Angus Mitchell

Veteran Who Liberated Dutch Town On A Bicycle Dies Aged 93

A World War II veteran who liberated a small Dutch town on a bicycle has sadly died at the age of 93...

Angus Mitchell

A veteran who liberated a Dutch town on a bicycle has died at the age of 93.

Angus Mitchell died on February 26 in Edinburgh and was a devoted husband for 69 years, as well as a much-loved father and grandfather to six grandchildren.

During World War II he showed remarkable courage and determination to liberate a Dutch town on a bicycle.

Mitchell served in France and Germany in an armoured car reconnaissance unit called the Inns of Court Regiment and in June 1944 his troop sailed to Northern France.

Whilst fighting in Normandy, his squadron leader was killed in a scout car just 50 yards away from where he was stood.

With his commander dead, Mitchell took command and advanced his troop ahead.

He then got shot. 

"If he would have moved two inches further up he would have got me in the throat."

Luckily the bullet did not hit him - it hit a bronze periscope from which bits of the metal flew up causing an injury to his face. 

Mitchell recovered from his injuries and rejoined his regiment after a brief period of recovery.

Upon his return, his unit was ordered to advance to a railway line near the Maas river, outside the Dutch town of Boxmeer.   

It was here that Mitchell decided to ditch their armoured vehicles for bicycles so they could avoid being accidentally bombed by the RAF.

On his bike, he went to see whether the enemy was still present in Boxmeer and found they had retreated to a small village just outside the town.

He then called down an attack on the opposition and defeated the remaining Germans, thus completely liberating the Dutch town and surrounding area. 

Angus Mitchell
Top right, Angus Mitchell and his troops

"I'm very relieved that we won it [the war] but I'm proud to have served a part in it - a pretty small part. I still in a sense feel lucky that I was in time to play a part in that way."

For helping to liberate Europe, Mitchell was awarded the Military Cross, the Legion d'Honneur and the Dutch Order of the Oranje-Nassau.

The little town in Holland never forgot their hero and 50 years after the liberation its residents invited him back. 

More - Preserving Forgotten WW1 Objects: 'Lest We Forget' School Project