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John Taylor Mitchell


WW1 - The Ypres Salient Battlefields, Belgium

169682 Gunner

‘D’ Battery, 187th Brigade, Royal Field Artillery, 41st Division Artillery

Age: 23

Date of Death: 9.8.17

Buried: Godewaersvelde British Cemetery I.C.43

Family history: Son of Findlay and Agnes Mitchell, 44 Wallace Street, Grangemouth. John was employed as a house painter in his fathers business.


The action leading to his death

The 41st Divisional artillery were engaged in fire support for the advance towards Zantvoorde in what was known as the Battle of Pilkem Ridge. X Corps, which included the 41st Division, on the left of Second Army, used the 41st Division along a front of some 2,000 yards in order to provide support for the Fifth Army’s main attack on the Gheluvelt plateau. The X Corps front included the obstacles of the Ypres - Comines canal and the embankment of the Ypres - Comines railway. The ruins of the Hollebeke village were on their right about 500 yards west of the canal. The heavy rains and the artillery fire in the weeks leading up to the offensive had turned the ground into a mass of water-filled shell holes which was very heavy to cross.

WW1 - The Ypres Salient Battlefields, Belgium
Linesman Map

As planned, the X Corps artillery was engaged in counter battery fire with the German guns behind Zantvoorde hill, this was to protect the right flank of II Corps, Fifth Army, with the bombardments of the X Corps front being lighter. On the 6 August 1917, the War Diary for 187th Brigade records that ‘D’ Battery was shelled in the early afternoon and one gun was knocked out of action with three other ranks wounded. John was one of the wounded. He died of his wounds to the head, chest, arms, legs, and body at the Casualty Clearing Station at Godewaersvelde. He was buried in the nearby cemetery.

WW1 - The Ypres Salient Battlefields, Belgium
Ruins of a German bunker in the embankment of the Ypres to Comines railway. This would have been shelled by the 41st Divisional artillery. Authors image.

WW1 - The Ypres Salient Battlefields, Belgium
WM BOX 7009-13-6BO-28P-1917 Hollebeke Chateau

Medals Awarded

Victory Medal, British War Medal

WW1 - The Ypres Salient Battlefields, Belgium

Headstone

WW1 - The Ypres Salient Battlefields, Belgium
He shares a grave. Authors image.

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