Letter from John Valentine to his wife Ursula



Letter from John Valentine to his wife Ursula


Number 45. Four weeks since last letter. Mentions new year pantomime which he did not enjoy. Describes gramophone recital and states that they have many mostly classical music records. Mentions problems with learning Dutch but still plugging away with violin. Writes of milder weather which destroyed ice rinks. Says that a number of Americans now in his hut and that Red Cross parcels were less frequent. Catches up with family/friends news.



Temporal Coverage



Two page handwritten letter


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NUMBER 45. 24-1-43
My Darling Wife: Still nothing further from you – nearly 4 weeks now since your last letter, with a similar wait before that. I have little of interest to report from here. Our New Year panto was produced this week – most fellows seemed to enjoy it, but I didn’t. I thought it was one of the poorest shows I’ve seen here. At the usual gramophone recital today we had amplifier which made a great improvement in the quality of the reproduction. Ordinarily 2 or 3 hundred of us gather around a small portable machine which really isn’t quite adequate. There is an amazingly large collection of records here – of classical music only – so we get pretty good variety week by week. I have been studying Dutch for 2 months now – from one of Hugo’s self intruction [sic] books & find it heavy going. For some unknown reason my Dutch friends are strangely loath to instruct me in their tongue & when they do occasionally speak to me in their lingo they blurt out the words quickly with a view to confusing me – which they do of course & when I eventually do understand & I cannot muster enough courage to answer in Dutch. Do you remember my same silly attitude with German? It’s odd how nervous I am in that way. My German is neglected entirely now but I’m still plugging away at the fiddle & doing a spot of study of musical theory for the two exams about which I told you. We have had some mild weather recently & our labouriously constructed ice rinks disintegrated into muddy streams of slush. There are a number of Yanks in my hut [deleted words] Red X food is not arriving so regularly nowadays but we had a lot in December & are issuing it sparingly (1/2 parcel per week) to make the stock last as long as possible. However we’re all satisfied with what we get & hope for nothing worse. I wonder what Leslie is doing nowadays of course news is one of the heavily rationed goods here & we can only guess on the basis of rumours that fly about like wildfire. I still don’t know if Irene is married & if so whom she finally caught. Believe you me, that is the right word. My little daughter (sorry – “our”) will be 2 soon after you get this. Give her a hug & a kiss from her prisoner papa. Look after yourself, my dear. There is still some hope of being together All my fondest love, John
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[sticker] . 90 [/sticker]
[sticker] EXAMINER 7200 [/sticker]
[underlined] Kriegsgefangenenpost [/underlined]
Landesteil (Provinz usw.)
[postmark] GEPRUFT 32 [/postmark]
[underlined] frei! [/underlined]
[sticker] OPENED BY P.C [/sticker]
Vor- und Zuname: Sgt JRM VALENTINE
Gefangenenummer: 450
Lager-Bezeichnung: M.-Stammlager Luft 3
[underlined] Deutschland (Allemagne) [/underlined]
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John Ross Mckenzie Valentine, “Letter from John Valentine to his wife Ursula,” IBCC Digital Archive, accessed July 20, 2024, https://ibccdigitalarchive.lincoln.ac.uk/omeka/collections/document/19247.

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