Personal correspondence of Dennis Welland and Joan Welland (née Patterson)

Scope and Content

This subgroup contains an extensive quantity of personal correspondence, totalling over 2,500 pieces. The vast majority of this is comprised of letters sent between DW and his wife Joan (née Patterson, referred to in this list as JP or JW), both before and after their marriage - dating from 1940-1953. DW joined the Royal Artillery as a Gunner in 1940; he was subsequently promoted, rising from second to full Lieutenant in October 1942, and being made a Captain in January 1943. He was posted to various camps across Britain, and while he was away the couple kept up a regular correspondence, writing to each other almost every day, sometimes twice a day. This exchange of letters was only broken off during DW's brief periods of leave, when he visited JW in Nottingham where she worked as a teacher; they were married in Nottingham during one such period of leave, on 27 June 1942. Their voluminous correspondence contains much detail about everyday life during wartime, although there is inevitably more information about civilian than military life, because all of DW's letters had to pass the military censors; there are also some references to wider events (such as VE Day and the Labour victory in the 1945 general election). Post-war letters are much fewer in number and largely date from the periods when DW was away pursuing his WO research. As well as letters exchanged between DW and JW, there are some letters from other family members (most often JW's parents), and notes written by Michael Welland when he was a young boy; a large bundle of congratulatory letters, telegrams and cards mark his birth in 1946.

All of this material is closed to readers, with the exception of a Christmas card from Leslie Gunston (DSW/2/3/4).


The correspondence arrived at the Library in a large crate. Around half of it had been arranged by DW or JW into chronological bundles based on 1-3 monthly periods and tied with string or ribbon; DW's and JW's letters were stored in two separate sequences. Here, the letters have accordingly been arranged into two main series - letters to JW and letters to DW - with one further small series of miscellaneous material. Chronological order has been retained throughout, and many of the items reflect the original recipients' division into bundles; other bundles have been put together by the archivist, and are similarly based on chronological periods of one or more months.

Access Information

With the exception of item DSW/2/3/4, all of the material in this subgroup is closed to readers.