Soldier – Mitchell, John – Clubmates to Honour D.S.M.

January 1944

South Yorkshire Times, January 8, 1944

Malta Convoy Hero

Clubmates to Honour Conisbrough D.S.M.

Fire ravaged a ship of the famous convoy carrying vital supplies to besieged Malta in August, 1942.  In her holds was ammunition and aviation spirit, a deadly cargo, requiring only a tongue of flame to reach it in order to blow up the ship like a huge bomb.  The two bomb hits from enemy dive bombers which started the blaze also put the pumps out of action, and as it was useless to remain, the crew were ordered to abandon ship.

Two men remained, Royal Marine Sergeant John Mitchell, of Conisbrough, who was gunnery sergeant on the merchant vessel’s defence gun, and the ship’s carpenter.

Fighting the flames, Sergt. Mitchell saw an immediate danger of the fire reaching the depth charges on the deck.  The release gear was buckled, but he succeeded, after a struggle, in freeing it and dropping three death charges over the side.