Letters from James Joseph Makin to his family, 1915-1916, Part 1 of 12

Conflict:
First World War, 1914–18
Part of Quest:
Subject:
  • Letters
Status:
Awaiting approval
Accession number:
RCDIG0001425
Difficulty:
3

Page 1 / 7

A Comparny 9th Bartalion Thow brounds 5/10/15 Dear Mother I am writing you a few lines as promised. I have not heard anything further about the A.M.C. yet. The 9th Bastalion is going to Broadmeadows on the 15th as reinforce ments. It is being split up into 3 lots of 300 each to reinforce the 7t and 8th Batsalions at the front. 4th They expect to leave at the end of This speaks well for the month. The Albert Park boys who have had only 6 weeks training, whereas some of the Show Grounds battalions have been here 12 weeks and are not even thinking about leaving. Yesterday our company had a day in the trenches, - some of the real thing constructed and being elaborated about 2 miles away on the Saltwater River. They are laid out and constructed on the latest 101
2 approved lines and giver one quite a realistic idea of what trench warfare must be (making allowance of course for the absence of smpers Jack Johnson's Asiaho Annies, ScI. some idea of the excitement and danger attached to bomb and hands grenade shrowing was gained by a violent bombardment of clods of earth by some warlike spirits just full of a diet of bread, fim and coffee. They knocked some real good fun out of the game and incident. ally some who were not looking out One would be greeted for bombs. by a shower of clods from one part of a trench, and after a counter attack on the position it would be usually found that the quarry had escaped along a communication trench into a dugout or another part altogether. The work of our compani was to level off the parapets to a regular height, and it was done with a will, the boys appreciating the change from 6 week's squad platom and Company drilb
what would have been an interesting and enjoyable day was spoilt to a degree by the heavy showers which came on at intenals necessitating a retreat to dugouts and shelters. The wet trenches and pelting rain brought home the discompr of a winder trench cam paign more vividly than columns of newspaper descriptions. Today our company is known as The duty company, That is, it has so furnish the guards, picquets, fatigues orderties &c for the whole camp. As a consequence There was no leave granted either today or sonight, and all are on duty of some sort from 6 oclock tonight to 6 tomorrow night. I am one of six supplied to the Imu for prequet &c and at Service Corp present am watching (or supposed to be watching) some Halls full of stran My shifts are from 6 to 8 Donight and 12 till. 2; in the morning, It is getting near 8 now and I will have so stop when my relief comes on the solene. Bn the way, I have been 0014
180 on so Cumdles of haw and have got a bit chatty To use Ems expression). I was not missed whilst on my week end leave. I got in with out being noticed on Sunday night I had on appointment with the denvist this afternoon but could not get off. I will keep I suppose My Toothache has almost Jone. You must excuse this scribble which is written on my knee and in a bad light so that I cannot sle the lines on the paper. I will probably be on leave Thursday afternoon. If so I shall come home to Sea, but things are far from myshing defenise being arranged with any certainty. There is a picture or vandaville entertainment here everynight but it is too cold to sit in the open for long my time in almost up soI will now finish off with love from J. ORIE
At sea nearing Iremantle, 14/3116. Dearest Mother & Father, In case you do not get my diary, which I am posting at Tremantle to avoid censorship, I am sending you these few lines. I am enjoying the tup pretty well so far and the weather has been good on the whole. I am sure of getting ashore at Tremantle as I have been chosen for a Military Patrol to remain ashore after the others are due back and pick up the stragglers. et day on shore will break the monotony of the boat which is sure to increase, as we have 2or 4 more weeks to go yet. I have not seen a paper since last Monday and feel a bit hungry for war news, but I daresay we will get used to it. We expect to reach. Fremantle this afternoon or this evening and get off tomorrow. I suppose you thought the note I sent from Adclaide very rough but it was written at the last moment. I had been seasick and could not write until the morning we arrived there. I cannot give you much more news than is in the diary, indeed it is hard to find any to write at all.
After I leave Tremantle all my letters will be censored and news will be scanty Letters are not to contain the following: Names and places of desparch, Names of escort, Number & description of hoops, Disposition of forces, Rouse and pork of call, Criticism judged harmful, Reference to larger units or commanders Ships met en rouse, &c &c I may not get an opportunity, therefore, to send any more msfalmenps of the diary for some time, unless by someone returning from bgypt. I got paid 35/-, that is, up till 7/2/18 so you should get 24/- up till 5/2/16 We expect to be vaccinated any day now. I have not drunk a cup of sea since I came on board; I cannot stand it at all. I am eending a postcard of the Waulda with this letter. sive my kind regards to Harry and Essie. tey can read the diary and it will save me wriding a separate letter. Do not let any of the pages go astray; it would be better to put
I hope you a fastener through them. made a satiofactory explanation to Sunte Rate about not lesting her know when the transport was to go out. I have got to write to Theehan's yet and explain. mons now conclude thro ragtimne letter as I am souck for something to say. I will promise you something better next time. Your affectionate son im

A Company,

9th Battalion, kk

Show Grounds,

5/10/15


Dear Mother, 

I am writing you a few

lines as promised. I have not heard

anything further about the A.M.C.

yet. The 9th Battalion is going to

Broadmeadows on the 15th as reinforcements. 
It is being split up into 

3 lots of 300 each to reinforce the 

4th, 7th and 8th Battalions at the front.

They expect to leave at the end of

the month. This speaks well for

the Albert Park boys who have had

only 6 weeks training, whereas some

of the Show Grounds' battalions have

have been here 12 weeks and are not

even thinking about leaving.

Yesterday our company had a

day in “the trenches”, - some of the

real thing constructed and being

elaborated about 2 miles away on

the Saltwater River. They are laid 

out and constructed on the latest

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2

approved lines and gives one quite

a realistic idea of what trench

warfare must be (making allowances

of course for the absence of snipers

"Jack Johnsons", "Asiatic Annies", &c ).

Some idea of the excitement and

danger attached to bomb and hand-

grenade throwing was gained by

a violent bombardment of clods of 

earth by the warlike spirits just

full of a diet of bread, jam and

coffee.  They knocked some real good

fun out the game and incident-

ally some who were not looking out

for "bombs". One would be greeted

by a shower of clods frome one part 

of a trench, and after a counter

attack on the position it would be

usually found that the quarry had

escaped along a communications trench

into a dug-out or another part 

altogether. The work of our company

was to level off the parapets to

a regular height, and it was done

with a will, the boys appreciating

the change from 6 week's squad

platoon and Company drill.

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3

What would have been an

interesting and enjoyable day was

spoilt to a degree by the heavy

showers which came on at intervals, 

necessitating a retreat to a dug-outs

and shelters.  The wet trenches and 

pelting rain brought home the discomfort

of a winter trench campaign more

vividly than columns of newspaper

descriptions.

Today our company is known as 

the "duty company", that is, it has to

furnish the guards, picquets, fatigues,

orderlies &c for the whole camp. So

a consequence there was no leave granted

either today or tonight, and all are

on duty of some sort from 6 o'clock 

tonight to 6 tomorrow night. I am

one of six supplied to the Army

Service Corp for picquet &c and at

present am watching (or supposed to be

watching) some stalls full of straw.

My shifts are from 6 to 8 tonight

and 12 still 2 in the morning. It

is getting near 8 now and I will

have to stop when my relief comes on

the scene. By the way, I have been

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4

sitting on some bundles of straw and

have got a bit "chatty" (to use Ern's

expression).

I was not missed whilst on

my week end leave. I got in with-

out being noticed on Sunday night.

I had an appointment with the

dentist this afternoon but could

not get off. It will will keep I suppose.

My toothache has almost gone.

You must excuse this scribble

which is written on my knee and

in a bad light so that I cannot

see the lines on the paper.

I will probable be on leave

Thursday afternoon. If so I shall

come home to tea, but things are

far from anything definite being

arranged with any certainty.

There is a picture or vaudaville

entertainment here every night but

it is too cold to sit in the open

for long.

My time is almost up so I 

will now finish off with love from Jim

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At sea,

nearing Fremantle,

14/2/16.

 

Dearest Mother & Father,

In case you do not get my diary, 

which I am posting at Fremantle to avoid

censorship, I am sending you these few lines.

I am enjoying the trip pretty well so far

and the weather has been good on the whole.

I am sure of getting ashore at Fremantle

as I have been chosen for a Military 

Patrol to remain ashore after the others are

due back and pick up the stragglers.

A day on shore will break the monotony

of the boat which is sure to increase, as

we have 3 or 4 more weeks to go yet. I

have not seen a paper since last Monday

and feel a bit hungry for war news, but

I daresay we will get used to it. We 

expect to reach Fremantle this afternoon or

this evening and get off tomorrow. I suppose

you thought the note I sent from Adelaide

very rough but it was written at the last 

moment. I had been seasick and could 

not write until the morning we arrived there.

I cannot give you much more news

than is on the diary; indeed it is hard

to find any to write at all.

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After I leave Fremantle all my letters 

will be censored and news will be scanty.

Letters are not to contain the following :-

Names and places of dispatch,

Names of escort,

Number & description of troops,

Disposition of forces,

Route and Ports of call,

Criticism judged harmful,

Reference to larger units or commanders,

Ships met on route, &c e&c

I may not get an opportunity, therefore,

to send anymore instalments of the diary

for some time, unless by someone returning from

Egypt.

I got paid 35/-, that is, up till 7/2/16;

so you should get 24/- up till 15/2/16.

We expect to be vaccinated any day now.

I have not drunk a cup of tea since I

came on board; I cannot stand it at all.

I am sending a postcard of the "Warilda"

with this letter.

Give my kind regards to Harry and Essie.

They can read the diary and it will save me

writing a separate letter. Do not let any of

the pages go astray; it would be better to put

AUSTRALIAN WAR MEMORIAL  RCDIG0001425

 

a fastener through them. I hope you

made a satisfactory explanation to Auntie

Kate about not letting her know when the

transport was to go out. I have got to 

write to Sheehan's yet and explain.

I must now conclude this ragtime

letter as I am stuck for something to

say. I will promise you something

better next time.

Your affectionate son,

Jim

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