When thousands of young men left their homes to take part in World War I, they went with the good wishes of their families for a safe return. Many a father would have taken his son to one side to offer words of advice.
Charles Greenwood of Parkville, Victoria, was moved to write to his son, John Hallily Greenwood, then only 18 years old, who had left to join up and was on board ship bound for the war.
Your HomeCharles Greenwood
My Dear Son,
You will be far away on the waters when you read these lines, and no doubt getting your sea legs, and certainly with all your mates you will not be lonely.
I don't like to lose you My Boy but I am proud that you are going, and hope you will get a chance to punish a few of those barbarian Germans, and hope and trust that you will be spared to come back safe.
You are a boy now Jack, but when I take your hand again you will be a man. Never do anything that you would be ashamed to tell Mother or I.
If you keep that in mind it will be all you want. When you are fully trained in England, and go across to France no doubt you will get many temptations. Wine - Women - and gambling. Shun them all. You are going out to fight for Australia. So always strive to keep a fit man, and do your duty. If at any time you feel lonely and have a few minutes to spare, don't forget how pleased we will always be to get a few lines from you if only scribbled in lead pencil.
You know how the mail service is, sometimes letters do not come to hand. Charlie Jordan got five letters all at once. He wrote wanting to know if they had forgotten him. So if they go astray, don't you begin to think you are forgotten. You can rest assured Jack that we will be thinking of you pretty often.
You remember the shaft you helped me sink up at the Launch. I have great hopes of that gully and if we do have the luck to strike anything in it, you will have a small interest put on one side for you.
If you happen to call in at many ports and have a chance to post a letter I think Rilda will watch the box pretty often on the chance of getting one.
Wishing you My Boy a safe & pleasant voyage to the land of your forefathers and with love from us all,
John Halliley Greenwood,
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|John Greenwood as a young soldier in World War I.|
|John Greenwood celebrates his 99th birthday.|
|Letter written to John Greenwood by his father.|
|Page 2 of letter.|