Letters from the Front

Private John Cushnie

Meeting friends from home in Bramshott

Private Collection

Sunday, May 13, 1917

Transcribed by: Anne Hales

Bramshott Camp Eng

May 13, 1917

Dear Folks at Home:-

     This is Sunday afternoon and our first half holiday since we came into camp.

     This morning we had church parade with the 232nd Western Canada Battalion.  The form of service is a little different from what we generally have but it is mostly the same as before.  We had no band to lead the singing so they picked out about half the Signal Section, including Archie , McHardy , Kerr , Hammond and myself for the choir and we got along pretty fair.  The chaplain was a headquarters man who hailed from Belleville Ont., and he said he was quite glad to speak to Ontario boys again and we certainly enjoyed the service all through.

     This afternoon there is a big concert for soldiers over at the other camp but being in quarantine we are not allowed to go to it.  Harry Lauder is one of the performers. 

We had a concert here the other night which was very good.  There were 3 lady artists, a soloist, a violinist and a cello player and also a man accompanist. We had to leave early but what we heard was very good.

     Yesterday afternoon we went for our first route march and although it was pretty long we certainly enjoyed it as every place we passed was full of interest for us.  The roads are nearly all paved which makes the marching much easier.  We passed through several small villages which were very pretty and quaint.  The church was always the special beauty spot as they were generally old with ivy and vines clinging to them.  Nearly every house has an old stone wall around it with a nice grassy lawn and shade tree around it.  Some of the roads we passed through were very narrow and on each side were high hedges of holly, so high that we couldn’t see over them.

     Last night Euart was very much surprised to see Capt Jim Carley and his wife at the gate of the camp.  The 202nd Batt. is at Whitby Camp, only 12 miles from here so I guess Jim Renwick and the McLuhan boys will be there.  I intend to drop Jim a card saying I am here and I will likely see him as soon as we get out of quarantine.  Euart’s aunt lives only a few miles down the road so that will be quite handy for him. 

     I also saw young Harold Drummond last night.  He came overseas with the 149th Batt. and is at the same place as we will be.  He says that the life over there is much nicer than here so we are looking forward to our move.

     Our pleasant feature of camp life over here is that they allow us an extra hour’s sleep on Sundays.  We have to rise at 5.30 on ordinary mornings and today reveille wasn’t until 6.30.  This may seem rather early rising but as we usually are in bed before 9.30 so we have plenty of rest.

     Off parade hours we usually spend our spare time in washing, writing letters or playing baseball.  We are having regular Canada July weather now only it is cooler at nights.  There is no laundry here, of course but when we go to the other camp they take six pence a week off our pay for laundry so we will be O.K. in that respect I guess.

     When we go to the other camp, everyone, including signalers has to take a 9 weeks’ course in all infantry work and after that we take our signaling course.  At present we are carrying on with signaling, being instructed by a returned corporal.

     I don’t wonder at everyone getting fat over here if they have the same appetite as I have.  I always eat everything that is served up to me whether I usually eat it or not.

     Well, as I have several other letters to write just now, I think I will close.  One thing about writing letters here is that we don’t have to pay any postage for Canadian mail.  We expect our first Canadian mail about the middle of the week as they usually get it about 10 days after they land.  I guess you might as well put “Bramshott Camp” on my address as it will get here quicker then.  Love to all   John

The McLuhen boys are Llewellyn and Stanley McLuhen who moved to Alberta from Mount Forrest

Harry Lauder was a famous Scottish entertainer

This is part of the John Cushnie Collection. This is a collection of approximatly 98 letters from 1916 to 1918, and a diary with 220 entries from 1918. These letters and diary entries, were very gratiously provided by Anne Hales.