Thursday, 21 January 2016

Colin Mitchell (1890 – 1918) - British


Born in the town of Mere in Wiltshire, UK in September 1890, Colin was the youngest of eight children – six boys and two girls.  His father, John Thomas Mitchell was a farmer and his mother was Emma Jane Mitchell, nee Parsons. 

Colin was educated at Shaftesbury Grammar School as a boarder school.  While there, he won a prize for English Literature.  He was interested in amateur dramatics and music and on leaving school became a bank clerk.

Colin joined the 8th Battalion of the Rifle Brigade during the First World War and was killed in action on 22nd March 1918.  At the time of his death he was a Sergeant.  Colin is commemorated on the Pozieres Memorial in Ovillers-la-Boiselle, France and in Mere Cemetery in Wiltshire.

Colin’s poetry collection was entitled ‘Trampled Clay’ and was published in 1917 by Erskine Macdonald, London.

He also had a poem included in ‘The Malory Verse Book’ edited by Editha Jenkinson and published by Erskine Macdonald in 1919.

Source:  Catherine W. Reilly, ‘English Poetry of the First World War:  A Bibliography’ (St. Martin’s Press, New York, 1978.

Additional Information kindly supplied by Mere Museum and Historical Society.

 

Hooge! More damned than Sodom and more bloody,

‘Twas there we faced the flames of liquid fire.

Hooge! That shambles where the flames swept ruddy:

A spume of heat and hate and omens dire;

A vision of a concrete hell from whence

Emerged satanic forms, or so it seemed

To us who, helpless, saw them hasten hence.

Scarce understood we if we waked or dreamed.

 

“Stand To! Stand To! The Wurtembergers come!”

Shouting vile English oaths with gutter zest.

And boastful threats to kill they voice, while some,

In uniforms of grey and scarlet dressed,

Wear flame-projectors strapped upon their backs.

How face a wall of flame? Impossible!

“Back, boys! Give way a little; take the tracks

That lead to yonder wood, and there we’ll fill

Such trenches as are dug, and face the foe,

And no Hell-fire shall move us once we’re there.

We’re out to win or die, boys; if we go

Back and yet back, leaving good strongholds bare,

We’ll save our lives, perhaps, but not our name.

There’s no one in this well-trained company

Who’d save his skin and perjure his good fame.”

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