8/1173 Lt-Col. George Mitchell DSO
Exceptional DSO Group to Lt-Col. George 'Hoppy' Mitchell NZMR/NZEF
Exceptional group to Lt-Col. George Mitchell DSO, charger at New Zealand Hill in January 1900, wounded at Gallipoli in 1915, recipient of the Distinguished Service Order and Serbian Order of Karageorge 3rd Class. This is one of the most significant and historically important NZMR/NZEF medal groups to come onto the market in recent years. The following write-up is just a brief overview of a much larger story that could fill a book.
George Mitchell's lengthy service with the New Zealand Military Forces is well-documented. Born at Balclutha in 1877, Mitchell joined the Clutha Mounted Rifles in 1898 and was selected for the First Contingent, NZMR, for service in South Africa. Present at the charge of the New Zealanders at New Zealand Hill in January 1900, arguably the most famous action, in terms of New Zealand's involvement, during the war. "Captain Madock about this stage called for a charge and, with Lieutenant Hughes, Sergt Gourlay, Troopers Connell, Dickenson, Mitchell, and Wilson, and a lance corporal of the Yorks, dashed over the crown of the left corner of the hill. The glint of the steel settled the business. The stormers promptly bolted, but before our men had got ten yards they came into line with the Boer covering fire, and poor Gourlay and Connell fell - one dead and the other mortally wounded."
Completed his tour of duty in South Africa, returning for a second tour with the 8th Contingent in 1902, and was Mentioned in Desptaches "for loyal service' (L.G. 29/6/1902). Rose throught the ranks of the Volunteer/Territorial system between the wars. Sailed with the 2nd Reinforcements, NZEF in December 1914 as Major, 8th (Southland) Company, Otago Infantry Battalion. During the attack on Dead Man's Ridge on 2nd May 1915 Mitchell fell and badly broke several ribs. Was still in pain when he was wounded in the foot during the attack on Chunuk Bair in August