Letter from John Valentine to his wife Ursula



Letter from John Valentine to his wife Ursula


Number 175-32. Noted receipt of letters and photographs. Comments on how much daughter has grown. Bemoans life in camp particularly poor food, monotony, lack of opportunity to study and close proximity of prisoners. Mention he is still practising violin. Now accepts he will not be home for her birthday.



Temporal Coverage



Two page handwritten letter


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24th Sept. 1944

Dearest Ursula: Your letters of 16th April & 7th May are here, completing the series up to the latter, well that one, too, were 3 snaps over which I have pored[sic] eagerly & avidly. It was a real treat for my eyes to see your beloved likeness again. Would that I could have photos of you more frequently. How our Frances grows! Her size astounded me in that snap of you holding her. It quite took my breath away for a second or so for I still imagined her to be the wee toddler of the photos of last year. I was delighted to see something of the house too (the back view) & hope that more pictures will arrive. Most of all though, I loved those of you, for after all you are the one who means most to me in all the world & I’m usually dependent upon memory for my pictures of you, apart from the earlier snaps which I know so well. I hope none was lost from this letter. It took me a little while to recover from the shock of knowing that you “almost [one indecipherable word]” me. My dear Ursula you little know this life then. I admit that we have time on our hands but that is sadly interrupted. Apart from that I see no sign of the “unparalleled [?] chance” of which you write. The life is mean, sordid, humdrum [?] from day unto day ad infinitum. Beauty is absolutely lacking – I miss that as much as anything – Facilities for study [inserted] are [/inserted] almost impossible – our billets are so dark [inserted] noisy [/inserted] & terribly overcrowded. Food is monotonous & not over plentiful (to say the least) The petty trials[?] of temper are so may (& so petty). Toleration from others of any personal[?] peculiarity is non-existent because monotony & close proximity magnifies all things. Tempers are so [one indecipherable word] altogether its an unlovely life & I haven’t dared to repeat that remark of yours to others for fear of defaming your character which I [two indecipherable words] to stand high the the[sic] opinions of my fellow POWs. I have always painted you in your true light – that of a perfect wife, ideal companion & a woman of personably character, enterprising [?] ability well above the average. I still scrape away at the fiddle when & where possible – How hard it is to improve! I want years of practise yet before I can be wrothy of accompanying you. I’m still as keen as ever though & determined not to give it up until I have your candid opinion as to my prospects of eventual success. I had long cherished hope of being hope[sic] [home?] for your birthday (more ardently than I can tell) but I have now relinquished it. Give my love to daughter – may you both keep well & beautiful. Fondest love John

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John Ross Mckenzie Valentine, “Letter from John Valentine to his wife Ursula,” IBCC Digital Archive, accessed March 3, 2024, https://ibccdigitalarchive.lincoln.ac.uk/omeka/collections/document/19480.

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