Letters from the Front

Private John Cushnie

Canada Day festivities, new officers

Private Collection

Wednesday, July 04, 1917

Transcribed by: Anne Hales


Pte. Jcushnie

No 3 Camp 25th Res. For

Bramshott Camp

July 4th /17 


Dear People:-

     Haven’t received any home mail since I came back from leave but we are expecting some in today so I will start anyway.

     This is July 4th – Yankee Day – and as it is a little wet outside we are spending the morning in the hut.  Usually we have to work – rain or shine – but our colonel must be feeling in good humor today as he is an American by birth.

     We have the right kind of colonel now – one returned from the front.  Our own officers are still attached to this battalion but they are nearly all away taking courses.  Some of them have been <assigned>  for France and expect to go any day.  The officers we have over us now are all fine fellows, most of them returned from France and they use us right if we do our work well.  We have to take 14 weeks infantry training before going to France and we are now in the 7th week.  We take up nearly everything there is including bayonet fighting, musketry, anti-gas, physical training, bombing, trench-digging and squad drill.  The work is pretty hard and steady but I like it fine as long as it isn’t too hot.  We have been having a little wet spell this last week but not very cold.

     On July 1st they had an all day celebration here.  They had baseball games, races, jumping and all kinds of sports.  At night there was a boxing tournament after which a grand military tattoo in which twelve of the bands took part.  There was an immense crowd at the sports, mostly soldiers of course with here and there a group of nurses.

     I suppose that you know that Alice Swanson has gone to France.  Alec Findlay was down on Sunday to see her but he found she had gone to France.

     Percy Mapp has been in the hospital ever since we landed.  I saw him on Saturday and he looks pretty tough.  He was offered his discharge but he refused to take it.  At any rate he will never get to France and will likely get some office job in London.

     Bill Kerr is also in the hospital for a few days to have some ingrown toenails fixed up.  Of course he isn’t sick and expects to be out in a couple of days.

     We have had a hair-cutting bee in our hut and most of us have had our hair cut right off myself included.  We are certainly a funny looking bunch.  We had a few snaps taken at the segregation camp.  The one of the signallers is about the best that we have had taken. 

     Last Saturday a bunch of us walked to Haslewere and had a fine supper down there mostly made up of tomatoes, the first I have tasted this year.  Must close now hoping you 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.

Alice Swanson is actually Nursing Sister Alice Swanston

Halesmere is a small hamlet near Bramshott camp.