Letters from the Front

Private John Cushnie

We thought Canadians were accustomed to the cold

Private Collection

Tuesday, October 01, 1918

Transcribed by: Anne Hales

Clarence House
Priory Lane
London S W.

Dear Folks at Home:-
Have just a few minutes to wait for dinner so will start a letter.
This last three or four days we have had nothing but steady rain although it has slackened off somewhat today. I quite agree with Uncle Jack Hastie in all that he says about English weather. The cold that goes with the rain seems to chill you to the bone and the only ways that I can find to really keep warm is either go to bed or go out for a walk.
Evidently the only means they have of keeping this house warm is by means of fireplaces. These are all right in the small room or when you can get right close to them but it seems to me that all the heat from them goes up the chimney. A good big coal stove would be just the thing but evidently they don't know what coal stoves are in this country. At any rate they certainly don't know how to keep warm inside. And then of course the English people say to us "why we thought Canadians were accustomed to the cold".
Last winter, living in huts at Bramshott we managed to keep fairly warm because we had a big stove right in the centre of the hut but I don't know what I would do if I had to live in an English house over winter.
The nurses here, Canadian girls of course, go around with blue noses and sweater coats on and you would almost imagine that it was 40 below zero outside.
When the sun comes out, as it is now, it is not so bad, but the only trouble is that it doesn't stay out long enough.

Well it is a month today since I was wounded and it doesn't seem nearly that time. This last month is about the most pleasant that I have spent in England.
This is certainly a grand place to convalesce. I only weighed 158 when I came in but if I continue eating as I have been I am afraid that it will be 258 before long.
What glorious news there is in the papers these days. It is certainly cheering to see the headlines. I hope it will not be long before Germany does the same thing as Bulgaria - surrender unconditionally. America's army is certainly making a big difference on the Western front. What a pity that they weren't in it before. I expect that the next smash will be on the Italian front. There are quite a number of American troops there too, according to report and it is about time they were making a drive.
I sent you a cable last Saturday asking for money. I would have had you send it by mail but my address is so uncertain that I didn't like to chance it that way because it is hard to say when I might get it.
I have no idea how long I will be here but it will probably be a few weeks yet. Before going back to the reserve I get a 10 days' leave which is one of the reasons why I am asking you for money. I don't know for sure yet where I will go but I think I would like to go to Edinburgh. At any rate I shall probably go to Scotland.
My arm is healing up famously. It really is wonderful how fast the hole is filling up with flesh. I have only one vaccination mark now as the others were "wiped out".
Well I must close for now. I haven't heard from you for about 2 weeks but that is not surprising considering how many places the letters have to go before raching me. I hope you are all well as I am.
Love to all

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.