Letter to prisoner of war John Valentine from his wife Ursula



Letter to prisoner of war John Valentine from his wife Ursula


Writes of day to day activities and domestic maters. Mentions that she is not sending photographs as none have been taken recently. Catches up with news of friends and mentions that bad weather has prevented gardening. Writes that Frances came out in red spots but does not think it is measles. Mentions no letter from him.



Temporal Coverage



Two page typewritten letter


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Start of transcription

To Sgt. J.R. M. Valentine,
British P/W No. 432,
Stalag Luft III, Germany
From Mrs. J.R.M. Valentine,
Lido, Tenterden Grove,
London, N.W.4.
Tuesday October 27th 1942
[inserted] Rubber Stamp [/inserted] [inserted] 32 8/12 A 11/12 [/inserted]
My darling Johnnie,
In two days time it will be the anniversary of our engagement – you see I haven’t forgotten the date this year! What a lucky day that was for both of us – for I know you share my feelings on the subject. What a lot of happiness we have known together since then, far outweighing the troubles, and what a lot more we are going to have together in the future. It is worth waiting for.
I seem to have been having a succession of tea-parties since I wrote on the 22nd. On Friday Mary Simmonds with David and Jean Chapman with Richard came to tea. Richard is nearly four and rather spoilt, and at first we had a spot of bother; Richard would kick up a fuss for something and cry, whereupon David would burst into floods of tears, he never can stand seeing other children cry; Frances looked on with growing dismay, her little lip quivering in her effort not to cry, and unless I distracted her attention very effectively, she too burst into tears, by which time Richard had cheered up of course. So it went on for a while, till we had tea, and afterwards they all three played together very amicably and there was no more trouble at all. Frances keep her end up remarkably well with children so much older than herself, and though you probably won’t believe it, she behaved very much better than either of the boys did. Today Richard and Mrs Chapman joined us in our walk and came back to tea afterwards, and this time he and Frances got on splendidly and had a riotous romp together.
Also on Friday the clothes airer in the kitchen broke and descended with a crash – on Florence’s head! It is curious that she is underneath it each time it comes down, but she takes it in good part. I could not fix it by myself, at least I thought I couldn’t, so I went round to the N.F.S. and borrowed a man who put it up very nicely for me. The N.F.S. came in useful again on Sunday when I couldn’t undo a screw on the door of the Cozystove – I took the door round to them and they soon fixed it. I have now lit the stove, although it isn’t quite November. Frances really needs somewhere warm to play, specially during these rainy days when she has to stick indoors the whole time.
On Saturday I went out on the razzle with Sue Eldred, who has now finished her hospital training in London and is going to one nearer home. We went to see “Bambi”, which really is an adorable film, and very beautiful in its colouring. Afterwards we had supper at Quality Inn, but naturally it wasn’t up the standard we used to enjoy together. Do you remember playing chess at the Leicester Square one – what fun those days were!
The next day, Sunday, Eileen Johnson came to tea, and we spent a peaceable evening chatting and knitting. She has made a couple
[inserted] Sorry there is no photo this time – afraid there won’t be for a while to come, as none have been taken recently. Ba will try to get around to it again soon. [/inserted]
[page break]
of pairs of socks for Frances, it is amazing what she turns out for her. She thinks there is good reason to believe that her boy friend has landed up at a nearby neutral country, and I have written to my boss today to see if he could verify this. Brighteyes has now finished his ops but has no prospect of getting home. By the way, do you remember asking who your well-wishers Johnson and Hulbert were and I replied I thought it might be Eileen and Peggy. It isn’t, Peggy surname is different, but it has occurred to me meanwhile that of course Johnson and Hulbert are the padres at your last two stations. Have they written to you or what? You may sometime receive cigarettes or something from a Miss A. Hoare; don’t be alarmed, she is a friend of my Aunt Con who contributes to the Books and Games fund and has adopted you as her special prisoner.
I haven’t been able to do a thing in the garden recently, for every time when I could have fitted it in with my other work, the weather has been bad. I am longing to get a bonfire going to burn up the woody rubbish, but everything is soaking now, and I never was much good at bonfires.
On Sunday Frances came out in a lot of little red spots on the back of her neck, and I was afraid that my worst fears about measles had been fulfilled. I asked Mrs. Neal to look at them, as she has had more than enough to do with measles, but she didn’t think they looked like the real thing. Anyway I decided to get Bethune along, and he said at once that it wasn’t measles or anything serious, just a little rash perhaps due to her cold or to teething. She certainly looks far too bonny and fit for any serious disease, and he remarked on what a fine wee girl she is. Since then the spots have almost gone, and she is as adorable as ever. She has now learned to say “Bicky”, meaning of course “Biscuit”, preferably a chocolate biscuit, and she also calls her little wooden faun “Bambi”. When she piles up her bricks and knocks them down she says “All gone!”, or at least a near approximation to it, and insists on saying “Bye-bye” on every suitable or unsuitable occasion. She is really getting more and more irresistible, and I have considerable difficulty in being as stern and fierce as I am sure you would wish me to be. But really I don’t spoil her and she does obey me when she sees I am serious, though she has a roguish way of twinkling up at you when your are being stern, to see if she can’t crack your defences by making you laugh. I am nearly proof against this now.
There is a new production of “The Importance of Being Earnest” on in town just now, with very much the same cast that we saw together, and one or two improvements and additions. I has a [sic] excellent criticism, and I am hoping to take Ann to see it one of these weekends when she is staying here. Just now she is having a week’s mid-term holiday down in the country.
I have no letter of yours to answer, so I am afraid this is all about nothing much. I do so hope that you are well and as contented as you always make your letters sound. I think about you constantly and can imagine only too well what you are going through. I love you so much, my dearest; God bless and keep you.
Yours for always
[underlined] Ursula [/underlined]



Ursula Valentine, “Letter to prisoner of war John Valentine from his wife Ursula ,” IBCC Digital Archive, accessed April 12, 2024, https://ibccdigitalarchive.lincoln.ac.uk/omeka/collections/document/19986.

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