Letter to prisoner of war John Valentine from his wife Ursula



Letter to prisoner of war John Valentine from his wife Ursula


Reports arrival of a number of postcards and letters and mentions parcels of tobacco and cigarettes she and his father have sent. Mentions she believes letter cards will get to him more quickly. Writes of her attempts to spread request for food parcels to all their friends and acquaintances including some from abroad. Glad they he is attending service every day. Mentions that his personal effects have been authorized for release and that she is trying to obtain study books. Concludes catching up with news of her activities as well of those of friends and family.



Temporal Coverage



Tow page typewritten letter


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To Sergeant J.R.M. Valentine,
British Prisoner of War,
Stalag Luft III, Germany.
From Mrs. J.R.M. Valentine,
Tenterden Grove,
Hendon, London N.W.4.
August 5th 1942
No. 12
[inserted] rubber stamp GEPRÜFT 32 [/inserted.
Johnnie my darling,
I have had quite a rush of correspondence from you and for you this weekend. On Saturday I received your p.c. No. 5 and on Monday p.c. No. 7, and on Tuesday your letter No. 4. Nos. 3 and 6 have yet to arrive. In your first postcard you asked particularly for tobacco and cigarettes, and so I sent off a parcel myself through a retailer on Saturday and also contacted your Father, who was away since it was Bank Holiday weekend, to find out if he had sent you any. I had a letter this morning saying that he has already sent off two consignments at weekly intervals, and as soon as he hears that they are getting through will give regular weekly orders at two tobacconists. Meanwhile he will continue to send off parcels now and then. So I think the tobacco question is being satisfactorily taken care of by him. I will also send off a consignment to you from time to time. I wrote you an airmail letter card on the printed form for prisoners and posted it on Sunday. I believe that these letter cards tend to get through more quickly; let me know when it arrives. it is certain that postcards from you arrive quicker than letters, since your No. 7 of 30.6.42 arrived a day before No. 4 of 22.6.42.
This latter missive, appealing for food parcels, perturbed me very much, and I at once got to work in a big way on the problem. I wrote long and touching letters to my boss at Wimbledon, our mutual friend at Tooley Street, and Jimmy Tait; also to Felicity, and Aunt Bertha to pass on to her children. Barbara took your letter to the station where they were all very upset on your account and several wrote by the same post far and wide to friends and relations. That letter of yours is a masterpiece of appeal through understatement, Barbara and I nearly choked over our own good breakfasts when I read it. I have now sent it on to your Father, suggesting he get in touch with Ian and Uncle Stanley’s family, and he probably has many other contacts of his own. I did my group collection this afternoon, and Mrs. Novelle and Mr. Turner promised to get in touch with friends of theirs. Freeman rang up, since apparently my letter to Jimmy had had effect and said that he too would get hold of some friend of his. I have one or two other rather more forlorn hopes living near Uncle Sam and also Mr Wilford when I can get hold of him, and after that I must sit back and await developments. If even half of them respond, and the parcels reach you it ought to relieve the pangs of hunger a bit. My poor darling, it is awful to think of you now, at this moment in need of so many things that I could supply if only I were allowed! Anyway, you can bet that I shall be hot on the trail of anyone who is in a position to help you.
I am so glad to hear that you attend a service every day. The 3rd September is to be a national day of prayer and I expect that you will observe it too, so our thoughts and prayers will be flowing together strongly on that day. You say in this letter that you think of me always at 11.15 p.m. I had been wondering if we could not arrange a time to concentrate particularly on each other, but the complications of Central European time and British Double summer time were too much for me. However I always think of you with particular love and happiness before I go to sleep at night, and that is generally between 11 and 11.20 p.m.
I had a letter from the Central depository to day to say that
[page break]
[inserted] [underlined] P.S. [/underlined] Received your p.c. No 3 this morning 6th August. How strange about Hans leaving! I will go & see his uncle & aunt at once & get them into my group on the strength of it. I have often tried to call on them but with no luck. Had a letter from Tait this morning, he says he will write to the N.Y. partners at once for regular parcels to be sent to you.
All my love, Ursula. [/inserted]
the release of your personal effects has been authorised, so I hope they will arrive in due course. Then I shall have a good selection from which to make up your next parcel I have got a patchwork rug, made of odd squares of knitting, ready to send in the next parcel. It belongs to Barbara and is a present from her. It is very warm indeed, and large too and I hope it will arrive safely and keep you snug. The College of Estate Management say they are sending off your agriculture papers, but I am having a spot of trouble over the textbook “Agriculture”. The Educational Books Section of the Red Cross haven’t got a copy left, so I have written to ask the College to spare you a copy out of their library, and have yet to hear whether they will agree to do so. I am so glad to hear that you are going to study German and shorthand. I suppose you chose those two because they are available, and not through any passion for the subjects themselves. Anyway they will always be useful, and by the time the agriculture papers arrive you will have mastered the shorthand, at least. Is it Pitmans or Greggs you are doing? I hope it is Pitmans, so that we can read each other’s notes.
Barbara is busy on photography again this evening. Her latest film actually satisfies her. There are 4 photos of Frances in her dressing gown having tea in the high chair, 3 of David Hazard, who leaves home tomorrow, and one of me. Of course you will receive those of us two in due course. The snap I am sending today is not so good of Frances, but is rather a jolly one, I think. You can faintly see my new clematis growing up the post in the background.
Last Sunday Eileen Johnson and Peggy, Brighteyes’ girl friend [sic], came to tea. Eileen still has no news of Frank, but remains very hopeful. Peggy is quite an ordinary young girl, hardly good enough for Brighteyes I should have thought. She showed me a photo of him in his officer’s uniform, looking more cherubic than ever! We all three went over, with Frances, to see an amateur assault course which David has constructed over some rough ground near his house. He was putting his men over it, under the eyes of their officers, and it was quite amusing to watch. He certainly is a most enterprising youth. On Monday evening he and his parents came round for Ba to take the photos which she printed this evening. As usual Mr. and Mrs. Hazard talked simultaneously and continuously the whole evening, and a good time was had by all. They two went home early, and David stayed on to play his records on the radiogram and listen to some of ours. His taste is fairly low, but sincere.
By the way do you need any textbooks in German? I might be able to get you some sent through the Educational Books Section if you will let me know about it.
Frances came round with me to collect my savings money this afternoon and walked the whole way on her two pins. When we came back she climbed upstairs while I was getting her bath and tea read, and when I went up I found she had thrown a bottle of boracic acid and five nappies down the lavatory. It seems impossible to tire her out – I often feel like giving in before she does! She always “assists” with the housework in the mornings, loves rubbing the floor with a cloth or brush, though she is rather indiscriminate in her choice of cloth, and particularly enjoys making the beds, when she rolls about among the blankets and, with Ba’s low bed, climbs on repeatedly and has to be removed bodily before the next sheet or blanket can be put on. She understands lots of words and commands now, swims for me in the bath and pulls the plug out when I ask her, but so far only says “Bye-bye” besides her own chatter of “wiggly goggly” and so on.
With all my love to you my dearest. You are always in my thoughts. Yours for ever, Ursula.



Ursula Valentine, “Letter to prisoner of war John Valentine from his wife Ursula,” IBCC Digital Archive, accessed June 17, 2024, https://ibccdigitalarchive.lincoln.ac.uk/omeka/collections/document/19966.

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