Private George MITCHELL
 

Regiment/Service:
Leicestershire Regiment
Unit:
1st Battalion
Service Number:
40926 - CWGC (40928 - MIC)
Date of Death:
11 September 1917 - Killed in Action
Age:
21 (actually 25)
Cemetery / Memorial:
Grave Reference:
II. F. 1.



Personal History:


George was born in the March quarter 1892, the son of Henry (Gardener) and Sarah (Charwoman) (née Smith?) Mitchell. In 1901 (Census RG 13/3269) George and his younger brother, John William [Jack] (see Footnote below), were living with their parents at 14 Jubilee Cottages, Buxton.

The family had six children, but the 1911 Census (RG 14/21241) shows only George and his brother surviving. At that time they were living at 12 South Street, Buxton, and George was employed as a 'Library Assistant - Public'. He acted as a "Server" and chorister at St James' Church, Buxton.

Military History:
George enlisted in the Leicestershire Regiment at Buxton and his Service Records do not appear to have survived. His Medal Index Card does not show when he entered the War with the Battalion which usually suggests after 1915, as he was not eligible for the 1914-15 Star medal.

Men with Service Numbers 40927 and 40931 both have date of entries of 24th January 1917, so it is most likely that George entered the War on the same date. Bearing this in mind the most likely date for his enlistment would be October 1916. The 1st Battalion had originally entered France in the early days of the War and on 17th November 1915 had transferred to the 71st Brigade in the 6th Division. He would have joined the Battalion before the Division took part in The Battle of Hill 70, (15th - 25th August 1917).

The Battalion War Diary shows that by September 1917 George's Battalion was in the area around Loos, in the Hill 70 sector. They alternated between short periods in the trenches before taking breaks back in their billets.

On the 11th September 1917 The Battalion was in the front line in the Hill 70 sector, according to the War Diary, which reads:

"The Battalion entered the front line.
At 2.15 a.m. Relief reported complete.
Disposition as follows:- B Company right front line. A Company left front line. C Company support. D Company reserve.
Battalion HQ's Bugs Alley. Sector, Hill 70 sector.
Quiet day in line.
At 8.00 a.m. Warning order received advising our relief night of 14th/15th by a unit of the 18th Infantry Brigade.
Casualties, other ranks A Company 1 killed and 2 wounded. B Company 1 killed and 5 wounded."

George was, therefore, either in 'A' or 'B' Company and in the front line when he was killed. 'The Buxton Advertiser' re-printed a letter to George's parents from his Platoon Officer which stated that he had been killed instantly by a German shell on the night of 10th/11th September as the Battalion arrived to take over the trenches from another Battalion, and that he was buried the next day with full military honours.

The others of the 1st Battalion who died on the same day were Pt. 19531 Samson FULFORD,
who was the other man killed in action, and Pt. 16531 William BEASLEY, one who later died of
wounds, and in all the Battalion lost 13 men in the month. Private Fulford is buried near to George
in St Patrick's Cemetery, Loos (Grave II. F. 5.).

Sources:
· I am grateful to Adam Llewellyn for the War Diary extracts
· 'The Buxton Advertiser' - 15 and 22 September 1917

Footnotes:
· George's only surviving brother, Pt. 242300 John William MITCHELL, enlisted in the 2/6th Bn., Sherwood
   Foresters Regiment on 13 November 1915. He became a prisoner-of-war in Germany following the Spring
  on 21 March 1918. He was discharged on 4 July 1919 and was awarded the Silver War Badge (B246516).


Commemorated on:
There is a Special Memorial to George in Buxton Library
George is also named on the British Library's WW1 Memorial Board in St Pancras, London.
  [Another Buxton man - Henry Stephen Brunt - is commemorated on the same Memorial.]

(N.B. There are 2 'George Mitchells' on Buxton Memorials - there is no way really of
          knowing to which the Memorial names refer)

St Mary's Church Memorial, Buxton (Probably this 'George', bearing in mind his address.)


Link to CWGC Record
Pt George Mitchell's grave
Memorial Plaque in Buxton Library
poppy
British Library Memorial Board
Pt George Mitchell