Valerie Layton

Letter From Anthony Hughes (11-13-1939)

Anthony, Hughes, Valerie, Layton, 1939, Letter, England, War, Photo

About The Letter - 

In this letter, Anthony Hughes writes again to Valerie, sending her a photo. He is unable to divulge much information about the war, though he does joke with her about Hitler. Valerie also appears to have a black-eye. 

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 11-13-1939  - Transcript


Rfn W.A. Hughes,


13/11/39       G.H.Q. (G)

British Expeditionary Force.

Dear Valerie,

You are now right back on top of the world  again? Of course you are!

I have a few minutes to spare and I thought I would like to supplement the short note which went this morning. This letter will not go until tomorrow, Tuesday 14th. About seven weeks ago, when I was staying for a while in a biggish town a number of us decided to have snapshots, or passport photos taken, and I am sending you one. In the snap I look well enough, but I felt like nothin’ on earth at the time after the second dose of inoculation. Don’t forget to put it in a central position on the mantelpiece, with a caption, “The man what one the War”. Cough. 

Have you finally made up your mind regarding sharing the new flat with your friend? If you are friends of some years standing then this should work out well enough, but if you are more acquaintances then perhaps it would be well to consider the matter carefully. I have had the same problem. A year or two ago I shared a flat with a friend, but as sometimes I like my own company (!) the scheme of things didn’t work too well, and that is why I moved into the present service flat.  There I could shut the door behind me; turn on the radio to a programme of my own choice; put my feet on the low mantelpiece and do anything I liked, sort of thing. This is not to be regarded as a reflection of selfish motives because - hang it all everybody likes a bit of peace now and again. Heil Hitler. 

I’m going to stick up on the wall in front of me a photograph of Hitler. I must do that. Not that I am an admirer. But I want something to buck me up some times…….to keep up the morale, if you get the idea…. and one look every day at that guy will be sufficient. A man will put up with a hell of a lot under compulsion, what?

So you have a baby Empire typewriter? This machine is a Barlock No. 20. A few years ago I didn’t think much of Barlock’s, but the present day machines are the last word. This one came today, and is brand new. Just like a toy at the moment, for men are ever kids at heart! It has a very long carriage and the machine has to go into my kitbag...if you’ve got the idea. Where the machine goes…. there go I. Lo, I am with you always!

I shall not write more. News I cannot give. Perhaps the next time I write I’ll give a dissertation on the marginal productivity theory of value, or outline the Bank Charter Act so that I’ll have sumat to write about. As it is, I don’t want to give news relative to eating egg and chips in a local cafe. Enough to send a bloke to the vaults. 

Goodbye Valerie; write to me soon, and let me hear that you are again feeling cheerful and optimistic, that the black eye has disappeared! and that life in general meets with your approval! Ch---- that sounds a bit prosaic, what?

Yours very sincerely,

Anthony D Hughes (signed)






No. 695


14 NO


Miss Valerie Layton,

4, Atney Road,



[Something written in pencil]

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