Gordon Earl Mitchell

First Name: 
Gordon
Middle Name: 
Earl
Last Name: 
Mitchell
Date Enlisted: 
Wednesday, June 14, 1916
Rank at Enlistment: 
Private
Unit: 
45th Battalion
Company: 
C Company
Service: 
Infantry
Awards: 
British War Medal
Victory Medal
Details: 

Gordon Earl Mitchell (Service No 2678) was born in 1885.

He lived on Pioneer Road, Bellambi with his wife Minnie Ellen Mitchell and worked as a carpenter at the time of his enlistment.

He was in his early thirties when he enlisted in the war and joined the 45th Battalion 6 Reinforcements.

After enlisting on 19 June 1916, it was nearly four months before Gordon Mitchell left Australia. The troop carrier took six weeks to reach Plymouth and from there he went to Codford camp for training on Salisbury Plain for nearly three months. During that time he was admitted to hospital with a cold. Gordon did not join the Battalion until March 1917.

The Messines Ridge Offensive began on 7 June. There was a two hour delay due to having to wait to synchronise with a British attack. Because of the delay, the message did not reach the Battalion in time and the men were already over the crest of the ridge and in full view which gave the Germans warning and time to prepare. The German counter attack led to every officer being killed or wounded. There was also a misunderstanding amongst the Allies’ artillery and they inflicted casualties on their own men. Gordon was wounded on that day, taking a bullet in the right shoulder. That bullet was never removed.

The 45th Battalion including Gordon were involved in action at Broodenseinde, Spoilbank and Hollebeke.

On 5 April 1918 at Dernancourt, the 45th Battalion suffered 27 killed, 80 wounded and 10 missing. Gordon was one of the missing. He had been gassed and taken prisoner by the Germans.

After the war, he was repatriated from Germany, reaching England on 22 November. He was in hospital for a few weeks, had a few weeks leave and then waited few weeks waiting for a ship. He eventually left England on 9 February 1919. It took six weeks to get home and his mother died halfway through his journey back.

Upon his return, he waited six months before his official discharge from the AIF. He was pronounced medically unfit, debilitated at 34 years of age. He survived the war but it took a heavy toll on his health; he died in his mid-60s from the effects of the gas.

 

Sources: 
Lee, J.E, The Chronicle of the 45th Battalion A.I.F, Australian Defence League, Sydney, 1926.
NAA: B2455, MITCHELL GORDON EARL

Images

Milton House in Bellambi

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