Valerie Layton

Letter From Anthony Hughes (10-31-1939)

Publication Year
Archive Keywords
Anthony, Hughes, Valerie, Layton, 1939, Letter, England, War, Information, Deputy, Chief

About The Letter - 

In this letter, Anthony Hughes writes again to Valerie. Anthony has been helping other soldiers in writing and translating their own letters. He just left England and recently celebrated his birthday. All the while, Valerie is looking for a new job, potentially in the Ministry of Information.

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...

Rfn W.A. Hughes


The Same Place

Wednesday Morning. 31. Oct. 1939

[“8.11.39” written in pencil]

Dear Valerie

Apologies for not having written before now. My only defence is that it is difficult to write a normal letter in view of the Censor business. By “normal letter” I refer to personal matters; the censor people must be pretty sick of reading through letters from the G.H.Q. area because practically all letters run in well defined channels. I myself have had a “sectional statistical analysis,” because granted a number of the men have asked me (a) to type letters for them (b) to translate some English into French. So I expect a lot of rubbish goes out every day. 

You had my acknowledgment card? Very formal – granted! Yet very useful during pressure of work. 

Leave, I believe, will start early next year, a percentage “XY” will go off at a time. Personally, I would choose leave at the end of the list because we have just left England, as it were. Please do not receive this expression in a bad light – but consider the question fully! 

Thank you for the birthday card; I got it on the very day! 

Have you found employment yet? If the Ministry of Information has not written again to you I shall be very surprised indeed.

We are getting very much acclimated. Daily routine in the order of going. Hard

enough work - with long hours. Up 6.0a.m. Never in bed before 11 or 12 – i.e. the clerks. 

Shorthand is exceptionally useful. In my case vitally necessary – otherwise I would’nt 

have had the job I’ve had. I feel very bucked for having been chosen clerk to the Deputy Chief of General Staff – because I think it’s a chance in a rather, sort of thing. I do not know, however, whether I shall be here permanently. God knows what the next day will bring!

I still feel very well indeed. This, to confess a truth, is remarkable keeping in mind that we’ve had a lot of roughing about – sleeping in all sorts of places on a bag of straw – 

+ very wet weather. In this respect, therefore, I have no complaints.

Now to finish. When you reply, do tell me what you’ve been doing with yourself during the past 3 weeks.

That you have found another post is my sincere hope.


Very sincerely yours,



Miss Valerie Layton,

4, Atney Rd.,

Putney, S.W. 15

[Annotation in pencil]




No. 695 O.A.S.



31 OC


Miss Valerie Layton

4, Atney Rd.,



[Something written in pencil]


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