Letters from the Front

Private John Cushnie

Letter to an old friend

Private Collection

Friday, July 05, 1918

Transcribed by: Anne Hales

Letter written to Miss M.B. Kilgour, Mount Forest, Ontario



Dear Miss Kilgour:-

     No doubt you will be surprised to hear from me as I don’t believe I have written to you since I came to France.  However they say that “It’s never too late to mend” so I’ll apply that to my letter writing.

     As a rule I find it hard enough to write my regular letter home but a present we have quite a bit of spare time on our hands and I am making good use of it trying to catch up with my correspondence.

     We are lucky enough to be having splendid summer weather these days and we are making good use of it as there is a swimming hole near where we are billetted which is always well patronized on the hot afternoon.

     Our billets are usually barns or sheds but this time we are bivouacing.  A bivouac in this case is simply any kind of structure that will serve to keep the rain off.  The bivouacs are of many different sizes and types and some of them are quite original.

     The bivouac that my chum and I are occupying is made of various articles including 4 sheets of galvanized iron, some tar-paper which serves as a roof, a few old blankets, sandbags etc etc.

     At first when we occupied our “bivvy”, it was so low that we had to crawl in on our hands and knees.  Besides that the ground was of a sloping nature and as I slept at the top of the slope, so to speak, my poor mate was kept awake nearly all night trying to keep me from rolling over him.

      The next day being the 1st of July we had a holiday and Bill and I decided to build a new bivouac.  So we found this was a considerable improvement on the old one but still we were not satisfied because our tar-paper roof developed a serious sag in the centre so yesterday we got busy and repaired that defect.     

     I happened to mention to my chum the amount of time we had spent on our “happy home” but he said that the valuable experience we gained would come in handy when we got married but I am still afraid that if a strong wind springs up some night we will have another bivouac to build the next day.

     I have met quite a number of old friends since coming to France.  Douglas Smith , Harry Gardiner, Ira Morrison are with this battalion and I often see Frank Pearson of the Field Ambulance.

     Milton Seim is “down the line” at present slightly wounded but as soon as he comes back I shall probably meet him.

     A couple of weeks ago Jamieson Martin dropped in on us while 2 days later we happened to meet his cousin Alec.  It is certainly wonderful how you just “happen” to meet so many boys your know. Euart Allen, Archie Stewart and a few others of the 153rd Battalion are still together and all well.  We are with a fine bunch of boys who are real chums in every sense of the world.

     I have been in France 4 months today although it doesn’t seem that long.  I can’t say that I exactly love the life out here, yet we have some good times sometimes and things might be a lot worse.

     Well I must close now.  I will be glad indeed to hear from you at any time if you care to write.

Yours Sincerely

John Cushnie

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.