Letters from James Joseph Makin to his family, 1915-1916, Part 2 of 12

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

Page 1 / 8

Troopship At Fea, 29/3/16. Dearest Mother & Father, As you see we have not yet reached our destination but we are well on our way. Whe must send our letters in to the censor by tomorrow, so I have left writing until the last day. The weather has been fine and hot since we left W.. and the sea calm for the most part. Each day now is alike and the boat is becoming monotonous. We shall all be overjoyed when we come to disembark. I was wee vaccinated a few ways ago and have had no trouble so far. Some of the lads have sore ams and minor sicknesses through the vaccination, but I felt no ill effect at all. We are having an easy time; very little drill and plenty of time to oneself. Nearly everyone is wearing only a singlet and short. My legs are fairly brown already. The dim is overhead at Midday and very hot too. One can always find a cool spot where there is a breeze. I am glad I am not in the A.M.C. as they are kept fairly busy on board while we have all our time to ourselves.
I was imlucky enough to lose my foumtain per overboard one night. I had it clipped into my pocket but it was levered out by the rail as I leant on it watching the sea. I shall get another when I reach Egypt as they are very handy. I am still writing up my diary but news is very scarse, each day being practically the same. One longs for a sum on a not day but one must be content with a sea- water shower. The nights seem very long as we travel with lights out, and the only pastoe is to sing all the songs You can think of till it is time to tumn m. It is too hot so sleep i hammocks so we take our blankets on deck. We had a concert on Taturday afternoon given by the ship's crew. It was very successful and affernoon concerts are to be held in future ad frequent as possible. The sunsels are very beautful and we always spend the time between tea and dusk in watching the water and sky. I am always wondering what the latest war news is and how hes is getting
3 on and whether he is still in England. I am looking forward to some letters and papers. Te you getting my pay from the Banacks alright? I hope you have no trouble in getting it. I am feeling the benefit of the srip, I think, now that it is nce aond calm, but I did not think I would make much of a success as a sailor after striking a rough trip to Adclaide. Most of us miss a bit of fruit; we had some good feeds of it in Perth though. It is surprising how light hearted everyone is. One would think they were going on a big picnic. Anyway no one thinks much about the war. The main sopies are Where do you think we'll go2 or How long will we be in Egypt? Yow much money will I have when I land? &c. Many who brought a few poinds with them and only of per day, are sorry now that they have lost their rolt gumbling. We saw the Karvola at Iremantle, mward bound with 400 returred soldrers on board. I suppose I have passed Jack Scomlon on the water as he left England about the middle of Jmesy
Everyone at my table is writing letters this afternoon. I have got to write a few more this afternoon before sea as I go on guard in the morning and will not have mother chance. I should be able to find more news for my next letter. There is certainly not much to write about just now. A'm sending a few lines to Harry and Essic this Iine. Remember me to Mrs Spence; if I Lad Normans address I could look him up I got near him in Egyst, of also Lordon Stirling. conclude with love to all. will now Your affectionate son Jem
t lans Esit 10/3/16 Bearest Mosher and Father fuery two days ago and I arrived safely in a camp several miles came by train to Gestoun, As it was midnight from Carro, last night. when we arrived here I am unable to say what cairs is like yet, but before long I hope I shall be able to tell you all about this ancient city. My first impressions of Leypt are more everything favorable than I hoped, and so far has far exceeded my expectations. We had a splendid hip over, the water ben smooth right from N.A., and the weather perfect. We are very glad to hear news of the war again. Three or four weeks news are a blamnk so uo but we are just about putting two and two together now and forming o rdea of the situation. There is great excitement about the bip offensive in France and the reported de parture of the German Let no hope that it will fleet wessward Dafalgar. The Germans om meed it trust be making their last by effort The perhaps the sitnation is desperate. 20 News froo the Balkam and Veroia and better than when we heard last, 0014
The death of Inver Pasha from the assassin's hand shows that shings are only middling M Turkey He have no idea of the losses of either Germans or Allis in the recent attack on Ferdun, but the Genno losse are said to be very high. I is too soon so from an opinion of the comp goot yet but the reports of Anshalians here say that it is a good home. No one has any idea how lor we shall be here but it should not be very long I think. We disembarked at Port Siver at 9.30 am. Yesterday and waited for a hain till 4 pr. We ran straight through Tney, and one could only get a hasdy impression of this sown. There are some fairly large buildings - white in color owhich and appear to be built of a kind of lement over a wooden framework. There are me or two shaigh street; the rest are narrow nregular alleyways in which natives on their jay-colored flowing farments move annlessly along. Close Easlway to the e one got a glimpse of what looked like coffee or drinking houses I are chars and tables, set both inside and 101
out and natives clad in many colored Towns and red fezer sit smoking and drinking. There was not much to see once out of the town and the tram sped merrily on through sern- desert country. Here and there one could see that Bontain is not taking my risks with the Comal. There were many comps - Sommies, Indians, and Aushalians, and endless camels with their hasive drivers. Even as we dashed through, the wonderful spirit of the Allies was evident. Here one sees a seam of Sommer trying their skill at soocer with an equally Reen Leam of Indians, immendful of the Leavy going of the desert sand or of the dust and one dirred up as they misced it with a will. As we stopped at each siding money Thirsty - natives boarded the ham and frred to show their skill at bargamning in their sales of ollangies or orrringies with the for-suspecting Hushaliam. The banges were a boon after the dry brsenp and cheese with which we had been issued for the day's rations. 101
The railway carriages, (3rclass) are very crude compared with Distonias. The only thing in them is a hard seat and a light. Their are doors at each end and a division down the centre like a Yay car. There was not mmuch room when we settled down with full marching order, sea- kep and rifles. We were about 7 hours in the hrain and when we arrived in Cairo we were mighty glad to get out and have walked about a mile to a stretch. o The camp, were housed in 2 hut (100m eachI got a couple of blankets and turned in about I am He were up again at 6am. but imrecipate an easy day There is a mail closes today, so I have taken the first opportunity to send you these few lines. I have not time for any more so I shall close with love to all From Your affectionate son Jun Fell D Harry 8 I have time to write this marl but will write nest ern week for ceatain. Am sending a cable his affernoon 1014

Troopship xxxx

At Sea, 29/2/16

 

Dearest Mother & Father,

 

As you see we have not yet reached our

destination but we  are on our way. We

must send our letters in to the censor by 

tomorrow, so I have left writing until the

last day. The weather has been fine

and hot since we left W.A. and the sea

calm for the most part. Each day now

is alike and the boat is becoming 

monotonous. We shall all be overjoyed

when we come to disembark.  I was

vaccinated a few days week ago and have

had no trouble so far. Some of the lads

have sore arms and minor sickness

through the vaccination, but I felt no

ill effects at all. We are having an

easy time, very little drill and plenty

of time to oneself. Nearly everyone is

wearing only a singlet and "shorts".

My legs are fairly brown already. The

sun is overhead at midday and very

hot too. One can always find a 

cool spot where there is a breeze.

 

I am glad I am not in the A.M.C.

as they are kept fairly busy on board

while we have all our time to ourselves.

 

2.

 

I was unlucky enough to lose my fountain

pen overboard one night. I had it clipped

into my pocket but it was levered out by

the rail as I leant on it watching the

sea. I shall get another when I reach 

Egypt as they are very handy. I am

still writing up my diary but news is

very scarce, each day being practically

the same. One longs for a swim on a hot

day but one must be content with a sea-

water shower. The nights seem very long

as we travel with lights out, and the

only pastime is to sing all the songs

you can think of till it is time to

turn in. It is too hot to sleep in

hammocks so we take our blankets on

deck. We had a concert on Saturday

afternoon given by the ship's crew.

It was very successful, and afternoon

concerts are to be held in future

as frequent as possible.

 

The sunsets are very beautiful and

we always spend the time between

tea and dusk in watching the water

and sky.

 

I am always wondering what the

latest war news is and how Les is getting

 

3.

 

on and whether he is still in England.

I am looking forward to some letters

and papers. Are you getting my pay 1

from the Barracks alright? I hope you

 

I am feeling the benefit of the trip,

I think, now that it is nice and

calm, but I did not think I would

make much of a success as a sailor after

striking a rough trip to Adelaide.

Most of us miss a bit of fruit; we had

some good feeds of it in Perth though.

 

It is surprising how light hearted

everyone is. One would think they were

going on a big picnic. Anyway no one

thinks much about the war. The main

topics are "Where do you think we'll go?"

or "How long will we be in Egypt?" "How

much money will I have when I land"?

&c. Many who brought a few pounds

with them and only 1/- per day are sorry

now that they have lost their "roll"

gambling. We saw the "Karoola" at

Fremantle, inward bound with 400 returned

soldiers on board. I suppose I have

passed Jack Scanlon on the water

as he left England about the middle of January.

 

4.

 

Everyone at my table is writing letters

this afternoon. I have got to write

a few more this afternoon before tea

as I go on guard in the morning

and will not have another chance.

I should be able to find more

news for my next letter. There is

certainly not much  to write about just

now. Am sending a few lines to

Harry and Essie this time.

 

Remember me to Mrs. Spence; if I

had Norman's address I could look

him up if I got near him in Egypt,

also Gordon Stirling.

 

Will now conclude with love to all.

 

Your affectionate son,

Jim

 

9th / 21st*

 

Zietoun, Cairo,

Egypt., 10/3/16

 

Dearest Mother and Father,

 

I arrived safely in Suez two days ago and

came by train to Zeitoun, a camp several miles

from Cairo, last night. As it was midnight

when we arrived here I am unable to say

what Cairo is like yet, but before long I hope

I shall be able to tell you all about this ancient

city. My first impressions of Egypt are more

favorable than I hoped, and so far everything it has

far exceeded my expectations.

 

We had a splendid trip over, the water being

smooth right from W.A. and the weather

perfect. We are very glad to hear news

of the war again. Three or four weeks news

are a blank to us but we are just about

putting two and two together now and forming

an idea of the situation. There is great

excitement about the big offensive in France

and the reported departure of the German

fleet westward. Let us hope it will

soon meet its Trafalgar. The Germans

must be making their last big effort;

perhaps the "situation is desperate". The

news from the Balkans and Persia is

better than when we heard last, and

 

2.

 

the death of Enver Pasha from the assassin's

hand shows that things are only "middling"

in Turkey. We have no idea of the losses 

of either Germans or Allies in the recent

attack on Verdun, but the German loses

are said to be very high.

 

It is too soon to form an opinion

of the camp just yet but the reports of

Australians here say that it is a "good

home". No one has any idea how long 

we shall be here but it should not

be very long I think.

 

We disembarked at Port Suez at 9.30

am. yesterday and waited for a train

till 4 pm. We ran straight through

Suez, and one could only get a hasty

impression of this town. There are some

fairly large buildings, - white in color

and which appear to be built of a kind of

cement over a wooden framework.

There are one or two straight streets; the rest

are narrow irregular alleyways in which

natives in their gay-colored flowing

garments move aimlessly along. Close

to the line railway one got a glimpse of what

looked like coffee or drinking houses;

chairs and tables are set both inside and

 

3.

 

out, and natives clad in many colored

gowns and red fezes sit smoking and

drinking. There was not much to 

see once out of the town and the

train sped merrily on through semi-

desert country. Here and there one

could see that Britain is not taking

any risks with the Canal. There were

many camps - "Tommies," Indians, and

Australians, and endless camels with

their native drivers. Even as we dashed

through, the wonderful spirit of the

Allies was evident. Here one sees a 

team of Tommies trying their skill

at soccer with an equally keen team of 

Indians,  unmindful of the heavy

going of the desert sand or of the dust

and grit stirred up as they 'mixed it'

with a will.

 

As we stopped at each siding

money-thirsty natives boarded the train

and tried to show their skill at bargaining

in their sales of "ollangies" or "orrringies"

with the too - suspecting Australians.

The oranges were a boon after the dry

biscuits and cheese with which we

had been issued for the day's rations.

 4.

4.

 

The railway carriages (3rd class) are very

crude compared with Victoria's. The only

thing in them is a hard seat and a 

light. Their are doors at each end and

a division down the centre like a Tail car.

There was not much room when we settled

down with full marching order, sea-kits

and rifles. We were about 7 hours in the

train and when we arrived in Cairo

we were mighty glad to get out and have

a stretch. We walked about a mile to

the camp, were housed in 2 huts (100 in

each), got a couple of blankets and

turned in about 1 am. We were up

again at 6 am but anticipated an

easy day.

 

There is a mail closes today, so 

I have taken the first opportunity

to send you these few lines.

 

I have not time for any more so 

I shall close with love to all

      

From Your affectionate son,

Jim

 

P.S Tell Harry I have not time to

write this mail but will write next

week for certain. Am sending a

cable this afternoon.

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