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100928 LANCE CORPORAL
HERBERT RICHARD MITCHELL
Royal Engineers
by
Lieutenant Colonel Edward De Santis 2008

Herbert Richard Mitchell was born at Peckham, Surrey, the son of Mrs. A. Mitchell. He enlisted as a Sapper in the Royal Engineers at Camberwell in the Greater London area and was posted to the 89th Field Company, Royal Engineers with the 14th (Light) Division.

The 89th Field Company was deployed to France and Flanders with the 14th (Light) Division and first saw action at Hooge on the 19th and 30th of July 1915, and at Hooge again on the 9th of August 1915. During the following year, Mitchell and his company took part in the Battle of Delville Wood from the 15th of July to the 3rd of September 1916. The company was next committed to action at Flers-Courcelette from the 15th to the 22nd of September 1916.

In the spring of 1917 the 89th Field Company was in the Scarpe sector. Mitchell had been promoted to the rank of Lance Corporal by this time. On the 18th of March 1917 the 14th (Light) Division attacked Beaurains, a village on the southern outskirts of Arras. Beaurains was captured that day after only slight resistance by the Germans. Lance Corporal Mitchell was killed in action on the 22nd of March 1917, probably during the division’s consolidation of the captured Beaurains position.

Lance Corporal Mitchell was buried at the Beaurains Road Cemetery, Beaurains, Pas de Calais, France. This cemetery, which had been begun only a few days before his death, is located just north of the village on the road from Arras. Burials in the cemetery, sometimes known as the Ronville Forward Cemetery, were carried out by the 14th (Light) Division Burial Officer.

At that time of her son’s death, Mrs. Mitchell was residing at 13 Lancaster Gardens, Southend-on-Sea in Essex.

Sources:

1. Royal Engineers Honours and Awards. The Royal Engineers Journal, 1925-1932.
2. Hayward, J.B. Soldiers Died in the Great War. Part 4. The Royal Engineers. J.B. Hayward & Son. Polstead, Suffolk, 1989.
3. Commonwealth War Graves Commission web site, July 1999.

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