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 the lack of post from him, their house purchase, finances, going fishing in the bay with friends and of their daughter latest activities.



Temporal Coverage



Two page handwritten letter


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Start of transcription
To Sgt JRM Valentine
British P/W
Stalag Luft VI (via Stalag Luft III)
[inserted] 18 R 2/11 A 5/11 [/inserted]
[stamp GEPRUFT 25]
From Mrs JRM Valentine
Little Close, Devon Road
Salcombe. Devon.
Sept 21st 1943.
Johnnie my darling,
There is still nothing from you to reply to, so I shall have to keep on with my monologue. Before I forget I want to mention that the telephone number of this house is [censored words] I’m so afraid that you may come home while I am still on the move between one house & the next & the idea of you arriving at a British port & not knowing where to send your message to say you’d come home, is more that I can bear! So I thought I’d better give you Mother’s telephone number for presumably she will always know where Frances & I are even if your people don’t. Not that I expect you back in such a tearing hurry as all that, & I certainly hope that Frances & I will come to rest in our own establishment before very much longer. There is no definite news about the Chalfont St Giles house yet, we are still waiting for the Building Society to make up its mind whether or not it will lend me the necessary funds. But it has occurred to me that it could in any case be a good thing if you would make available to me as much money as possible out of your RAF account and also out of our joint P/O account. I sent you a warrant to withdraw £100 from the latter with my last letter. It hasn’t yet been returned to me so presumably the censors have kindly allowed it to go through. If you really are anxious for me to do my best to get us a house to live in, I think you’ll agree that I ought to have a little money to do it with. If this house at Chalfont should for any reason fall through I should have to return your father’s £100 to him & then if I wanted to borrow from him again for yet a third attempt he might well refuse or cut it down by 50% again, as he has done over this one, & altogether it would be much pleasanter if our own money were available for me to use. Communication is now so desperately slow between us that I’ve simply got to be able to act on my own if I’m to act at all. I have got a catalogue of Utility Furniture with a view to applying for a permit to buy some, but really
[page break]
it seems pretty expensive; £15.15 for a wardrobe & £11.10 for a kitchen cabinet & I almost think I could do better scrounging in second hand shops. I really want a divan for the spare room, so that Ba & Peter & my parents could come & stay with me. However I daren’t buy anything till I see how much the moving in is going to cost me.
Frances & I are still enjoying ourselves very much down here. I have been fishing twice with twin girls of the name of Robinson whom we’ve met down here. We took a dinghy out, with attendant fisherman, into the bay & fished all afternoon till after 5 pm. The first day was very poor, only a couple of pollock & a mackerel, but yesterday I caught 6 fish myself & we got about a dozen all told. It’s great fun, & a very pleasant lazy way of spending an afternoon, rather like watching a cricket match!
One day Frances & I went over the estuary in the ferry to get blackberries, & when we came back to cross over again we [censored words]. They gave Frances quite an ovation & before we’d got very far were singing in chorus “She’s got ginger hair, I never cared for ginger hair but she’s got…….” & so on. Frances was rather abashed I think. It’s getting rather a nuisance the way people will pass remarks on her hair & ask facetiously if she’ll give them a curl & that sort of thing. I’m so anxious that she shan’t get self-conscious or vain about her crowning glory, she hasn’t yet but these thoughtless strangers make it rather difficult. Her latest word is “Bonta” which being interpreted means bottom & when she’s been naughty she informs me gravely that I ought to “’mack a bonta”. She’s beginning to develop a marked will of her own & can be led but not driven. She loves it down here, specially the sea, bathing & riding in the ferry. I went out with Capt. Cole the other day when he was going to several farms on business & had quite an interesting morning inspecting Nursery ducks & stock of various kinds. He keeps telling me that there is no money to be made in farming & that you would do much better as a farming accountant. However I don’t take his word for everything, & it all remains to be seen. To start off with you’ll have to go back to the City anyway & I hope the little house at Chalfont will be ready as a house for you. I hope there will be definite news when next I write.
All my love to you, my dearest Johnnie, yours for ever Ursula.



Ursula Valentine, “Letter to prisoner of war John Valentine from his wife Ursula,” IBCC Digital Archive, accessed July 18, 2024, https://ibccdigitalarchive.lincoln.ac.uk/omeka/collections/document/20060.

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