MITCHELL, George Donald

  • 19 years
  • Canadian
  • Sergeant Air Gunner
  • R/221524
  • Wellington Mk. III, BK501
  • 25th January 1944
  • Lessay Communal Cemetery
    [Row A Grave 1]

Sergeant Mitchell was working in the dockyards in Victoria, British Columbia when he enlisted in the RCAF on 9 February 1943. While he had been selected as aircrew, in which occupation was not yet determined. On completion of his basic training at No. 3 Manning Depot in Edmonton, Alberta on 24 March, he was selected to be an air gunner and was sent to No. 8 Bombing and Gunnery School in Lethbridge, Alberta and No. 4 Wireless School in Guelph, Ontario while awaiting a training billet due to a backlog.

On 23 July 1943 he was posted to No. 2 Air Gunners Ground Training School in Trenton, Ontario where he learned the mechanics of air gunnery after which he went to No. 3 Bombing and Gunnery School in MacDonald, Manitoba where he put the theory into practice. On graduation on 15 October 1943 he received two weeks leave before being shipped to the UK on 29 October.

It would be six weeks in the UK before Sergeant Mitchell was to begin formal preparation for service. On 14 December 1942 he was posted to No. 16 Operational Training Unit where he would select and be selected as part of a crew, which in this case included fellow RCAF Members Flying Officer John Johnson, Flying Officer Nap Perry and Sergeant William Rodgers.

As part of their training, OTU crews would participate in mine laying and leaflet dropping operations to build teamwork and prepare for operational missions.

On the night of 25 January 1944, with their training almost complete, Sergeant Mitchell and the rest of his crew took off at 7:22 PM in Wellington BK501 to drop leaflets on Granville, France. They did not return from this mission. Sergeant Mitchell’s body washed ashore at Hatainville, France on 28 January. Sergeant Mitchell was 19 years old at the time of his death.