George Gordon CANDY

CANDY, George Gordon

Service Numbers: 2297, 2297B
Enlisted: 26 May 1916, Sydney, New South Wales
Last Rank: Lance Corporal
Last Unit: 12th Infantry Battalion
Born: St Kilda, Victoria, 1889
Home Town: Subiaco, Nedlands, Western Australia
Schooling: Not yet discovered
Occupation: Business manager
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World War 1 Service

26 May 1916: Enlisted AIF WW1, Private, 2297, Sydney, New South Wales
30 Oct 1916: Involvement AIF WW1, Private, 2297, 43rd Infantry Battalion, Enlistment/Embarkation WW1, --- :embarkation_roll: roll_number: '18' embarkation_place: Fremantle embarkation_ship: HMAT Port Melbourne embarkation_ship_number: A16 public_note: ''
30 Oct 1916: Embarked AIF WW1, Private, 2297, 43rd Infantry Battalion, HMAT Port Melbourne, Fremantle
15 Jun 1917: Transferred AIF WW1, Private, 12th Infantry Battalion
12 Nov 1919: Discharged AIF WW1, Lance Corporal, 2297B, 12th Infantry Battalion

Advice to soldiers - stick to the present

I found this collection of letters written by this soldier while looking through Trove:

— — —
The following interesting correspondence from a bright young Australian "somewhere in France" has arrived at Bunbury at different intervals addressed to Mr. Dudley Rider, who has been kind enough to place it with a representative of this paper for reproduction : —
"Life lately has been so monotonous that I would welcome almost any change — anyway. I would like to get it over one way or other before many moons pass . . . just ten mouths since my last glimpse of old Fremantle, and still nothing done . . . you complain you have heard nothing from me . . . you must make allowances for the doings of the King's enemies and other forces 'majure' . . .
One chap here who corresponds regularly with his wife states that out of 80 odd
'written he has failed to receive 17, after giving full time for them to turn up . . . therefore one is likely to lose up to 20 per cent of letters posted.
Anyway, even that is not too bad, seeing there is every reason to believe a war is on ...
I rescued some snaps of the Hall's Creek races from a weekly paper that had been condemned to most ignoble uses. The snaps brought back reminiscences
of the past, and I thought it rather strange happening on them as I did, so far from the old scenes, on the other side of the world. Things must have been upside down with care in Wyndham lately with the meat works strike and the holding up of cattle shipments. I reckon old ---- would not mind weighing out a few bob to be relieved of his job. . . .
The more one sees of this game, the greater contempt one feels for the
engines of war. On every hand . . one sees the hand of Fate working in incidents that crop up every day . . . I . . . keep going through thick and thin ... it is the extreme of folly to ever consider what might happen . . . there is plenty in the events of the moment to keep the wits engaged. . . when in action, and you have
the wind up, you cannot grasp what is actually occurring around you, with the result that danger is taken on the face . . . it is pretty hard to acquire this frame of mind under the existing conditions of warfare, but it is the more necessary. The encouraging of ideas of what might happen seems to me to be the root of fear . . . refuse to encourage them, and reduce fear!
It has often struck me when reviewing happenings safely passed through, what an amount of mental energy had been lost in picturing what might happen . . . instead of wasting thought upon the future, if all energy was bent upon the vital present, greater success would be won out of each crisis.
I am at a loss for a subject to write about, so have 'gone bush' on this . . .
Since last writing you, I have achieved the goal of all of us — the firing line. It was some stunt . . .for we certainly had a win, and a good one ; I am satisfied Fritz is settled so far as we are concerned. . . our particular job being allotted, we got into position, where we waited for the artillery barrage to take us over. At the appointed time every gun and some more spoke, and we heard a rush like a mighty wind come up from behind us, followed instantly by ay indescribable crash in the woods immediately in our front. Knowing our barrage had started, we jumped over into No Man's land, proceeding in the wake of the barrage over the churned up ground ...Our barrage in front of us made an impenetrable wall of whirling steel, fire, smoke and pulverised earth and trees, and the concussive effect was terrible.
Literally the earth was picked up and slapped back again to a depth of from ten to fifteen feet; it fell back into the shape of a suddenly frozen choppy sea (and damned choppy at that) ... it took some scrambling to get through. The woods, one time heavily timbered and shrubbed, were reduced to a few stumps. - - - the rest was reduced to shattered splinters, mixed and shattered in the general upheaval. . The whole thing suggested the effect of a mighty tornado ; the scream of our shells as they came over was deafening, whilst the swish of machine gun bullets sounded like driving rain spending itself on the ground ahead
of us, devouring everything in their path. It is safe to say a rat could not live in the inferno.
When the advance had definitely settled down we could see that the barrage was
putting out of action all or practically all opposition, so out came pipes and cigarettes, whilst others of us bent on lightening the ration weight, commenced to eat. One chap later continued the advance, eating a great bunch of bread and jam— I contented myself with chocolate ...
A Fritz appeared with his hands up, yelling :"Mercy. komarad! Mercy !— You vin,
you vin!' We reached our objective. . . and made good. I came out of it with nothing more than a bad headache and a piece of shrapnel through my haversack ; it was marvellous to think afterwards of getting through unhurt. It was alright whilst on the move-— the worst time was when we were lying down with shells
dropping all round ; first one to front, then one in the rear, then to the right, say, and so on, you anticipating that the next would blow you to blazers. We had too much time to think just there. . . .
Still, I am now lying on lovely green sward writing this, and one would forget that
there is a war on."
The writer: is L. Corpl. George Candy.

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