The Airmen's Stories - P/O H T Mitchell
Harry Thorne Mitchell was born in Port Hope, Ontario, Canada on 1st October 1912. His family sent him to England to study and he was first enrolled as a student at Charterhouse School and later at Kings College, London.
However he abandoned his studies and joined the RAF on a short service commission in October 1938, he was serving with 87 Squadron in France in early 1940.
Above: Mitchell with a P-40 in Alaska.
Above image via Harry Milberry.
On 10th May Mitchell claimed two Do17s destroyed and on the 11th a Ju87 destroyed and a Do17 shared.
The 10th May Dorniers were one from 4./KG2 that came down at Illange, north of Metz and another from 9./KG3 that crashed at Audun-le-Roman, NW of Metz.
The 11th May aircraft was a reconnaissance Do17M from Stab StG2 that force-landed at St. Trond.
The squadron was withdrawn to Debden on 22nd May.
He claimed a Me110 and a Ju87 destroyed and a Me110 damaged on 15th August and a Me109 destroyed on the 25th.
On 24th October 1940 Mitchell was posted to RAF Exeter from as non-effective sick.
On 7th December he was posted away to be an instructor at 8 FTS
and was awarded the DFC (gazetted 11th February 1941).
Mitchell was sent to Canada as an instructor in 1941. Subsequently he was posted to 111 Fighter Squadron and went to the Aleutian islands in Alaska with that unit in June 1942. He assumed command of the squadron on 17th July 1942 after the previous commanding officer was killed in a flying accident, and retained it until passing command to S/Ldr. KA Boomer on 20th August 1942.
Shortly afterwards Mitchell was posted to Western Air Command.
While there Mitchell married Rita Elizabeth Cross of Ottawa on 31st January 1942 in Patricia Bay, Victoria, British Columbia. Mitchell returned to the United Kingdom in February 1943.
Mitchell was released from the RAF in 1946 as a Squadron Leader.
Postwar he served as Defence Attache in the Canadian Embassy in Washington and later worked for a TV company.
Mitchell died in 1997 and is buried in the Surrey district of Vancouver, British Columbia.