Bill Jenkins 10

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Bill Jenkins 10.


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 after leaving New Zealand, from Adelaide, is transcribed below.



Dear Mother,

We are now in Adelaide having a very good time we landed Wednesday morning and have had leave for two days so we are alright. We are not allowed to tell you anything about where we are going or a dam thing so I am writing this up town and I am posting it myself so if you get it you will have a bit of an idea where we are.

Our next port of call is supposed to be Fremantle and there is forty thousand troops going from there so it will take twenty troop ships and we will have an escort of about twelve battle ships so it will be a grand sight to see it. I am just getting an idea what other places is like but I mean to see a lot of life yet before I come back.

We are the first New Zealand troops that ever called in Adelaide so you can guess what kind of a time they gave us the Australian Soldier boys showed us all round the town and treated us like kings. We are leaving here tonight at five or six o’clock so we are going to make the pace this afternoon as we will have to put about another week on the water before we see land again.

Well mum I hope you are all keeping well at home as this leaves me now, I have not had one days sickness since I left not even sea sick in fact I have put on weight since I left. We are just dying to get to England now to have a look what it is like but I suppose we will get there soon enough. You can show this letter all round the place just to let them know where we are. Well our next port of call will be the place where we can have the time for there will be some sights worth seeing and it is our last port of call until we get to our final destination but I don’t think I will mind the trip at all for I never thought I was such a good sailor.

Well I will have to bring this letter to a close now with very best love from Bill.

Good Bye.


Bill Jenkins 10

Sources:Acknowledgement B. Emmers and R. Edgeworth.