Lt Thomas Mitchell, Somerset Light Infantry,QSA

1874 Dec 6. Born Leuchars, Guardbridge, Fife (this is the only Thomas Mitchell born within 5 years in Leuchars)

1881 census at Cot House Of Somprim, Airlie

MITCHELL, Thomas Head Married M 27 1854 Farm Serv
Crail, Fifeshire
MITCHELL, Margaret Wife Married F 30 1851
Fetteresso, Kincardine
MITCHELL, Robert Son M 7 1874
Kilmany, Fifeshire
MITCHELL, Thomas Son M 6 1875
Dairsie, Fifeshire
MITCHELL, William Son M 4 1877
Flisk, Fifeshire
MITCHELL, Agnes Daughter F 3 1878
Abdie, Fifeshire
MITCHELL, Betsy Daughter F 1 1880
Airlie, Forfarshire
ANDERSON, Agnes Visitor Married F 67 1814
Fetteresso, Kincardine

1891 census

1892 Apr 12. Joins Royal Highlanders on a 7 years colours, 5 years reserve contract. He was a butcher or batcher.

1896 Dec 14. Married Annabella Duff in Dundee.

1897 Oct 30. Son born Thomas Aitken Mitchell in Perth.

1899 Oct 22 Posted to South Africa

1900 Jan 23. He is a reservist called up for Boer War.

1901 Apr 10. Reduced to Private on a drunk on duty charge plus 28 days in gaol.

1902 Aug 24. Posted back to UK

1904 Oct 10. Discharged at end of contract.

1911 census at Fairmuir, Dundee, he is a police sergeant. This is the right man, his record in the army links through

1916 Dec 15. Commissioned 2nd Lt in Somerset Light Infantry

1917 Sep Landed in France

1918 Mar 22.
"Of the four platoons in my company, only three were commanded by officers, but Sergeant Wood who was in charge of the fourth was an excellent N.C.O. Of my officers, Squibb was small but sturdy, with a cheerful outlook on things, and a practical turn that had often been of  great help to me. Mitchell, the last joined, a Scotsman, was an older man, old enough to be my father. It was reported that he had been a corporal in the Guards, and also at one time a policeman. This was the first time I had been with him in the line, but already I knew he had splendid stuff in him and that the company had acquired a real asset when he joined us." Written by Captain H.A.Foley, who was Mitchell's company commander. (It was D Company of the 7th Somerset Light Infantry.) This quote can be found on p.127 of the book Scrap Book of the 7th Bn Somerset Light Infantry, published 1933 by Aylesbury.

“It was thus essential for immediate steps to be taken to deny them [the Germans] any ready-made means of crossing the canal. I accordingly hastened to the R.E. officer’s [Royal Engineers] dug-out, but found to my dismay that he and his assistants had gone.
At this point Mitchell joined me. He saw the gravity of the situation, and instantly presented an example of the power which training and discipline can exercise on the human mind. Among a large quantity of explosive substances in the R.E. dug-out we found a box of Mills bombs. Mitchell immediately conceived the idea of destroying the footbridge by throwing bombs at it; and this he proceeded to do, not in the way I should have chosen, by lying protected behind the bank and thence hurling his missiles, but by standing on the bank in full view of the other side, and carrying out what can only be described as a dignified form of bombing practice. I wouldn’t swear to it, but I am almost certain I heard him counting three after drawing the pin.
No hostile shot rang out. If any enemy were watching, they were too much impressed by this exhibition of how to throw a Mills bomb to fire. But it was apparent at once that Mills bombs as bridge destructors were a complete failure.” [A corporal is eventually able to use the demolition charges in the Royal Engineer’s dugout to blow up the bridges.] pages 128-129

1918 Mar 23 Taken POW 2nd Lt T Mitchell, 7th bn Somerset Light Infantry

Later on the same page. They leave St Simon, and move down to protect the canal SE of the town. “Mitchell and Squibb went off independently by other routes and that was the last I saw of them until eventually we met in a prison camp in Germany.” Pg129

The 7th Somerset Light Infantry were taking positions to defend the Crozat Canal against the German Spring Offensive. On March 24th, the company would be heavily engaged by German forces that flanked them on the right, and suffered massive casualties. Foley, Squibb and Mitchell were all captured. The official record of POWs lists Mitchell as being captured on March 21st 1918, but that was the day the German offensive kicked off. The actual combat in which Mitchell was captured was on March 24th near the Crozat Canal SE of St Simon.

1918 Dec 25 Repatriated to UK from POW camps

1919 Apr 15 Promoted Inspector and Drill Instructor in Dundee Police Sgt Thomas Mitchell

1919 May 24. Inspector in Dundee Police.

1920 Oct 14. Joined ADRIC with service no 732. Posted to Depot Coy DI3 grade

1920 Nov 5. Commands a group of 20 ADRIC men at a funeral of 2 murdered RIC constables in England. They were inspected by Lloyd George

1920 Nov 21. A group of 17 ADRIC men under the command of T Mitchell, (who was awarded the Constabulary Medal for his bravery here) got involved in the Bloody Sunday assassinations at Mount St.

1921 Feb 6 to 19 Feb on

1921 Feb 21. Promoted DI2 at Depot and 2nd in Command

1921 May 7 Awarded Constabulary medal for his bravery on 20 Nov, when he was involved in one of the running fights at Mount Street following the murders of the British officers.

1921 May 14. Posted to J Coy as 2nd in Command

Brady in The Briar of Life describes him. He had a fierce expression. He looked like a wolf, but had the nature of a sheep. He was middle aged and squat. He wore black leggings, and walked with his toes turned out and his knees partly bent. He drank brandy to make himself drunk, and black coffee to make himself sober for duty. He was as flatulent as my godmother Gran Hawke. He passed wind so explosively that the men he commanded called him "Old Hotchkiss"

1921 Jun 6 to 12 Jun on Leave

1922 Jan 23. Discharged at demobilisation of ADRIC

1922 Oct 6. Thomas Mitchell, ex police inspector, aged 47, of 143 Victoria Rd, Dundee, applies for job as Deputy Governor of the Poor House in Dundee

1923 Aug 11. Sets off for Canada

1923 Dec 19. He moved to Canada

He was at some stage in Saskatoon and may have served at some time with the Royal Canadian Mounted Police. He was involved in liquor raids during prohibition. My parents have further information and if I am able to get a copy of an article I recall seeing I will see if I can upload it.

1961 Apr 19. Died in Vancouver, British Columbia,



WO 339/74090