1939.



Temporal Coverage



Two page handwritten letter


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[underlined] NUMBER 23 [/underlined]
Darling Ursula: No mail has arrived since my last card. Your letters 1/2 4 are here & also package of 4 large photos. Afraid I haven’t much news. I’m pretty fit just now & have enough to eat. Haven’t had any exercise except walking for 2 months now but hope to have a game of soccer soon. Have received notification of 2 book parcels sent, “Farming Year” & the German books but otherwise no sign of any clothing, food or tobacco parcels except small packets from Clark of Lisbon, which were greatly appreciated. A toc H branch has been started here which I have joined but I have so many things on hand that I find it difficult to do all I want. Were it not for the mestimable [sic] privilege of living in a small room I would resign leadership of the barrack because the office entails a deal of work wh [missing word] I could well do without. The advantages of the small room are great though & worth the sacrifice of time. am sorry to confess that any old bad habits has reared its ugly head after aa lapse of over 4 months but I shall try hard to conquer again. My record of chess moves has disappeared, probably during a search. Would you let me have them once again, please. I [underlined] hate [/underlined] this life here but honestly think that for at least 1 year it will do me good (if I use the time properly) I shall learn to be patient & put up with all sorts of discomforts inconveniences & some indignities and I shall learn a new & much sounder scale of oalner [sic] There is the danger though of a delercoration [sic] of mental & physical [inserted] & moral [/inserted] capacities (if one is not careful) which increases as time goes on. I feel heartily sorry for the poor devils here now in t [missing word] 4th year of captivity (The 1st British POW of this war is here – Shotdown 4/9/39). My fellows talks of Alan Shearer “thriving” after 2 1/2 years but he obviously has no conception of a persons feelings after nearly 1000 days of confinement. I’m not complaining though for I feel I’ve a lot to learn here & a year will do me more good than harm, provided I get enough to eat. All the same I’d willingly forego those lessons to be with you. I miss you sadly & feel I hardly know our wee one except from the glorious snaps you send I’m always picturing you in my mind & wondering what you are doing at that particular moment. Sometimes I just resign myself to 15 minutes contemplation of you & you alone – which proves very pleasurable & comforting. I still find religious satisfaction as allusive as ever, at times I feel it to be an impossible quest I hope to hear soon what you sent in my 2nd parcel so that I can ask for other needs in the third I read very little nowadays owing to my preoccupation with other things. The Dutchmen & I are to celebrate 29th Oct. with a bread pudding – envious? Love John
[page break]
[underlined] Kriegsgefangenepost [/underlined]
[sticker] EXAMINER 3814 51-851-W.H.Ltd. [/sticker]
[postmark] GEPRUFT 32 [/postmark]
Kreis: LONDON N W4
Landestail (Provinz usw.)
[sticker] OPENED BY P.C.90 [/sticker]
Vor- und Zuname: Sgt J R M VALENTINE
Gefangenennummer: 450
Lager-Bezeichnung: M.- Stammlager Luft 3
[underlined] Deutschland (Allemmagne) [/underlined]
[page break]



John Ross Mckenzie Valentine, “Letter from John Valentine to his wife Ursula,” IBCC Digital Archive, accessed June 18, 2024, https://ibccdigitalarchive.lincoln.ac.uk/omeka/collections/document/19226.

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