Topic: 1939. A letter explaining why he enlisted

Topic type:

Roly Hume has collected the stories, letters and documents around his relative Lloyd (Jock) Hamilton Hume who was killed in action during the Second World War. Below is a transcript of a letter he sent to his Mother (Florence Hume nee Graham)explaining why he had just enlisted. The photograph was taken the same year.

Note on top left corner of letter reads

1. Letter written about 10 Jan 1940. F.H. (though military records record his enlistment as taking place in 1939)
2. Jock left NZ on 19 Dec 1940 '
3. He left NZ + Stuart Wilson also and they spent Xmas at Hartnell’s home in Sydney.
4. They reached Egypt end Jan 1941
5. Went to Greece end of March
6. Evacuated from there end of April I
7. Went to crete of Aprill
8. Killed by a bullet from plane on 21st May 1941

1 London St., Hamilton. Thursday

Dear Mother

Was sorry to find that you had taken the news of my enlistment so much to heart. You mustn‘t really, because it had to come and many other mothers have had to face and are facing exactly the same situation as yourself.

l shall answer all your questions in the order you asked them.

I did not consult you before hand as I knew exactly what you thought about it and considered it a decision that I would have to make myself,
Mother you know I think the world of you & dad. But for that reason I don’t want to let you down by not enlisting now when they want the single unattached boys, not so much married men with children like Doug, Neil & Murray. But if we did not enlist, they might have to.

I joined up now as I shall have an opportunity of becoming an NCO and also the chance of advancement. lf I waited until conscription came, well, you must see the difference in this respect. Camp is hard enough now but you can imagine what it will take to get some of the lads trained who come in then.

l did not receive any white feathers and do not know of any girls capable of sending them. None of my friends who have or have not enlisted have received any to my knowledge.

You ask why I made up my mind in such a hurry - ever since War started we have been thinking and talking about it when we saw the troops off in the train from Frankton it occurred to me that I did not have a single reason for not enlisting. I have talked with my friends, my brothers and the other day Mr Bushell, - I still consider I have done the right thing.

Mother, I have been very happy in all my billets and I know I would not be if I considered it my duty elsewhere -just imagine seeing my friends off then having to face them when they got back.

Please do not worry about my nose - I saw Dr Rogers about it, but although he wondered if it was serious at first, it was only a small sore, and as far as I know it is completely gone now.

Mother,no one has been driving me to enlist- only myself but even then I did not do so until I had considered the matter from all angles.
At the moment, I do not know of any others who will be in camp for certain with me. However lan Mears will definitely be enlisting within the next day or two, lan Johnston will be in our camp after he has been to Arrival Camp at Waiouru, Aleck may be. Jack has applied for leave from the Bank, while another young lad from the office is trying to persuade his parents -he is under age so he needs their consent.

So honestly, don’t you think I have done the right thing. I wanted to talk with dad before I enlisted but he was away at home that day.
At any rate I had made up my mind and I don’t think he would have changed it- not that I don’t respect his & yours judgement but I think it was a question for me to decide. The most you could have done was to put off the evil day and what is the use of that!

Well hope you understand - I have tried to expIaín it as I see it - I know It is hard on you but I feel It wiII be the best in the long run.

Best Love Jock
Will see you next weekend

Discuss This Topic

There are 0 comments in this discussion.

join this discussion

1939. A letter explaining why he enlisted

First Names:Lloyd
Last Name:Hume
Date of Birth:3 March 1918
Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 3.0 New Zealand License
1939. A letter explaining why he enlisted by Roly Hume is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 3.0 New Zealand License