Private John Cushnie Collection

Gentleman's Diary & Letters Home - July 1918

Diary & Letters July 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 July 1918

DOMINION DAY
Monday, July 1

(Added at top of page)
At Corps Spots the DAC lost the baseball game by 4-3 to the 3rd P---for the Corps Championship.

This being Dominion Day we had a holiday. We drew lots to see who would go to the Corps Sports at Tincques and Bill & I both lost. Was detailed as billet warden by the COC. Bill and I reconstructed our bivouac making it bigger.
Wote letters all afternoon. After Tea Pat and I went down to Maroeuil to do some shopping but didn’t get much stuff. Had a little lunch at YMCA there. Home about 7 PM . Had a feed of porridge and went to bed.
Weather - Fine

Tuesday, July 2
Spurgeon woke me up at 4.15 AM to tell me that I was on working party. Had breakfast and left about 5.30 after the companies had left. Walked about 5 KM the other side of Anzin to nearly the “Nine Elms”. The work was easy as the digging was good and we were through with our tasks in good time. Got back to St. A. about 10.30 AM.
Went in for a swim in the afternoon. Water very cool.
After tea wrote letters in Church Army Hut until 8 PM. Home and to bed about 10 PM
Weather – Fine

Wednesday, July 3 – crossed out
From this date,3/7/18, until 9/7/18, I have omitted to make any regular daily entry in this book.
However lest an altogether blank spaces of several pages should ruin the reputation of this diary I am going to try and fill up these few pages with a few accounts of small incidents which took place in those days.

The Fourth of July
Thursday, July 4

This date, on which the Yanks on this side of the water had such a joyful celebration, was also a red letter day in the history of the firm of home builders, Kerr & Cushnie, for on this date we remodelled our humble abode into one of the most modern up-to-date style of architecture.

Friday, July 5
No entry

Saturday, July 6
No entry

Sunday, July 7
No entry

Monday, July 8
No entry

Tuesday, July 9
Was on duty in Orderly Room from 4-9AM. After I came off duty had a shave and clean up and got my pack ready to move off.
Left St. Aubin about 3 PM and it took us about 45 min to walk to Y huts. Were allotted to same huts as we were in before but we had to move out for the transport and half of us had to move to other block. Just got in in time as a heavy rain came down just as we got settled.

Wednesday, July 10
Inspection by Mr. Collyer first thing in the morning. Had my shoes sewed up, the colours sewed on my tunic and also had my hair cut and thus got off parade for the rest of the morning.
Jack Smilley came around to see us. He is now a Sergeant in 2nd Machine gun Battalion. Played ball with B Coy Score 7-7.
Weather - Fine

Thursday, July 11
Cpl North came around at 3.30 am and warned us for working party. Felt rotten as I had been feverish all night and idn’t sleep very well.
Went about 3 KM beyond Marcoeuil to dig trenches. Wm & I had a hard job and got through finally about 8.55 AM getting home about 10 AM.
Was feverish and sick all the rest of the day and slept most of the time.

Friday, July 12
Were ordered to get ready for parade at 8.30 but it rained so we had no parade. Buzzer practice only in the morning. Was detailed on HO for trip into the line.
Pat, Prad & Pritchard came down to see us after tea as they were at St Aubin.
The 2nd Batt went up the line about 9 PM in motor lorries.
Weather - Rain


Saturday, July 13
Had a short parade in the morning for an inspection by St. Collyer. Got my equipment packed ready to hand in.
Was put on duty in Orderly Room about 2 PM. Haddo Meikle came around to see me. He looks well and has a good job as DR in CCHA.
Fell in at 9 PM and moved off in motor lorries about an hour later. Arrived almost at Ba(ttalion). H.Q. in lorries. Had a good billet. Wire beds. Position protected by ridge. Many big guns around didn’t give us a very easy slumber. Got a few hours sleep.
Weather – Fine.

Sunday, July 14
Heavy strafe by our guns all night but slept OK until 3 AM when I was wakened by the Runner to go on Phone Duty. Was on from 3-7 am by myself but got along OK. After breakfast slept most of the morning. ____ nearly all afternoon. Had to “Stand-to” for a few minutes at dusk. Fritz dropped a few “iron works” not very far away from our billets but for a wonder no one was hit.
On duty again at 11 AM relieving Buckingham.
Weather – Rain

Monday, July 15
Came off duty at 3 am and didn’t have to go on “Stand To” . Slept until about 10.30 am when I went down and had a bath and change of clothes at the Bathe-House.
Had another sleep after dinner.
Too many guns around for good sleeping.
Everyone is feeling bum probably caused by the Spanish Influenza . Euart feeling rotten too.
On duty again from 7-11PM. Got a letter from W.Creery?
Weather – Hot

Tuesday, July 16
Nothing in particular doing all day. Buck and Euart sick with influenza. Everyone seems to have a touch of it.
Was on duty from 4-7PM.
Weather – very warm and sultry.
Had a bath and change of clothes in the morning.

Wednesday, July 17
Didn’t get up until about 11 am when I went on duty. Coming off at 3 PM had a wash and clean up.
After tea Fritz put up a – strafe on our right. He was after some artillary.
Were relieved a bout 10 PM. Marched down to Con Valley where our H.O. were. Sigs billetted in a big sap where signal office was also.
Con Valley looked quite different from when we were there before as quite a bit of work had been put on it.
Weather Hot & Sultry

Thursday, July 18
On duty from 7-11 AM – not busy.
Slept most of the day. About 9.30 PM went back with Eedy & Daws to C Coy HO. On the way back ran into a strafe that Fritz put up. Stopped on the way to get out of it in a couple of saps. Had a good feed of cake chocolate etc up there and started back by myself. Got lost and wandered forward into the front line. Finally found my way out after wandering around for about an hour. Got a letter from Iris.
Weather - Fine

Friday, July 19
On duty from 3-7am. Fritz put on a strafe about daybreak and I was busy for about 30 minutes with retaliation messages. Slept all morning & wrote a couple of letters after dinner.
Got my equipment ready to move out.
Was on duty again at 11 pm The relief started to come in about midnight. We were to be relieved by the 72nd Ba (Kilties).
No reason known for such a short trip in the line – probably moving to another part of the line.
Weather – Fine

Saturday, July 20
Relief was not completed until about 2.30 am. Walked out about 2 KM and took the light railway for St. Aubin. Slept most of the way. Arriving at St. A. found out bivvy occupied so had to go into the hut. Got a box and letter from Australia. Got breakfast and slept until about 11 oclock. Were paid in afternoon getting 25 francs. Baseball game in afternoon between 1st Ba & 1st DAC. Called off at 4th innings on acc rain. Our team leading by 8-2. Wrote letters after supper. Had a feed & went to bed.
Weather – Rain

Sunday, July 21
Only parade of the day was bath Parade at 10.45 am. Marched to Agny & had a good hot bath with change of clothes.
Baseball game in the afternoon 1st Ba vs 1st DAC. Won by DAC 17-11. After the tea the sigs played D Coy and lost by quite a large score.
Pat & I went up to ASC Canteen after te game and bought some biscuits, chocolate etc.
Weather – Fine

Monday, July 22
PT in the morning followed by flag drill and visual scheme.
Heard that CCHA was in Marcoeuil so after dinner walked down to see if I could find Edgar Renwick. Found him all right and spent the afternoon with him & Haddo Meikle.
After tea Ted & I went down to Etrim and hunted up his brother Jack and spent a pleasant few hours down there.
Arrived home about 8.30 to hear we were going up the line tomorrow night.
Letter from Iris.
Weather – Fine.

Tuesday, July 23
On duty from 12 midnight until 4 am. Very hard to stay awake. Slept from 4 am until nearly dinner time. got ready to go up the line after dinner. Was put in charge of C Coy station for the trip in the line.
Fell in at 6.45 pm and marched down to Agny where we were to catch the train. Had to wait until nearly 11 pm before it came. Went by train nearly to
Aguy and walked from there about 4 KM to our company. Were located in a deep good sap.
Weather – Rain

Wednesday, July 24
Got relief message through about 1.30 am. Went on the shift from 2-6am. Fuller line was out part of time but we got thru all right on DIU line.
Slept most of the day after coming off duty as I was dead tired .
Our Coy HQ about 3 KM from Batt. Hwhich was situated at Aguy. Were connected to BHQ through all other Coys as were the farthest advanced company.
Was on duty again from 6-10 pm but didn’t have much to do.
Weather – Fine

Thursday, July 25
Kerr woke me up about 3.30 pm as our line was out. We didn’t have to go out on it however as it was not our part of line that was out. Fritz put a strafe over on A Coy mostly gas shells. After breakfast slept until 10 am when I went on duty until 2 pm. Mac came up to see us and found a position to set up our lamp. Sent an OK at 3 pm. Also sent a practice message at 9 pm. Line went out again about midnight but was soon in again. Bill Roberts was looking for me at Ba HQ but didn’t find me. Weather a little rain but otherwise fine.

Friday, July 26
On duty from 2-6 am. Very sleepy shift. Had trouble with our Fuller line all day. Loc & North brought up quite a bit of Canadian mail for us in the morning.
That night we couldn’t raise Ba HQ on the Fuller so Campbell and I had to go over to A Coy to get a priority message. It was raining and very wet and muddy and we were soaked through by the time that we got back. Wrote quite a few letters.
Weather - Rain

Saturday, July 27
On Duty 10 am – 2 pm. Linesmen fixed the line OK. Very wet and miserable, raining most of the day.
Line went out at night. Labrash & I went over it as far as A Coy & found nothing wrong with it.
Got a letter & card from Audra McE also a Sat Night.

Sunday, July 28
Was on duty again 2-6am. Coming off at 6 I took a walk over to A Coy to look over the Fuller line which was all right. Kerr & Campbell made a trip to the Y at Agny and brought back a load of chocolate, biscuits etc. The linesmen came around in the morning and fixed it OK. Another line had been tied in making a short circuit.
That night about 11 PM Fitz put on a little strafe putting a few cruppers quite close.
Weather – Fine

Monday, July 29
Didn’t get up until ab out 10 am when I went on duty until 2 pm. Did nothing in particular all day passing the time by writing letters and reading.
Weather was fine all day although it started to rain a little about 5 pm. Labrash & I went down to the well & got some water after tea Labrash forgetting his gas mask & having to go back for it.

Tuesday, July 30
no entry

Wednesday, July 31
no entry

Letters July 1918

Date Description
Friday, July 05, 1918 Letter to an old friend
Friday, July 12, 1918 Waiting from the mail from home
Friday, July 19, 1918 Quick note while on duty
Friday, July 26, 1918 Don't send sox, send some humbugs instead
Sunday, July 28, 1918 Letter to his Aunt and Uncle