Letter to prisoner of war John Valentine from his wife Ursula



Letter to prisoner of war John Valentine from his wife Ursula


Writes of letters received and contents of parcel sent and intended for future based in his lists of requirements. Writes about his violin lessons and comments that prisoner of war monthly journal mentioned his camp had a dance band and symphony orchestra that he might play in. Continues with financial matters and other family and friends news. Mentions sending a photographs of daughter Frances and that his bicycle had arrived. Concludes with news and gossip.



Temporal Coverage



Two page typewritten letter


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To Sergt. J.R.M. Valentine,
British Prisoner of War No. 450
Stalag Luft III, Germany
From Mrs. Valentine,
Lido, Tenterden Grove,
London, N.W.4.
Sunday 4th October 1942
[Inserted] R&A 11/11/42 rubber stamp GEPRÜFT 32 [/inserted]
My darling Johnnie,
I have had two lovely long letters and a postcard from you this week, and I’ve also sent off your 2nd clothing parcel, so that I seem to have had some pleasant reminder of you nearly every day.
First of all as to your parcel. Unfortunately [sic] your letter No. 15 giving me an exclusive and authorative list of things you need chose to arrive the day [underlined] after [/underlined] I had sent off your parcel, but anyway I got some of the things right and will make up the deficiencies next time. I sent you the following: Your Jaeger Balaclava helmet (used on the continent in happier circumstances) your old blue fleck polo sweater, 4 pairs of new socks (they are pretty long and I hope will count as stockings), 1 set silk lined underwear, as per request, 2 hankies, your 3 calico bags which I made you two Christmases ago and which I thought would be useful for organising your belongings, toothbrush and toothpowder (I’ll send these in each parcel so don’t bother to mention them), nailbrush, shaving brush, shaving stick refill, a card of strong thread, a pencil, pair of bootlaces, a new pipe (gift from your father) and pipecleaners [sic] (ditto), a pair of khaki gloves (gift from Mrs. McGill, I had to enclose these by special request), 2 tablets antiseptic soap , the whole lot wrapped up in Barbara’s knitted patchwork rug, which will have to do duty for the quilt sleeping bag you asked for until I can send this to you. I’ll make sure of it in your next parcel, and I’m sorry I didn’t think of it myself. I suppose I can buy one somewhere. I will also send the shoes next time, but they weigh so confoundedly heavy that they practically take up the parcel. I hoped the sandals I sent the first time would have done for sand shoes, but if I don’t hear to the contrary I’ll send sandshoes and walking shoes in the next parcel. Scissors will have to go next time too and even then they can only be very small nail scissors, nothing else is allowed. Surely if you have any surplus you can share it with other fellows who haven’t yet had parcels.
I presume your “wellwishers [sic] Johnson and Hulbert” are Eileen, Frank’s fiancée and Peggy Brighteyes’s ditto, but I’m not sure of Peggy’s surname. Glad you have written to Floyd Senior, but don’t expect you will have much result from your letter to Holland – hope it does no harm.
Now as to your violin lessons, you can probably imagine how [underlined] thrilled [/underlined] I was to hear about your learning. I read in “The Prisoner of War” this month that your camp runs a 12-piece dance band and a symphony orchestra so that I hope in due course you will be able to play in the latter, which must be the greatest fun in the world and a grand way to get to know the great music. I shall have to start practising again in real earnest, and then Frances shall learn the cello, and we shall be all complete. This bit of news has made me happier than anything since I learnt that you were safe. Do keep it up, Johnnie, particularly when you get to the boring bits and feel you are not making any progress, as one always does when one gets past the elementary stages. It is really worth any amount of hard work, and if we can play together when you come home, won’t it be just marvellous? It is so good that you can put in so many hours of practice consecutively just now, because that is what you need to get over the early stages. Oh darling, I am [underlined] so [/underlined] glad that you have taken up the violin - here’s the best of luck to you and looking forward to playing with you soon. As to the books you ask for, I’ll send them off at the first opportunity. I have enquired from Marjorie
[page break]
Gunn, who is a very good teacher of the violin, which particular books would be most useful to you, and when I get her reply, will procure them forthwith.
Now to your letter 16. I have written to the squadron about the £5.10.0 but don’t expect to get it back again. Thanks for information re income tax. Naturally I didn’t get the 1 lb of jam back. I was ever so glad to have your description of your daily life – it certainly does seem to be pretty busy. I don’t suppose you will want to make a rug, as I suggested in earlier letter, because you really don’t seem to have much time on your hands. Your mention preparation of sick list – do you have much infectious illness? We have been having a spot of bother this week. Barbara has had a heavy cold with temperature, sort of flu I suppose, and was in bed for four days, and before she was really better I had a bit of temperature myself and spent yesterday in bed. However we are both better now and are hoping very much that Frances won’t get it, she seems as fit as a flea so far. We went for a long walk over the church fields this afternoon, and I sat on a seat for a bit while she played when a small boy of about her age came up to her and threw his arms round her in such a passionate embrace that they both fell over, Frances underneath. The little boy set up a terrible bleat (as Mrs. Donovan would say) and his mother came and picked him up; Frances said never a word, lay where she fell regarding him for a moment then got up and solemnly went on with the game she was playing. She has a lot of fun at this time of year picking up acorns and chestnuts and other desirable objects, and our walks are even more dilatory than usual.
On Thursday I sent off some photos to you without a letter enclose, as we were told this got them through quicker. There are three photos of Frances, actually taken by me but enlarged and improved by Barbara. They show Frances in the garden in warmer weather, wearing the new bedroom slippers (rather incongruously) which I mentioned before, and one shows her in her sunsuit. There is also a photo of me, in which the most striking feature is my freckles, owing to the poor grade of film which was all Ba had at the time. Apart from that I think it is quite nice.
Your bicycle has at last arrived from the local station. The tyres were flat, so I tried to pump them up, but the inner tube is protruding on the back wheel, so I left it and will sling the bike up somehow in the shed instead. But what a reversal of the natural order of things, that [underlined] I [/underlined] should be pumping up [underlined] your [/underlined] tyres!
I had a nice letter from Aunt Mary [inserted] and Grannie [/inserted] this week enclosing 10/- and saying they would like me to buy something for you, so I have sent of 1/4 lb of Cut Golden Bar and 200 Churchman’s No. 1, with it. I forgot to say it was from them on the order form and put my name instead, but you might perhaps drop them a line sometime. Apparently your father is not sending you tobacco regularly after all but says he is waiting till the consignments get acknowledged, which is ridiculous because at that rate you would be without for months. So in the meantime I will try to supply the deficiency.
The Homers have been round this evening to bring me some lilly [sic] -of-the-valley roots which they had promised me earlier in the year. I have put them in under the tree, and I do hope they flourish because I am very fond of them indeed. We are still getting tomatoes from our own plants and they are ripening off quite well. I have put in some onion seed for an early crop next year, but otherwise haven’t had much time for the garden with Ba ill in bed. I have sold my jodhpurs and riding jacket to Helen Greenish, who has a chance to ride regularly now, I asked £1 for them but on second thoughts I think I would rather lend them because they might come in useful some day, ancient as they are. The jodhpurs are hardly fit for decent riding but might be useful on a farm!
With all my love to you, my darling,



Ursula Valentine, “Letter to prisoner of war John Valentine from his wife Ursula ,” IBCC Digital Archive, accessed June 1, 2023, https://ibccdigitalarchive.lincoln.ac.uk/omeka/collections/document/19980.

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