John James Giddy
Serial No. 2041
30th Battalion, 14th & 8th Machine Gun Company
John James Giddy - Information
John was the first born of Esdras and Julia Giddy, born in Camden c1888. The Giddys lived in Mulgoa for a time, and then relocated after Julia passed away in 1910. Starting a new life in Commandant Hill in Kempsey, John found work as a timber cutter. Joining the colours, he signed up on the 2nd of September 1915 in Newcastle, at the age of 28. Assigned to the 3rd Reinforcements, 30th Battalion, he then boarded the HMAT Ballarat in Sydney on the 16th of February 1916.
John arrived in Suez, Egypt in late March, meeting the 30th Battalion on the 1st of April at Ferry Post. In mid June, he left Alexandria for Marseilles. He was not in the lines long, when he and his unit were introduced to the horrors of trench warfare, during the Battle of Fromelles. Here, John along with many from his unit, were wounded in action on the 20th of July. An artillery shell exploded, sending shrapnel into his thigh. The next day, he was treated at the 3rd Canadian General Hospital in Boulonge. Some months later, he had recovered from his wound and was taken to the 5th Australian Division Base Depot. From here, he was transferred to the 14th and then 8th Machine Gun Company. At the time, the troops on the Western Front were encumbered by the worst winter of the war. Heavy rains and bitter cold turned the battlefields and trenches into pools of mud. Many soldiers unfortunately endured lengthy periods stuck in cold wet mud. Consequently, John reported to hospital on the 3rd of December with trench foot. Treated at the 1st Australian General Hospital in Rouen, he was then evacuated to England to the 3rd London General Hospital. His feet were in a bad way. The flesh had started to fall away from his toe, becoming infected and forming an ulcer. It was painful for John to walk. Sadly, while he was still in hospital, his younger brother, George, died of wounds received in action in early April 1917. Suffering with this painful condition and the loss of an adoring brother would have been most taxing. Despite treatment, his feet never fully recovered, and he was consequently invalided home to Australia on the 27th of July 1917. He received his medical discharge in October and returned home to his family in Kempsey.