Albert was a twenty five year old Labourer living at Coolatai, north of Inverell when he enlisted in January 1916 and joined the First Contingent of The Kurrajongs. He became a member of the 33rd Battalion, C Company and trained at Armidale and Rutherford camps. He wrote home describing the Armidale camp as ‘pretty rough’ and ‘not in Narrabri’s class’.
Sickness was widespread in the camps where Albert and his Kurrajong mates, Ted Ryan and Tom Cox all became ill at Rutherford and were hospitalised with mumps. This meant they missed sailing with the Battalion in May. They eventually left Australia for England with the Battalion’s 2nd Reinforcement on HMAT A15 Port Sydney in September 1916.
After further training at Salisbury Plain, Albert’s Battalion was sent to France just before Christmas 1916. He served with the Machine Gun Battalion and was wounded in April 1917 when a Lewis Gun accidentally discharged in the trenches and hit his leg. He was invalided to England for treatment and did not return to France until September. During 1918 Albert was gassed twice, the second occasion requiring transfer back to hospital in England. Albert returned to Australia in February 1919 and was discharged three months later.
After the War, Albert worked in Sydney where he married in 1923. He did not have any children and died in 1958.
Private Mitchell is remembered at Inverell where his name is inscribed on the town’s Honor Roll.
Photo: Private collection