Family find soldier’s grave after 73 years

Trooper Mitchell
Trooper Mitchell

The grave of a soldier from Bothwell has been found by his family 73 years after he was killed fighting in Italy during the Second World War.

Trooper Wullie Mitchell’s name is on the village war memorial and on a memorial cairn at the site of the former mining village of Bothwellhaugh, but until recently relatives didn’t know where his final resting place was.

Soldier's grave is in Naples

Soldier's grave is in Naples

Then his nephew Phil Campbell started investigating and found from War Graves Commission records that Trooper Mitchell was buried in one of two cemeteries in Naples.

Phil (74) said: “These cemeteries hold thousands of graves, but we narrowed it down to one cemetery and when we went on holiday to Naples this year we found the grave without any problem.”

So ended a six-year search and Phil, who now lives in Durham, said: “I felt relieved and emotional knowing that someone from the family had finally been able to pay their last respects to my uncle.”

Trooper Mitchell served with the Royal Scots Greys and fought in Africa and Palestine before being killed, aged 23, at Monte Cassino in 1944.

Phil, who also served in the army, said he remembered as a child seeing a photo of his uncle with his military medals.

He explained: “My mum, Ella, was his sister. She and my grandparents were notified of his death, but all they ever knew was he was buried somewhere in Italy.

“Mum lived in Tannochside until she died a couple of years ago aged 98. Before she passed away I was able to track down his army records and tell her the details of his army service which she knew nothing about.”

Phil urged anyone else who has ever wondered about what happened to a loved one killed in the war to search for answers like he did.

He said: “I felt that my uncle’s grave should be found and final respects paid to him because if it wasn’t for men like him we wouldn’t be able to say and do the things we can. If you know a name on a memorial go and find him!”