John and Ursula Valentine



John and Ursula Valentine


Provides dates and family history from their engagement to after the war including John's time as prisoner of war and in hospital after his return. Lists letters and dates and provides locations of where they were written.


Temporal Coverage



Five page printed document


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29/10/1939 John & Ursula became engaged
06/01/1940 Married in St Mary's Church, Hendon
15/05/1940 John joined RAF Volunteer Reserve
18/10/1940 John called up - reported to RAF Depot in UXBRIDGE

John's letters begin On 18/10/40 and continue until Ursula joins him in Aberystwyth ( 1-44)
18/10/40 25/01/41) Unfortunately there are no further letters kept from him until he is a prisoner of war. None of Ursula's letters to him until January 1941 have survived So her letters begin in January 1941 (Nos 1-17) 0I/01 /41 - 28/01/41, and continue until she joins John in Aberystwyth at the end of January. They start again at the end of April (Nos 18—32) 26/04/41-15/05/41 continuing until she joined him in Monkton at the end of May Her letters start again when he goes to IO.M. at the end of July, (Nos. 33-124) 26/07/41-30/12/41 and continue until she joined him at Stoke Lyne ( near Upper Hcyford) until he completed his training on 15/03/42 After leave John became operational and was posted to Scampton (Lincolnshire) Ursula returned to the Lido, (Hendon) and her letters to John are continuous from this point ( Nos 125-162) 29/03/42 - 29/05/42
Ursula joined John in Aberystwyth on 01/02/41 On April 26 1941 John was posted to Scotland, where he was in digs with Mr & Mrs Howie, Fairfield Mains, Monkton, Ayreshire While there John qualified as an Air Observer navigator on 19/07/41. The course ran from 23/04/41 to 19/07/41
Ursula joined him there towards the end of May 1941 and they stayed with the Howies until John was posted to Jurby, Isle of Man Ursula then returned to Lido, Tenterden Grove, Hendon
John took the AB INITIO BOMBING COURSE in Jurby from 28/07/41-24/08/41 flying in Blenheim & Hampden planes Then from 25/08/41 - 20/09/41 he took the AB INITIO GUNNERY COURSE flying in Blenheims Unfortunately none of his letters to Ursula during this time survive. Her letters to him arc from 26/07/41 - 18/09/41 (nos 33-82)
John then had 17 days leave before being posted to Upper Heyford for his final training before going on ops Ursula's letters are from 08/10/41 - 30/12/41 (Nos 83-124) after which she moved to Stoke Lyne near Hcyford on 0l/0l/42 until 15/03/42
Having completed his training John was posted to Scampton in Lincolnshire to begin operational flying Ursula's letters to him arc from 29/01/42 - 29/05/42 (nos, 125-162)
Until John became a Prisoner of War there is only the brief period in January 1941 when there are letters going both ways No letters either way for February, March and the first part of April as they were together in Aberystwyth Then there are a few letters from Ursula from Aberystwyth until she joined him in Scotland When John was posted to Jurby, I O M Ursula returned to the Lido where she remained except for the two months when she was able to join him in Stoke Lyne from 01/01/42 15/03/42 John then had a brief period of leave until he was posted to Scampton at the end of March 1942. On 30/05/42 John was shot down during the 1,000 bomber raid over Cologne and Ursula finally heard that he was alive on 19/06/42 Letters both ways have been preserved until toward the end of the war when postal conditions deteriorated and John's letters of the last 6 months of war are missing
Most of Ursula's letters to him have survived. The last to reach him was No 127 (35) of 17/10/44. What happened to the remainder. up to No 140 (6) 25/03/45 is unclear - were they returned to the RAF & so to him in hospital or back to Ursula undelivered? After re-patriation John was very ill and was in hospital on and off for most of the year. Family life only really resumed in April 1946.

After John was repatriated he spent most of the rest of 1945 in hospital, mainly RAF Cosgrove (?) near Wolverhampton, although also in Loughborough. Ursula stayed with him until early July when she returned to Felmersham after collecting Frances from Gable End. She wrote to him daily when she was not with him, so letters 144 – 164 were written during July 1945. Letters 165 – 176 during August; 177 – 187 in September. 188 -192 in October. Then he had a period of 6 weeks at home before further hospitalisation. Letters 193 – 210 were written during December 1945 and 211 – 216 during January 1946.



Frances Zagni, “John and Ursula Valentine,” IBCC Digital Archive, accessed July 23, 2024,

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