Letter to prisoner of war John Valentine from his wife Ursula



Letter to prisoner of war John Valentine from his wife Ursula


Writes that this would be last letter from Hendon and that her possible house purchase had been cancelled due to poor results of survey. Mentions that she will have to leave current house as all furniture is going to her parents new house. Writes of her immediate plans, local farewells and visit to friends. Concludes with some financial matters.



Temporal Coverage



Two page handwritten letter


IBCC Digital Archive


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Start of transcription
To Sgt JRM Valentine
British P/W No 450
Stalag Luft III (Stalag Luft VI)
[stamp GEPRUFT 32]
From Mrs Valentine,
Lido, Tenterden Grove
Hendon NW4
August 8th 1943
[inserted] 16/9 [/inserted]
My darling Johnnie,
This is the last letter you will get from Lido! Tomorrow Frances and I start on our travels, and at the moment I have no idea where we shall fetch up, which makes it all rather exciting.
First of all I’ll tell you about “High House”, Broomfield. On Monday I went in to see the Neals about Savings Certs & had quite a long chat with Pa Neal. We discussed Building Societies in general & Abbey Road in particular & I gathered from him that the acceptance or refusal of the house as security by the Society was no proof of its structural soundness & so I decided to ask him to survey it for me. He was awfully decent about it, because of course I wanted the answer soon & it was very short notice for him. However he managed to go & see it on Wednesday, & reported back in the evening that it really wasn’t very sound, the walls & floors might well give trouble & he thought it would be very damp in wet weather. He said I should have to spend a good bit on it to make it really sound & altogether he advised against it. The same day had the reply from the Building Society & they also refused to grant a loan on the house, so that was obviously that. Mr Burgis the solicitor is getting the deposit money back for me & I’m back where I started from. I suppose I might have known that if the house had been sound it would have been snapped up right away, but I just hoped I’d been lucky.
However I have to clear out of here because my parents are moving into their new house in Devonshire on Tuesday, although they haven’t yet succeeded in selling Lido. All their furniture & curtains are going so of course I can’t stay on here any longer. On Monday I am going down to Gable End with Bunty. She is up in town this weekend seeing Stewart off for the duration I suppose so she & Frances & I are travelling down together tomorrow afternoon. Barbara is leaving about 1/2 hour later, taking up her new job with the YWCA somewhere in Hunts, & my people go on Tuesday so it is certainly a parting of the ways. Frances and I went over to tea at Barnet this afternoon. Grandpa was out firewatching [sic] & only Grandma & Bunty were there. I asked if I might leave the Revelation only hatbox there instead of taking them down to the country for nothing & Grandma was awfully decent & said she had cleared the cupboard & drawers in the little back bedroom for me in case I wanted to leave anything there Unfortunately all my winter things had already gone into store with the furniture but anyway I left one or two boxes there. Grandma has also given me the key of the house because she & Grandpa are going up to Scotland for a fortnight & thought I might want to come up to town on househunting [sic] business & then I could spend the night there. Which is a very kind offer on their part & may be very useful!
[page break]
All our furniture has gone to be stored by Batty’s. It was collected on Friday & the men worked from 8.30 am. – 12, packing up the china & glass & boxes – eight or nine packing cases full. I had no idea we had so much stuff! I had an awful job packing up our clothes because I didn’t know until the day before whether or not they were going into store for a few weeks only, pending the negotiation for High House, or maybe for months & months while I search around for another house. Now of course it has turned out to be the latter, & heavens knows what they’ll be like when I get them out again! Your suits are in the camphor wood chest, & the rest of your clothes in your green trunk, but I shall have to get our winter things out of store if we haven’t found a home before then. I suppose I shall have to start writing round to agents again, though I got very few results from them. I think we can stay with Bunty for two or three weeks, if the children get on alright, & after that we might possible go to stay at P.G’s with “Lady Mif” as Frances calls Lady Llewellyn Smith, out at Epping, while we hunt around there. The thing I hate about it all is that your letters, which seem to be scarce as you warned me, will waste precious days or weeks wandering round the country after me. I haven’t heard from the new camp yet & am anxiously awaiting news.
We have been having a round of farewells here, I’m really rather sorry to be leaving Hendon. I have given up the Savings Group, nobody here would take it over. They seemed quite impressed at the Savings Group Centre with the way all my records were kept up to date, so perhaps I’m not quite so bad a Treasurer as you would have me believe! On Friday Frances & I went to a farewell tea party with Mary & David Simmonds ending up with a riotous Ring-a-Roses. Yesterday we went out to Fulmer with David Blaikley to see his abode & family. They have a small furnished cottage, rather attractive over a nice little garden. Fiona, their daughter is nearly 2, quite a sweet child, more like Mary than David. I had a feeling that they are not quite perfectly happy tho’ heavens knows they ought to be living there in peace & plenty! Mary doesn’t look after the child herself but has a Nurse living in, which seems very unnecessary in a wee place like that. Frances & Fiona got on very well together. Frances sat on David’s lap in the train from Marylebone – we travelled down together - & went fast asleep with her curls tickling his cheek! She rather disgraced herself later by pouring a watercan full of water over her dainty embroidered muslin dress, so that she spent most of the afternoon dressed in vest & knickers with a borrowed cardigan of Fiona’s!! However she was thrilled with the journey in the train & David’s “mokakas”.
Batty’s charged me £3.15.0 for moving my stuff & 5/6 per week for storage. I took out an All Risks insurance while it is in transit & store for £2.1.6. The Abbey Road returned me the surveyor’s fee of £2.20, surprisingly enough, so I’ve only got Mr Neal’s fee to pay which he hasn’t sent in a bill for yet. He’s trying to make me buy some desirable villa in Hendon, saying I can easily sell it again if you don’t like it, but I know from the start you won’t like it & nor do I, so what’s the good? I’m hoping desperately I may get a letter from you tomorrow before I go, I could just use one! All my love dearest, Ursula.
[inserted] Total in 2 years £800 + !! [/inserted]



Ursula Valentine, “Letter to prisoner of war John Valentine from his wife Ursula,” IBCC Digital Archive, accessed May 23, 2022, https://ibccdigitalarchive.lincoln.ac.uk/omeka/collections/document/20053.

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