Walter James MITCHELL

Walter James MITCHELL

Per his military service record (regimental no. 4842),  Walter James Mitchell was born at Cobar, N.S.W.[1]  He gave his age as 37 years and 5 months, his marital status as married, and his occupation as Contractor.  His description on his Certificate of Medical Examination was height 5 feet 7 inches tall, weight 147 lbs., with a fair complexion, grey eyes, and light brown hair.  His religious denomination was Presbyterian. He claimed to have had no previous military service.

A send-off was held on Thursday 28th October 1915 at the Court House Hotel in Cobar for Walter and his brother Robert Mitchell, Norman Franciso, and Andrew Lennox, and they were then cheered by many friends when they left Cobar by train on 30th October 1915 to join the A.I.F.[2]

Walter Mitchell completed his medical examination, and was attested, at Dubbo on 2nd November 1915, (the day the Coo-ees were at Lithgow).

Walter and his brother Robert Mitchell, Andrew Lennox, and Norman Francisco then travelled to catch up with the Coo-ees, and  were waiting to join the Coo-ee March when the Coo-ees arrived at Mt. Victoria two days later, on 4th November 1915.[3]

After completing the Coo-ee March he went to Liverpool Camp as reinforcement for the 13th Battalion.

On his embarkation roll his address at time of enrolment was Cobar, N.S.W., and his next of kin was listed as his wife, Mrs H. G. [Henrietta] Mitchell, C/o W. Mitchell, Cobar, N.S.W.  His rank was listed as Acting Corporal.[4]

A farewell was held at the Masonic Hall in Cobar at the Masonic Hall on Friday 3rd March 1916 to bid farewell to Corporal Walter Mitchell, and his brother Private Bob Mitchell, and Private Fred Duncan. The Western Age reported that  ‘Corporal Walter Mitchell, on rising to respond on behalf of himself and his comrades, was loudly cheered’, and in a ‘very affected speech he said words failed to thank to people of Cobar for all the kind remarks and their nice presents’, and that they would ‘cherish them wherever it was their lot to be sent’, and that it was a ‘great wrench for him to go, but he realised duty had to be done, and he was going to do his little bit’.[5]

On 8th March 1916 Acting Corporal Mitchell, along with his brother, and many of the other Coo-ees, departed Sydney on the HMAT A15 Star of England, with the 15th reinforcements for the 13th Battalion.  He arrived in Egypt on 11th April 1916.

On 16th April 1916 he was transferred to the 4th Division Artillery at Tel-el-Kebir, and taken on strength of the 10th Field Artillery Brigade, with the rank of Gunner.

On 22nd May 1916 Gunner Mitchell was transferred to the 37th Battery.

On 5th June 1916 Gunner Mitchell left Alexandria aboard the HMT Oriana bound for France.  He arrived at Marseilles on 13th June 1916.

On 24th October 1916 Gunner Mitchell was taken on the strength of the 10th Field Artillery Brigade.

On 25th October 1916 Gunner Mitchell was appointed as a Temporary Bombardier.

On 9th March 1917 Temporary Bombardier Mitchell was sent to the 4th Australian Field Ambulance sick. On 12th March 1917 he was moved back to a Casualty Clearing Station, and reverted to the rank of Gunner.

On 19th April 1917 he was placed aboard the 20th Ambulance Train, and evacuated to the 14th Stationary Hospital at Boulogne, France.

On 22nd April 1917 Gunner Mitchell was placed aboard Hospital Ship Jan Breydel for evacuation to England, with meningitis.

On 23rd April he was admitted to the Addington Park War Hospital outside London, England.

On 18th May 1917 Gunner Mitchell was transferred to the Royal Herbert Hospital at Woolwich, England.

On 8th August 1917 he was transferred to the 1st Australian Auxiliary Hospital at Harefield Park, England.

Gunner Mitchell was discharged on the 18th of August 1917, and sent to the No. 2 Command Depot at Weymouth, England.

On 27th September 1917 Gunner Mitchell departed England aboard the H.T.  Suevic bound for Australia, for medical discharge with Myalgia debility after C. S. Fever.

He arrived in Australia on 20th November 1917.

Private Mitchell was welcomed home and presented with a silver cup by the people of Cobar, and the Red Cross Association, at the Masonic Hall in Cobar on 5th December 1917.[6]

Private Mitchell was discharged medically unfit on 31st January 1918.

 

[1] NAA: B2455, MITCHELL WALTER JAMES

[2] ‘Summary’, Western Age, 30 October 1915, p. 2. Retrieved August 5, 2017, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article136723099

[3] ‘Summary’, Western Age, 6 November 1915, p. 2. Retrieved April 4, 2017, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article136724708

[4] Australia War Memorial. First World War Embarkation Rolls, Walter James Mitchell, HMAT Star of England A15, 8th March 1916.

[5] ‘Cobar’s Farewell’, Western Age (Dubbo, NSW : 1914 – 1932), 10 March 1916, p. 2. Retrieved August 5, 2017, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article136721446

[6] ‘Cobar Soldiers’ Red Cross Association’,Western Age, 7 December 1917, p. 3. Retrieved August 5, 2017, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article136909226

 

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