Bill Jenkins 01

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Bill Jenkins 01.


Bill Jenkins was too young to go to war without parental permission, which his father Robert gave, much against Bill's mother Annie’s wishes. Bill was killed in action on April 5, 1918, seven months before the war ended.

Bill chronicled his experience of the war in letters he sent to his family.

Bill's first letter home, from Featherston camp, a military training base during WW1, is transcriped below.


Trentham 1916

Dear Parents,

Just a line to let you know that arrived here safe and sound, had a good trip up. We arrived in Wellington at 9 o’clock on Friday morning, and then we had to go to the station strait away and saw no at the Trentham camp at 12 am. We have had no drill to speak of yet but we wil lstart tomorrow. We get plenty of stew here. I did not see Kate coming through but I saw Mary, and Flo. I think I will like this place alright, it is laid out like a town all the streets are named after the different places where the main battles took place on the Peninsula. There about 10 of us blokes in the one camp, and a lot of Otago men, and don’t we have a time. Well this is Sunday in camp, and there are a lot of visitors out here from town of course it makes no difference her being Sunday, for all the trains run and canteens open and they do a big trade. It costs them thirteen hundred pounds a month rent so you can guess what they make.

There are four thousand, five hundren men in camp at the present time. When we came here we all got a denim suit and what a hard looking mob it is, we will be getting our uniform in a few days and then we will get leave two or three times a week, and will be able to go to town. We had Church parade today and all us mob went to the starvation (sic) army barracks for you can have the most fun there. We were all examined by the doctor when we came to camp and not one from the coast were chucked out. Well I think I will bring this letter to a close now as I want to have a look around the show.

Love from



C Company

12 Platoon

13 Reinforcements

Trentham .

Bill Jenkins 01

Sources:Acknowledgement B. Emmers and R. Edgeworth.