Bill Jenkins 13

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Bill Jenkins 13.


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 letter from a military camp after landing in England is transcribed below.


July 27th
Bullford Camp
Sallisbury plains

Dear Mother and Father, 

I have arrived safe and sound in England, we had eight weeks on the water so we wasn’t sorry to put our feet on land once more. We got into Port Plymouth at eleven o’clock on the 26/7/16, and then we had to go three hundred miles in the train to this camp. There was one hundred of C. Company picked out today and was inoculated and are going to France in about a week so I will be well in the trenches when you get this letter. You can tell Mrs. Gardiner I saw Jack here and he is alright. I also saw Fred Holman here. Well dear mother I will be glad when I get in the trenches so I can do my bit for out boys are getting smacked up a good bit lately. The Troopship Tofua is reported to be sunk so it will be a big loss if she is. I like England very well what I have seen of it and I think we will get leave and go to London before we cross the Channel to France so it will be very nice to see London we are only seventy miles from it.

We had a good trip all the way and never had a rough day it was very exciting the last couple of days on the boat they had a guard on and was looking for mines and submarines but it passed the time alright. How is all the people about the hill you can show them this letter and remember me to them all. There was a mail waiting for us when we go in to Camp and I got one from you and one from Mag and one from I won’t tell who. I can tell you that it was very nice to get a few letters from the dear old coast. You can tell old Watty that I saw Tom Richards here. There is some very pretty places along the line we came and one couldn’t go to sleep while there was such a lot of places to look at. Why we are going to France so soon is because the twelveths (sic) have not landed yet they are stuck up in Egypt and god knows when they will get out and I believe they are dying like anything.

Well mother dear I will ring off now with very best love from your loving son
Bill xxxxxxxxxxx


Bill Jenkins 13

Sources:Acknowledgement B. Emmers and R. Edgeworth.