Bill Jenkins 66

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Bill Jenkins 66.


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.

The letter transcribed below, written by a friend and comrade of Bill's to his brother Ted, explains how Bill was killed.


New Zealand Con Camp 

May 12th 1918

Dear Jenk

Just received your letter last night inquiring particulars of poor Bill's death which I can give you as they occurred.

Bill got killed on the morning of the 5th of April by a shell he was taking shelter in one of those funk holes in the side of the trench, at a time Fritz was shelling very heavily and I think it was a 5.9 landed right on top of him killing him instantaneously, he was very badly blown about but the boys buried the remains of Poor Old Bill. We lost in your Brother one of the best man in the Coy [appreviation for company], well-liked by everybody and a particular mate of mine. He was just about to go through for his second strip and was recommended for the military Medal by our section Officer Lieut J Black. Canterbury Coy New Zealand Machine Gun Batt [Battalion].

Yes Bill done some great execution on Old Fritz the first morning we took over that part of the line, it is a wonder you being in the 2 CIB [Canterbury Infantry Battalion] you didn't see Bill because we were in holding the line with the 2nd Brigade down at the Somme, but perhaps you were hit before we went to the Somme.

I never yet heard how Bill's medal would go or whether he got it or not. I got hit myself on the same day as Bill but was lucky to get a good Buckshee in the hand. I didn't know Bill had a brother in the Brockenhurst Horsp [possibly a reference to a NZ-run military hospital in Hampshire - Ted was in hospital for appendicitis] when I was down at Morant or I would have gone down to see you. If there there are any other particulars you might like don't forget to hit me up I am only too pleased as a mate of Bill's to give you any information that I know. Trusting this finds in the best of health and going on well.

I'll say Au Revoir
From your sincere friend
11/1/32 B McCormack
Hut 24

PS Drop along a line to let me know if you got my letter.

Bill Jenkins 66

Sources:Acknowledgement B. Emmers and R. Edgeworth.