Bill Jenkins 08

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Bill Jenkins 08.


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 last letter home before leaving New Zealand, from Trentham Camp, is transcribed below.


Dear Mother and Father

I am just going to drop you a line for I suppose it will be the last I will write to you from N.Z. for we are going to leave some time next week our enbarkment (sic) has been postponed until Monday, but I don’t think we will get away until about Thursday. We are having a very good time in camp now as there is nothing to do and we ar getting plenty of leave I have been in town every night for the last fortnight so I am not doing so bad. Mrs Duncan and Ag are up to see Bert off and Tene Neilsen is here to see Vince assay, so there are a good few coasters to see us off.

We have all been vaxinated (sic) to guard against small pox and we have to be inoculated three times going out on the boat. We are all going out on special leave nex today so we are going to make the best of it. I wish some of you could have came up to see me off for it would have been a nice trip for you buy I don’t suppose it matters much as you would not see a great deal of me in the crown as there will be thousands down at the warf wharf.

I am sending you a few photos of me and you can give to Saidy and one to Ted and one to Mag and one for yourself but they are not very good ones but I suppose they are good enough. I am sending one to Mrs. Cap and Keoghan. How is dad’s back getting on now I hope it is better. Or Mum we all have got our hair clipped short and by Christ we do look hard doer’s but I don’t suppose we can help it. I wish you had sent the next of Kin passes back as Kate can’t get on the wharf without them. The silly buggers sent them down without letting me know and I did not know until it was too late to send a wire for them but I will have to get her on the wharf some how. Well mum there is not much news here so I will ring off now wishing you

all good bye from your loving

Son Bill xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

My address (sic) will be


Pte. W.R. Jenkins

C. Company

13th Reinforcements

N.Z. ///expeditionary force

G.P.O. Wellington



Bill Jenkins 08

Sources:Acknowledgement B. Emmers and R. Edgeworth.