Letter to prisoner of war John Valentine from his wife Ursula



Letter to prisoner of war John Valentine from his wife Ursula


Complains of lack of mail from him and wished they would come more often. Catches up with family news and describes her and daughter's activities. Updates on progress of house purchase and mentions parents settling in to new home.



Temporal Coverage



Two page handwritten letter


This content is available under a CC BY-NC 4.0 International license (Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0). It has been published ‘as is’ and may contain inaccuracies or culturally inappropriate references that do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of the University of Lincoln or the International Bomber Command Centre. For more information, visit https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0/ and https://ibccdigitalarchive.lincoln.ac.uk/omeka/legal.





Start of transcription
To Sgt JRM Valentine
Stalag Luft III (Luft VI)
[stamp GEPRUFT 32]
[inserted] 18/10 [/inserted]
From Mrs Valentine
Little Close, Devon Road
Salcombe, Devon
Sept. 14th 1943.
My dearest Johnnie,
Your letters seem very backward in coming forward. I haven’t yet received the first letter you wrote from your new camp, though 2 postcards have arrived a fortnight ago. I have given up expecting letters from you, looking for the postman & things like that, & when at last a letter does come, it is a marvellous surprise. All the same, I wouldn’t mind if they came a [underlined] little [/underlined] more often!
The family here is now reduced to form, my parents, Frances & me. Chris went back on Saturday & Peter on Monday. Those two have come to the parting of the ways, so Chris announced to Mother in the middle of last week. I don’t think anyone is really sorry but it is perhaps as well that Chris should have broken it off. I think they had both got a bit fed up & Chris said Peter didn’t show her enough affection – the worst of it was she liked her affection shown publicly & Peter didn’t. So anyway its off. Peter is full of ideas of going to South Africa when he has finished his apprenticeship, & don’t know if anything will come of it.
The weather hasn’t been so good since the weekend, but we have had a couple of afternoons on the sands. Frances is getting very keen on bathing. She gets into her sunsuit as soon as we get down to the beach & plays around a bit, splashing in the shallows. Sooner or later she falls in & wets her sunsuit, & then she insists on stripping it off & proceeding with her bathe in the nude. She hasn’t got the idea of wearing a bathing suit yet & hates the feel of the wet wool. The beach has only a few scattered mothers & kids on, so I let her go in naked, & she just loves it, splashing round, jumping up & down & fairly shouting for joy. She goes in boldly up to her waist now & scampers back when a big wave comes. On Monday she spent the whole afternoon like that clad only in her sun hat, while I sunbathed, knitted & read. I went in for a short swim too. It really is the ideal life for the little ones. We have 214 steps to climb up to Little Close, & Frances manages these manfully on her own, counting up to 12 over & over again. You will love it down here when we come for holidays in peacetime there is grand sailing & fishing to be had, & walks over the
[page break]
hills. This bungalow is very pleasant too & the garden is full of exotic shrubs, bamboo, palms, fuschia & so on. There will be plenty to keep Daddy employed as a full-time gardener!
The situation with our proposed house at Chalfont St Giles is now as follows:- Mr Neal has reported favourably on it; he thinks the price is on the high side but that that is inevitable these days; it is in good condition & should be easily resaleable when we want to move on. Mr Burgis, the solicitor, has now paid the deposit of £150 on it. We are awaiting the verdict of the building society surveyor to know whether they will advance a loan on it. Mr Neal advised me to go to the Temperance Permanent Building Society, whose Managing Director he knows personally, & as I have no reason for going to any other I have applied there through Mr Neal & hope that his introduction may help to get the full 75% mortgage. I have asked for £1150, & if they grant that I shall have £25 to spare, which would be nice, but 75% is £1175 so I may have to fork that out. I do hope that the fees & stamp duties don’t amount to too much. It is all so awkward now that Grandpa has only lent me £100 instead of £200, but still I hope to get through alright if the Building Society is decent. By the way, I get relief from Income Tax on the amount I pay to the Society, don’t I? That ought to help a bit. I do hope it goes through all right this time, I’m just longing to settle down somewhere, & get our home ready for you. It will be thrilling to have our own place at last, won’t it Johnnie? I hope you are not expecting anything too ambitious, it really isn’t possible with present prices.
Meanwhile we are having a very pleasant interlude here. Mother is in bed with a bad cold today, she needed the rest anyway, she is still inclined to do far too much instead of taking things easy. She’s just the opposite of your Mother, I hope I may strike a happy medium in my old age!! She & Daddy are blissfully happy digging themselves in here & bringing out all the treasures they have brought home with them. They certainly have enough linen & carpets to run a hotel! Mother has given me some more pillowcases & sheets too & some dusters & cloths, so we are very well off in that line. Some things I shall have to buy if I get into the house at Chalfont, mostly kitchen hardware. I have applied ages ago for a permit to buy utility furniture but haven’t received one yet. If I do get it I should buy a single bed & cupboard of some sort for the 3rd bedroom so that I can have people to stay occasionally. The utility furniture is very simple in light oak mostly, but quite serviceable & controlled in price. Thank goodness we bought some decent stuff when we had the chance! I do hope you are not suffering too much from cold in your Arctic camp. I’m longing to hear more about it.
All my love & a big kiss from that impish daughter of yours. Ursula



Ursula Valentine, “Letter to prisoner of war John Valentine from his wife Ursula,” IBCC Digital Archive, accessed June 18, 2024, https://ibccdigitalarchive.lincoln.ac.uk/omeka/collections/document/20059.

Item Relations

This item has no relations.