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Valerie Layton

Letter From Anthony Hughes (10-5-1939)

Anthony, Hughes, Valerie, Layton, 1939, Letter, Conversation, Friend, War

About The Letter - 

In this letter, Anthony Hughes writes again to Valerie, detailing his struggles in maintaining correspondence. He is currently in the army, he will be "on duty" that evening, and he also states that he believes this war (World War II) will be long. Lastly, he asks if Valerie got around to finding a new home. 

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,


Attached to G “O”,

5th October, 1939.G.H.Q.


Dear Valerie,

Thank you for your letter; but you need not have cut it so short: you may make as many personal remarks as you like because letters inwards are not opened. In future, therefore, please bear this in mind. 

We have now settled down to some hardwork: hours of work are more or less fixed, except that when a busy period comes we are expected to pull our weight a little bit more, and then work like hell, no doubt. 

In health I am not feeling too bad, but I expect that a few months out here will add a similar number of years to me.

I had enough grey hairs before I came out, and heavenknows how many I shall have when I return to the mother country. Dieu Volontiers, entendu.

What would I give for a return to normal civil life! The life of a month or so ago seems, at the moment, like a dream. Time was when I could go to bed when I liked, sort of thing, and be assured of a damn good night’s rest, etc.,............ but those things are not to be. True, I do sleep, but to quote the song:“ Tain’t what you do, but how you do it.”

In writing this letter I am taking a chance. If a bell rings over my head that means that I’ve got to take my shorthand book into the “brass hat” and take down some letters etc., etc. And it is in between the bell ringing that I can do my correspondence. Tonight it is my turn “on duty”, and will be here all night.

You can depend upon it that once this little spot of bother is over,I am going to take things very easily indeed. Not that I amexpecting it to finish very soon. On the contrary - and this is purely a personal opinion - I feel that it is going to be a long drawn out affair; some years. Forgive me for being so pessimistic. Tis the mood perhaps.

Have you found a new post yet? Please tell me all about yourself when you write, and do not forget what I have said in Paragrapg‘h’ 1.

Very sincerely yours,

Anthony [signed in pencil]

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