James martin and the Anzac Legend |
James Charles Martin
At the outbreak of World War 1 James said to his family that “One man in the family had to sign up for the war”, considering that his father was too old and weak and had to support his mother and 5 sisters he decided he was the one who had to do it. James Martin signed up for The Australian Imperial Force on April 12th 1915 giving a false date of birth saying he was 18 years of age when he was only 14 years and 3 months. Soon after, James had to go through 2 hard months of training in Victoria for the war, with strict times and rules, before he was sent off to Alexandria in Egypt where he then spent 1 month again training. In Victoria they all lived in steady conditions, sleeping in tents, eating regally and eating healthy except when some things were late being issued like there heavy rain coats and water proof ground sheets. As the April rain poured down, the camp got soaked, without ground sheets, their straw mattresses got dampened and without their rain coats their clothes were always wet. The worry of pneumonia spread throughout the camp.
By the 30th he was well on his way to Gallipoli when his the little crowded steamer called the HMT Southland, was then torpedoed by an off radar Turkish sub, James then had to spend the next four hours in the water. After being rescued Private Martin landed with his battalion on Gallipoli on 7th September when the climate was at its most pleasant but the Turks where not. When he landed his battalion was bombarded with the bullets from the Turks, but once they made it safely to shore they found protection under and behind rocks. The ANZACS that had recently arrived started to help build the trenches, connecting the first trench to the second and the third giving easy access to all of them. The ANZACS also started to think ahead when building their trenches. When they built them they left a blocking technique, the idea of this was instead of building the trenches straight they left huge chunks at the side in case the Turks where to jump down and attack them they would have something to hide behind, but unfortunately nothing could hide them from the rodents and the dead.
When working in there, there was a period of very cold temperatures and very strong and heavy rains, these conditions flooded the trenches and the areas surrounding them, leaving James very wet and cold, and only to make it worse the trenches were filled with rodents and insects “The pests where deadlier then the Turks bullets” said James.
From the day that war was declared James Martin had wanted to join the action and fight with them his friends. When he found out that he wasn’t old enough he asked his mother and father to write a letter of consent saying he was 18 years of age at first they denied but when telling his parents that “I’ll run away and join up under another name and you won’t hear from as I won’t write, but if you do I will write to you all of the time” they finally agreed. After getting in he was sent to Egypt to train then to Gallipoli to fight. Whilst in Gallipoli he wrote to his family not to worry and that he was doing ‘splendid’ over there telling his family that everything was fine, then the worst of the weather hit. Cold temperature and heavy consistent rains caused him to get very sick but he didn’t’t want to leave his duty’s, when he got worse they took him to a hospital thinking he was fine and was going to go back any time soon, James sadly passed away of Typhoid. James Martin’s perspective of war never changed, from the time he signed up to the time he was in hospital about to die he was still a brave young