Letter to prisoner of war John Valentine from his wife Ursula



Letter to prisoner of war John Valentine from his wife Ursula


Writes catching up with news of family and friends and progress of daughter Frances. Mentions taking over Red Cross penny-a-week fund and other activities. Continues with more news of family and friends and that she is longing to receive her first letter from him.



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Two page type written letter with hand written insert


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Ursula Valentine
Tenterden Grove,
Hendon, London NW 4
[inserted] ink stamp GEPRÜFT 32 [/inserted]
[underlined] No. 3. [/underlined]
My darling Johnnie,
Since I wrote to you last, on Saturday, I seem to have had a terrific round of engagements. On Saturday afternoon Peter and his friend Brian arrived to stay, Peter for a fortnight and Brian for a week, while taking Inter – for the third time! The exams seem to have been a little easier this time, so I hope that they will manage to get through. On Sunday I went to the early service, and then immediately after breakfast, at 9 a.m. Frances and I set out to meet Barbara at St. John’s Wood and go to visit Marnie Atkins’ new little son, Malcolm, now 8 weeks old. Her husband, as well as her brother, are both near Mother, and the proud father of course hasn’t seen his heir. Malcolm, is very like his father, and Marnie seems very well and happy. In the afternoon Catherine Mair came to tea, and we argued and discussed far and wide over life and politics. She is about the only person near her to whom I can talk about the things that interest me. She came round last evening again and we discussed present politics – unfortunately I am not allowed to write to you on the subject, though perhaps it is just as well for you! Frances was invited out alone on Monday; little Jill next door asked her to go over and play, and they both seemed to enjoy themselves thoroughly.
Tuesday was an important day for Frances. At 8.30 a.m. she walked five steps alone and quite unaided, and at 9.30 a.m. she walked eight steps! Since then she has probably done a good many more than that on her own, and is rapidly getting quite steady. She still finds it much quicker to crawl when she really wants to get to something in a hurry, but she is beginning to realise the possibility of walking and to enjoy it. One of her favourite pasttimes [sic] now is crawling upstairs and she goes up very fast with a one-knee-one-foot technique which is priceless to watch. Another good game which I am required to play constantly is “Catch a n***** by his toe”, in which she crawls away from me and tries to reach some desirable object, and each time I catch her by her feet and haul her back along the carpet on her tummy. She shrieks with joy and sets off again, and if by any chance I don’t haul her back she lies down and waits for me to seize her toes. I have just started using tooth-paste when I clean her teeth at night – incidentally she has got 14 now, including 4 double teeth – and I am trying to teach her to rinse out her mouth and spit out the water. This too is an unfailing cause of mirth. I do it first show her and she chuckles so hard that she is quite incapable of managing it herself afterwards. She more or less lives in her sunsuits just now and is getting delightfully tanned but not a bit raw or red.
You will be glad to hear that I have taken over the Red Cross Penny-a-Week Fund for the road, and of course when I ask for “a penny for a food parcel for John” they all just have to fork out! I work it in at the same time as the Savings Group, so that is[sic] isn’t much extra work.
[inserted] We went to tea with Mrs Greenish on [deleted] Sunday [/deleted] Tuesday & Frances had a great time bullying the spaniel who stood it all very patiently [/inserted]
[page break]
I had a letter from Heath Gattey the other day. He had heard that you were posted missing but not that you were a p-o-w, so I wrote to tell him the good news. You remember that when he saw Frances being bathed he once promised to try to get me some baby powder from his home? He now writes that it has arrived – isn’t it sweet of him and his mother to have bothered? He is having seven days leave next week and is coming to London for a couple of them, so I have invited him to stay here if he would care to. I haven’t had his reply yet. It would be so nice, and remind me of the good old days.
Your Mother is up in town for a week or ten days, and Frances and I are invited to go over on Saturday, for the day, I believe. She says she is feeling much better now though she still tires rather quickly. I expect you will have heard direct from your parents that Irene is engaged to be married. I don’t know the lucky man’s name, but he is a sergeant in the RAF – what his trade is I do not know. They are thinking of being married at Christmas, so I suppose I must start saving up for a present. I wondered if I would give them Savings Certificates, but on the whole think a present in kind would be better. Do let me know what you think, and if possible about how much I should spend. It won’t be £20 anyway! Your Mother didn’t seem awfully keen on the man, when I spoke to her over the phone, though se didn’t discuss it at much length. She says he is rather old for Irene, but anyway I am sure it would be a good thing for Irene to be married. Poor Leslie is being put through a toughening course, and even he seems to find it tough! Irene, incidentally, has now got her commission. And Gattey has got his crowns up, which seems very quick to me. There is no further news of Norman yet, and Jack B-P must be in the thick of battle.
Barbara is going to do some part-time research work on a new photographic process, which I hope will prove interesting for her. – That daughter of yours! I just looked round to see what she was up to, she was being so quiet, and find her sitting up cross-legged in the armchair, looking extremely magisterial and diminutive. That is the first time she has climbed up there alone, so there is another thing she can fall off. Life certainly is a very dangerous business!
I am so longing to get my first letter from you, and I hope that when once they start they will come fairly regularly. If you do not get moved about too much I should [deleted word] think our correspondence might reasonably go on fairly smoothly. I dreamt last night that you were in hospital and I went to visit you and found to my horror that you had got long lank hair hanging down round your shoulders. Please reassure me that this isn’t so! Incidentally I am doing my hair a little differently now, parting the front part at the side. It looks just as turbulent as ever, and I often think of having it cut off. What do you think?
I asked Frances if she had any message to send you and she replied “Garglegarglegar”, so you can make what you like of it. I personally send you all my love and constant thoughts and good wishes, my own dearest husband.
[inserted] I think of you perpetually, my darling, and always with happiness, for you have given me nothing but joy during our all too short married life. May we soon resume it! Yours always, Ursula. [/inserted]



Ursula Valentine, “Letter to prisoner of war John Valentine from his wife Ursula ,” IBCC Digital Archive, accessed April 17, 2024, https://ibccdigitalarchive.lincoln.ac.uk/omeka/collections/document/19909.

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