Letter to prisoner of war John Valentine from his wife Ursula



Letter to prisoner of war John Valentine from his wife Ursula


Starts with requests about his crew and other discussion of gallantry award for his pilot. Continues with news of daily activities of friends and family. Mentions trying to get a doll's pram for daughter and a tells of her wearing a new costume as well as a neighbour who had his leg amputated after a road accident. Continues writing about with other local news and domestic activities. Concludes by saying no photograph until her sisters camera comes back.



Temporal Coverage



Two page typewritten letter with handwritten addendum


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To Sergeant J.R.M. Valentine
British Prisoner of War No. 435
Stalag Luft 111, Germany
[ink stamp]
From Mrs. Valentine,
Lido, Tenterden Grove,
London, N.W. 4.
October 31st 1942
A 2/12
My dearest Johnnie
I had a letter from Mr. Floyd today asking if you could find out if Philip left any personal belongings, a pocket book or diary, as nothing personal had been returned to him. I don’t see how you could possibly find out, however I promised to pass on the request, so there it is. I advised him to contact the padre, he is the most likely to be able to help. Incidentally I and several others were very struck with the recent award of the V.C. to a Ft/Lt who did almost exactly the same as Floyd, at the same time and place and in a similar kite, ( that is, as far as we now Floyds story) and I suggested to his father that he too might try for some sort of recognition of his son’s gallantry on the basis of information you have supplied. Why not? Gongs are some consolation to those left behind. It was also given out recently that Wing Co. Slee has been awarded the D.S.O, perhaps you remember him, he wrote a very nice letter to me at any rate.
Last Wednesday Frances went out to tea with Mrs. Hazard again, while Barbara and I went off to the pictures. We saw a film called “This Above All” with Tyrone Power; it was rather good and I enjoyed it. It was grand being able to get away together too, I don’t much enjoy going to the pictures alone, as I generally have too {sic], I That is why I so rarely go. Frances as usual was the life and soul of the party, and completely captivated Olivia. Did you know that poor young David has been in hospital practically ever since he left home, with some trouble in his foot and leg which they don’t seem able to diagnose. It is really worrying for his mother, and they don’t seem to have given him proper medical attention. I wrote to him the other day and told him about your practising in the shower cubicle, so he wrote back and said he would compose a “Sewage Symphony” for you. And by the way, I was speaking to Margery Gunn today and she gave me one tip to pass onto you; concentrate on the bowing, and get that going rhythmically and properly at right angles, before you start bothering much about the left hand; if you try to think of both at once before your right hand is really used to the bowing, you are more inclined to get into a tangle. That is what she said, I know less than nothing about it and would not presume to say anything – except that I love you terribly much and am awfully proud of you. She also said that she had heard from America that their friend over there has already dispatched one parcel to you, at the end of September, and has a permit for one a month for five months. So if they arrive that ought to help to tide you over the winter. I hope to goodness they do.
Last week I pit an advertisement in the paper for an inexpensive doll’s pram, for Frances, and on Wednesday I actually got a reply, rather to my surprise. A woman over at Edgware rang up to say she had one to get rid of and she wanted 15/- to a £1 for it, which seemed very reasonable to me. So on Friday afternoon I left Frances with the long-suffering Auntie Barbara and went over to Edgware to inspect this vehicle. It turned out to be a very solid bit of work, properly sprung and upholstered like a pre-war baby’s pram, it needed a lick of paint and
[page break]
[random text in margin] [underlined] P.S. [/underlined] Mrs. Hazard says that from news of others she has received she thinks Leslie has landed up near Jack B-P. haven’t heard from your people anything definite. [/ random text in margin]
the upholstery tacked down in places, otherwise it was sound. The lady started to explain that her husband had been very angry when he heard that she had offered it to me for 15/-, as he had paid 6 guineas for it new ( which I should think is quite probable), and he wanted 25/-, and I think on the whole it is worth it, because of course they are not easy to get, and these were decent class people so that the pram is presumably clean. It ought to last Frances a good many years and then come in useful for the little sisters! The Greenish’s say I may hide it in their garage till the presentation day comes – which I may put off till her birthday, because a) there is likely to be a better show of presents for her at Christmas, and b) the weather will be more auspicious for taking her dolls out for pram-rides, and she will be bigger and better able to manage the pram. I’m glad I’ve got it, anyway, and will now set to work to make suitable quilts and coverlets.
I have also got my new costume, and wore it to go over to Edgware on Friday. It really is awfully nice and worth all the money. I am sure you would like it because it is well-tailored and good looking in a quiet way and makes me feel really well-dressed. I have also finished at last the woollen dress I have been making for myself out of that material Mother gave me last year. I hope Ba will take a photo of it when her camera comes back from being repaired, I think it is quite successful but haven’t had the courage or opportunity to wear it yet. Anyway I breathed a sigh of relief when at last it was finished. On the way back from getting the pram I called in on the Lowes and saw poor old Frazer. I told you, didn’t I? that he has had his left leg amputated from above the knee as a result of a road accident. He is getting on well now, and gets around on crutches, though he still has a good bit of pain in the nerves. Mrs. Lowe is nursing him entirely herself, and only has a morning woman for that great house; her own feet are very bad with arthritis or something for which she was having electrical treatment several times a week but of course she has had to drop that now and I am afraid they are very bad. She looks very worn out, and I only wish I could do something for her, but short of going to live there to run the house while she nurses Frazer, I don’t know what I can do – and with Frances attached to me I should be a very mixed blessing! Stil [sic] she keeps cheerful, and sent me away with a great pile of beautiful pears from the garden.
Another sad blow this week was the death of little Miss Homer, the smaller dumpy one. First the other sister had a bad dose of flu, and then she caught it and apparently died of heart failure. I was just going round there to collect their savings when one of the neighbours told me, which was just as well. I’m afraid the remaining sister will miss her terribly.
I have been doing a spot of work in the garden this afternoon while Ba took Frances out. I have put in about 40 spring greens, and have cleared up and cut away some of the plants that are finished. Our cauliflowers are coming on now, quite a number of them have nice little flowers. The green tomatoes which I put away to ripen in the dark are doing well too and ripening almost too quickly. I would rather have had them nearer Christmas.
[random text in margin]Sorry there is no photo. When Ba’s camera comes back we hope to take some more. Had a letter from Auntie Hattie this week asking after you, so I hope you may hear from her. With all my love, Ursula. [/ random text in margin]
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Ursula Valentine, “Letter to prisoner of war John Valentine from his wife Ursula,” IBCC Digital Archive, accessed December 4, 2023, https://ibccdigitalarchive.lincoln.ac.uk/omeka/collections/document/19987.

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