Private James Joseph Makin

Service number 3862
Ranks Held Private, Temporary Sergeant
Birth Date 1896
Birth Place Australia: Victoria, Melbourne
Death Date 1977
Death Place United States of America: California
Final Rank Private
  • 21st Australian Infantry Battalion
  • 21st Australian Infantry Battalion
  • 21st Australian Infantry Battalion
Conflict/Operation First World War, 1914-1918

Born in Melbourne in 1896, James Joseph 'Jim' Makin enlisted in the Australian Imperial Force (AIF) on 26 July 1915, aged 19, following in the footsteps of his older brother, George Leslie 'Les' Makin, who had enlisted the previous year.

Assigned to the 21st Infantry Battalion, Jim embarked from Melbourne aboard HMAT Warilda on 8 February 1916. After training in Egypt, he served on the Western Front in France, where he and his unit took part in the early stages of the Somme Offensive. On 30 July 1916, Jim was wounded at Pozières by a nearby exploding shell, and was subsequently evacuated to England suffering from shellshock.

Following his recovery, Jim was transferred to AIF Headquarters in London, where he would work for the remainder of the war in the Australian Army Pay Corps. Jim made the most of his work and life there, sightseeing and visiting other parts of the country while on leave.

He was also able to visit with his brother, Les, while Les was on leave in London. During one of these visits, according to Jim's letters, the two made plans to "go on the land" together and become farmers when they returned home, although Jim later confessed in a letter to his mother that he suspected a man 'must be born a farmer', saying, "It seems to come easier to me to work with my head than my hands, and it seems to me I have done so through most of the war."

Sadly, these plans would never come to fruition, as Les would be killed in France in September 1918. In letters home, Jim wrote of his heartbreak over the loss, but also his immense pride in his brother.

Jim returned to Australia on 16 January 1916, and later moved to the United States, where he married and had one daughter. He died in 1977, aged 80, in California.



Date of birth 1896
Date of enlistment 26 July 1915
Date of embarkation 08 February 1916
Date returned to Australia 16 January 1919
Date of death 1977