Private George MITCHELL
 

Regiment/Service:
Middlesex Regiment
(Duke of Cambridge's Own)
Unit:
4th Battalion
Service Number:
G/7424
Date of Death:
15 December 1915  - Killed in Action
Age:
21
Cemetery / Memorial:
Grave Reference:
E. 2.



Personal History:


George was born at Bridge Farm, Hartington in the December quarter 1894, the son of George (Water Bailiff) and Harriett Mitchell. He had two younger siblings, Edith and Norman. (1901 Census RG 13/3271)

Ten years later (1911 Census RG 14/21239) the family had moved to 2 New Cottages, Ladmanlow, Buxton, and four more children had been added, William, Sydney, Nellie and Annie Elizabeth. George was working as an "Errand Boy". By the time of George's CWGC entry the family had moved to 4 Lyme Terrace, Burbage, Buxton.

Military History:
George enlisted in the Middlesex Regiment at Buxton and his service records do not appear to have survived. His Medal Index Card shows that he entered the war with the Battalion on the 19th October 1915. (Comparison with [a limited number of] other Service Numbers indicates that he would have enlisted in the middle of January 1915.)

The 4th Battalion, the Middlesex Regiment, were in Devonport, part of 8th Brigade in the 3rd Division, at the outbreak of the War and were posted immediately to France, landing on the 14th August 1914 Boulogne. Just before George was killed his Battalion were transferred to the 63rd Brigade in the 21st Division (14th November 1915).

George joined his Battalion at the end of The Battle of Loos, (25th September - 18th October 1915), but lost his life after just 68 days in France.

Rather unusually, for a Private, George's death is mentioned in the Battalion War Diary. At the time of his death the 4th Battalion was in Armentières, and on the 13th December had relieved the 5th Lincolnshire Regiment at 5.00 p.m. Shelling of the billets began about 4.00 p.m., and Pt. J. W. Bayley was killed. The following day, the 14th, was "… quiet and wet ..". Cpl. C. T. Hollingsworth was killed by a sniper.

The War Diary for the 15th reads:

"….. we bombarded the Trenches opposite No 69 & 70 Trenches preparatory to a 'cutting out' enterprise which was to take place early on the 16th. The enemy barbed wire was well cut and our heavy artillery which fired on the RAILWAY SALIENT did good shooting.

During the day we sustained one casualty though fairly heavily shelled. 7424 Pte. MITCHELL being killed."

The objective of the "Cutting Out" enterprise was scheduled to begin at 12.30 a.m. on the 16th and was detailed in the Diary of the 63rd Brigade:

"... with the object of killing Germans, taking some prisoners and destroying a mineshaft if found. No attempt is to be made to retain any portion of the enemy's trench which may be captured. The period of occupation of the enemy's trenches to be limited to 20 minutes."

Chapelle-d'Armentières New Military Cemetery, where George now lies, was begun in October 1915, when the Old Cemetery was closed, and it was used for three months for casualties from the nearby front line. George seems particularly unfortunate as, despite being in the front line, the 4th Battalion suffered just 5 casualties in the 10 days either side of his death.


Sources:
· The Buxton Advertiser, 8 January 1915
· I am grateful to Colin Taylor for the War Diary extracts

Commemorated on:
(N.B. There are 2 'George Mitchells' on Buxton Memorials - there is no way really of
          knowing to which the Memorial names refer)
Burbage Church Memorial (Probably this 'George', bearing in mind his address.)


Link to CWGC Record
Pt George Mitchell's grave
Pt George Mitchell
poppy