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), it is a gripping, first hand account of a tender soldier's reviews in France and Belgium in the course of the First global conflict. ' In that hour was once born in me a terror that lasted through the entire iciness. It was once the dread of death within the dust, taking place in that stinking morass and although lifeless being wide awake through the a while. Waves of worry every now and then threatened to crush me . . . a bit weak spot, a bit slackening of keep an eye on from time to time and that i may have long past over the borderline. within the gentle of the solar, on company floor, i may chortle at destiny. yet the place the churned dust part concealed and part printed our bodies, the place useless fingers reached out of the morass, seeming to implore reduction - 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 battle I. Backs to the Wall by way of used to be initially released in 1937. This version - with statement through Robert Macklin, writer of Jacka VC - will enable a brand new iteration of readers to fall lower than the spell of this forgotten Australian vintage.

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The air was filled with the crash of shells bursting in and around the gun-pit. Red flames lit the place. Squalls of metal ripped and thudded. The men around me groaned and collapsed into the gripping mud. Something tore my helmet away. I pressed the upper part of my body close along the mud. indd 36 17/1/07 3:04:21 PM The Somme move. Someone groaned. This then was the culmination of all my fears. I lay helpless and passive beneath the hot hail, picturing myself as those others we had seen. No words can describe my feelings during the long minutes.

His sunken eyes were expressionless with the pain of exhaustion. His head lolled uncontrolled at each halting step. His uniform was one complete sheath of mud. Mud clung to his eyebrows and cheeks. His hair was matted with it. He looked like some long dead cadaver, reanimated. ’ And I wondered that those around me laughed. That night we were settled snugly in the huts, and ready for sleep. A large, noisy shell burst nearby. ‘That’s a Fritzer,’ said someone. ’ We drifted back to Flesselles for Christmas.

2 We didn’t think much of these new mushroom battalions. Had the weather been warmer, we would have worked up quite a lot of indignation and protest at the prospect of being pitchforked into one of these upstart, cheapjack units. Another 10th man— Arnold—was with me. He later acquired his commission, MC, DCM and MM. And he missed some that he should have got. He had been wounded at Mouquet Farm, and was now getting back to work. indd 30 17/1/07 3:04:20 PM 2 The Somme The train headed up the Somme Valley.

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