Leading Seaman, Captain of the Foretop, HMS Harrier, Royal Navy.
Samuel MITCHELL, Captain of the Foretop of Her Majesty's Ship Harrier. For his gallant conduct at the attack of Te Papa, Tauranga, on the 29th April, 1864, in entering the pah (Gate Pa) with Commander Hay, and when that officer was mortally wounded, bringing him out, although ordered by Commander HAY to leave him and seek his own safety. This man was at the time Captain of the Foretop of the Harrier, doing duty as Captain's Coxswain, and Commodore Sir William WISEMAN brings his name to special notice for this act of gallantry." (Gazette 26 July 1864).
Captain of the Foretop Samuel Mitchell VC., HMS Harrier, Royal Navy. "The Queen has been graciously pleased to signify Her intention to confer the Decoration of the Victoria Cross on the undermentioned officer, whose claim to the same has been submitted for Her Majesty's approval, for his gallant conduct in New Zealand, as recorded against his name." (Gazette 16 August 1864).
Samuel MITCHELL VC was born in Apsley Guise, Bedfordshire, England and was Baptised on the 8th of September 1841. He was the son of William and Eleanor
Victoria Cross (Naval)
New Zealand Wars Medal
(These decorations were "lost" during a sea voyage and were later found by a small boy in Vancouver, Canada in 1956. They were purchased by a private collector in Auckland, New Zealand.)
He enlisted into the Royal Navy in 1857, as a Seaman Boy - 2nd Class, aboard HMS Crocodile.
He was promoted to Able Seaman in January 1861, and Leading Seaman later that same year. He was appointed Captain of the Foretop in 1864. He received his Victoria Cross from the Governor of New South Wales, Sir John YOUNG, Bart. PC, KCB, GCMG (later 1st Baron Lisgar) in Sydney in 1864. Some years later on the way to New Zealand he lost his sea chest in Sydney including his medals. .
Samuel MITCHELL, VC drowned on the 16th March 1894, in the Mikonui
River, NZ, not far from his farm. His body was recovered later by William
GREEN a former sailor who had also fought in the battle of Gate Pa. He
is buried with his wife Agnes in the Ross cemetery.
"In loving memory of Samuel Mitchell V.C. who was drowned in the
Mikonui River on 16th March 1894 aged 52 years. Also his beloved
wife Agnes who died at Ross 23rd October 1918 aged 71 years.
At rest. Erected by their family."
Peter and Ximena Mitchell, Christchurch