Sergeant John Mitchell

Sergeant John James Mitchell, 1st/6th Battalion, Black Watch. He was killed in action in France , aged 21, on the 20th July 1918. He was born in Newstead to Thomas and Violet Mitchell of St. John’s Cottage, Newstead, Melrose and is buried in La-Neuville-Aux-Larris, Military Cemetery, Marne, France. Originally he had been with the Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders but had been posted to the Black Watch. The Battalion was part of the 51st Highland Division and had been attached to the French Army to help in countering further German attacks. In fact the Division were ordered into an attack on the 20th at the Bois de Courton. The men fought their way through this dense wood full of German machine guns. This they did until open ground was reached and a line consolidated. The Battalion was finally withdrawn on the 29th having suffered 5 Officers and 45 Other Ranks killed with 20 Officers and 350 Other Ranks wounded. In addition 1 Officer and 33 Other Ranks were posted missing thus reducing the Battalion to 140 All Ranks. For their actions the French decorated the Battalion with a Citation in Army Orders which carries a Croix de Guerre.

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