Letters from the Front

Private William Kerr

Letter to Mrs. Cushnie. Predicting the end of the war

Private Collection

Thursday, November 07, 1918

Transcribed by: Anne Hales

Letter written from John Cushnie's friend – Bill Kerr

France  Nov 7th 1918

Dear Mrs Cushnie.
     Just after John’s fatal1 day I intended writing you but Arch said he had written you so I thought I needn’t and would wait to see how the boy got along.
      No doubt you were as well pleased as he when you heard he had made Blighty and that he would miss what we all seem to dread a winter coming on. But this year it will be different.  The trench systems and barbed wire are left far behind us and we won't need to stand in mud and water up to the neck because a trench always reminded me of a Government – ditch along one of our Canadian roads.  The Boche is much nearer his own land now and still going.
     What a marvellous change has come during the last three weeks and within forty eight hours I’m pessimistic enough to think Germany will be out of it to.  How the bells and whistles will blow and the glad tidings will buzz across the ocean deep to the colonies Oh! Won't that be some day and I’m glad we wont be in the front lines when the news goes up.
     The German delegates have already landed on this side and it means either sign our terms or be blown off the map for we all know its immaterial to Marshall Foch.  A half sided peace will be no good to take and we all may be sure he won’t get one.  I believe Lloyds in England are betting thirty-seven to one that peace will be signed by Sunday night.  They have lost in such bets before but they surely must have some inside information when they are betting at such odds this time.  Let’s hope they are right anyway.
     Had a letter from John last week and the poor boy doesn’t seem one bit pleased that his wing has healed up so quickly.  All good thing must come to an end I told him and that he needn’t worry we would all soon be back in Blighty- shining and brushing as we used.
     The Spanish Flue seems to be very bad in Blighty and I think that is why Jack hates to go back to camp.  I don’t blame him either as it surely seems to have the doctors baffled at present.
     I understand from mother that you had paid her that looked for visit.  Was glad to hear you had met Mrs McHardy and I’m sure Lloyd would be to.  I hope you had a nice visit and may it not be long until John and you can come down again to see mother and I.  For I believe that’s how we’ll be as wedding bells will be singing around my brother on my return.
     Well old Arch and I are only two left out of our draft – two good Scotch men.  Poor Euart was nearly all in with sores and I’m glad we got him away where he’ll get well looked after.  We have a beaut of an M.O. here and as soon as he went on leave we got Euart away.  Indeed and we miss him too as he was always as full of life but we still have a pill in the section for no matter what he does or says he usually makes us roar.  Goodnight and a married man at that.
      The weather of late has been real nasty – foggy and rain but yesterday turned real Fall like.  The winds started to howl and the leaves came down like rain.  But we have a peach of a billet in a big chateau formerly a Boche Military Hospital.  It is simply grand to get around a big grate fire at night and sing all our old Canadian rags.
     I am on duty so as I have to go and wake the cooks I will have to close.  Trusting Jack and we all will be soon back with our loved ones and that you all have the best of health.  I am
As ever
Will T. Kerr

1) John's wound was certainly not fatal at this time, although it would eventually prove to be.

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.