Corporal Alexander Gordon Mitchell


Alexander Mitchell was born on 22 August 1893, the last of three children of Scottish-born land steward (later estate agent) William Geddes Mitchell and his wife Minnie (née Pattison). His mother died of influenza when he was just five years old. By the time of the 1911 Census he was living as a boarder at 33 Ponsonby Avenue, Belfast, and working as an engine fitter.

Mitchell enlisted in the North Irish Horse at Belfast on 1 September 1914 (No.1068). He gave his address as 146 Seacliffe Road, Bangor, and stated that he had served four years of a five-year engineering apprenticeship with the shipbuilding firm Harland & Wolff.

On 1 May 1915 he embarked for France with D Squadron, which at the time was serving as divisional cavalry to the 51st Division. In May 1916 D Squadron came together with A and E Squadrons to form the 1st North Irish Horse Regiment, serving as corps cavalry to VII Corps. Mitchell was promoted to lance corporal (unpaid) on 14 October 1916.

On 23 March 1917 he was transferred to the Machine Gun Corps (Heavy Branch) – the forerunner of the Tank Corps – no doubt because of his engineering skills, becoming the third North Irish Horseman to join an armoured regiment. He was issued regimental number 77144. On 20 July 1917 he was posted to the Tank Corps' Central Works establishment in France, remaining there until the end of the war.

Mitchell was promoted to corporal on 1 May 1918.

On 18 January 1919 he left France for the UK where, on 16 February, he was demobilised and transferred to Class Z, Army Reserve.