Letter to prisoner of war John Valentine from his wife Ursula



Letter to prisoner of war John Valentine from his wife Ursula


Writes that she has received a large amount of his mail and mentions her own letter frequency. Replies to all the points and requests that he made in his letters. Says he should not worry about her job goes on with description of their daughter and her activities. Mentions discussion with vicar's wife on forming a womens' discussion group. Concludes with more description of her recent activities.



Temporal Coverage



Twp page typewritten letter


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To Sergeant John R.M. Valentine,
British Prisoner of War No. 453,
Stalag Luf III, Germany
[post stamp] GEPRUFT 32 [/post stamp]
[inserted] R 13/5 – A 14/5. [inserted]
From Mrs. R.R.M. Valentine,
Lido; Tenterden Grove,
London N.W. 4.
Saturday 20th March 1943.
My darling Johnnie,
The main even this week has been the arrival of a phenomenal amount of mail from you – 5 letters and a p.c. by one post, besides two others on the other days! The dates vary tremendously, one going back to 19.12 and the latest 1.2.43. What a marvellous feast it was! I only hope that all my letters which you don’t seem to have received will turn up too, in the end. I have written every week, of course, and I used sometimes to pop in an airmail letter card for luck, but have restricted myself to one a week now as the censorship seems to be getting overburdened. I do hope you will get them eventually, since you say they mean so much to you. Now I will try to answer some of your points. I’m glad some of the books have arrived at last; Gone w.t. Wind, Kristinlavransdatter and one of the Agriculture were fromm, Stranger Prince from Ba, she sent another book called “Regency” at the same time, I wonder what happened to that. You have our permission to pass them all on to your library. I thought you said you had no need of books and I have sent very few accordingly, but if they are so appreciated I’ll send something else (when I have some cash!). I’m glad you are working seriously at Dutch and Theory of Music – good luck to you in your exams, I think it is a grand idea to take them. I’m rather dubious about getting a watch sent to you, but will see if I can do anything about it. You say in another letter that some fellows get very optimistic letters from home. I think it is rather foolish to forecast anything; sometimes things look very promising – but never for very long! thank goodness your 2nd parcel arrived while the weather was still suitable for the rug – I’m so glad you like it. Ba didn’t knit it herself, it was given her for a motoring and camping rug, still it was very decent of her to send it. You needn’t worry about my overdoing things with my job, it is nearly always done sitting sown and so represents quite a change from my day-time acxtivities [sic]. I have also learnt to keep awake and alert till midnight now – do you remember how abominably sleepy I used to get soon after 9 p.m.? incidentally I have now saved over £20 from my earnings, which ought to come in handy some day. I thought you would be pleased with that photo of Frances in her bath, it is adorable and so is she. I’m sureyou [sic] will be very proud of her when you see her. It isn’t so much that she is pretty, for she isn’t always though that smile of hers is irresistible and of course her colouring is lovely, hair golden-red and curlier than ever, eyes green and the loveliest pink and white skin; what I think you like even mire than this is her grand little spirit, the plucky way she takes her tumbles and troubles, and cheerful happy nature and her vivid alive attitude to everything that goes on around her. She is so friendly too and insatiably curious about everything. Now that she is beginning to talk I find her more fascinating than ever; sometimes after her bath, specially if I have been away from her during the afternoon, we have a real cuddling party and she hugs me as tightly as she can with those chubby arms of hers – I love her in this mood! At other times, in fact generally she is very independent, prefers not to have her hand held (except for coming downstairs) and very much resents it if I keep her on the lead, as I have to do in the shopping streets. Her affection (not to say love), warm and real as it is, only shows itself in occasional and impulsive spasms, which is just as it should be, I hate clinging little girls, but sometimes when she is more than usually adorable I have to restrain myself fiercely from seizing and hugging her. You would have been really proud
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of her this afternoon. We have been to Jill’s birthday party, next-door, and Frances wore a very pretty white muslin frock beautifully embroidered, (one Mother gave me, naturally), white socks and pale blue shoes. All the other children were at least 6 years old, Jill’s little school friends, but Frances sailed in among them with the utmost confidence, joined in the games whenever she understood what it was about (musical bumps, ring-a-roses, follow-my leader) otherwise danced by herself, and obviously enjoyed herself thoroughly. She ate a hearty tea, pranced about in a paper cap and won everyone’s heart. It is really pretty good at her age. She rather blotted her copybook when we got home by dipping both hands into a dish of elderberry jelly while I was getting her bath ready and smearing it all over her face and dress, even on to the petticoat. However I stripped off the clothes, popped her into the bath and quickly washed through the dress, and I think no permanent damage has been done. incidentally I have definitely decided that it is no earthly good smacking her (or any other child for that matter) for her misdemeanours, it doesn’t get you anywhere, except perhaps that it works off your own annoyance which is better worked off biting the carpet if necessary, it lowers you in the eyes of the child and is definitely bad for the child. You can enforce all the discipline that is necessary by other means, if you put your mind to it, and anyway at Frances’s age, although she nearly drives me nuts sometimes, specially [sic] when I am tired and she is not, she never really does anything that is seriously wrong from her point of view though it may be annoying from mine.
Mrs. Boyd, the vicar’s wife, and I have been discussing lately whether we could not get up some sort of a discussion group among housewives, women like ourselves whose noses are pretty continuously to the domestic grindstone, to interest and inform them about public affairs, both national and local in which for the most part women who do not get far beyond their own homes in the course of their work show an almost total lack of both interest and information. We chewed the business over for a bit, and this last Wednesday our first tentative meeting took place, at Mrs. Boyd’s house. Of course she is an invaluable person, because she knows almost everybody in the borough, and she invited a most able woman, a J.P., councillor etc etc., to talk to us and start us off. There were about a dozen women there, including Mary Simmonds, Betty Milligan and Clare Oppenheimer, and we got up a really lively discussion on various aspects of women’s social work in the borough. They all expressed their desire to proceed with the idea and discus other subjects, so on Wednesday fortnight we are having the ex-mayor along to talk to us about education and the work of the local council. We are rather hoping to find a suitable name for ourselves, as a body, and then gradually work for some particular agreed object, bring pressure to bear and work up a real demand and interest. A maternity hospital is a crying need which we al [sic] approve of – however we must wait and see how things develop. If it only starts a few more people thinking and arguing about public affairs, it will have done some good.
Mary and I played squash again this week, otherwise I have chiefly been occupied with spring-cleaning the drawing room. thank goodness it is finished now and looks really nice. I have washed all the loose covers and those enormous cream curtains at the French windows – and gosh they needed it. Eileen Johnson came to supper last Thursday, still no news of Frank. One bit of good news is the Oliva’s husband is reported alive and a prisoner afterwell [sic] over a year of silence. I’m so glad and know just how she must be feeling now. We have had several parcels from Uncle Tom and I have made over a dozen pounds of apricot jam from 2lbs of dried apricots he sent. Our parents should have left by now but of course we shan’t get any more news
[inserted] I send you all my love my darling. I long for you more than ever. God bless you. Yours always [unreadable word]
I am going to send photos separately in future in case Del in couticbuting [sic] to the mail hold – up. [inserted]
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Ursula Valentine, “Letter to prisoner of war John Valentine from his wife Ursula,” IBCC Digital Archive, accessed April 23, 2024, https://ibccdigitalarchive.lincoln.ac.uk/omeka/collections/document/20017.

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