Friday, 9 November 2007

Jack Mitchell and the ghost

Along Pier 2 in Sydney is a heavy log marked Jack Mitchell 300 x 250 x 6.3 m. At dusk, Jack's soul is sometimes seen fluttering around. Who do you think was Jack Mitchell ? A double ration of rhum for the best story.

Jack Mitchell et le fantôme : Sur le quai numéro 2 de Sydney se trouve un énorme longeron marqué Jack Mitchell 300 x 250 x 6.3 m. Au crépuscule on a parfois la surprise d'apercevoir son âme voleter dans les parages. A votre avis, qui était Jack Mitchell ? Une rasade de rhum pour la plus belle histoire. Hisse et ho !

22 comments:

lasiate said...

et voila une possibilité de la vie réelle
MITCHELL, JOHN WESLEY (1891-1969), army officer and public servant, was born on 16 March 1891 at Tarranyurk, near Dimboola, Victoria, fourth child of Australian-born parents Joseph Mitchell, farmer, and his wife Eliza, née Milkins. While working as an engineering cadet at Warracknabeal, Jack served in the Militia and was commissioned (1912) in the Victorian Rangers (later 73rd Infantry Regiment). On 24 August 1914 he was appointed to the Australian Imperial Force. Five ft 9½ ins (177 cm) tall, with dark hair and blue eyes, he was allotted to 'E' Company, 8th Battalion, which embarked for Egypt in October. He was quietly spoken and popular, and able to handle 'all the jobs of a subaltern'.


Landing at Gallipoli on 25 April 1915, Mitchell was wounded that day and admitted to hospital. He rejoined the battalion on 26 May and on the following day became its adjutant. By October he held the rank of temporary captain and was employed as a company commander. He returned to Egypt in January 1916, reached the Western Front in March and was promoted major in June. Absent from his unit in July-October when stricken with influenza, he was away again from January to March 1917 attending the Senior Officers' Course in England. On 14 April 1917 he was promoted lieutenant colonel and placed in command of the battalion.


Mitchell showed great courage in carrying out reconnaissance. In the operations at Lagnicourt and Bullecourt, France, in April and May 1917 (in which he won the Distinguished Service Order) his personal example influenced his men to push ahead and secure tactical positions. On 28 October, although gassed, he remained on duty. During the capture of Rosières Station and the village of Lihons on 9 and 11 August 1918, his battalion suffered heavy casualties; Mitchell twice went forward under fire to reorganize the line; he won a Bar to his D.S.O. For his leadership of the 8th Battalion, he was also awarded the Belgian Croix de Guerre and mentioned in dispatches five times. In October and November he had temporary command of the 2nd Brigade. His A.I.F. appointment terminated in Australia on 5 April 1920.


Employed by the Victorian Department of Lands and Survey as an inspector of land settlement and later as a member of the Discharged Soldiers Settlement Inquiry Board, Mitchell provided practical assistance to former servicemen who settled in the Wimmera and the Mallee. On 2 May 1927 at St John's Anglican Church, Horsham, he married Margaret Blanche West, a 31-year-old nurse; they were to remain childless. He continued to serve in the Militia, commanding the 21st Battalion (1921-22), the 1st Armoured Car Regiment (1934-38) and the 20th Light Horse Regiment (1939).


Following the outbreak of World War II, Mitchell was appointed (13 October 1939) commanding officer of the 2nd/8th Battalion, A.I.F., which embarked for the Middle East in April 1940. The unit saw action in Libya—at Bardia and Tobruk, and in the advance to Benghazi—in January-February 1941. Mitchell was once more mentioned in dispatches. From April he led the 2nd/8th in the arduous Greek campaign and evacuation, relinquishing command on 28 May. He had twice acted as temporary commander (May-June 1940 and February-March 1941) of the 19th Brigade, but clashed with Brigadier G. A. Vasey. Placed on the Sick List in June 1941, he returned to Australia in July. His A.I.F. appointment terminated on 21 September and he transferred to the General List. Next day he was promoted temporary colonel and given command of the 4th Australian Infantry Training Brigade.


Mitchell was detached to Southern Command Training School in November 1941 and to headquarters, Queenscliff Covering Force, in the following month. He returned to the 4th A.I.T.B. (later headquarters, Australian Recruit Training Centre) in March 1942. Again seconded to the A.I.F. from March 1943, he was placed on the Reserve of Officers on 24 November 1944 with the honorary rank of colonel. He joined the Commonwealth Public Service and worked first in Brisbane and then in Sydney before spending his retirement at Seaforth. Survived by his wife, he died on 29 September 1969 at the Repatriation General Hospital, Concord, and was cremated. Mitchell had commanded the 8th Battalion with distinction in some of the most notable operations undertaken by Australian forces in two world wars. He was widely recognized as a great soldier.

Olivier said...

après le post de lasiate, que dire de plus (sinon qu'il existe un Jack Mitchell photographe qui a fait de superbes portraits de stars).

Ta photo est splendide, ce mouvement bravo, j'avoue que je ne sais pas trop comment faire ce genre de photo. prise avec un long temps de pose ?.
Sinon, tu as enfin vu la mer ;o)
je te souhaite un bon weekend

Bergson said...

Jack Mitchell etait un personnage de roman très grand 2,5 m et pesant 300 kg ;à l'issue d'une bagarre, il est mort en faisant un chute du haut d'une maison de 6,3 m de hauteur.

réincarné en oiseau on le voit de temps en temps attendre près du port le bateau de son meurtrier !!

Jusqu'à maintenant aucun reporter n'avait réussi à le prendre en photo.

Spica said...

Judging by your photo, I'd say Mitchell was a bird. He was also an actor who appeared in many reknown motion pictures, as Finding Nemo where ha played one of the stupid seagulls. Since this last movie, he retired and nobody seems to know where he went. Some say that he chose to remain in Sydney when the movie was finished, but nobody's really sure.

Peter said...

... and I looked in Google and found the fictional Australian version of Jack M., but I will not copy the article here! ... and I prefer the pastis!

Thib said...

Jack Mitchell était l'ami de Jonathan Livingstone le Goéland. Mais lui ne croyait pas qu'on pouvait aller au-dela des limites et des conventions. Il est resté comme un c.. de goéland sur le quai à attendre les bateaux, et il a été écrasé par des dockers imprudents qui ont laissé tomber cette poutre !
Peut-être son fantôme rejoindra-t'il Jonathan, qui, pendant ce temps, continue à voler plus haut, plus loin, plus vite...


Ceci dit, si cette pourte ne trouve pas preneur, j'en veux bien ! Je saurai quoi en faire, pour la restauration de ma maison ;-)

ruth said...

It's too early for me to create a story about Jack.

Isn't it wonderful how photography has frozen this ghost-like bird here for us to look at as long as we wish? I love still pictures. May they live long and prosper.

ruth said...

And oh, dear Nathalie, I failed to say that I really love YOUR photo. I so appreciate your sensitivities. The white bird and the white JACK commentary is just very cool.

lumer said...

J'adore ce bel effet, c'est une prise remarquable, superbe et bravo.

GiuCe said...

wow... a magic touch in this shot, that bird gives a nice detail to the composition.

time without visit your blog, you have a great photos!!!

have a nice weekend Nathalie

Chuckeroon said...

Well, whoever, this Jack may be, it's clear that the Jack Mitchells of Australia were all big men.

alice said...

Tu as gardé de vrais trésors dans ta besace...

Imparfait présent said...

Tu as donc emmené de bien jolis souvenirs avec toi

d. chedwick bryant said...

I'm enjoying catching up on all of your photos now
this bird looks like a fairy, a very interesting shot.

James said...

Very nice motion capture...good shot!

Deslilas said...

Est ce une mouette ou une danseuse étoile ?

Jules said...

I was going to say Poor Old Mr Mitchell was innocently fishing on the peir one day when he got hit on the head with said-plank (dimensions as stated). He was knocked clean off the pier into the water (along with a poor seagull that was feeding out of his bait bucket at the time)and to mark the spot the said-plank has been inscribed with his name and the dimensions that killed the poor buggar.

But after reading lasiate's story I feel quite guilty about being so disrespectful!!!

Chris said...

Oh, Jules! I like your story. I was going to say he was a pirate, so imagine how I feel!

Cergie said...

Qui était Jack Mitchell ?
Voyons ! C'est facile !
.....
Mitchell... Avec 2 "L"...
.....
Tu as figé un ange !

vera said...

enfin la bonne réponse a tous ces Jacko : photographe de danseuses de pistes et de rives, il aimait capter la fluidité des transparences aériennes et des atterrissages serrés sur pointes ou sur palmes! excellent

MedaM said...

It was a pleasant surprise for me when I saw you comment on my blog today. Thank you.
You still lived in Australia when I saw your blog by chance and since then I often enjoy your photos and stories that go with them.

Tietie007 said...

Magnifique !! Je me demande comment tu as fait !

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