In a special lecture to mark Armistice Day, WFA South of Scotland Branch member Jeremy Mitchell will be speaking in the Lauriston Lectures series in Edinburgh about his father, George Oswald Mitchell (G.O.M.). G.O.M. was one of very few British soldiers who served right through the First World War from the very first day, 5 August 1914, to and beyond the Armistice on 11 November 1918.
His view of the war was at first that of a private in the 1/6th Battalion West Yorkshire Regiment, seeing front line action in the Ypres salient early in 1915. He was then one of the first members of the Royal Engineers Gas Brigade, launching the massive gas attack on the first day of the Battle of Loos on 25 September 1915. He took part in many other engagements during the remaining three years of the war and was a lucky survivor: his war medals included the Belgian Croix de Guerre. This talk is based on the trench diary and notes that G.O.M. wrote at the time, crouched in a dug-out or lying on a pile of straw in a barn behind the lines. It brings to life the extraordinary mixture of hardship, fear, excitement and boredom experienced by the millions of ordinary soldiers who made the abrupt transition from civilian life to the mud and blood of the Western Front.
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