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Thread: F/Lt Mitchell 21 Squadron RAF Malta WW2

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    Default F/Lt Mitchell 21 Squadron RAF Malta WW2

    Hi Everyone,
    Can anyone shed any light on a F/Lt. Mitchell who initially flew Blenheims for 21 Squadron RAF over Malta, in February 1942? He reappears with 21 Squadron in Egypt, in March 1942, and then possibly flew with 55 Squadron for a short time (3 sorties in early September 1942) before disappearing from the squadron ORB. He wasn’t shot down, so may have been transferred. The information I have about him is given below:

    F/Lt. Mitchell
    He initially flew Blenheims for 21 Squadron RAF on Malta
    On 11/2/1942, F/Lt. Mitchell’s plane was one of a vic. of four Blenheims sent on a shipping sweep of the Gulf of Gabes – the other pilots were P/O Duncan, Sgt. Ramsay and Sgt. (John Henry ‘Jack’) Stubbs. On their return to Malta, they were jumped by ME 109s, and Sgt. Stubbs and crew were shot down and killed. The other three Blenheims managed to escape their attackers.

    In late February 1942, 21 Squadron’s remaining Blenheims were flown to Egypt.

    F/L Mitchell appears again but as a passenger on a 21 Squadron Blenheim flight to the Pyramids and then, 5 days later, to the Faiyum Oasis which is 62 miles (100 km) SW of Cairo (ref: the WW2 logbook of S/L S. J. Booth, 21 Sqdn RAF):

    P/O S. J. Booth and †crew in Blenheim Z 7990 ‘M’
    Date Passengers Flight Time taken
    13 March 1942 F/L Mitchell
    Cpt Burrough
    †Sgt. Andrews
    Local flying (up Nile to Mena Pyramids) 20 min.
    18 March ditto Heliopolis – Faiyum Rd. 15 min.

    F/Lt. Mitchell reappears with 55 Squadron RAF, in September, where he is flying their Baltimore bombers against Rommel’s ground forces in North Africa. His crew were Sgt. Henry (Obs.), Sgt. Cuthbertson (WO/AG) and Sgt. Ellenbogan (Air Gunner).
    On 1/9/1942, he flew Baltimore AG 763X (in Raid 1) and Baltimore AG 832A (in Raid 2).
    On 3/9/1942, he flew Baltimore AG 770 H (in Raid 6). He returned to base and landed safely.
    Reference: 55 Sqdn ORB for Sept. 1942; National Archives UK Online Collection
    Note: Possibly Sgt. A. Cuthbertson (WO/AG) and Sgt. Percy Ellenbogan (AG)

    But then he disappears in October along with Sgt. Henry and Sgt. Ellenbogan.
    Sgt. Cuthbertson though, has joined another crew (as WO/AG), namely, Sgt. McMillan, P/O Thould and Sgt. Percy.

    Also, examination of the squadron’s ORB: 1/10/42 – 31/10/42 (Summary of Events) gives no clues as to what might have happened to F/Lt. Mitchell, Sgt. Henry and Sgt. Ellenbogen.

    Unfortunately, I don’t have F/Lt. Mitchell’s first and middle names, and I’ve made the assumption that the F/Lt. Mitchell that flew for 21 Squadron RAF on Malta in February 1942 is the same F/Lt. Mitchell flying for 55 Squadron in September 1942.

    Any suggestions as to who this F/Lt. Mitchell might be would be greatly appreciated.

    Regards,
    Dermott Kelly

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    Default Re: F/Lt Mitchell 21 Squadron RAF Malta WW2

    Quote Originally Posted by DermJKel View Post
    Can anyone shed any light on a F/Lt. Mitchell who initially flew Blenheims for 21 Squadron RAF over Malta, in February 1942?
    Hello and welcome to the forum.

    Whilst I can't add much detail for 'Mitchell,' there is a Plt Off Mitchell flying Blenheims out of Watton with 21 Sqn in the autumn of 1941. A Sgt Cuthbertson is part of his crew. It's a fair bet that your Malta chap is one and the same.

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    Default Re: F/Lt Mitchell 21 Squadron RAF Malta WW2

    Sorry, that's S/L J. F. Booth .. and P/O J. F. Booth

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    Default Re: F/Lt Mitchell 21 Squadron RAF Malta WW2

    1941
    In August and September 1941, there’s no mention of P/O Mitchell in the ORB.

    He went on a couple of shipping sweeps in October (on the 21st and 31st), a sortie in November (the 8th), and then the squadron was packed off to Malta on Christmas Day.

    1942
    He didn’t fly any sorties in Jan. 1942 – perhaps he was sick (sandfly fever?)

    He flew two shipping sweeps in February (on the 6th and 11th) and possibly more. He had a very close call on the sortie on the 6th when he was the only plane, of the four that went out, to return to base. Then later that month, the squadron was packed off to Egypt where he pops up 6 months later flying Baltimores for 55 Squadron RAF. But only three sorties before he disappears from the ORB.

    However, I’m still none the wiser as to his first and middle names.

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    Default Re: F/Lt Mitchell 21 Squadron RAF Malta WW2

    Some of the earlier details:
    P/O Mitchell doesn’t appear in 21 Squadron’s ORB for August and September 1941.
    Date Blenheim IV Crew Time & Flight Details
    21 Oct. 1941,
    Watton UK
    V 4(?)503 ‘Z’ P/O Mitchell
    Sgt. Noyes
    Sgt. Cuthbertson
    Up at 1215 hrs, and down at 1655 hrs = 4hrs 40 min.
    Shipping sweep – no shipping seen and no target bombed
    31 Oct. Z 7428 ‘A’ ditto Up at 1212 hrs, and down at 1705 hrs = 4 hrs 53 min.
    Shipping sweep – P/O Mitchell dropped bombs on a ‘squealer’ (a vessel of 80-100 tons) and one of his 500 lb bombs hit the stern. No other shipping seen.
    8 Nov. V 5699 ‘O’ ditto Up at 1043 hrs, and down at 1303 hrs = 2 hrs 20 min.
    *Bombed a chemical plant at Gosnay (40 km SW of Lille) in northern France.
    1 Dec. Stand off ..
    9 Dec. Leave ..
    16 Dec. Stand off ..
    25 Dec. Sqdn proceeded abroad (to Malta)
    Ref. ORB: 1/10/41 – 31/11/41 (Record of Events); Dec. ’41 – Jan. ’42 (Summary of Events)
    * Their destination had been to a point east of Dunkirk, but due to a navigation error the formation had crossed the French coast to the west of Dunkirk and too much to the west of Lille. The formation (and their fighter escort) penetrated to Lens, turned right and bombed a chemical plant at Gosnay. Hits were obtained on the plant, and all returned safely.

    When he next appears, on Malta, he’s a F/Lt. with 21 Squadron.

    He did not fly any sorties in January – perhaps he was sick (sandfly fever?)

    However, on 6/2/1942, F/Lt. Mitchell’s plane was one of a vic. of four Blenheims sent to attack shipping at the port of Buerat in Libya – the other pilots were S/L Stewart, P/O Grieve and Sgt. Cameron. F/Lt. Mitchell was the only plane to return to base. The others failed to return.

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    Default Re: F/Lt Mitchell 21 Squadron RAF Malta WW2

    Hello Dermott,

    Just a suggestion. Have you tried the 55 Squadron Appendices AIR 27/523 ? This covers April 1942 to December 1943 and might have his initials or service number if you are lucky.

    Regards,

    Martin Gleeson.

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    Default Re: F/Lt Mitchell 21 Squadron RAF Malta WW2

    P/O -> F/Lt in 6 months !

    Maybe work out from Branch as Seniority here?

    https://digital.nls.uk/british-milit...chive/96196390

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    Default Re: F/Lt Mitchell 21 Squadron RAF Malta WW2

    P/O -> F/Lt in 6 months !

    F/Lt. Mitchell was the only plane to return to base. The others failed to return.
    Wartime promotion sure could be quick - all one had to do was survive (the tricky bit) and keep ones nose fairly clean.

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    Default Re: F/Lt Mitchell 21 Squadron RAF Malta WW2

    Thanks for that. He was a P/O on 8/11/1941 and had become a F/Lt. (or FL) by 6/2/1942.
    So, I’m guessing the Mitchell ‘candidates’ from the Index are:
    Personal No. Name Rank Seniority
    74611 A.L. Mitchell FL (E) 1/12/41
    90886 G.A. (12) Mitchell FL (ASD) 1/12/41
    70906 Henry Mitchell FL 10/9/41
    42017 H.K. Mitchell FL 6/11/41
    74723 R.R.L. Mitchell FL 18/9/41


    But what’s a FL (E) and a FL (ASD)? And for that matter, what sort of a name is ‘G.A. [12] Mitchell’?

    Next step then I suppose would be to get their Personal Service Records and have a look at those.

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    Default Re: F/Lt Mitchell 21 Squadron RAF Malta WW2

    Thanks Martin. I had a look but no luck there.

    Regards,
    Dermott

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