Letters from the Front

Private John Cushnie

Suffragette's and food

Private Collection

Sunday, February 10, 1918

Transcribed by: Anne Hales

­­­­­­­­­25th Reserve

Bramshott Camp

Hants, Eng


Dear Folks at Home:-

     I have just received your letter of Jan 6th today so you can see how irregular our mail is coming.  The box mother mentions as having sent arrived OK last mail as I told you in my last letter.

     If you shouldn’t get a letter from me some week there is absolutely no reason to worry because it will very probably be the fault of the mail service as it’s so irregular these days.

     I was very much interested and also amused at father’s account of the tribunal board.  They surely must have some funny cases come up.  They are expecting conscripts any day here now although I don’t believe any have arrived yet.  I am afraid they will not have a very easy time here as the instructors are nearly all returned or unfit men and you can imagine how much they will “love” conscripts.

     Mrs Pankhurst of “suffragette” fame gave an address in the Garrison Theatre here this afternoon.  I was very sorry I didn’t hear her but I was a little late getting there and was unable to get in as every seat was taken.  However Archie was there and I heard all about it from him.

     There is no getting away from it but that the women of Great Britain have done great things since the war began and you don’t have to be in England long before you find that out.  They have taken the men’s places in nearly every way possible.  All the conductors on the buses and trains are girls and it is no uncommon sight to see girls in overalls engaged in any kind of work.  I don’t know what all the men will do when they come back from the war to find their positions filled by women.  Mrs Pankhurst says that they will go to the colonies and I suppose a great many will.

     They are getting so short of sugar in England now that if you go into a restaurant or eating place of any kind, and want sugar in your tea, you have to take it along with you.  So please keep on sending that lump sugar in the boxes as it comes in very hand.    

     Our meals are not too bad these days although they do turn out some awful mixtures.  I just dive right in however without thinking what is in it, as it might spoil my appetite if I examined it closely.  When I get back home I think you’ll find that I wont “turn up my nose” at anything.  I have even developed a liking for sour pickles as many of the boys get them in boxes and are passed around the hut.  Every day at mealtime we try to save as much bread and margarine as we can thd then at night have a “spread” in the hut consisting of toast & jam and coffee or cocoa so you can see that the stuff you send from home in that line is made good use of.

     You must have been having great snow storms at home from all we have been hearing.  It is mostly rain and mud here although we did have a real nice spell of summer weather for a week or so.  The huts are fine and dry though and as we have lots of blankets we keep warm all right.  I never saw such rain in all my life though.  One thing I like about English places is the open fireplace.  It is certainly cosy especially during wet weather.

     I suppose, mother, you will be wondering how I keep my feet dry.  Well we have all been issued with what they call “kitchener boots” and they are just splendid for this kind of weather.  To be sure they weigh about 2 tons each and we call them “tanks” but nevertheless they keep the wet out – which is the main thing.

     Euart will likely be back from Seaford this week and I will be glad as we miss him quite a bit.  I know from my own experience that he will also be very glad to get back. 

     No mother, Russell Webster hasn’t joined the Highlanders yet.  He very probably got his photo taken in kilts while up in Scotland.

     By the way I forgot to mention before that I sent mother some handkerchiefs from Belfast and I also sent you a couple of souvenirs of Ireland last week.  I don’t know how good the handkerchiefs are but at any rate they came from Ireland which is supposed to be the home of linen.

     The pipe and harp are made from Irish bog oak and I just bought them as a curiosity while there.

     I cabled home for money last week not that I need it particularly at present, but I can bank it here and have it handy if I should get a leave again soon as I probably shall in another month or so.

     Well I must close now hoping you are all well.

Lovingly John

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.