Letter from John Valentine to his wife Ursula



Letter from John Valentine to his wife Ursula


Number 9. Has heard from Caterpillar Club that badges are being sent. Reports food parcel from Lisbon and list contents. Writes of damage to his gold ring. Writes of activities and rumour of move. Mentions lice have disappeared and provides cryptic comments on new letter numbering. Mentions good weather.



Temporal Coverage



Two page handwritten letter


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Start of transcription
[underlined] NUMBER [/underlined] 20-3-42

My Dearest Wife: There are no letters from you to acknowledge but there are one or two other matters. When we arrived here, one of the crew sent our names & home addresses to the Caterpillar club, a body formed by the makers of Irvin parachutes & open to all those who save their lives with their “chutes” by bailing out from a plane which subsequently crashed. We have heard from the club that we have been admitted & that badges are being sent [inserted] to our [/inserted] [symbol] homes. A food parcel from Lisbon arrived yesterday from A> CABOVERDIANA, sent 29th Sept! It was larger than those I used to get from Mr Clark & contained large quantities of some mysterious powder for making hot drinks, we think. Owing to my tastelessness we haven’t tried them yet. There were also 5 fairly large gingerbread cakes which were amazingly fresh considering their 5 1/2 months journey. A curious thing [inserted] has [/inserted] [symbol] happened to my gold ring which I treasure more than any other of my possessions here. At one point it has completely split (horizontally) How it happened, I haven’t the slightest idea & my only theory is that it took place on a bitterly cold day (10th Feb) when I was doing some washing the sudden extreme change of temperature from washing clothes in hot water to rinsing in ice cold caused violent expansion & contraction in the metal with the subsequent split. It is of course still wearable – in fact my hand is so much plumper than it used to be that it is impossible to get it off. I played Soccer this morning & felt so weary after it that I spent the afternoon sleeping. That is a common habit here but I rarely do it myself for I can use the time usefully in other ways. I think it is more than likely that we shall be shifted to another camp but the date is not known. June has been suggested but we haven’t definite information on that point. It is a year this week end since we left Bicester. Do you remember travelling home on the Sunday? Frances will be a lot different from the babe she was then. The lice which were suspected in our hut this week seem to have disappeared – for which we are all truly grateful. I hope you are getting all my letters. The first series of numbers went up to 59. Don’t be surprised if the number I send [inserted] to you [/inserted] [symbol] drops off at anytime (since I might have to use my [underlined] very limited ration [/underlined] by writing to others!!??) Sorry I can’t be more explicit. We are still enjoying glorious weather here although the wind is cool. I long for you & Frances more as the days go by. I’m always thinking of you darling. Ever yours John

[page break]

68 – 9

[ink stamp]
M[underlined] RS [/underlined] . U. M. VALENTINE

Sgt. John Valentine

[censors label]

End of transcription



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/19281.

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