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A Canadian Conscript Letter from Sussex.

Letter from a Canadian conscript.

Oct 27th , 1917

Dear Folks at Home:-

Well, Steele and I have arrived safely in our new place of abode for a few weeks and as usual we are writing letters after coming in from Church Parade.

We came down on Friday along with about 25 others from Bramshott.  On our way down we had a stop of 45 minutes at Brighton which is the most famous summer resort in England.  They allowed us to go out and see the sights for that short time although of course we couldn’t see much in that time.  There is no bathing at this time of year of course but still it seemed to be a very busy place and it would be counted a good sized city in Canada. I don’t believe I ever saw so many houses bunched so close together.  English places are all like that and so do not cover as much ground as Canadian towns and cities.

They just call Brighton a town here because to be a city in England the place must have a cathedral and Brighton doesn’t boast such a thing.  Brighton is only a short distance from Seaford so I suppose we will be able to pay it a visit while staying here.

Seaford of course is an English seaport town right on the English Channel.  It is about as big as Guelph I think.  Harry and I were down at the beach yesterday to see the sights but there isn’t much doing there now.  There is a very long cement promenade and also a roller skating rink.  I tried to persuade Harry to have try at roller skating but he wouldn’t go on.  However I intend to have a skate at some future time.

There are some very high chalk cliffs down on the shore which look grand especially when the sun is shining on them.

We see a very large number of aircraft around here – seaplanes, biplanes, observation balloons and what they call Fairy Queens which is an airship which looks just like a huge sausage up in the air.  It is very interesting to watch these aeroplanes manoevering about .

Yesterday afternoon we also went to the Machine Gun Depot which is stationed here and where we found quite a number of fellows who used to be in the 153rd but who have transferred to this unit since coming to England.

Rachar and Sedare are about the only Mt. Forest boys in it.  Rather says he likes the work O.K. as it is much more interesting than infantry drill.  Alex Keir was also there along with most of the boys who used to belong to the machine gun section of the 153rd .

The day I left Bramshott for Seaford, Bill Kerr also left Seaford but in a different direction via for Scotland.  I would likely have gone too if it hadn’t been for this course.  However will likely get a pass after we finish here which will be in six or seven days.  I am going to write to Mrs Wright’s friend soon and I will probably visit her on my next trip to Scotland.

By this time you will no doubt have got my cable and have sent the money over.  I would not probably need it if I took my pass for London or some nearby place but I think it is worth the extra money to go to Scotland as you certainly have a much better time.

This course promises to be very interesting and I am going to work hard to get the most I can out of it.  We start in on the real work tomorrow.

I heard that a Canadian mail was in but we will not likely get any for about a week as it will have to be forwarded from Bramshott.  As I said before address my mail to the same old address to save confusion.

Lovingly

John

Copyright protected. 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.

One Comment
  1. Gavin Greenwood permalink

    Excellent resource, although I would query the term ‘conscript’ as the vast majority of Canadian army and navy personnel in the Great War were volunteers. While the Military Service Act, which introduced conscription was agreed by parliament in 1917 it was not enforced until 1 January1918, and then sporadically due to widespread opposition – notably from Quebec’s French-Canadian community who had little reason to support either Britain or France.

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