Bill Jenkins 12

Original Filename: Bill_Jenkins_9.jpg (view)

Original Size: 472.9 KB

Original Image Type: image/jpeg

Bill Jenkins 12.


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 July 1916 letter from sea is transcribed below.


On Board Ship


My Dear Mother & Father,

I wrote you a P.C. last night but I can’t tell much on a P.C. so I thought I would write you this letter tonight and let you know a bit more. Well to start with first is about the trip we haven’t had a rough day since we left and we have been six weeks on the water now and it will take us another two weeks yet to land so we are having a bit longer than we should have. We called in at Durban but couldn’t get leave there so we had to be content with looking at the niggers that were on the wharf.

We left Durban on a Wednesday and arrived at Cape Town on the following Saturday at about three o’clock in the afternoon and they wasn’t going to give us leave there so we all got dressed and at seven o’clock we walked off the boat and went up the town and had a very good time. On the Sunday they took us for a route march of about six miles and then they marched us to a park and we had dinner, they supplied us with beer and a sandwitch (sic) and the people treated us well. On the Monday they took the boys for another route march but I didn’t go with them as I was on fatigue but I wentout abut ten o’clock and went up town and had a good look about the Town.

Well Mother dear I am just about spun out of news but I think I can find enough to finish this page. Now we are in the hot weather they have started hoseing (sic) us down of a morning and it goes very decent. All the port holes have to be blocked up every night at dark and all lights put out so we must be getting in the danger zone. We will be calling in at another port about next Saturday but as we can’t say where we are going I can’t split what port it is. There has been a lot of sickness on board since we left so a chap has a big chance of getting crook before he lands, there are sixty cases of measles and a ot of other diseases on board now. There has been two cases of meginnitus (sic)and two cases of fever put off since we left. Bert Duncan and Glen jones has had the measles but are allright (sic) now. Well mother you can show this letter to everybody I know and it will save me writing a lot. I am just about sick of the boat now and will be glad when we reach the end of our journey. Well mother I hope this letter reaches you and finds you all in the very best of health as it leaves me at present.

I will bring this letter to a close now. So I must love and leave you for now

From yourloving son Bill


Bill Jenkins 12

Sources: Acknowledgement B. Emmers and R. Edgeworth.