Royal Flying Corps

MITCHELL, John (Jack) Thomas

1st World War
Date of Birth
Date Attested
Attested at
Swift Current, Saskatchewan
Regimental Number
Date of Death
Age at Death
23 years 6 months
Biographical Summary

DIVISIONAL UNIT:         4th Canadian Infantry Division
                                             10th Infantry Brigade
                                             46th Battalion – South Saskatchewan
                                             Canadian Infantry Corps.
SERVICE NO:                   781179
RANK:                                Lieutenant
SQUADRON:                     No. 112 Squadron
                                             “Swift in Destruction”
                                             Royal Air Force.
SERVICE NO:                   360434
RESIDENCE:                    Saskatoon – Saskatchewan
DATE OF BIRTH:            August 12, 1895
                                             Cranbrook – Grey Township – County of Huron - Ontario
DATE OF DEATH:           January 24, 1919                  23 years     6 months
CEMETERY:                     Throwley (St. Michael) Churchyard – Throwley –
                                             Kent – England
MOTHER:                          Mrs. Eliza Mitchell – Wingham – Ontario
Occupation:                        Student at Law                    Religion:     Methodist
                                             University of Saskatchewan
Enlistment:                          August 31, 1915 – Swift Current – Saskatchewan – into the   
Enlistment Age:                  20 years

Prior to John moving to Saskatchewan to study law he was associated with the 2nd Queen’s Own Rifles 1912-1913.
Private Mitchell and his unit departed Canada on August 15 of 1916 on the S.S. Grampian arriving in England on 
August 24, 1916. On May 23, 1917, he was Taken on Strength by the 46th Battalion 
In April of 1918 he took and passed courses in Musketry, Bombing, Rifle Bombing, Anti-gas and the Lewis gun.
On September 20, 1918 Sergeant Mitchell was Struck off Strength from the Canadian Infantry Corps as was approved as a Flight Cadet with the Royal Air Force.
While serving with the 46th Battalion in the field at Passchendaele on November 1, 1917 he was very seriously wounded in the thigh. Then on November 9th he was admitted to No. 1 Southern Hospital in Birmingham – England.
He was then sent to a Reserve Battalion on December 28, 1917. Then in mid May of 1918 he transfers to the Royal Air Force and is sent to RAF “K” Cadet District Depot located at Hampstead – London. Then on May 25, 1918 Flying Cadet Mitchell moved to RAF No. 5 Training Cadet Squadron at Hastings – East Sussex.
No. 112 Squadron was formed in 1917 for the purpose of defending London. It was located at Throwley – Kent. The Squadron was disbanded on June 13, 1919.
While with No. 112 Squadron he would have piloted the Sopwith Camel and the Sopwith Snipe.
On January 24, 1919, Lieutenant Mitchell was piloting an aircraft at approximately 5,000 when things went terribly wrong and fell to the gound killing him instantly.
If Lieutenant Mitchell was in control of a Sopwith Camel, it was a very difficult aircraft to fly as 90% of its weight was in the front 7’ of the aircraft. It has been said that if a novice is the pilot the aircraft could bevome a vicious killer. When in level flight this aircraft was tail heavy and the pilot had to apply constant forward pressure on the control stick. If the aircraft stalled it went into a spin immediately.
The Sopwith Snipe was another aircraft that Lieutenant Mitchell could have been flying on the day he died, but our research indicated this aircraft was much easier to fly and much more user friendly. It began to appear in 1918 and was superior to the Camel so would have gone overseas to the front. Only 500 were built.
Our research indicates that Lieutenant Mitchell was flying a Sopwith Camel when he lost his life.