Letter to prisoner of war John Valentine from his wife Ursula



Letter to prisoner of war John Valentine from his wife Ursula


She writes about staying with her parents by the sea in Salcombe and her daily activities. She also writes about the purchase of their new home and of the financial situation around that and of their daughter’s activities.



Temporal Coverage



Two page handwritten letter


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Sgt JRM Valentine
British P/W 476
Stalag Luft VI via Luft III
[stamp GEPRUFT 32]
[inserted] R & A 15/10 [/inserted]
From Mrs JRM Valentine
Little Close,
Devon Road,
Salcombe, Devon.
September 7th 1943
My darling Johnnie,
Here we are installed in my parents’ new abode, a very nice bungalow with a good big garden and a perfectly lovely view out to sea and up the estuary. It really is an awfully nice place & will make a perfectly delightful place for us to bring the children for their summer holidays! That was very much my people’s idea in taking it. There is everything for a good holiday here, bathing, sailing, fishing, riding, lovely walks & a garden to sunbathe in. Frances is absolutely thrilled by the sea and all the multifarious boats. We go down to the beach each day, down 214 steps, then [censored words]. Here Frances digs & paddles to her heart’s content, luckily the weather is fine & warm, & I sit on the sands knitting like the old dowager I am fast becoming. I have bathed once myself, but today & yesterday the wind was a bit cold & also we didn’t get down there early enough. But gosh its grand to be by the sea again. Capt. Cole from whom my people bought the bungalow, is a big bug round here, owns a number of farms & generally runs the place. He has fallen for Frances in a big way, has offered to take us sailing & fishing in his various yachts & dinghies, motor trips to the beauty spots round, riding on his polo ponies, & would give me a job of some sort if I would stay down here & park Frances on Mother (which of course I couldn’t do anyway, she’d be too much of a handful.) Anyway I’m much more anxious to get a house of some sort for us & make sure of that essential item. Still it certainly will be a lovely place to come for holidays. There are 5 bedrooms, so quite a number can be housed at a pinch.
As for our proposed house at Chalfont St Giles, I have taken the preliminary steps but am not yet sure whether or not we have secured it. I sent £100 to Mr Burgis, our solicitor (!!) to pay down as deposit & he wrote today saying he had not yet paid it over but had written to the agents – I do hope he won’t go & lose it for us by delaying the deposit or anything. As regards this deposit, your father gave me a nasty shock. You remember when the other house at Broomfield was on the cards he had himself offered to lend me £200
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towards it & seemed to approve of the idea of my trying to get our house ready for you. When that fell through I returned the £200 to him & so had to ask for it again when this house came into view. This time he wrote & said he had had other calls on his resources & could only lend me £100, which I take it means he is angry or disapproving or something, I don’t know why. Anyway it makes things a bit awkward for me, because we shall have to pay 1/4 of the price on the nail viz £375 (out of £1500) & my people really aren’t able to lend me more than £200 just now with the sale of Lido not yet concluded. That means now that he has suddenly cut me down by £100 without warning, that I shall have to raise the £75 out of the remaining Nat. Certs in my name & so be left with absolutely no margin for emergencies. However it cant be helped & I shall just have to avoid emergencies like the plague. I should also prefer to pay back the £100 to your father as soon as poss, if he is in such straightened circumstances; we could either do that out of our joint P/O a/c or from the credit to you’re a/c with the RAF (now £140 at the least.) I will tomorrow get a withdrawal form for our joint P/O account & try to send it to you but doubt if it will get to you [missing words] if it does. I wish you to transfer me £100 out of your RAF account to pay back to your father. He really is a difficult man. At first he seemed to think it was the right thing for me to do my best to get us a home, but now he says he “has no doubt house property is a good personal investment if one has the means available” – as tho’ I’m making speculative investments instead of straining every nerve to get a roof over our heads!
I had an airgraph from Leslie today written 27.8. saying he had had a letter from you of 24th May. He is fit & doubtless very busy just now, working his way slowly but surely towards home.
Mother has been busy today unpacking the Persian rugs she brought home with her – simply lovely they are & worth a mint over here I should think. I believe she will let us buy the white carpet we had in the bedroom from her, but we haven’t discussed price & whether or not we could afford it is another matter. Frances had a glorious time paddling & digging on the sands today, ending up by taking off her sunsuit & slipping through the rivulets in the nude. She is talking a lot more clearly now. I am trying parting her hair in the middle with a ribbon round it, it is getting quite long now & curlier than ever. When it is untidy it goes into big corkscrews all over her head. It is as red as ever - I have to admit that she’s rather alluring! [drawing of a head with ribbon in hair]. I do so wish you could only see her. Still she’ll keep!
I am wrestling with more tax forms. I sent the whole thing off to Touche & they have asked various queries about your service pay - I don’t know the answers so had better say “yes”. Service pay received year ended 31.5.43 £195. Is that correct? Who knows!
I love you always, my darling, & long for you terribly – it would be perfect here if you were with me & Frances. Yours always, Ursula.



Ursula Valentine, “Letter to prisoner of war John Valentine from his wife Ursula ,” IBCC Digital Archive, accessed July 20, 2024, https://ibccdigitalarchive.lincoln.ac.uk/omeka/collections/document/20058.

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