Letter from John Valentine to his wife Ursula



Letter from John Valentine to his wife Ursula


Number 57. Writes saying he has not been reading the mostly thriller books from Stockholm and will give them to the library. He goes on to give his opinion on the entertainment in the camp and mentions some of the various productions. He mentions that the 'Prisoner of War Magazine' is not popular there as it gives a false impression that prison camp life is very good. Goes on to describe some of the effects of life on longer term prisoners. Mentions violin lessons and weather.



Temporal Coverage



Two page handwritten letter


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Number 57
Darling Ursula: I have received another 5 books from Stockholm - someone is being very kind to me - another one was banned this time too. They are not exactly highbrow, mostly thrillers or Wild West novels & I don't intend reading them but will present them to the library as soon as my friends have read all they want. I do very little reading here & you have provided me with material for months to come - I have finished only one of those you sent me - viz "The Stranger Prince" & enjoyed it quite a lot, although as a rule I do not care for historical novels. A word about entertainment in this camp. The standard of production as far as scenery & effects are concerned is excellent especially considering the very very limited facilities [three indecipherable words] number of competent musicians & a few excellent ones, but we do not seem to have many good actors - the officers present much better plays. Since the theatre was finished last autumn, we have had 2 band shows i.e. dance band numbers interspersed with comic acts: 1 Revue: 1 Pantomime with chorus of dancing girls (male) 1 orchestral concert (quite good) 3 Plays - 2 of which were presented by the Officers compound. Excerpts from the Messiah were given at xmas & we had 3 German films at different times & we have therefore been getting one show of some sort per fortnight Costumes & paint for scenery are great drawbacks. The POW Magazine is most unpopular here. While the fellows do not wish those at home to pity them in any way, they do strongly resent the hints appearing in the mag which give the impression that this or any prison camp is a heaven on earth. Actually I feel as if I were buried alive - I'm given enough to eat to keep going & all the activities in which I indulge are just drugs to dull the brain & to prevent one from thinking. Cases of mental derangement are not unknown here but so far these are confined to fellows who have been in captivity for some time. I still plug away at my fiddle & am trying to find another & better instructor. I'm just wasting my time with my present one. The weather today has been gorgeous & some of the fellows have been sun bathing - I have been trying to harmonise a few melodies. Letters are at a discount once again but plenty are coming into the camp so I may be lucky soon. I hope all goes well with you & Frances. She must have changed a lot since I saw you last. All my love, dearest

[page break]
[underlined] Kriegsgefangenenpost [/underlined]
[sticker] EXAMINER 5673 [/sticker]
[ink stamp] GEPRÜFT 32 [/ink stamp]
Straβe: HENDON
Kreis: LONDON N.W 4
Landesteil (Provinz usw.)
[underlined] Gebührenfrei! [/underlined]
[sticker] OPENED BY P.C. 90 [/sticker]
Vor- und Zuname: Sgt JRM Valentine
Gefangenennummer: 450
Lager-Bezeichnung: M.-Stammlager Luft 3
[underlined] Deutschland (Germany) [/underlined]

End of transcription



John Ross Mckenzie Valentine, “Letter from John Valentine to his wife Ursula,” IBCC Digital Archive, accessed July 22, 2024, https://ibccdigitalarchive.lincoln.ac.uk/omeka/collections/document/19261.

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