The Men from Hyde – James John Mitchell

James John Mitchell was born in the third quarter of 1868 on Portsea Island, Portsmouth.  His story is best told through this article from Hampshire Chronicle, May 12th, 1917:


Many heard with regret on Tuesday, May 8th, of the death, which took place at the Red Cross Hospital, St. Thomas’ Street, of Sergt. James Mitchell, Hampshire Regt., at the age of 49 years. The deceased, who was probably as well known in the regiment as any N.C.O.

in peace time, and through whose hands many thousands of recruits have passed, was for several years attached to the Hampshire Depot as gymnasium instructor. On the completion of his twenty-one years of service he retired into civil life about eight or nine years ago, obtaining employment at Sheffield. When the war broke out he was one of the first to rejoin, and was posted to the Depot as drill instructor, which appointment he held until in July of last year he was taken ill. He recovered, however, sufficiently to permit of his return to duty, but early in the present year he was again taken seriously ill, and had been in hospital ever since. He passed away, as already stated, on Tuesday morning.

The late Sergt. Mitchell held the Long Service and Good Conduct Medal. He leaves a widow and five children. His father, Mr. Robert P. Mitchell, who resides at Woolston, is an old Crimean veteran (Royal Navy), and two of his brothers have been connected with the Navy; one, Mr. Tom Mitchell, being an ex-Chief Stoker, and the other, Mr.Fred Mitchell, a Chief Stoker, who is still serving. The funeral took place with full military honours on Friday, May 11th, the Garrison Chapel. The Rev. Precentor Wickham, as Chaplain of the Red Cross Hospital, officiated. The coffin, covered with the Union Jack, was borne from the house, 38, Hyde Abbey Road, to the Cemetery in a Washington car, preceded by the band of the 2nd Batt. Hampshire Regt., under Mr. W. H. Orbinski, playing funeral marches en route, and a firing party, under Sergt. Sheward.

Immediately behind walked Sister Hardwicke, Nurses Riddell, Warner, and Addington, from the Red Cross Hospital, and three wounded soldiers, named Salter, Wiltshire, and Tracey; also Captain Hunt, Lieut. Emerson, Sergt.-Major H. Cross, and a number of staff-sergeants and sergeants of the Depot and Service Battalions, Hampshire Regt., a company of men, as also Mrs. Hughes, the Misses Wareham, Schoolmaster Summers, Barrack-wardens Roberts, Hill, and Gostelo v, Mr. and Mrs. W. T. McCall, and others. The family mourners present were the widow and three of the children, Mr. Robert P. Mitchell (father), Ex- Chief Stoker Thomas Mitchell, R .N. (brother), Mrs. Appleby (sister), Mrs. E. Mitchell (sister in- law), and Mr. Symonds (friend). After the coffin had been lowered into the grave the firing party fired three volleys over the grave, and the buglers sounded the “Last Post.” The coffin was of polished oak, and the inscription on the breastplate ran: “James Mitchell, died May 8th, 1917, aged 49 years.”

Several beautiful wreaths were laid by the graveside, these being sent as follows: ” With love to my darling husband, from his loving and sorrowing wife and children ” ; To dear Jim, from his two sailor brothers, Tom and Jim ” ; ” With deepest sympathy from sister Agnes and family ” ; ” With deepest sympathy, from father, to my dear son, Jim ” With sympathy, from Sister Hardwicke and the nurses of ‘ Jellicoe ‘ Ward, Red Cross Hospital” ; “With sincere sympathy and deep regret from Col. H . G. Westmorland and officers of the Hampshire Depot “;” With sincere sympathy, from the W .O.’s, Staff sergeants, and Sergeants, Hants Depot ‘, ” From old comrades, members of the Sergeants ‘ Mess, Hants Regiment, Gosport ” With sympathy and remembrance, from Mr. and Mrs. W. McCall and Kathie,” etc. Messrs. Stroud and Sons carried out the funeral arrangements. The widow and relatives of the late Sergt. J. Mitchell wish to return their sincerest thanks for the kind sympathy in their recent bereavement, and also for the beautiful flowers sent; also to the officers, non-commissioned officers, and men, Hampshire Regiment, for their presence at the funeral, and to the doctors, the Matron, sisters, and nurses of the Red Cross Hospital, St. Thomas’ Street, for all their kind attention to Sergt. Mitchell in his long and serious illness.

Also these three further pieces from the Chronicle:


Just at the hour appointed for the meeting, half-past two, the funeral cortege of the late Sergt. J. Mitchell, of the Hampshire Regt, was crossing the Barrack Square, and at the sound of the band all present at the meeting rose to their feet, and remained standing till the music had ceased in the distance. Sergt. Mitchell was present at the annual meeting of the Fund last year.

MITCHELL On May 8th, at the Red Cross Hospital, St. Thomas Street, Winchester, James John Mitchell, Sergt. Hampshire Regiment, dearly-beloved husband of Jean Mitchell, 38, Hyde Abbey Road, Winchester, aged 49.

3/5226 Sgt James Mitchell, died 8.5.1917. Was serving at the Depot, Hampshire Regiment. Buried at Winchester (West Hill) Old Cemetery.

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