Fire Guard Harold Mitchell was killed in his own home by enemy aerial attack on 7 April 1943 aged 60.

Little is known of Harold's early life and the lack of evidence unearthed locally suggests that he may not have originated from the Isle of Wight and/or spent a substantial proportion of his life elsewhere. It is known that he married Sarah Jane and they had several children. Sadly she passed away for reasons unknown on 19 January 1923 aged 36. 

Harold was employed for many years as yard foreman for Mr A.A. Westmore of Blackwater. The 1939 Register located Harold living at 25 Chapel Street, Newport, with his unmarried daughter Maggie (26), and two young girls aged 11 and 8 who share the same surname but not one that can be related to Harold and his family. The possibility exists that they were evacuees from the mainland. By now Harold was spending his time off-work serving as a town Fire Guard. 

Given the possibility of his home serving as a refuge for evacuee children it is tragically ironic that Harold's house was one of five neighbouring Chapel Street homes totally destroyed by a 500lb bomb dropped during the tip-and-run raid on the town in the early morning of 7 April (the houses were never rebuilt and were located where the entry and first parking spaces are located at Chapel Street car park). Tragically his elder daughter Nellie and her husband, Leading Aircraftman Norman Carlton had travelled from their home in Waterbeach, Cambridge, to visit. The visiting couple died instantly. Harold was removed to St Mary's Hospital but died later the same day. 

Rest in peace Fire Guard Mitchell.

 

 

 

The terrace of Chapel Street cottages as they appeared before the bombing.

The same location, looking at what would have been the rear of the cottages after the bombing.

An approximate image of the same scene today, from within Chapel Street car park.