Backs to the Wall: A larrikin on the Western Front by G. D. Mitchell

By G. D. Mitchell

Initially released in 1937 (and lengthy out of print), this can be a gripping, first hand account of a tender soldier's reviews in France and Belgium throughout the First international conflict. ' In that hour used to be born in me an apprehension that lasted during the complete iciness. It used to be the dread of loss of life within the dust, happening in that stinking morass and although useless being unsleeping through the a while. Waves of worry now and then threatened to weigh down me . . . a bit weak point, a bit slackening of regulate now and then and that i may have long gone over the borderline. within the mild of the solar, on enterprise floor, i'll snigger at destiny. yet the place the churned dust part concealed and part printed our bodies, the place useless arms reached out of the morass, seeming to implore relief - there I needed to carry tight. 'In this gripping account, George Deane Mitchell relives the horror and the humour of being an Australian soldier at the Western entrance in global conflict I. Backs to the Wall by means of was once initially released in 1937. This variation - with remark through Robert Macklin, writer of Jacka VC - will let a brand new iteration of readers to fall less than the spell of this forgotten Australian vintage.

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A man was being led away by his mates. His face was a mask of blood that dripped and made lines down his greatcoat. A copy of the Sydney Mail was under my hand. Picked it up, and it came open at the society page. There was an account of a wedding. ’ Blistering comments mixed with the detonations of the shells. Over the page were racing reports. Futility on futility. indd 23 17/1/07 3:04:18 PM BACKS TO THE WALL On 24 September we examined our rifles and equipments, and moved up through long winding saps to the deep dugouts behind Hill 60.

That curse of a soldier’s life, early morning parade, was still being held. I decided that I would not get up for it. ’ asked the sergeant, sourly. ‘Sick,’ I said. ’ So I went on sick parade. Might as well make a good job of it. So told the quack a good tale. I must have looked sick, for he gave me ‘No duty’, and seven hefty big pills. On the way back to billets I ran into Dick Caldwell. ’ he asked, distrustingly. I was debating whether I should tell him that it was pleurisy, with a touch of hydatids, but decided to treat the question another way.

I insinuated myself into a little low dugout on Cheese Road with Walter Webb, my stretcher-bearer cobber, Ted Matthews, and two others. We could not sit up, the roof being too low. The entrance was about two feet high by eighteen inches wide. We crawled in and out like muddy rabbits. All the day five-point-nines howled out of foggy space and burst with earth-shaking fury. While Walter was heating some bully over a Tommy cooker the shells arrived every minute. As the first low whistle of approach could be heard, Walter would reach over and hold the mess tin firmly to prevent it from being upset.

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