Photographed at the Dease Studio, 117 Barrack Street Perth WA Image courtesy of the State Library of Western Australia: 108223PD

Rank: Private/Bugler

Regimental Number: 140

Place of Birth: Kilkenny, South Australia

Address: Hillway, Nedlands, Perth,
Western Australia

Next of Kin: Father, Mr Christopher John Mitchell, Hillway, Nedlands, Perth,
Western Australia

Enlistment Date: 12 January 1916

Unit Name: 44th Battalion

Date of Death: 2 October 1959

Cause of Death: Not Known. He was 59 years old

Place of Death: New South Wales

Year of Photo: 1916

Research Links:


Unknown Soldier #30 has been identified by Darren Stockbridge as “boy soldier” Private/Bugler Alvin Charles Mitchell and judging from Project team member Megan Jones' bio of him it seems that baby-faced Alvin was somewhat of a mischievous character. Alvin was born in Kilkenny, South Australia on 31 March 1900. He was the youngest son of Christopher and Martha Mitchell (nee Beggs) and as a young lad he worked as a farm labourer. Alvin's older brother, George enlisted on 31 December 1915. This seems to have inspired Alvin to follow in his brother’s footsteps as he enlisted less than two weeks later on 12 January 1916. George was 22 years old and while young Alvin's enlistment papers record his age as being 18 and with parental consent to enlist, he was really just 15 years old. Alvin served with his brother George in the 44th Battalion; Alvin as a bugler. They left Fremantle on board HMAT Suevic in June 1916 and arrived in Plymouth on 21 July but were not deployed to France until 25 November 1916. It seems that while Alvin was in France he got up to some mischief. He was disciplined for 'conduct to the prejudice of good order and military discipline' for 'failure to parade before RMO before going off duty'. Then from 8 to 10 June 1917, Alvin was reported absent without leave. For both of these indiscretions his punishment was the forfeiture of 17 days’ pay. On 12 July, just a month after being disciplined, Alvin was wounded in action. He suffered gun shot wounds to his face and hand and a fortnight later on 28 July he was admitted to 1st Southern General Hospital in Monyhull, England for treatment for severe hydrocele (accumulation of serous fluid). On 23 October he was transferred to 1st Auxillary Hospital at Harefield. He was on furlough on 6 November when the hydrocele recurred and he was once again admitted to Harefield.

Alvin served with the 44th Battalion until he either confessed his age or was pressed on the matter. As he returned to Australia on board the Llanstephen Castle with some other underage soldiers and discharged from the AIF for being underage on 10 April 1918. Alvin had served with his unit in the field and was therefore entitled to receive his full pay and both the British War Medal and the Victory Medal for his service. During the war Alvin's father Christopher, spent time working in munitions in England. His mother Martha who had stayed in Perth died in August 1917. His brother George survived the war and returned to Australia on 1 June 1919. On his return from war, Alvin went back to labouring on the railways but after the death of his father in 1927 he moved to Canberra. In 1937, he re-enlisted in the Army. In 1941 Alvin married Constance Mary Solomon in Duntroon, ACT where they lived until his discharge in 1954 at the rank of corporal. They then moved to Redfern, New South Wales where Alvin died just a few years later on 2 October 1959 aged 59. #boysoldiers #WWI