Lance Corporal Robert Alexander Mitchell


Robert Alexander Mitchell was born on 11 June 1897 at 77 Long Tower Street, Londonderry, the last of five children of general labourer Robert Mitchell and his wife Mary Jane (née Canning). His mother died when he was just eight years old. By the time of the 1911 Census he was living in Long Tower Street with his father and three of his siblings.

Mitchell enlisted in the North Irish Horse on 9 or 10 September 1914 (No.1194). On 20 January 1915 he embarked for France with a draft of reinforcements for A and C Squadrons – Mitchell was probably posted to the latter.

In June 1916 C Squadron combined with F Squadron and the 6th (Inniskilling) Dragoons Service Squadron to form the 2nd North Irish Horse Regiment, serving as corps cavalry to X Corps until September 1917, when the regiment was disbanded and its men transferred to the infantry. Like most, Mitchell was posted to the 9th (Service) Battalion, Royal Irish Fusiliers – renamed the 9th (North Irish Horse) Battalion – on 20 September, joining it in the field at Ruyaulcourt five days later. He was issued regimental number 41223 and posted to D Company. He probably saw action with the battalion at the Battle of Cambrai in November and December 1917.

Mitchell was one of the many posted as missing following the 9th (NIH) Battalion's fighting withdrawal from St Quentin from 21 to 28 March 1918 during the German spring offensive. It was later learned that he had been captured on 22 March. He remained a prisoner until the end of the war, held at the Stendal camp.

Following his repatriation, Mitchell was demobilised and transferred to Class Z, Army Reserve, on 3 April 1919.