Letters from James Joseph Makin to his family, 1915-1916, Part 4 of 12

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

Page 1 / 10

Narr N. 2862 A 2ea P Sllakin 921s Batt Dearest Mother & Father, As you see we are once more on the move, but it io not permitted to give you any particulars of the boat, destrnation &c. By the time this reaches you you will probably, have heard where we are or rather where we shall be. We do not even know ourselves where we shall finish up, but most of no are mighty glad to be out of Egypt. We saw quite enough of it in our eleven days sojourn there. We were taken by surprise for we expected to stay in camp m Egyp I was able to get out for a month or so at least. to see the Tyrmnds and bitadet which are the most important places from a fourists point of view. I shall post some of my deary at a later date, when any information therein cannot be of my use to anyone I have not time now to write much news. It is enough to know that I am in excellent health and in the best of spirik. I am a bit disappointed, at not hearing anything of Les but I think he will still be m England. I suppose he has been inquiring about me also. We have been wearing life belp ever since we came on board as a precautionary measure in case of submarine attack. It has been rumoured that there are submarnes in the vicinity, so this helps to break the monorony of the voyage. I shall not be sorry when we reach serra fina again. My address will be the same as before, w Intermediate Baso Depot E272
I shall notify them when me find out our address I have not had my letters yet and I don't expect any for about a month Nrow that we have moved again. I hope you are getting sme regularly for I am writing at every opportunity. I sent away some silks last Saturday but I suppose they will be delayed. She war news was very healthy whilst we were m Egypt. If one can rely on Eyphan papers, Turkey was supposed to be on the verge of collapse, Roumanea about to enter the war on the side of the Allies and the Seman offensive at Verden had failed with heavy losses. I must close now is everyone is trying to slong haminocks, knocking my arm, and shaking tthe table. Remember me to Mrs Spence and tell her that I tried to find out where Norman was intain but was unsuccessful. I also sought after the whereabout of Jnn Duggan, but did not find him. Romember me to Aundie Kate, Fileen and Doll when you see them, also shint shza. Write as often as you can and a few papers now and then and I shall be much obliged. Love to all from Your affectionate son Iai P.S. I shall write again as soon as me avime at our destatons. 1AO)
t Fomewhere in France 34/3/16 Dear Mother and Father, Perhaps you will be surprised to find me here so soon, but here we are like so many fourists after having We reached done Egypt m. style the French coast safely and travelled for three days by hram to our present situation. The first day was a perfect spring day and we passed through very ferble country The scevery was beaupiful and it felt good to be alive and well. The second day was very cold and we pissed through a hail and snow storm in the mountamous country The third day was also cold and wintry and it was snowing slyhtly when we came to our journeys end We can do with all our warn clothing now. I did not find out where yes is, but I think he is still i England. I wrote today to Go High Commissioner on the offchance. I am looking forward to hearing from him shortly.
am feeling well; in fact better than ever I was before. I am glad to be dear the scene of operations at last although I don't suppose you will be. Do not worry about me for feel confident I shall be alright I have not heard from you yes but hope for a letter shortly. I did not think I would be lucky enough be M France when I left home 40 nor little did. I think that the French leamt at school would be so handy is it has proved. If I am here any length of time. I should be able so mprove my vocabutary and promunciation a good greal. I saw a good deal of carro during our stay at Zeitoun Did you got the phosos. I sent of the four of no on Camels an front of the Sphinn It did not sum out very plans as it was not a favorable day. How is the recruiting in Malboume now? Have any more Middle- Park boys enlisted ? I daresay there are a lot m comp now. I have never
had any cause to regret enlisting or transfering so the Infaory when I did. I am more convinced now that I could never have stayed in the D.M.C. I was speaking to some Hushalians who have returned from England and they say that all enveric cases stay m ongland at least 6 months. This together with the fact that I could not fond him in Egype, leads me to tatfes is still m England. Let believe me know the last news you have of him in case my letter does not did not find Worman find him. Spence either. Did you get the silk things I sent about three weeks ago. We have not been paid, for some time and I am broke for the first time I suppose I spent too much on the silk. We got our first sight of hosplities Cf German Taube few over soday. near our camp at a great height. was white and looked like a great cockatoo. As we were watching if
12 disappear in the distance we sawt a where puff of smoke in the sky near bt In a short time there were about a dozen such pupp and the dull report of the explosions Ias just audible. It is said tonight that a Taube was brought down, The sight of acroptanes over the comp is now fairty common. I am looking forward to my first view of a Zeppeli m full flight. It must be a wonderful Sight I am not permitted to give you of details of places or my military information which might prove valuable in enemy hands, so it io haid to write an interesting letter. I am recording everything in my diary from day today Thrs should be more interesting if it ever reaches home. My address is now as follows No 3862, Prwvato Hallakin T. Kimpreements, 2r df. Battalion, H.1.F. 22 3 L.B.D Co RP.O.-S1 B.E1.F Franice
France 4/2/16 Dearest Mother & Gather just so let you know I am shll well and that everything to going on We are at present undergoing alright. a further and more elaborate course of haming under English instructors Et who have been through the mill is rather chennous after a comparativen easy two months, but we all feel that we cannot get too much of it. We march out about three miles each morning and remain out till about 53o fo when our days work is finished. The weather has been beautifully fine since the first day when it was very cold. Lgot Sunday was the hardest days work ever 8 put through have done. We were being an officiency test. We came through alright but felt very tired on our return to camp. We are issued with Hobacco, cigarettes and chocolate weekly. It is jirst as well. because left there are few with any money
Today is Les's birthday and the innoversary of the departure of the First Division from Egypt to Lemnos. I have not heard from Les since I left home. I wrote to him from here several days ago and a eagerly awaiting an answer also my first letter from home. We are practically confined to camp here. There are two good halls, the Y.W.C.A. and the Catholic blub. There is a of soldiers at Reterogeneous collection each place each night. Here one from all the various finds men English, Irish, and Scotch Regiments sony of them have been in the firing dine and are here for a rest. There is a small French town hard by. The Church bell first thing in the morning (.30) reminds one that we are in fent and of his own bell time is now 10 hours at home. Our behind that of Melboume. I often reckon up what time it is there. I had my first gome of football last night. There so only one Australian ball, but dizens of soccer balls. I wish it was vice seroa. 001
140 I don't suppose there will be my Lgagne James This year. There are a few League players in our camp. We had Kirkwood of Bsendon and MDonald of Lichmond playing last night. They were shmning soais among the crush. Is Perce just as keen on the game. Tell Ruby that she can make me a Shick Balaclaven and some tick socks. I am afraid I suffer with cold feet. I must close now as the mail is closing shortly. Remember me to Hunke Rate and the Girls, and Amit I am writing to Harry Eliza. and tssie also this time. I shall take this opportunity of wishing mother Many Lappy returns of the 25th in case my other letter and card went Astray. Love from Your affectionate son fim
75 In case my previous letter went ashay any address now so. Harriee Mo. 21s Inf. Bath AsF. Rft nt 32 L.B.D. C/o. H.P.O.S 1 B.L. France

At sea,          

23/3/16/

From No 3862

Pte JJ Makin

9th/21st Batt.

 

Dearest Mother & Father,

As you see we are once more on the move, but it is not permitted to give you any particulars of the boat, destination etc.  By the time this reaches you, you will probably have heard where we are or rather where we shall be.  We do not even know ourselves where we shall finish up, but most of us are mighty glad to be out of Egypt.  We saw quite enough of it in our eleven days' sojourn there.  We were taken by surprise for we expected to stay in camp in Egypt for a month or so at least.  I was able to get out to see the Pyramids and Citadel, which are the most important places from a tourist's point of view.  I shall post some of my diary at a later date, when any information therein cannot be of any use to anyone.

 

I have not time now to write much news.  It is enough to know that I am in excellent health and in the best of spirits.  I am a bit disappointed at not hearing anything of Les but I think he will still be in England.  I suppose he has been inquiring about me also.  We have been wearing life belts ever since we came on board as a precautionary measure in case of submarine attack.  It has been rumoured that there are submarines in the vicinity, so this helps to break the monotony of the voyage.  I shall not be sorry when we reach terra firma again.  My address will be the same as before, viz, Intermediate Base Depot, Egypt.

 

 

I shall notify them when we find out our address.  I have not had any letters yet and I don't expect any for about a month now that we have moved again.  I hope you are getting mine regularly for I am writing at every opportunity.  I sent away some silks last Saturday but I suppose they will be delayed.  The war news was very healthy whilst we were in Egypt if one can rely on Egyptian papers, Turkey was supposed to be on the verge of collapse, Roumania about to enter the war on the side of the Allies, and the German offensive at Verdun had failed with heavy losses.

 

I must close now as everyone is trying to sling hammocks, knocking my arm, and shaking the table.  Remember me to Mrs Spence and tell her that I tried to find out where Norman was in Cairo but was unsuccessful.  I also sought after the whereabouts of Jim Duggan, but did not find him.  

 

Remember one to Auntie Kate, Eileen and Doll when you see them, also Aunt Eliza.  Write as often as you can and send a few papers now and then and I shall be much obliged.

 

Love to all from 

Your affectionate son,

Jim.

 

P.S. I shall write again as soon as we arrive at our destination.

 

"Somewhere in France"

31/3/16.

Dear Mother and Father,

Perhaps you will be surprised to find me here so soon, but here we are like so many tourists after having "done" Egypt in style.  We reached the French coast safely and travelled for three days by train to our present situation.  The first day was a perfect spring day and we passed through very fertile country.  The scenery was beautiful and it felt good to be alive and well.  The second day was very cold and we passed through a hail and snow storm in the mountainous country.  The third day was also cold and wintry and it was snowing slightly when we came to our journeys' 

end. We can do with all our warm clothing now.  I did not find out where Les is, but I think he is still in England.  I wrote today to C/o High Commissioner on the off chance.  I am looking forward to hearing from him shortly.

 

[*P.S. Tell Perce, Gertie and Ruby to write as often as they can.  I shall send them some P/C's of France shortly.*)

 

2

I am feeling well, in fact better than ever I was before.  I am glad to be near the scene of operations at last, although I don't suppose you will be.  Do not worry about me for I feel confident I shall be alright. 

 

I have not heard from you yet but hope for a letter shortly.  I did not think I would be lucky enough to be in France when I left home, nor little did I think that the French I learnt at school would be so handy as it has proved.  If I am here any length of time I should be able to improve my vocabulary and pronunciation a good deal.  I saw a good deal of Cairo during our stay at Zeitoun.  Did you get the photos I sent of the four of us on camels in front of the sphinx?  It did not turn out very plain as it was not a favorable day.  How is the recruiting in Melbourne now?  Have any more Middle Park boys enlisted?  I daresay there are a lot in camp now.  I have never

 

3

had any cause to regret enlisting or transferring to the Infantry when I did.  I am more convinced now that I could never have stayed in the A.M.F.

 

I was speaking to some Australians who have returned from England, and they say that all enteric cases stay in England at least 6 months.  This, together with the fact that I could not find him in Egypt, leads me to believe that Les is still in England.  Let me know the last news you have of him in case my letter does not find him.  I did not find Norman Spence either.  Did you get the silk things I sent about three weeks ago? We have not been paid for some time and I am "broke" for the first time.  I suppose I spent too much on the silk.

 

We got our first sight of hostilities today.  A German Taube flew over near our camp at a great height.  It was white and looked like a great cockatoo.  As we were watching it 

 

4

disappear in the distance we saw a white puff of smoke in the sky near it.  In a short time there were about a dozen such puffs and the dull report of the explosions was just audible.  It is said tonight that a Taube was brought down.  The sight of aeroplanes over the camp is fairly common.  I am looking forward to my first view of a Zeppelin in full flight.  It must be a wonderful sight.

 

I am not permitted to give you any details of places or any military information which might prove valuable in enemy hands, so it is hard to write an interesting letter.  I am recording everything in my diary from day to day, this should be more interesting if it ever reaches home.  My address is now as follows:-

     No 3862, Private JJ Makin,

            9th Reinforcements, 21st Inf. Battalion, A.I.F.,

                       32nd I.B.D.,

                               C/o A.P.O. - S 17.,

                                       B.E.F.,

                                                France.

If you lose this address write to C/o Intermediate Base, Cairo, Egypt.

 

Love to all from 

Jim.

 

France,      

4/4/16.

Dearest Mother & Father,

Just to let you know I am still well and that everything is going on alright.  We are at present undergoing a further and more elaborate course of training under English instructors who have been through the mill.  It is rather strenuous after a comparatively easy two months, but we all feel that we cannot get too much of it.  We march out about three miles each morning and remain out till about 2-30 pm, when our day's work is finished.  The weather has been beautifully fine since the first day when it was very cold.  Last Sunday was the hardest day's work ever I have done.  We were being put through an efficiency test.  We came through alright but felt very tired on our return to camp.  We are issued with tobacco, cigarettes and chocolate weekly.  It is just as well because there are few with any money left.

 

2

Today is Les's birthday and the anniversary of the departure of the First Division from Egypt to Lemnos.  I have not heard from Les since I left home.  I wrote to him from here several days ago and am eagerly awaiting an answer, also my first letter from home.  We are practically confined to camp here.  There are two good halls, the Y.M.C.A. and the Catholic Club.  There is a heterogeneous collection of soldiers at each place each night.  Here one finds men from all the various English, Irish, and Scotch Regiments.  Many of them have been in the firing line and are here for a rest.

 

There is a small French town hard by.  The Church bell first thing in the morning (5-30) reminds one that we are in Lent and of his own bell at home.  Our time is now 10 hours behind that of Melbourne.  I often reckon up what time it is there.

 

I had my first game of football last night.  There is only one Australian ball, but dozens of soccer balls.  I wish it was vice versa.

 

3

I don't suppose there will be any League games this year.  There are a few League players in our camp.  We had Kirkwood of Essendon and McDonald of Richmond playing last night.  They were shining stars among the crush.  Is Perce just as keen on the game?  Tell Ruby that she can make me a thick Balaclava and some thick socks.  I am afraid I suffer with "cold feet".

 

I must close now as the mail is closing shortly.  Remember me to Auntie Kate and the girls, and Aunt Eliza.  I am writing to Harry and Essie also this time.  I shall take this opportunity of wishing another many happy returns of the 25th in case my other letter and card went astray.

Love from

Your affectionate son.

Jim

 

 

P.S.  In case my previous letter went astray my address now is:-

 

No. Name

9th Rfts, 21st Inf. Batt. A.I.F.

32nd I.B.D.,

C/o. A.P.O. - S 17,

B.E.F.

France

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