Letter to prisoner of war John Valentine from his wife Ursula



Letter to prisoner of war John Valentine from his wife Ursula


Writes telling him she went to the West End to have her hair cut and she tells him of the shopping she bought for their home. She talks of a meeting, organised by the Red Cross for the next – of - kin of prisoners of war. Plus other news from home including asking local RAF adjutant if she could billet Woman's Auxiliary Air Force member but not available at the moment.



Temporal Coverage



Two page typewritten letter


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Sergeant J.R.M. Valentine,
British Prisoner of War No. 450
Stalag Luft III Germany
From Mrs. Valentine,
Lido, Tenterden Grove,
Hendon, N.W.4.
September 9th, Wed. 1942

[inserted] 30/9 [underlined] A [/underlined] 29/9 rubber stamp GERPRÜFT 32 [/inserted]

My dearest Johnnie,
I am not likely to get very far with this letter just now because Mr. Greenish is due to come in this evening to dictate some report about fire-watching.
He has been, and I have finished typing it for him, so now at last I can get down to my letter to you, my darling.
Yesterday I had a day off and went up to the West End, chiefly to get my hair cut. I went to a girl whom Barbara recommended, and she certainly did a good job. She cut four or five inches off the plait and thinned it a good bit too, cut several inches off the front part and sorted it out – in fact, pruned the whole thing, and then washed and set it, and now I feel much more tidy. Istill [sic] do it up in the same way, but it is much more inclined to stay up now.
The second item on my list was to buy a corset, which I did without much trouble. It seems a nice one too and was not as dear as the last one. Then I ordered a book to be sent off to you, this time it is Hugh Walpole’s “Rogue Herries” novels, all of them in one volume. I made further vain attempts to get a copy of “Agriculture”, and have put my name down for one when the new edition comes out. It really seems impossible to get one second-hand, because it is the standard textbook for agricultural colleges and they are all snapped up. Foyles haven’t got any copies anyway.
Then I made another buy which thrilled me very much, though I don’t suppose it will sound exciting to you. Evans have got some 2 lb glass jars, rather square and squat, with black plastic screw tops and good wide necks, for 2/2 each. They are exactly what I want to keep my groceries, and I bought three, which was as much as I could carry in my long-suffering black bag. But I should love to go back and get another six, and one or two of the 4 lb size as well. Then my kitchen cupboard in our dream home of the future will be really worthy of the rest of the house, with the rice and semolina and oatmeal and sugar and flour all clean and visible in shining glass jars, in neat rows of uniform size – a cupboard to be proud of. I really think it is worth laying out the necessary money, the jars are so exactly right for the purpose. During these months of waiting, when it is unfortunately not practicable for me to buy any of the bigger items we shall need in our home, for lack of a specific house to buy them for, I think it is just as well for me to get everything in the way of small equipment that we shall need, as far as possible, because they are often the items which run away with such a lot of money when one comes to furnishing a complete house. We haven’t had any definite news from my parents yet as to whether or not they are coming home in the spring, but we have had two parcels from Mother, containing a variety of useful things, mostly for Frances. she even dared to send a pair of shoes, little blue crepe-soled sandals, and was lucky enough to pick exactly the right
[page break]
size. She sent some sugar too, thank goodness, I had practically run out owing to my prolific jam-making and fruit -bottling activities.
In the evening, after my jaunt to town, I went to a meeting got up by the local Red Cross for next-of-kin of prisoners of war in this area. They turned out to be nearly all Army prisoners and it wasn’t till just before I left that I came across one woman whose husband is in your camp. Poor chap, he has been over there for 2 1/2 years, and says your camp is the best of the five he has been in. He is an officer, and she works in the HQ of the Red Cross prisoners of war department. It is a job I would gladly do if I were free to take a job. As it is, I have put my name down for street-collecting when the special prisoners of war week takes place sometime in December and offered to help with other activities too so far as I can fit it in, and also offered to type for them at home in my own time, if they ever need that. It is really decent of the local Red Cross to have got up this meeting. They asnwered [sic] questions and pointed out a few new regulations with regard to parcels, etc; then a young girl recited – very well, and another sang, and afterwards we were regaled with tea and luscious cakes and encouraged to get together with others whose men are in the same camp. We all wore labels with the names of our prisoner’s camp, and went round peering at each other. I peered in vain at countless Stalags and Campos, for the one woman whose husband is at your camp came in late and hadn’t a label! I should think there were at least a hundred people there – just from Hendon!
Today I had a surprise telephone call – from Kenneth Maidment! You know he was over with Felicity, and had just come here for a short official visit by air. They had received my letter about you and have got on to the matter in a big way and apparently hope for results, in a few months time, because of course everything takes so terribly long. I was awfully glad, because I had gathered from Freeman that it was all washed up over there, But Kenneth says they were told it would go through alright. Felicity is expecting her third baby in October, so I have sent Kenneth a little muslin embroidered dress which Mother had sent for Frances and which she has never worn, and asked him to take it back with him for the baby. I feel so grateful to them for their willingness to help.
I had a parcel from your father today enclosing a pair of khaki gloves specially knitted for you by Mrs. McGill for enclosure in your next parcel. I have written to thank her, but I suppose if you were to acknowledge them as well she would like it – though I would grudge the p.c. The parcel goes off at the end of the month, but I am told will take about 6 months to reach you, by which time it will be nearly spring! Let’s hope it gets through exceptionally quickly, so that the warm things will be in time for the cold weather. Your Mother and Ann are back in town now, and I have invited them all to tea here sometime and hope your Mother feels fit enough to come now – last time I saw her she still wasn’t going about much.
I wrote to the local RAF adjutant to see about getting a WAAF billetted [sic] here, but apparently there is nothing doing just now, they are all fixed up. So I suppose I just carry on, like Mr. Micawber, in the hope of something turning up. By the way, do you ever have any trouble because my letters are numbered? There are conflicting theories here about it, but I am carrying on till you advise to the contrary.
With all my love to you, my darling Johnnie,



“Letter to prisoner of war John Valentine from his wife Ursula,” IBCC Digital Archive, accessed July 24, 2024, https://ibccdigitalarchive.lincoln.ac.uk/omeka/collections/document/19976.

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