934 Private Albert Edward Mitchell WIA
20th Infantry Battalion, 5th Infantry Brigade, 2nd Division
1st Australian Imperial Force 1914-1919

This file last updated 31 August, 2018 19:51

Introduction

The following information and chronological table are a summary of the entries from the World War One service record of Albert Edward Mitchell.

Note that some of the service record pages are duplicated - presumably when the unit and Army records were amalgamated on discharge.

Service numbers were allocated by unit, and are not unique to the individual.

This picture dated 3 December 1921

Clive Mitchell-Taylor - 22 October 1996 - grandson of Albert Mitchell

View Albert Mitchell's Service record


Enlistment Details

Service Number

934

Name

Albert Edward Mitchell

Born at

Parish of Walkden, Town of Manchester, County of Lancashire, England

Age

19 years 7 months as at 22 Mar 1915

Trade or Calling

Farm Hand

Marital Status

Single

Next of Kin

Father - Mr Albert Edward Mitchell
16 Knowesley Ave.,
Eccles, Manchester, England

Previous Military Service

No

Attested at

Liverpool NSW

Date of Enlistment

25 March 1915

Height

5 foot 5 inches [165cm]

Weight

127 pounds [57.7Kg]

Chest

29-33 inches [73.5cm - 84cm]

Eyes

Good Grey

Hair

Light Brown

Religious Denomination

Church of England

Units

20th Battalion, 5th Brigade


Chronological Events

Rank

Description

Date

Remarks

Private

Enlisted

23 Mar 1915

Private

Embarked from Australia on HMT Berrima

26 Jun 1915

Jul 1915

2nd Division Australian Imperial Force (AIF) formed in Egypt, including 20th Battalion, 5th Infantry Brigade

Private

Embarked for Gallipoli

Aug 1915

Private

Withdrawn from Gallipoli

Dec 1915

 

Private

Disembarked Alexandria

9 Jan 1916

 

Private

Embarked Alexandria HMT Ingoma

18 Mar 1916

 

Private

Disembarked Marseilles

25 Mar 1916

 

 

27 July

Relieved 1st Division at Poziers,
Pozieres captured during subsequent fighting

Private

Wounded in Action - France remained on duty

4 Aug 1916

2nd Div to Somme, 9,193 wounded this month

 

November

2nd Div Second tour of duty on Somme

Private

Reported sick to 8th Field Ambulance

15 Dec 1916

 

Private

Admitted 1st New Zealand Stationary Hospital Amiens - Venereal sore

16 Dec 1916

 

Private

Transferred to 15th Australian Ambulance Train, Amiens

19 Dec 1916

 

Private

Admitted to 1st Stationary Hospital Rouen

20 Dec 1916

 

Private

Admitted to 51st General Hospital Etaples

24 Dec 1916

 

Private

Discharged from 1st Stationary Hospital
Total period of ineffective service due to VD, 77 days
Transferred to Australian Divisional Base Depot

1 Mar 1917

 

Private

Marched out to unit, Hindenberg line

24 Mar 1917

 

Private

Rejoined Battalion in the field from Hospital

27 Mar 1917

 

 

15 Apr 1917

German counter-attack L'agincourt

 

3 May 1917

Second battle of Bullecourt

Private

To Australian Corps School

5 Jul 1917

 

Private

Rejoined Battalion from 4th Army Signals School (not up to standard)

8 Jul 1917

[Which seems at odds with subsequent detachment]

Private

Detached from 20th Bn AIF for duty with 2ndDivisionalSignals Coy AIF

10 Aug 1917

 

Private

Permanently attached to 2nd Aust Div Sig Coy

12 Aug 1917

 

Menin Road

September

 

Broodeseinde

October

 

Private

Leave to England

25 Nov 1917

 

Private

Rejoined Bn ex leave - Belgium

13 Dec 1917

 

Private

Reported sick to Field Ambulance

8 Feb 1918

 

Private

Cease detachment to 2 Aust Div Sig Coy

8 Feb 1918

 

Private

Rejoin Bn from Hospital (sick)

17 Feb 1918

 

 

 

March 1918

German offensive, Somme

Private

To school in Belgium - Universite du Travail, Charleroi, Belgium

13 Mar 1918

 

Private

From School - Belgium

26 Mar 1918

 

Private

Appointed Lance Corporal

26 Jun 1918

 

 

 

July

Battle of Hamel

Lance Corporal

To School

14 Jul 1918

 

Lance Corporal

From School

24 Jul 1918

 

Rank

Description

Date

Remarks

 

 

September

Mont St Quentin

Lance Corporal

Reverts to Private at own request

18 Sep 1918

 

Private

To School

19 Sep 1918

 

Private

From School

3 Nov 1918

 

Private

Leave to UK

6 Nov 1918

 

Private

Rejoined Unit from Leave

23 Nov 1918

 

Private

To Education Course - France

4 Feb 1919

 

Private

From Education Course

8 Feb 1919

 

Private

Proceeded on Leave to Paris

8 Feb 1919

 

Private

Return from Leave

20 Feb 1919

 

Private

Return from Education Course - France

29 Mar 1919

 

Private

March out to Australian General Base Depot for Return to Australia
2nd Division last to be withdrawn

30 Mar 1919

 

Private

March out to UK for Return to Australia via Havre

4 Apr 1919

 

Private

Disembarked Southampton for Codford

5 Apr 1919

 

Private

Embarked for Australia on Nestor

20 May 1919

 

Private

Returned to Australia on Nestor

1 Jul 1919

 

Private

Discharged 2nd Military District

3 Sep 1919


Medals and Dress Embellishments

1914-15 Star,British War Medal 1914-1920, Victory Medal, one Wound Stripe for 4 Aug 1916, four Long Service Stripes and four Overseas Service Chevron. Use the hyperlinks or scroll down to see further information on the badges.


Other Accoutrements

World War One medal set


L to R - 1914-15 Star, War Medal 1914-1920, Victory Medal

Unit Shoulder Patch
20th Infantry Battalion
20<sup>th</sup> Battalion Should Patch

Rising Sun Badge - 1st and 2nd AIF



Entitled to wear
ANZAC 'A' on Shoulder Patch
ANZAC A


Some Government Issued Badges

Nearest Female
Relative Badge

War Widows
Guild Brooch

Silver War Badge
 

Discharged Returned
Soldier Badge

Government issued badge in enamel
and sterling silver issued to the wife,
mother or nearest female relative of
a serving soldier. Additional bars
were suspended below for further
individuals.

Membership badge of a Kookaburra
in sterling silver, issued by the
Government to the widows of men
who lost their lives due to their
service. Numbered on the reverse.

Awarded to service personnel who
sustained a wound, or contracted
sickness of disability in the course
of the war as a result of which
they were invalided out, or to
soldiers who had retired during
the course of the war.

First issued in 1916. Slight variations are indicative of a number of makers. 267,300 were issued. Numbered on the reverse but the numbers have no link with length of service or Service Number.

[Badge information collated from Australian War Memorial, "Australians Awarded" by Clive Johnson and en.wikipedia.com]


Background - Infantry Battalions

[Based on information at www.aif.adfa.edu.au]

The 1914 infantry battalion was a large unit, composed of eight rifle companies each of 3 officers and 116 other ranks armed with Short Magazine Lee-Enfield .303in rifles, a small headquarters with 4 officers and 21 other ranks and a machine gun section with two .303in Maxim machine guns, one officer and 17 other ranks, a total of 32 officers and 991 other ranks.

In December 1914, battalions were reorganised into four companies each of four platoons, but strength was unchanged.

By mid 1918, the number of officers had increased to 38 but the number of other ranks had declined to 900. At the same time, the firepower of the battalion was greatly augmented with hand and rifle grenades and Lewis Guns, of which there was 34 per battalion.

[Based on information at www.aif.adfa.edu.au and Redcoats to Cams, Ian Kuring]


20th Battalion, 5th Brigade, 2nd Divison


[Information from https://rslvirtualwarmemorial.org.au]

The 20th Battalion was raised at Liverpool in New South Wales in March 1915 as part of the 5th Brigade. A sprinkling of the 20th's original recruits had already served with the Australian Naval and Military Expeditionary Force (AN&MEF) in the operations to capture German New Guinea in 1914. The 20th left Australia in late June, trained in Egypt from late July until mid-August, and on 22 August landed at ANZAC Cove.

Arriving at Gallipoli just as the August offensive petered out, the 20th's role there was purely defensive. From 26 August, until its withdrawal from the peninsula on 20 December, the 20th Battalion was responsible for the defence of Russell's Top.

After further training in Egypt, the 20th Battalion proceeded to France. It entered the trenches of the Western Front for the first time in April 1916 and in the following month had the dubious honour of being the first Australian battalion to be raided by the Germans. The 20th took part in its first major offensive around Pozieres between late July and the end of August 1916. After a spell in a quieter sector of the front in Belgium, the 2nd Division, which included the5th Brigade, came south again in October. The 20th Battalion provided reinforcements for the attack near Flers between 14 and 16 November, launched in conditions that Charles Bean described as the worst ever encountered by the AIF.

In 1917, the 20th was involved in the follow-up of German forces after their retreat to the Hindenburg Line, and was one of four battalions to defeat a counter- stroke by a German force, almost five times as strong, at Lagnicourt. The Battalion took part in three major battles before the year was out, second Bullecourt (3-4 May) in France, and Menin Road (20-22 September) and Poelcappelle (9-10 October) in Belgium.

The spring of 1918 brought a major German offensive. The 20th Battalion was one of many Australian battalions rushed to stop it, and it encountered some particularly severe fighting when ordered to attack at Hangard Wood on 7 April. With the German Army's last desperate offensive defeated, the 20th participated in the battles that pushed it ever closer to defeat: Amiens on 8 August, the legendary attack on Mont St Quentin on 31 August, and the forcing of the Beaurevoir Line around Montbrehain on 3 October. Montbrehain was the battalion's last battle of the war. It was disbanded on 20 April 1919.


Battle Honours:

Somme 1916-18, Pozieres, Bapaume 1917, Bullecourt, Ypres 1917, Menin Road, Polygon Wood, Broodeseinde, Poelcappelle, Passchendaele, Hamel, Amiens, Albert 1918, Mont St Quentin, Hindenburg Line, Beaurevoir, France and Flanders 1916-18, Suvla, Gallipoli 1915, Egypt 1915-16


The ANZAC 'A'

The brass letter 'A' to represent service related to Gallipoli (ANZAC) was authorised to be worn 'over unit colour patches on both sleeves of the service dress jacket and greatcoat" by Military Order 354 of 18 Aug 17 and AIF Order 937 of 6 Nov 17, as amended in terms of qualification by Military Order 20 of 19 Jan 18 and by AIF Order 1084 of 25 Jan 18.

The size of the letter 'A', introduced as one inch in height (AIF Order 994 of 30 Nov 17), was reduced to three-quarters of an inch by AIF Order 1012 of 11 Dec 17.

Provision for wearing the brass letter 'A' was also included in General Routine Order 0.815 of 17 Dec 43 and GRO 310 of 7 Dec 45.

ANZAC 'A'


Wound Stripe

Army Order No.204 Headquarters, 1st A.N.Z.A.C., 9th August, 1916. (slightly amended for layout)
DISTINCTIONS FOR OFFICERS AND SOLDIERS WHO HAVE BEEN WOUNDED

Wound Stripes

The following distinction in dress will be worn on the service dress jacket by all officers and soldiers who have been wounded in any of the campaigns since 4th August 1914 :

  • Stripes of gold Russia braid No.1, two inches [2.5cm] in length sewn perpendicularly on the left forearm sleeve of the jacket to mark each occasion on which wounded.

  • In the case of officers, the lower end of the first strip of gold braid will be immediately above the upper point of the flap on the cuff.

  • Warrant officers, non-commissioned officers and men will wear the gold braid on the left forearm sleeve, the lower edge of the braid to be three inches from the bottom of the sleeve.

  • Subsequent occasions on which wounded, will be placed on either side of the original one at half inch interval.

  • Gold braid and sews will be obtained free on indent from the Army Ordnance Department; the sewing on will be carried out regimentally without expense to the public.


Long Service Badges

A.I.F. ORDER No.470, 24 January 1917 (slightly amended for layout)

The question of the issue of a badge to members of the AIF who have completed a certain period of service has received consideration, and approval has been given for the issue of a badge for long service combined with good conduct, subject to the following conditions.

  • The badge will consist of an inverted single chevron of service braid to be worn on the left forearm - the point of the chevron to be 3 inches [7.6cm] above the edge of the cuff.

  • Warrant and non-commissioned officers and men, will be eligible for the badge, which will not carry an increased pay or allowance.

  • One chevron will be worn for each complete year's service in the Australian Imperial Force from the date of embarkation in Australia.

  • No badge will be issued to any man who, during the 12 months, has incurred a regimental entry (i.e. an entry involving forfeiture of pay) in his sheet.

  • Time absent from the unit in hospital or elsewhere on account of wounds or sickness, not the result of misconduct, will count as service towards earning the badge.

  • A man in possession of a badge will forfeit same on being convicted of any offence involving a forfeiture of pay , but will be eligible to regain the badge after 6 months good conduct, from the date of forfeiture.

  • The illegal wearing of this badge will be a crime under A.A. Section 40.


Overseas Service Chevrons

[Image from http://www.diggerhistory.info]

Australian Imperial Force Order No.1053, January 1918 (Slightly amended for layout)

His Majesty the King has been graciously pleased to approve of the award of chevrons to denote service overseas since the 4th August 1914.

  • Chevrons of two colours have been approved.

    • The first chevron if earned on or before 31st December 1914, will be red.

    • If earned on or after 1st January 1915, it will be blue.

    • All additional chevrons after the first will be blue.

  • The chevrons will be worsted embroidery, 1/4 inch [0.63cm] in width, the arms 4 inches [10.2cm] long. They will be worn inverted on the right forearm:

  • In the case of officers, the apex of the lowest chevron will be 1 inch [2.5cm] above the upper point of the flap on the cuff.

  • In the case of warrant-officers, non-commissioned officers and men, the apex of the lowest chevron will be midway between the seams and four inches [10.2cm] above the bottom edge of the sleeve.

  • The red chevron will be worn below the blue one. They will not be worn on greatcoats.

  • In the case of Australians, the first chevron was earned the date the individual left Australia. Additional chevrons were awarded for each successive aggregate period of 12 months service outside Australia.

[http://au.geocities.com/fortysecondbattalion/level2/reference/01nos-standards.htm]