Letters from James Joseph Makin to his family, 1915-1916, Part 5 of 12

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

Page 1 / 10

France 9/5/16. Dearest Yother & Father just a line to let you know that since I last wrote my address has been altered slightly. It is now. No. Nome 2rst Dfantry Battalion, AI.F, " A.D.B.D. 6/0 A.P.O. - S1Y. B.E.F. France. There has been nothing of note since my last letter. Everything in the garden is looking lovely and there so every prospect of rain. I am wtill in a traming camp doing plenty of framing and feeling better than ever before. It is pretty cold some days but we are used to it by now. There is not much to write about as I am always in camp and each day is practically alike. We had a easy day yesterday (Saturday). We were paid (₤2/3/) and issued with tobacco. Dor The afternoon There was a football match between my not and the artillery, which we roon. I quite enjoyed the game and hope fretty offen they will come of
Te might as well be isolated at Broadmeadows as be in this comp. Apart from the few French girls and women about the camp selling oranges and collecting washing there is very little to remind no that we are in France. We are much more sestled down than when we were in the Yelboumne camps. Now one is much more condented to stay in comp and make the most of one another's company. It is surprising how quickly each day passes. The meats seem to come very soon after one another. It is just as well for they are not exacrly Sunday dinners we are getting- Me you getting my letters regularly: I have written offten and regularly so that you would not be worrying if I missed a mail. I am looking forward to getting some letters shortly. It is about time some came to light. Did you get the parcel I sent from Egypt? I hope you did, for buying it left me broke for three weeks. I shall write again shortly Love from Iom
June, 1929/1 Der Mother & Father As there is no mail for a fordnight after tomorrow I am saking the opportunity to send you a few lines. There is nothing exceptional to tell you since my last letter We are still in the braining camp doing plenty of work and waiting for something to hum up The weather has been very cold for about a weeka cold wind blowing off the sea the whole time and making hraining very disagreeable. It looks a af it will be a cold Easter week as it usually io in Melboume We are still awaiting our first wail from Aushalia. The letters are probably held up in Cairo at the Base Depot. I had a letter from Les from his comp at Lent i answer to the one I wrote him. To High Commissioner. It was only a note and saying that he would write a letter later on. He said he was hearing regularly from you so I wrote him to send me some news of home. My letters can reach him in a couple of days from here. He said that it was doubtful if he would be able to yoin his battalion in France. I don't suppose you will be sorry if he does not I san in the Daily Mail Yesterday that the Government in Aushalia ro determined to fulfit the promise to send 300,000 men to the from using compulsion if necessary. If this is so there should not be many menabout Melboume who are fit to do their bit. Ire the parpers gurt as full as ever of the Calle to Amo &c 001
3 The Derman attacks on Ferdim have been fruitless so far and the French lines are still as stong as ever. There should be something doing when summer sets in and the Spring Compaion sark i earnest. There evidently a good number of Aushalias left at the Emal They captured a Turkish camp recently somewhere on the neighbourhood of the Conal, I heard that there are also some in desopotamia. think we are the most fortunate of the lot- so far at any rate. Is Ruly stll at home? I should not be surprised if she is fired of being at home by thro and has gone back to Buckley's. I did not see ayshing of Im Duggan in Egypst. I would write and tell Fileen but I forget her address. Yow so Blick getting on? I suppose he so somewhere here in France if he so with his bastation. I don't suppose Em. has made aother mmistake and enlisted again Is he married yet? Les said that he sent me a photo. to Egypt, but it has not come to hand yet- suppose you got one abright. When you are writing don't forget to send me a paper or so. the Bullerm would be very acceptable calthongh we have plendy of "bully-ting as a matter of fact hope mother has quite recovered from the sickness she had before & came away and that all are or the best of health fove foo Ir 1001
France 18/4/16. Dear Perce Just a line to let you know I have not forgotten all about you. How are you getting on at school this year? I suppose you have started football by this time. The weather here is just the thing for potball but it is hard so play on account of the ground being semdy. We have had two matches and have ano one of them. I got a tooth broken in the first and a booth through my life The second. Te you captain of your form team again this year. Likwood of Boendon is in this camp and enjoys his kick. ds there a School Record out yet. Don't forget to send one along to me. Mr Heathcofe is in this camp now but I have not been lucky enough to strke him yet. He came from Egypt about 12 days after me. Immy Haddow is now a 2nd fient and is with the bth. Batt. I think Billy Bruce is still at the Eanal; but I am not certain. I had a letter from Tes a few days ago. I was very glad to hear of him again. Don't forget "to write now and then, Your brother P.S. Do you still forget you Your lunch soetines 20 1014
Bravice 29/4/16 Dearer Mother, Just a few more lines to let you know that I am well and in good spirip. There has not been a mail out since last Tuesday week, so I have not written for about a I am still in the same haming fortnight camp and there is no prospect of moving for a while. I received your letter addressed to the Warilda dated 1/2/16) on Good Friday, but you see I have practically no news since a left. I should be anxious but for the fact that Les. has told me that everything was alright when last he heard. Evidently he hears fairly regularly from you, I got a letter from him just a while ago dated 23/9/16), the longest I have seen him write at one time. I drew his story (or a bat of it) from him by writing a letter full of questions, some of which he answered Now modest he is, but what a brave chap You must be proud of him, but if you heard some of his plain straight talk to me you would be doubly so. He is every meh a man; and of ever he had any faults, which after all are only human, he has purged himself hundred fold on Gallpoles Aenby dopes. NOR 1014
2 Ifever I prove myself half she man he so I shall be satisfied. I am not speaking so much of his military service, (which has been finer than we have ever magnied), but of his manly qualities; - modesty on the extreme his patience in his many trials. for did he ever complain throughout his compaigo hrs steadfast devotion so duty, and consideration for our feelings at home during his months of peril. And to these his recognition of the qualities of others. He is never tired of speaking of the good pomp of others and giving praise where it is due He wrote to me the other day telling me that if ever I wanted mything at all beg or small, expensive or cheap, no matter what it was, he would send it. It friend of Mrs., Captain Gibson a doctor in the R.S.M.C also wrote me a very nice, cheering letter He was even more imphatic than hes. i asking me jot so name any want I have of course I am wanting nothing at present that my oney ordinary good luck and good health will condinue, and that plensy of letters will shortly come to light. NOR
3.10 Last Tuesday was Bizac Day, and believe all me, dearest mother, you have never been nearest me shaw on that day. What a comcidence that it should have fallen on Your birshday! What kind of an Easter have you spent ? Very quiet, I should magine, and I can understand that your thoughts were often with no - so far and yet so near. I can magine Les on Inzac Day. Thinking you in among his nmerous thoughts connected with the glonious landing. It was a quiet Easter for me but very happy. Good Friday found no writting as usual all day. The first Ist mail was delivered in the evening, and although most of the letters were 9 or 10 weeks old they cheered no up somewhat It rained all day on the Sapnday and we spent it within our tenp. On Easter Sunday I went to Communion along with Aushalians, Scothes and Tommies of most of the English and Irish regiments in camp here. It was a most edifying sight to see the hall crowded out with soldier obent and all on the same mission, - making place with God 1001
t Event to Berediction and Rosary in the evening. I was surprised at the way Benediction was sug by the soldiers (in (atm) and also the humns to the accompaniment of the Elub Drano. Is it not deplorable that trouble has broken out in Ireland? It is astounding in asmuch as there are thousands of fine men on the Insh regiments here, who are moved by the hishest sense of patriotism, Who can deny that these Irish regiments are not aong the best of British fighting wnits and are fighting to uphold British integrity and hraditions? I have ssced with them for a month and I know their spirit. And yet they are having then honor and name filched away by a oruffran horde, blinded by long past wrongs and kindled by Gennan gold and inflnence. Let ns hope that the trouble will be stamped out this time for good and all as assuredly will be, but at the expense of much needed lives at a critical moment. This is another instance illustratn the someness of the Feep yourve on senany foolicy.
ad you get a photo. of Les. and Dr Sibson It is a fine phot of Les. as we knew him at home, but he has lost some of the condition he had in other photos. I think there is a fine expression in his eyes. Perhaps E am more welmed to culogise him on account of hearing of his explats so recently, but nevertheless I cannot help feeling prond of him I am writing to Papa this time - a separate letter-because there are things which I feel a caw say to you lad separately- better than in one letter and then, of course, you can read both just the same I shall also bry to find time to write to ouey and dear little Wickie and Perce this time. Remember me to both Bunkes and myone interested no me - also so Harry and Isie in case their letter miscarries. You see I have already loot faith in the Pst Offices here I shall write again shortly, and give You some more news. It should be easier to write when I get some of your letter Your affectionate son Srm.

France, 

9/4/16.

Dearest Mother & Father,

 Just a line to let you know that

since I last wrote my address has been

altered slightly. It is now:-

No.  Name,

21st Infantry Battalion, A.I.F.,

2nd A.D.B.D.,

C/o A.P.O - S17,

B. E. F.,

France.

There has been nothing of note since my

last letter. "Everything in the garden is

looking lovely and there is every prospect

of rain." I am still in a training

camp doing plenty of training and

feeling better than ever before. It is

pretty cold some days but we are used to

it by now. There is not much to write

about as I am always in camp and 

each day is practically alike.  We had

an easy day yesterday (Saturday). We were

paid  (£2/3/-) and issued with tobacco.

 In the afternoon there was a football match

between my unit and the artillery, which we

won. I quite enjoyed the game and hope

they will come off pretty often.

 

 

 

2.

We might as well be isolated at

Broadmeadows as be in this camp. Apart 

from the few French girls and women

about the camp selling oranges and

collecting washing there is very little

to remind us that we are in France.

We are much more settled down than

when we were in the Melbourne camps.

Now one is much more contented to stay

in camp and make the most of one

another's company. It is surprising

how quickly each day passes. The meals

seem to come very soon after one another.

It is just as well for they are not

exactly Sunday dinners we are getting.

 Are you getting my letters regularly?

I have written often and regularly so

that you would not be worrying if I

missed a mail. I am looking forward

to getting some letters shortly. It is

about time some "came to light."

Did you get the parcel I sent from

Egypt? I hope you did, for buying it left

me "broke" for three weeks.

I shall write again shortly.

Love from Jim

 

 

 

France,

17/4/16

 

Dear Mother & Father,

 As there is no mail for a fortnight after tomorrow

I am taking the opportunity to send you a few lines.

There is nothing exceptional to tell you since my

last letter. We are still in the training camp doing

plenty of work and waiting for something to turn up.

The weather has been very cold for about a week, a

cold wind blowing off the sea the whole time and

making training very disagreeable. It looks as if it will

be a cold Easter week as it usually is in Melbourne.

 We are still awaiting our first mail from Australia.

The letters are probably held up in Cairo at the Base

Depot. I had a letter from Les from his camp

at Kent in answer to the one I wrote him c/o

High Commissioner. It was only a note and saying

that he would write a long letter later on. He said he

was hearing regularly from you so I wrote him

to send me some news of home. My letters can

reach him in a couple of days from here. He said

that it was doubtful if he would be able to join 

his battalion in France. I don't suppose you will

be sorry if he does not. I saw in the "Daily Mail"

yesterday that the Government in Australia is

determined to fulfil the promise to send 300,000 men

to the front, using compulsion if necessary. If this

is so there should not be many men left about

Melbourne who are fit to do their bit. Are the 

papers just as full as ever of "The Call to Arms" &c.?

 

 

2.

The German attacks on Verdun have been

fruitless so far and the French lines are still

as strong as ever. There should be something

doing when summer sets in and the "Spring

Campaign" starts in earnest. There is evidently

a good number of Australians left at the Canal. 
They captured a Turkish camp recently somewhere

in the neighbourhood of the Canal. I heard

that there are also some in Mesopotamia. I

think we are the most fortunate of the lot, - so

far at any rate. Is Ruby still at home? I

should not be surprised if she is tired of being

at home by this and has gone back to Buckley's.

 I did not see anything of Jim Duggan in

Egypt. I would write and tell Eileen but I

forget her address. How is Alick getting on? I

suppose he is somewhere here in France if he

is with his battalion. I don't suppose Ern.

has made another mistake and enlisted again.

Is he married yet?

 Les said he sent me a photo to 

Egypt, but it has not come to hand yet. I

suppose you got one alright. When you are

writing don't forget to send me a paper or so,-

The Bulletin would be very acceptable (although

we have plenty of "bully-tins" as a matter of fact).

 I hope mother has quite recovered from the

sickness she had before I came away and that all

are in the best of health. Love from Jim.

 

 

France

18/4/16

Dear Perce,

Just a line to let you know I have

not forgotten all about you. How are you

getting on at school this year? I suppose

you have started football by this time. The

weather here is just the thing for football, but

it so hard to play on account of the ground

being sandy. We have had two matches and

have won one of them. I got a tooth broken

in the first and a tooth through my lip

the second. Are you captain of your form

team again this year? Kirkwood of Essendon

is in my camp and enjoys his kick. Is

there a School "Record" out yet. Don't forget

to send one along to me. Mr Heathcote

is in this camp now but I have not been

lucky enough to strike him yet. He came

from Egypt about 12 days after me. Jimmy

Haddow is now a 2nd Lieut. and is with the 6th Batt.

I think Billy Bruce is still at the Canal, but I

am not certain. I had a letter from Les a 
few days ago. I was very glad to hear of him

again. Don't forget to write now and then. 

Your brother,

Jim

{P.S. Do you still forget

your lunch sometimes?}

 

 

 

France

29/4/16.

Dear Mother,

Just a few more lines to let you know

that I am well and in good spirits. There

has not been a mail out since last Tuesday

week, so I have not written for about a

fortnight. I am still in the same training

camp and there is no prospect of moving for

a while. I received your letter addressed

to the "Warilda" (dated 11/2/16) on Good 
Friday, but you see I have practically no

news since I left. I should be anxious

but for the fact that Les has told me that

everything was alright when last he heard.

Evidently he hears fairly regularly from you.

 I got a letter from him just a while

ago (dated 23/4/16), the longest I have seen 
him write at one time. I drew his story (or

a bit of it) from him by writing a letter

full of questions, some of which he answered.

How modest he is, but what a brave chap!

You must be proud of him, but if you

heard some of his plain straight talk to

me you would be doubly so. He is every

inch a man, and if ever he had

any faults, which after all are only 

human, he has purged himself hundred-

fold on Gallipoli's deadly slopes.

 

 

2.

If ever I prove myself half the man he

is I shall be satisfied. I am not speaking

so much of him military service, (which has been

 finer than we have ever imagined), but of his

manly qualities:- modesty, in the extreme,

his patience in his many trials, (for did

he ever complain throughout his campaign?)

his steadfast devotion to duty, and 

consideration for our feelings at home during

his months of peril. Add to these his

recognition of the qualities of others. He is

never tired of speaking of the good points

of others and giving praise where it is due.

 He wrote to me the other day telling me

that if ever I wanted anything at all, big

 or small, expensive or cheap, no matter what

it was, he would send it. A friend of 

his, Captain Gibson, a doctor in the R.A.M.C.

also wrote me a very nice, cheering letter.

He was even more emphatic than Les in

asking me just to name any want I have.

 Of course I am wanting nothing at present,

only that my ordinary good luck and good health

will continue, and that plenty of letters will

shortly "come to light".

 

 

3.

Last Tuesday was Anzac Day, and believe

me, dearest mother, you all have never been

nearer to me than on that day. What a

coincidence that it should have fallen on 

your birthday! What kind of an Easter

have you spent? Very quiet, I should

imagine, and I can understand that your 
thoughts were often with us, - so far and yet

so near. I can imagine Les. on Anzac

Day thinking of you in among his

numerous thoughts connected with the glorious

landing. It was a quiet Easter for me,

but very happy. Good Friday found us

drilling as usual all day. The first Aust-

mail was delivered in the evening, and

although most of the letters were 9 or 10

weeks old they cheered us up somewhat.

 It rained, all day on the Saturday and

we spent it within our tents. On Easter

Sunday I went to Communion - along with

Australians, "Scotties" and "Tommies" of most

the English and Irish regiments in camp

here. It was a most edifying sight to

see the hall crowded out with soldiers,

and all bent on the same mission, - making peace

with God.

 

 

4.

I went to Benediction and Rosary in the

evening. I was surprised at the way

Benediction was sung by the soldiers (in

Latin) and also the hymns to the

accompaniment of the Club piano.

 Is it not deplorable that trouble has

broken out in Ireland? It is astounding, in-

asmuch as there are thousands of fine men

in the Irish regiments here, who are

moved by the highest sense of patriotism.

Who can deny that these Irish regiments

are not among the best of the British

fighting units and are fighting to uphold

British integrity and traditions? I have

mixed with them for a month and I

know their spirit. And yet they are having

their honor and name filched away by

a ruffian horde, blinded by long-past

wrongs and kindled by German gold and

influence. Let us hope that the trouble

will be stamped out this time for good

and all, as assuredly it will be, but at the

expense of much needed lives at a critical

moment. This is another instance illustrating

the sameness of the "Keep-your-eye-on-Germany" Policy.

 

 

5.

 Did you get a photo of Les and Dr Gibson?

It is a fine photo of Les as we knew him

at home, but he has lost some of the "condition"

he had in other photos. I think there is a

fine expression in his eyes. Perhaps I

 am more inclined to eulogise him on account

of hearing of his exploits so recently, but

nevertheless I cannot help feeling

proud of him.

 I am writing to Papa this time - a

separate letter- because there are things 

which I feel I can say to you each

separately better than in one letter, and

then, of course, you can read both

just the same.

 I shall also try to find time to write

to Ruby and dear little "Nickie" and

Perce this time. Remember me to

both Aunties and anyone interested

in me,- also to Harry and Essie in case

their letter miscarries. (You see I have

already lost faith in the Post Offices here).

 I shall write again shortly, and give

you some more news. It should be easier

to write when I get some of your letters.

Your affectionate son,

Jim.


 

 

 

 

 

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