Letter to prisoner of war John Valentine from his wife Ursula



Letter to prisoner of war John Valentine from his wife Ursula


Writes apologising for not sending letter previous week and announcing she is visiting parents in Devon for a couple of months. She has arranged to let their house. Describes her journey accompanied by her lodger and goes on to write about her daily activities including playing bridge and mah-jong as well as going to a dance.



Temporal Coverage



Two page handwritten letter


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Start of transcription
W/O JRM Valentine
British P/W 450
Stalag Luft III, Germany.
Little Close,
Devon Road
Salcombe, Devon
July 10th
My own darling Johnnie,
I feel most terribly guilty because I didn’t get off a letter to you at all last week. I wrote most of it, but in the rush at the end it got left in my typewriter & is still there! You will see from the address that we are down staying with Mother again. Pat and her baby are here too and we had an awful rush getting away in the end because Pat kept changing her mind as to whether she’d come with me or not – though she hadn’t any workable alternatives. We’d arranged to travel on Tuesday, but on Monday morning she decided not to come & not till 9.30 [underlined] p.m [/underlined] did she make up her mind to come after all, & then we had to walk two miles to the nearest station with her heavy luggage & the baby’s pram! & then do the packing from 11 pm onwards! So you can understand that there wasn’t much peace or time for letter writing. However, we weathered the journey alright in the end, and are now living here in peace and plenty. Frances is thrilled to be back with Grannie & Grandad & by the sea though the weather hasn’t been too good so far, & we have only bathed once. We are expecting to stay for a couple of months, if not more, and Mr Horne, the estate agent in the village & a good friend of mine is going to let the house furnished for that time and look after it for us & see that we get decent tenants. He says he will see to it that they leave when we want them to, I hope to goodness he does for it would be too awful if we couldn’t get into our own home when at last you come back to it. On the other hand
[page break]
he advised strongly against leaving it empty, in case it should be taken over. So I only hope everything will be alright as he [indecipherable word] [missing word] will be. He said 3 1/2 guineas per week would be a fair rent, so I am looking forward to hearing from him whether he has actually let it & if so to whom. It was very difficult to decide what was best to be done, but Frances’s wellbeing counts above everything really I am getting terribly excited & anxious too as events move nearer towards you; I don’t suppose you will even receive this letter. I wonder where you will be these months from now? I suppose its [underlined] just [/underlined] possible you might be home. Glorious thought!
[stamp GEPRUFT 131]
We have been playing wild games of family bridge in the evenings, alternating with mah-jong, its quite fun to waste time again for a bit! On Saturday Pat & I actually went to a dance given in the village, the usual over crowded sort of hop, but very emancipating for those who so rarely dance as me! Poor Mother is having her housekeeping made more difficult because her gas supply is temporarily cut off while repairs are made, & she has to cook for us on a Primus. However, she’s doing very well, & there’s lots of produce from the garden, thanks to all Daddy’s hard work. It was an awful wrench to leave our garden just as everything was producing, there’s a lovely crop of raspberries, of which we ate all we could hold in the time at our disposal! Mr Palmer, the retired gardener who lives next door, says he will keep an eye on it for us & put in a half-day’s work when necessary.
All my love to you dearest & a big kiss from Frances.



Ursula Valentine, “Letter to prisoner of war John Valentine from his wife Ursula,” IBCC Digital Archive, accessed February 26, 2024, https://ibccdigitalarchive.lincoln.ac.uk/omeka/collections/document/20383.

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