Letter to prisoner of war John Valentine from his wife Ursula



Letter to prisoner of war John Valentine from his wife Ursula


Still waiting for news of new camp and writes about her recent activities. Mentions there has been no progress on house purchase and writes of future plans when she moves in. Concludes with news of daughter's latest activities.



Temporal Coverage



Two page handwritten letter


IBCC Digital Archive


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Start of transcription
To Sgt JRM Valentine
British P/W 479
Stalag Luft VI via Stalag Luft III
[stamp GEPRUFT 25]
[inserted] R & A 30/11 [/inserted]
Little Close, Devon Rd
Salcombe, Devon
My darling Johnnie,
A great thrill yesterday, a postcard from you popped through the letter-box! But when I looked at it, I found it was dated 18th May! Quite a relic in fact, & of course no real news on it. So I am still waiting for further particulars of your new camp & how you have settled down there.
Frances & I are still enjoying a more or less lazy life here. I’m certainly getting all the holiday you so strongly advocated! We have been slightly busier in the house & garden this past week. There was a rather horrid brown lino laid over the red tiles on the kitchen floor & we decided to have it up & restore the tiles to their former glory. This involved two separate scrubbings & two polishings – the kitchen here is a big place! However it really looks nice now. Today we have scrubbed & stained the pantry floor. So I’m getting into practice for our own house.
I wrote you a letter card last week when I heard from the Temperance Building Society that they would lend us £1025 on the house. My people are putting up £300, which is really very decent of them & I hope we shall be able to pay them back before too long. I suppose when you come you could sell those few shares if necessary, they may have appreciated by now. Nothing much further has transpired about the house, I suppose the solicitors are doing something about it. It looks as though it will be a few weeks yet till we can move in. Mother is going to look after Frances for me for a week when we finally do get possession while I go up there, do a spot of redecoration & see the furniture in. I want to distemper the sitting room which at present is a horrid orange colour, & the dining room too, & also to stain some of the floors for with our total lack of carpets we shall have to have stained & polished floors – to display our few rugs to advantage. When we have visitors
[page break]
we shall to bow [sic] them into the rooms backwards dragging the Persian rug with us to give an impression of continuous carpeting!! Actually its not quite so bad, Mother has said she will sell us the plain green carpet which used to be in the spare room at Lido for £8, & that will look very nice in the sitting room. Our Persian rug will go in the dining room which is a small room anyway, & the other small Persian rug from Lido which Mother has given us will go in the hall. As for stair carpet, Mother has given us the remains of the Lido one, since there are no stairs here & I shall probably make that do by cutting it up & only putting a piece on the tread of each stair, not on the verticals, so that the very badly worn parts can be discarded. I have also come into some lengths of black-out material so that I hope I shan’t have to spend much on that, it seems such a waste at this stage of the war. It is all going to be quite exciting once I can get down to it. How I wish you were here to share it all! But as you can’t be the next best thing is to have it all ready for you to come back to, don’t you think so? It seems such ages since I heard from you, sometimes I get in a panic lest you are sending me urgent appeals to do something quite different which won’t arrive till too late. However, I really think, in my more lucid moments that this little house is the right thing for us, & I can only pray that you will think so too.
Frances’s latest achievement is to say “The House that Jack Built” all through, with me beginning each line & she supplying the rhyming words. She feels very proud about this. She has begun to take much more interest in you lately, solemnly tells me that you have gone to Germany but will come home someday. She often announces that she is going to write a letter to Father & goes off full of importance with paper and pencil. When her hair gets untidy & goes into masses of ridiculous little corkscrews which stick out at rakish angles from her head & make her look like a Mabel Lucy Attwell child. I have bought her 2 liberty bodies & she is terribly proud of these! We send you all our love, darling.
Yours always, Ursula.



Ursula Valentine, “Letter to prisoner of war John Valentine from his wife Ursula,” IBCC Digital Archive, accessed May 25, 2022, https://ibccdigitalarchive.lincoln.ac.uk/omeka/collections/document/20062.

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