Valerie Layton

Letter From Anthony Hughes (1-31- 1940)

Anthony, Hughes, Valerie, Layton, 1940, Letter, Parcel, Concert, Christmas

About The Letter - 

In this letter, Anthony writes once again to Valerie. Anthony received a Christmas package sent by Valerie a month prior - she knows him well enough to fill a box of things he likes. Anthony was unable to send a card himself. They plan to meet around February or March. 

A Little Bit About Anthony Hughes - 

Anthony Hughes was a friend of Valerie’s. From what we know so far, it seems as if Anthony didn’t get to know Valerie until sometime late in 1939. Since Anthony was enlisted in the military around the same time he got to know Valerie, he was limited in what he could say to her. He couldn’t share opinions regarding the war or share personal life details due to heavy censorship. What we do know about him is that he seems to be well-educated and comes from a well-off background. He details having a butler and receiving a scholarship while attending the London School of Economics. Before the war, he lived in Clapham Park. During the war, he worked at night as a duty clerk. By 1940, espite the war keeping them apart, Anthony details that Valerie knows him well enough to send him a box of things he liked for Christmas.

See the transcript here...

Anthony Hughes Letter 1-31-1940  - Transcript

Contents Inside Envelope:

Rfn W.A. Hughes,



General Staff – Section 1,

British Expeditionary Force.

31st January, 1939 

My dear Valerie,

I received this evening your letter and parcel, dated 20th December. The delay was caused by the re-direction from the Casualty Clearing Station to me at H.Q.

I thank you very much indeed……but, do you know, if I were in England I would spank you! Really, I have done nothing to merit such a sweet gesture; you are too good-natured. I am very poor at expressing my thoughts via the pen, but I would like you to realize how much I appreciate your kindness. The box contained lots of things which I like very much.

It is about half past ten, and I have just returned from one of those Concerts you hear about. Not Gracy..sorry…Gracie Fields, or Jack Payne this time – but the show was quite good. We had many a laugh, although I have to confess that when the singing began – those songs heard in England – then I felt just a bit homesick, and wanted very much to take a plane to see Mother England. 

I was under the impression that I told you what the trouble was at hospital. My sick card said, “N.Y.D. Fever” and I though[t] the N.Y.D. stood for something very technical! It means, so I gathered afterwards, “Not yet diagnosed”! My discharge ticket said “Common Cold”. Quite a come down, eh? But I felt quite uncommon, believe me. Felt like nothing on earth for a few days. I was there for a week only, and returned here. But I have been so busy that I have no[t] had time to write to anybody. I could not send you an Xmas G.H.Q. Card because when I came out I discovered that the lot I ordered had been sold, as the people here were under the impression that I would not be out so soon. 

However, to come to the point, I am now fit again, although the cold has been particularly intense. I thought London had severe enough winters – but I have not experienced such cold weather as has been the case out here. 

Oh…by the way. I must correct a wrong impression which I have given you. I am enclosing a little cutting from [your] letter. You have misunderstood me. What I said: was: - 

I raised the question of speed one day when I wrote to you, and added that I had the bad habit of doing things too quickly; that is, rushing here, rushing there, speaking too quickly, walking too quickly, never taking my time etc etc., and yet I even wrote too quickly.

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