Mitchell, Gordon

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Mitchell, Gordon

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Gordon Mitchell was born in Bonnybridge, Stirlingshire on 15th of May 1895, one of 7 surviving children of Mary Ann and James Mitchell, a foundry pattern maker. Gordon commenced his studies at The Glasgow School of Art in 1917 taking evening classes in architecture while working as an apprentice architect. He was joined at The Glasgow School of Art by his younger brother George, an apprentice stone carver, in the 1911/12 session when both brothers took evening classes in drawing and painting. Gordon returned to study architecture from 1912 until 1914, while his brother George took an evening class in modelling in 1913. In WW1, Gordon Mitchell served as 2nd Lieutenant with the Royal Engineers 96th Field Company. The Royal Engineers played a vitally important technical role in WW1 including designing and building front line fortifications, railways, roads, water supplies and bridges. They also developed responses to chemical and underground warfare and maintained weapons, transport and communication lines. The 96th Field Company was attached to the 20th (Light) Division, an infantry division of the British Army, part of Kitchener's Army (K2) formed in September 1914. The division landed in France in July 1915 and spent the duration of the First World War in action on the Western Front taking part in many of the important offensives. In 1916, the 20th (Light) Division was involved in significant battles at Delville Wood, Guillemont, Flers-Courcelette and Morval as part of the 1916 Somme campaign. In 1917, the 20th (Light) Division was involved in The Third Battle of Ypres or Passchendaele, a major offensive which began with some positive gains but exceptionally wet summer weather turned the battlefield into a quagmire. By August the offensive was failing in its objectives. The 20th Light Division took part in The Battle of Langmark, 16 – 18th August 1917, as part of the Fifth Army under General Gough. British casualties were around 15,000 men with virtually no progress made. Gordon Mitchell died on the 17th of August 1917 aged 22, most likely at this battle. He is buried at Bard Cottage Cemetery near Ypres, designed by Sir Reginald Blomfield, one of 1639 casualties buried or commemorated at this cemetery. Gordon Mitchell is commemorated on The Glasgow School of Art's First World War Roll of Honour.

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Sources: Scotland's People: http://www.scotlandspeople.gov.uk ;The National Archives: discovery.nationalarchives.gov.uk; Forces War Records: http://www.forces-war-records.co.uk; The Long Long Trail http://www.longlongtrail.co.uk; Commonwealth War Graves Commission http://www.cwgc.org

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