Letters from James Joseph Makin to his family, 1915-1916, Part 6 of 12

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

Page 1 / 8

France 1/5/16 Dear Dather Just a lime to let you know that a getting on alright so far, and up to the present have had nothing to complain of. I am not sorry or never have been that I enlisted when I did. On the contrary I have often thought that E should have come before I did, although it was hard whilst hes was in danger to think of asking mother Although it is not three months sice I left home, it seems much longer. I think I can claim to be a better man than when I was at home chiefly because such a life as one leads as a soldier on active service cannot help but bwvaden ones mind and make him look on the better side of life. Ill petty troubles and quarrels face before the one great an, which is to carry the war through and get home as quickly as possible. One lives with men of all stations creeds, character ideals and from them he sees his on weaknesses and, if he possesses sufficienc will power he arrect them. Bromments will wuse; very nor agumuun
3 indeed- and men will express themselves very forcibly - perhaps at will lead to blows- but immediately the argument drops, things go on as before. There is no such sring as a difference of oinion lasting nore than an hour or so at the most I often think that, if ever I set back it will be a new life so to speak just like being born again. What do you think of hes. remaining In England so long? I can magnie mother and Luby hoping he will be kept There altogether. I got a letter from him Yesterday telling me how he wow his promotion at Gallipoli. You must know how I was longing to hear his tale before I went into action myself, I had to drag it out of him by writing him all questions in my letters. over now it so onle the barest outline, and told so reluctantly and modestly that I feel that this modesty so just as praiseworthy as the actual deeds themselves. Have you ever been able to draw anything from him about his compaign or of his diskness? He says he has had a good time lately, but how 001
will has he eaned it? I think I could get letters quicker through him than direct from home. At any rate I have asked him to let me have the news after each mail he gets from home. He has made a very good friend in a Dr. Gibson, an English RoP. H.C. Man. I daresay he has mentioned him in has letters home I received a letter from Eapt. Giboon, and from the sone of it he has great admiration for Les, and he wants to get to know me because he says hes has often spken to him of me. I am awaiting. an opportunity to answer his letter, but we do not te much time for writing. I am still in the seme training camp and it so five weeks tonight since we arrived M France. I am feeling a much more efficient soldier, but have still a lot to learn for the Serhuns are no mugfighters, by all accounts. They tried to shafe us with a few Combs on Azac night but happily made some good misses. The sound of the explosions was terrific in the still night air, but we 001
did not lose much sleep. We saw the craters caused by the bombs next day, and they are evidently very powerful bombs. go. was telling me that he saw them bring down the L15 the Zeppelin which landed at the Thames month. I must have been a great sight. We go for a route march to neighbour my villages now and thew. The young trops are about 6 mches high and hares cam be seen stealing away in almost every crops. I always think of you, and think nou you would like to be near with your double barrel? I would be fine sport with some good sreyhounds. There are also a few rabbits about. Do you ever go out shooting now? I will be going out shortly, but after Hims instead of game. Dow no Peice setting on this year? I should bry and keep him at school as long as possible of I were you I am sure that it is the better plan, and he will thank you for at later on in life. All he wants is a little encouragement now and then and to be shown that you are interested in his work, and he will be a
2 I am looking good boy, I am sure. forward to some letters from you all I think they will be regular once they cart coming. It is pleasing that the Irish rebellion as not as alarming as it was thought and is now dying out. It so most regretable that if should have occurred at this sime. It is the Lanatical Sinn Deiners at the bottom of the trouble, The Napionalist Paiky under Redmond is absolutely against thesrI. It i astounding when you see the sush regiments here M France, fighting along with the rest ofn - Hushalians NYers & Canadians The news of Townshend's surrender was a big shock and is certainly does not improve the situation in Mesopotamia. wike the Sudanelles adventure the Turt have again been held too cheaply. I must now finish off as I have more letters to write and my sime is very limited, so will now say goodbye till you hear next mail Your affectionate son im
France 7/5/16 Dear Mother & Father, there so another mnail out somorrow so & g sending you a little more, news. There has been nothing stairling during the past week - just training, route- Marches, Three meals each day, and room in a sent at night. I have not heard from Les since. I got a letter from Harry yesterday dated 20/3/16 but have nothing from home since 4/3/16 There is a large mail in at present so I should get some letters in a day or so. hand I would liked to be able to tell you I had your letters. It would have been easier to write this if I had someshing to answer, but I shall do my best under the circumstances. Drd the Ballanat people find you alright? I should have liked to have seen them. It so three years last Easter since I was up at Ballarat with them is it not? Those few days of cold and wet have only been beaten by The weather we had here for a fortnight or so. ORI 001
2 It has been lovely. opring weather here eately; and the route marches have been a pleasure to me. Each time we go for a march the indications of the arrival of spring are more noticiable she trees are now in leaf and everything so fresh and green. The crops have grown so that the hares are marder to see as they steal away. Yhu part of France beats Nictoria (or the parts I have seen of it) for wild flowers they grow along the wadways and limes i profusion. The skylarks are here jurst as they were at StAlbans only ever so many more. They are singing at all simes- even at the peefs of dawn which is not long after 3 oclock these mornings. Some days have been quite not and many of no are wearing shorp. The English papers are full of the domgs of our Billy Hughes and his fellow compatriot Lloyd George. Ther had a great day at Conway in Wale's Yesterday and made characteristic speeches. 0014
fter reading their speeches I was able to say, Them's my sendiments: Both of these very little Welshmen advocate a more rigorous compaign and a plea for putting our whole strength in the field I feel that the sooner this ro done the sooner the Him will go under and the sooner we will fer home. I shall not be sorry when we make a move out of this camp to bry our luck against the Gershuns. I see from Harry's letter that Jack I comlon got home abright and that his arm is nearly better. Have my more Yiddle Park boys become soldiers since I left I am stuck for news so I shall have to frnsh off this hopeless serand with a promise to write a better one next week, Your affectionate oon Yom 190

France

1/5/16.

Dear Father,

Just a line to let you know that I

am getting on alright so far, and up to 

the present have had nothing to complain 

of. I am not sorry, or never have been, 

that I enlisted when I did. On the 

contrary I have often thought that I 

should have come before I did, although 

it was hard whilst Les was in danger 

to think of asking mother.

Although it is not three months since 

I left home, it seems much longer. I 

think I can claim to be a better man 

than when I was at home, chiefly 

because such a life as one leads as 

a soldier on active service cannot help 

but broaden one's mind and make him 

look on the better side of life. All 

petty troubles and quarrels fade before 

the one great aim, which is to carry the 

war through and get home as quickly 

as possible. One lives with men of all 

stations, creeds, character, ideals, and 

from them he sees his own weaknesses,

and, if he possesses sufficient will power, 

he corrects them.

Arguments will arise, - very hot arguments

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2

indeed - and men will express themselves 

very forcibly - perhaps it will lead to 

blows, - but immediately the argument drops, 

things go on as before. There is no such 

thing as a difference of opinion lasting 

more than an hour or two at the most.  

I often think that if ever I get back 

it will be a new life, so to speak- 

just like being born again.

What do you think of Les remaining

in England so long? I can imagine 

mother and Ruby hoping he will be kept 

there altogether. I got a letter from him 

yesterday telling me how he won his 

promotion at Gallipoli. You must know

how I was longing to hear his tale 

before I went went into action myself. I had 

to drag it out of him by writing him all 

questions in my letters. Even now it is only 

the barest outline, and told so reluctantly 

and modestly that I feel that this

modesty is just as praiseworthy as the 

actual deeds themselves. Have you ever 

been able to draw anything from him about

his campaign or his sickness? He says 

he has had a good time lately, but how

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3

well has he earned it? I think I could

get letters quicker through him than direct

from home. At any rate I have asked

him to let me have the news after each 

mail he gets from home.

He has made a  very good friend in a 

Dr. Gibson, an English R.A.M.C. man. I dare say

he has mentioned him in his letters home.

I received a letter from Capt. Gibson, and 

from the tone of it he has great admiration

for Les, and he wants to get to know me

because he says Les has often spoken,

to him of me. I am awaiting . an opportunity

to answer his letter, but we do not get

much time for writing.

I am still in the same training camp

and it is five weeks tonight since we

arrived in France. I am feeling a 

much more efficient soldier, but have

still a lot to learn for the "Germhuns" are

no mug fighters, by all accounts.

They tried to "strafe" us with a few bombs

on "Anzac" night but happily made some

good misses. The sound of the explosions

was terrific in the still night air, but we

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4.

did not lose much sleep. We saw the 

craters caused by the bombs next day, and

they are evidently very powerful bombs.

Les, was telling me that he saw them 

bring down the L15, the Zeppelin which

landed at the Thames mouth. It must

have been a good sight.

We go for a route march to neighbour
ing villages now and than. The young 

crops are about 6 inches high, and 

hares can be seen stealing away in 

almost every crop. I always think of

you, and think how you would like

to be near with your "double -barrel". It would 

be fine sport with some good greyhounds,

There are also a few rabbits about. Do you

ever go out shooting now? I will be 

going out shortly, but after Huns instead

of game. How is Perce getting on this

year? I should try and keep him at

school as long as possible if I were you.

I am sure that it is the better plan, and

he will thank you for it later on in life.

All he wants is a little encouragement

now and than and to be shown that you

are interested in his work, and he will be a 

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5.

good boy, I am sure. I am looking

forward to some letters from you all.

I think they will be regular once they

start coming.

It is pleasing that the Irish rebellion

is not as alarming as it was thought

and is now dying out. It is most 

regretable that it should have occurred

at this time. It is the fanatical Sinn

Feiners at the bottom of the trouble, & 

the Nationalist Party under Redmond is

absolutely against them. It is astounding

when you see the Irish regiments here

in France, fighting along with the rest

of us-Australians, N-Z-ers, & Canadians.

The news of Townshend's surrender was

a big shock and it certainly does not

improve the situation  in Mesopotamia.

Like the Dardanelles adventure the Turks

have again been held too cheaply.

I must now finish off as I have

more letters to write and my time is

very limited, so will now say goodbye

till you hear next mail.

Your affectionate son,

Jim

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France,

7/5/16.                                                                             

Dear Mother & Father,

There is another mail out tomorrow so

I am sending you a little more news.

There has been nothing startling during 

the past weeks- just training , route- 

marches, three meals each day, and 

room in a tent at night. I have not
heard from Les since. I got a 

letter from Harry yesterday dated 20/3/16

but have nothing from home since 11/2/16.

There is a large mail in at present

so I should get some letters in a day or so.

I would have liked to be able to tell you

I had your letters. It would have

been easier to write this is I had 

something to answer, but I shall do 

my best under the circumstances.

Did the Ballarat people find you 

alright? I should have liked to have

seen them. It is three years last Easter

since I was up at Ballarat with them

is it not? Those few days such of cold

and wet have only been beaten by 

the weather we had here for a fortnight

or so.

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2.

 It has been lovely spring weather here

lately, and the route marches have been

a pleasure to me. Each time we go

for a march the indications of the 

arrival of spring are more noticeable.

The trees are now in leaf and

everything is fresh and green. The 

crops have grown so that the hares are

harder to see as they steal away. This 

part of France beats Victoria (or the 

parts I have seen of it) for wild flowers.

They grow along the roadways and lanes

in profusion, The sky larks are here

just as they were at St Albans, only 

ever so many more. They are singing 

at all times- even at the peep of dawn,

which is not long after 3 o'clock these 

mornings. Some days have been quite

hot, and many of us are wearing "shorts".

 The English papers are full of

the doings of our "Billy" Hughes and

his fellow compatriot Lloyd George. They

had a great day at Conway in Wales 

yesterday, and made characteristic speeches.

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3.

After reading their speeches I was able

to say " Them's my sentiments" Both of these

fiery little Welshmen advocate a more

vigorous campaign and a plea for 

putting out whole strength in the field.

I feel that the sooner this is done, the 

sooner the Hun will go under and the 

sooner we will get home. I shall 

not be sorry when we make a move

out of this camp to try our luck against

the "Germhuns."

 I see from Harry's letter that Jack

Scanlon got home alright and that his

arm is nearly better. Have any more

Middle Park boys become soldiers since

I left?

I am stuck for news so I shall

have to finish off this hopeless scrawl

with a promise to write a better one next

week. 

Your affectionate son,

Jim. 

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