Letter from John Valentine to his wife Ursula



Letter from John Valentine to his wife Ursula


Number 37. He writes reminiscing about his last leave with his wife and how camp life is monotonous. He asks for rosin for violin bow and no more clothing other than socks. He mentions recent show and that he is still playing the fiddle but had recently cut his hand badly and was finding it difficult to play. States that they will have to examine Red Cross food due to warmer weather and the fact that Germans puncture tins so they cannot be stockpiled for escape purposes.



Temporal Coverage



Two page handwritten letter


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Number 37
16th May 1943
My Dearest Ursula: A year ago from now we were enjoying my last leave together – Frances was a mere babe unable to walk or talk & pushed about in a pram. Since then it has been an eventful year for her for she has acquired so many new accomplishments but it has hardly been eventful for me apart from a hectic hour or so 50 weeks ago. Since then it has been unmitigated monotony. I have no further letters from you since I wrote last. Please tell me if my letter of 12th May arrived without any censorial blemishes if you know what I mean. In your next parcel to me, could you include a lump of rosin for my fiddle bow. I would prefer not to have [underlined] any [/underlined] more clothing apart from occasional socks. I have more than enough at the moment, storage is very difficult here on account of limited space & in the event of a move luggage is a damned nuisance. We duly saw Somerset Maugham’s “Home & Beauty”- it was well produced & acted and quite funny without being killingly so. I am putting in a lot of time at the fiddle nowadays & Harry Friend is quite pleased with me. It may sound insignificant to you but I am starting on the 2nd position next week. I hardly think I am good enough on the 1st position yet but Friend seems to think so & I consider it a definite step forward for me. Fiddling is a bit awkward at the moment for I cut the index finger of my right hand very badly with a knife two days ago. it was a very deep cut. I think it should have a stitch or two - & I find it rather difficult to hold the bow comfortably. We did our “spring cleaning” a day or two ago Admittedly we have only 1 room but it wasn’t an easy job all the same. The chief difficulty is that there is nowhere to put all our furniture clothes food etc while the work is in progress. It took us two days to do everything but we did make quite a good job of it & are appreciating the air of cleanliness that pervades the room now. With the coming of warmer days we shall have to scrutinise Red X food more carefully. All tins are punctured by the Germans before they are given to us (to prevent the amassing of stores for escaping purposes) & for lack of anything else the food has to stay in the opened tin until it is eaten, which may be as much as a week later. Ann’s birthday will be along soon, she’ll be 16. I cant get used to the idea of her growing up. I gather that your folk have left India & hope you have good news of them. It will have been a wrench for your Father, leaving for the last time after these years.
My fondest love to you & Frances – Ever Yours, John
[page break]
[underlined] Kriegsgefangenenpost [/underlined]
Strasse: HENDON
[page break]
Vor – und Zuname: Sgt John Valentine
Gefangenennummer: 450



John Ross Mckenzie Valentine, “Letter from John Valentine to his wife Ursula,” IBCC Digital Archive, accessed May 24, 2024, https://ibccdigitalarchive.lincoln.ac.uk/omeka/collections/document/19321.

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