Letters from the Front

Private John Cushnie

Life of leisure

Private Collection

Sunday, September 15, 1918

Transcribed by: Anne Hales

Ward 12 Main

Norfolk War Hospital

Thorpe, Norwich


Sept 15, 1918

Dear Folks at Home:_

     This is Sunday afternoon and I am spending it inside as it is raining outside and we have a nice cosy fire in the fireplace of the “Day Room” so we are quite comfortable here.

     This morning I decided that this was a lucky day for me because I got a bunch of letters redirected from France including two from home, and believe me if ever letters were welcome they were.  Your two letters were dated August 11th and 18th

One containing the $2 bill and the other the three snapshots that Wells1 took.  The money certainly came at an opportune time as I was just wondering how I was to get some writing paper and a few other little things and it saved the situation.  I was also glad to see the snaps.  Perhaps it made me a bit homesick though to see that old verandah again.

     Since last writing they have allowed me to spend the afternoon up although I have to spend the mornings in bed.  Thus you see that I lead a life of leisure having breakfast and dinner in bed and rising after dinner if you please.  It is certainly a contrast between the way I am living now and the way I had lived during the last six months in France and I surely appreciate the differences.  It seems strange to be living like a civilized being again after that life.

     However, I am glad that I have done a little “bit” in France at any rate even although it was only six months.  I can't’say that I am anxious to go back because I am not but there will be time enough to think of that when the time comes again.  Of course one can never tell but I think I will have six months in Blighty at the very least so you don’t need to worry about me going back for some time to come.

     I suppose you would be anxious to know all the “ins and outs” about my wound so I will tell you.  A small piece of shrapnel entered my upper arm just about the  centre of the muscle and went upwards towards my shoulder about an inch and a half. So when they took it out they cut a small gash from the hole to the shrapnel just in the muscle.  It only required one stitch which they took out this morning.  Of course it is raw yet and will take some little time to heal over but there is nothing to worry about.  There is no pain – it only feels stiff and I think it is just about as nice a “blighty” as I could wish for.  Why the shrapnel didn’t go right in to the bone instead of going upwards is a puzzle to me but I am glad it didn’t touch the bone at any rate.

     Yesterday I undertook to carry an empty pitcher from the supper table to the kitchen with my left hand so as a kind of punishment the nurse put my arm in a sling today and now I look almost like an invalid.  The nurses here are a good lot though and right up to their business. 

     Was glad to hear that Grandma is feeling better and that you are all well.

     We are having typical English weather – rain every day – and I am hoping for a nice day so that I can take a trip into Norwich.

     Must close now with best love to all


1) Wells is John's younger brother

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.