Letters from the Front

Private John Cushnie

What to send to a soldier

Private Collection

Sunday, September 30, 1917

Transcribed by: Anne Hales

25th Reserve Bn.

Bramshott Camp, Hants.

Sept 30th 1917.

Dear Folks at Home:-

     Received your letter of the 2nd inst last week shortly after I had my week-end to London.  Euart is up today and I suppose will have a rather lonely time as he was the only one in the hut to get leave. 

     We had a little visit yesterday from young Lorn Padfield who came up to visit his brothers.  He is in a boys battalion at Beahill which is another Canadian training camp.  He looks fine and seems to have grown very much since I saw him last.  The uniform seems to make everyone grow.  He will probably never get to France as he is only 17 and you have to be 19 to go to France.

     I haven’t yet received that box you sent about the middle of August and I have just about given it up for lost.  However, I am not the only one as several others in the hut are still looking for boxes posted about that time.

     As I haven’t much news I guess I may as well give you a few tips about boxes.  If you are ever “stuck” for what to put in my box just make up some home-made maple cream and send it along.  Of course a fruit cake is just as acceptable but I know it takes quite a bit of time to get it ready.  Light cakes and cookies usually have an oldish taste by the time they get here and don’t keep as well as fruit-cake and candy.  Please don’t bother sending jam as we can buy plenty of it over here and besides the jar apt to break before it arrives.  Prepared cocoa or chocaletta comes in very handy now as we aften have a fire in the hut on these cool nights and have something hot to drink before going to bed.  Sugar is something which is impossible for us to get so don’t forget the “prepared “ part of it.  Say I’ll tell you what I’d like awfully well.  If you could send some maple syrup in a tin of some kind as the jar might break.  I’d just be tickled to death.

     Now about the packing.  Perhaps you will be surprised to know that a box carries better in a stiff carboard box than in those tin boxes or cans.  The ends of the tin parcels usually get banged in which is liable to break anything breakable inside. While I don’t believe I have seen a broken cardboard box yet.  Some of that stiff cardboard that father used to get batteries etc. in ought to be just the stuff.  Of course it also needs the cheese cloth covering to keep it together.

     Our meals are pretty good just now which is a good job because it is almost impossible to get a square meal without going to some village a couple of miles away for it.  However we made a lucky find the other day while out signalling when we found a lady’s private house where you can get milk, cakes, tea etc. and sometimes eggs for quite a reasonable price.  We are always on the lookout for a good place to have a good “feed”.

     Last week they opened up a new theatre for us called the “Garrison Theatre” and I was at two of their shows which were fine.  Formerly all we had to go to was a picture show – about the most ramshackle old place you could wish to see – and an odd concert at the YMCA.  These people however put on good plays and pictures and it makes it much nicer for us especially now when the long evenings are coming.

     We are having beautiful moonlight nights now but I am afraid they are not very popular in England now as it makes it ideal for air-raids.  Of course they never get this far inland but I think there has been about four on London within this last week.  It seems funny that they can’t find a good way of dealing with them but they seem to be able to make a raid whenever they wish.

     We are having beautiful weather now for the first of October but I suppose the rainy season will set in soon.

     Was glad to hear that Charlie has recovered from his operation all right.  He would be greatly missed in the choir.  I wrote him a letter some time ago so you can tell him that I am looking for an answer soon.

     Well I must close now.

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.

Lorn Padfield  is likely Thomas William Padfield