Private John Cushnie Collection

Gentleman's Diary & Letters Home - May 1918

Diary & Letters May 1918

Private John Cushnie wrote approximatly 91 letters home from 1916 to 1918, and a diary with 220 entries from 1918. These letters and diary entries, gratiously provided by Anne Hales and describe John's life in the CEF, from the telegram that he sent saying that he would be home for his first weekend of leave after enlisting, to the telegram that announced that he was back from Europe.

Diary May 1918

Wednesday, May 1
OC’s inspection at 8 am.  Sigs were bawled out for needing a wash.  Had our gas respirations tested out in morning.  Pat E & I traveled around to all the canteens in the countryside looking for biscuits.  Finally located some after we had missed our supper. 
Big Canadian mail came in.
Weather – Fine.

Thursday, May 2
Station work all morning.  Archie & Euart on fatigue cleaning roads.
Met William? In afternoon down at the YMCA.  Had a great old talk with him.
Went to bed early as I was very very tired.
Weather – fine.

Friday, May 3
PT at 8.30 am with George North as instructor.  After that we had station work with lamps and after that a little flag drill.
Got some mail in the afternoon and went on duty in the afternoon from 2 – 6 PM.
After tea went over to Ball game between 1st and DAC.  The first won out by 6-5 in the extra inning.
Weather – Fine

Saturday, May 4
Had no parades all day but got ready to move that night.
Moved off at 6.30 and marched 5 km to Mount St. Eloi where we were billeted in the same place as before.  Arrived there about 8 PM.
Got a nice box from Aunt Annie in Mt. St. E.
Went to bed early as we were to make an early start on the morrow.
Weather – Fine

Sunday, May 5
Fell in at 7.30 in battle order and marched about 20 KM to Servins.  Had to carry 150 rounds of SAA.  Were billeted in a barn and were very crowded.
Irvin? & I went up town and had a good feed of eggs that night.
Weather – Dull with a little rain

Monday, May 6
Parade at 8.30 am for inspection.  Flag drill and lamp reading in the morning.
Wrote some letters after dinner.  Pay Parade at 4 PM.  Got 25 francs.  Went for a walk after supper with Irvin?.
Relived party ? for supper on transmitting visual station. 
Weather – Fine

Tuesday, May 7
Rain in the morning so didn’t have the parade at 8.30 AM.  Had buzzer reading, and flag drill later when the weather cleared up somewhat.
They found a new billet for us where there was all kinds of room so we moved there.
Wrote quite a number of letters that night.
Westrop came home tight and I had to put him to bed as he slept next to me.
Weather – Rain in morning but fine in afternoon.

Wednesday, May 8
Had about 45 minutes PT first thing in the morning and after that had a visual station scheme until noon.
Went on duty after dinner with Campbell, Edwards, McLowith on transmitting visual station to Brigade.
Had an easy time all afternoon and drank a lot of milk which we got at a nearby farmhouse.  Had a lot of fun trying to talk French with the girls.
Stayed in and wrote letters at night.
Weather – Fine

Thursday, May 9
Most of the section were out with companies on a scheme so we had very little to do.  Played ball and I got busy and entered up my diary for about the last month.
In afternoon Eedy and I walked to Giveirily? To see ball game between 1st and 3rd which the latter won by 8-2.  Very poor game and our boys had hard luck although they didn’t deserve to win by any means.  A lot of money changed hands on the game.
Weather – Fine

Friday, May 10
Had a visual station scheme in the morning.  Irvin, Boron? and I were on a company station.
Went on phone duty in the afternoon in the orderly room but didn’t have much to do.

Saturday, May 11
Was on duty all morning at terminal visual station with H.J. Marshall.  Had a couple of hard messages to put through.
We were supposed to ----? on bath parade in the afternoon but there was no water so it was called off.
There were Brigade Sports in the afternoon but we didn’t go as it was too far.
Played ball and wrote letters all afternoon and evening.
Weather – Fine

Mother’s Day
Sunday, May 12
Church Parade at 8.45 AM.  Had church in an orchard with special features for Mother’s Day.  Stayed for ____? after the service. 
In the afternoon had a visit from Capland, Patterson and Pritchard of the 10th Ba.who walked about 11 KM to see us.
Went on duty at 5 PM on transmitting visual station with CW & Smitty, Baslou? It was very cold up on the hill and we only had one message to handle.
Weather – Windy

Monday, May 13
Fell in at 8.30 and marched to battalion training ground where we took part in maneuvers with the battalion.  It rained quite a bit but didn’t get very wet.  Made tea and __? for  the billet.  Mr ? __? Set a stiff pace in front.
Went on duty on transmitting station all afternoon.  Was very wet and ____? And could hardly see the other lamps.
Big Canadian mail and got __? of my back pay.
Weather – Very Wet

Tuesday, May 14
Went on duty at 8 am at transmitting station.  It was rather cold up there and not very comfortable but it was better than going on parade.
After dinner went down to the Canteen and had a long talk with Doug Smith.
After supper cleaned up for next day’s parade and went to bed early to get all the sleep possible.  Wrote a couple of letters first however.
Weather – Fair

Wednesday, May 15
Parade at 7.30 marched to Arnbines? for a brigade scheme.  Eddy and I were detailed to form part of party which was to devote? barrage. Very slow business as our rate of travelling was 100 yds in 5 min.  After they had reached the objective Marshall Johnston and us too hiked for home having our dinner in an estaminet. Very hot walking but we got home about 4 hrs ahead of other party.
Eedy & I went on duty after supper but as there was no one on Bde stn. we didn’t stay long.
Weather – Fine

Thursday, May 16
Same program as yesterday in the morning.  We had an easy time as didn’t have to carry any equipment.  Very hot weather for marching.  Got home early about 3 PM and laid around trying to keep cool for the rest of the afternoon.  Got 2 Saturday Nights from Mrs APEPoi? mail.
After tea Irvin and I went over to the estaminet.  I got my socks washed and we had a little feed.
Weather – the hottest day thus far, this season.

Friday, May 17
15 min PT at 8.30 am.  Went down to the shoemakers and had my boots fixed up.  Also had a hair cut and had all my hair cut off.
Pay parade at 11 AM.  Got 20 francs pay.
Wrote letters and slept most of the afternoon.  Went on signal duty at 5 PM.
Had a lot of fun up at the farm playing football.
Was rather busy on stn. handling about 5 messages.
Weather – Hot

Saturday, May 18
Fell in at 8.30 am in battle order.  After an inspection we piled arms and fell out and had nothing to do the rest of the morning.
Went on duty at noon on station up on hill and missed the bath parade.  Was very busy all afternoon.
After supper Pearson came down from Field Ambulance to see me.
Got my stuff together in my pack ready to move off in the morning.
Canadian mail – 2 letters.
Weather – Light Rain

Sunday, May 19
Reveille at 4.30.  Fell in at 6.30 ready to move off.  Left Penin about 7 and marched by easy stages to Etrun about 12 KM away.  Had a march past Sir Arthur Currie.
Got there aout 11.20 AM and were put into the Y huts.
Had a sleep in afternoon.
Baseball game after tea.  Sigs vs Ba team.  Ba(ttalion) Team had a walk away and was a very loose game.
Saw Macgregor of MC Company.
Weather – Fine

Monday, May 20
Parade at 7.45 AM.  O.C’s inspection. Signal Section made a good showing.  Followed by Church Parade which we missed yesterday.  The Colonel gave a speech on a letter from G.O.C. about cursing.  He expressed himself very strongly on the subject and managed to let off a few “swear words” himself while speaking.  Chaplain also laid great stress on the same subject.
Weather – Very Hot  

Tuesday, May 21
Parade at 8 am but we were dismissed on account of innoculation.  Were innoculated at 10 am.  Got my shot in left arm.  It wasn’t very sore.
Spent the rest of the day getting ready for G.O.C.’s inspection in the morn.
Weather was beastly hot.  Worked hard at equipment and got it into pretty good shape.
Felt rather dopy on of c? inoculation.

Wednesday, May 22
Parade at 7.40 AM for G.O.C.’s inspection.  Signal Section went thru with flying colours and were specially mentioned by Brigadier.  Mr Collier very pleased with us.  Weather very hot and felt pretty rotten on account of heat and innoculation.
Went down for a swim after tea but didn’t stay in as the water ws very cold.  Felt much better after swim.  Went to bed early.
Weather – Fine

Thursday, May 23
Most of the section was out on working party in the morning so there were very few on parade.
Had a little P. T. followed by buzzer practice and did nothing for the rest of the morning.
Pat and I went down to Morel in the afternoon and did some shopping.
Ball game after tea 1st Ba(ttalion) vs 1st DAC. Score 11-1 for DAC. Wrote a letter and went to bed first.
Weather – cooler.

Friday, May 24
Were supposed to go to the ranges in the morning but it was raining when we fell in so the parade was dismissed and we had nothing to do for the rest of the morning.
Muster Parade at 1.30PM.  wrote letters for the rest of the afternoon.
After tea Eedy and I went over to the movies but it was full up with only standing room so we didn’t stay.  Went back to hut and read until time to go to bed early.
Weather – rain.

Saturday, May 25
Reveille at 4.30 and 10 of us fell in at 6 AM for working party.  Marched about 5 KM to trenches near Dainville.  Work was not very hard and I was through early.
Slept most of the afternoon as I was rather tired and stiff.
Went to movie show about 4.30 and were lucky to get a seat although show didn’t start until 7 PM.  Pictures were very good.  “The Man from Bitter Roots". And  I enjoyed it although I had seen it before in Canada.
Weather – Fair & Cool

Sunday, May 26
Breakfast at 8 AM.  Church Parade at 10.30.  Brigadier and his staff were present.
Two baseball games at night (a) Our Hut vs other Sigs hut.  We won by 20-2.  Game was called at 4th innings. (b) Sigs vs Bugle Band.  Rather tight game but we won in 9 innings by 17-11.  I played third base.  Crompton was wild in 2 innings when they got all their runs.  Sigs line up Crompton P. Buckenhan C,Mills 1st b, Marshall 2 b, Cushnie 3 b, Farrel ss, Cooper lf, Prevost cf, Barrett rf.
Weather – Fine

Monday, May 27
Had an OC’s inspection as a surprise in the morning but we got through it alright.  Went to the Ranges in the morning and shot 10 rounds and I had 8 hits.  Slept all afternoon.  Got a letter from Iris.
Baseball game after tea 1st Ba(ttalion) vs 1st NGC.  We won easily by 20-11.  Followed by football game.
1st Ba(attalion) vs 2nd Ba(ttalion) football game was a walk away for the 2nd by 5-0.  Beaucoup bombard(ment) at night.
Weather – Hot

Tuesday, May 28
Fell in at 8.30 for Area Commandant’s fatigue.  Worked in morning at moving a manure pile but took it very easy.  After dinner had to go back and remove a latrine.  The whole business collapsed much to disgust of Cockney in charge.  Finally were finished about 3.30 and were dismissed.
Baseball game after tea 1st vs 4th .  We won easily by 11-1.  Also won football game 2-1.
Worked for about an hr. on getting ready for CO’s parade in morning.
Weather - Fine

Wednesday, May 29
Fell in for OC’s inspection at 8.30 but the OC didn’t show up.  Had visual station work for the rest of the morning.
Fritz started dropping shells on the Battalion Parade grounds in the afternoon so it was put out of bounds for playing ball.  One dropped on road killing 1 and wounding 8 Imperials.
That night was put on working party for the next day but Mac got us off because we were on the last working parties.
Weather – Cool

Thursday,, May 30
Played baseball at 3.30 PM sigs vs band.  Game was  very close and we finally wonn in last inning by score of 7-6.  Played second base.

Friday, May 31
No entry

Letters May 1918

Date Description
Monday, May 06, 1918 Finally! A letter from home
Sunday, May 12, 1918 Mother's Day in France
Tuesday, May 28, 1918 Thanks for the YMCA