Robert Mitchell
Mitchell joined the unit in a hail of fire and fury, during the mission to destroy PACT artillery just prior to the siege of Gdansk. He fought with the unit throughout the siege, and later went on to help with the initial raid to Hel Peninsula to recover ordinance from the HMS Caliph. Returning from that mission, near the Rail Bridge South of Gdansk, Mitchell stepped on a landmine, obliterating his lower half in a cloud of smoke. Vincent Wright, in return for the Mad Dogs' help with recovering the Black Madonna, used his abilities to secure Mitchell a ride home to Britain. There he remains, happily ever after, albeit missing a foot from the mine blast, and with scars all over his body. Out of all the Mad Dogs lost over the war so far, Mitchell may have had the luckiest ending.

Rank: Corporal

Status: Alive, but missing a foot, in the UK

Whatever happened to...

April 10th, 2001
British Government Safe Zone

“Uh oh mate,” said the old man leading the horse drawn cart, prompting Mitch to wake up from where he was dozing on the back.  “We’ve got a couple of dodgy blokes just come out of that petrol station ahead.”

Mitch swivelled around on the sacks of grain he was sitting on, banging his still healing right ankle in the process and sending a jolt of pain up his leg, so that he could see what his new friend was talking about.  Two men, one carrying an over and under double barrelled shotgun and the other with what looked to be an old .303 Lee-Enfield rifle, had just stepped out onto the road, obviously intending on stopping the cart.  They were about forty meters away by Mitch’s judgement.

“They’re gonna try and tax us,” commented the old man as he spat on the ground beside him.  “Fuck that!”

Mitch quickly grabbed his Kevlar helmet and put it on before picking up the M4 Carbine from beside him and cocking it.  He looked slightly comical in the way he held it, the two smallest fingers on his left hand sticking out like he was about to drink afternoon tea from fine china at some posh stately home.  The impairment to his left hand was another permanent injury from the mine blast “ something had been damaged in the tendons and he couldn’t move those two fingers any more.  He still had a decent grip on the Carbine though and pointed it at the two men.

“I’ve got the fucker with the rifle Terry,” he muttered to the old man.  Terry put his right hand in the pocket of his jacket as he continued to lead the horse and cart forward, obviously gripping the pistol that Mitch knew he kept there.

The two men ahead of them on the road spotted Mitch and started talking amongst themselves.  They looked concerned, even agitated, by the sight of a soldier in camouflage with a helmet, webbing and a rifle, particularly as he was pointing it at them.

“We just passing through!” called Terry as he continued shortening the distance.

Both men decided that this wasn’t a trader who they were going to be able to easily persuade to pay them some road tax so they wisely backed off, retreating back into the disused petrol station they’d come out off.  Mitch kept his rifle pointed at the building, flicking from door to window to window, as Terry led the cart passed.  They quickly left it behind, continuing to plod along the road and Mitch was able to relax, lowering his M4 but keeping it close at hand and his helmet on his head, just in case another threat appeared.

“You get a lot of that now Terry?” he asked.  “I thought that this was supposed to be the safe zone and that the fuckin’ Government had it under control!”

“Na.  You get a lot of part time bandits like that trying to fleece people of a few quid for going passed their patch.  They sure shit themselves when they clocked you though!” he continued with a chuckle.  “They probably had fuck all ammo anyway.  The militias try to stamp it out and hunt down and execute bandits when they can but everyone who could grab a gun did so when the world started to go to shit so by now so there’s a lot more of ‘em around.  You even get pubs now where they don’t just check you for guns, they ‘ave a gun check, like they used to do in nightclubs with bags and coats.”

Terry had been re-educating Mitch on how England worked now, as he liked to put it, ever since he’d offered to give the disabled soldier a lift and Mitch even managed to put up with the slightly patronising tone!

When Mitch sat back, took stock and actually thought about it, the last few months, since he had stepped on the mine, had been some of the strangest of his life.  He’d finally woken up from a drug induced sleep in a clean and well equipped hospital and it had taken him quite a while to realise that he wasn’t in Gdansk or even Poland anymore.  Somehow he’d gone from Gdansk to Denmark and the only explanation he had was a letter from Major McCarthy saying that he’d done a deal of some kind with someone powerful in Gdansk to get Mitch to Denmark where he’d get the medical attention that he needed to have any chance of actually surviving the extensive wounds he’d received.  And they were terrible wounds.

He’d stepped on the mine with his left food and the doctors had had to amputate it from the mid shin downwards.  His right ankle had been shattered by the explosion and though the doctors had managed to save his foot he had been warned that it would always be painful to put weight on it.  He’d also cracked his pelvis and had received multiple lacerations all over from the shrapnel, the most severe of which had been to his left arm and hand.  He hadn’t lost any fingers but there was some permanent tendon damage and he couldn’t grip properly with his two smallest fingers any more.  His dick still worked though so that was one saving grace!

It was obvious that he wasn’t going to be a soldier any longer though the Danish doctors were good and they’d even set him up with a false leg and taught him how to walk on it.  It wasn’t a false foot, merely a modern version of the old wooden leg of pirate tales but it did the job and Mitch was able to walk on that with pair of crutches.  The doctors believed that as his right ankle strengthened over time that he would eventually be able to walk with just a stick but he was going to have to get used to being disabled.  When he thought of Rooke, Henry, Methuselah, St.Gil, Weiss and all the others who had died he realised just how lucky he’d been that the Major had been able to give him this chance.

He’d also been visited in the hospital by an RAF Officer who was some kind of Military liaison and he’d explained that once Mitch was fit to travel he’d go onto a list of British personal waiting to be repatriated to the UK.  It hadn’t turned out to be too long a list however and a couple of weeks after the doctors had passed him fit enough to travel Mitch had taken his place on a ship that had rolled its way back to the UK.  The RAF Officer had also been good enough to take the letters that weren’t for the Brits off Mitch and pass them on to his American counterpart with a promise that they were trying to deliver mail, even though it was a low priority.  He’d also advised Mitch to keep the letters destined for the UK with him and had actually handed over a load more with instructions to give them to the Receiving Officer on his arrival in Chatham dockyard, which had been converted back into a working port after being mothballed in 1984.  He quite liked playing the part of a courier “ it made him feel useful!

Mitch pulled out the letter from Major McCarthy and read it again as the cart bounced along the road from pot hole to pot hole.  He was hopefully getting near the end of his journey and it had set him thinking about those comrades he’d left behind in Gdansk.

Dear Robert,

By the time you read this you should be basking on the shores of the North Sea being tended by the most delectable nurses that Scandinavia can supply. You are, however, probably confused by how you ended up here.

Don't worry, you may be in paradise but you didn't die. You stepped on a land mine whilst helping the unit to secure the crossing of the convoy. Your sacrifice ensured that the ammunition was saved and thus helped secure the long term survival of the city and its vital role as an escape route for the 8th, and, as such, countless NATO soldiers owe their lives to your bravery. We were able to keep you alive long enough to get to the Marians but the facility was looking more like a death trap than a hospital. Thankfully, you were still unconscious and not feeling much pain and we were able to secure passage to Aaldborg thanks to the contacts of our friendly neighbourhood patron.

My greatest regret is that we were unable to give you a proper send-off and thank you personally for your contribution to the unit and to the cause of the West. Keeping Gdansk a free city weakens the Communist position and will hopefully mean that your children won't have to go to war again when they are old enough and that they won't have to lose their children to a senseless war either. Your part in that cause was considerable and you leave an empty space in our battle line and at our table that will never be adequately filled.

If all goes well, we'll be on our way to join you soon enough and we'll be able to work on getting you home to your son and daughter. Until then may the road always rise up to meet your tread and God hold you in the palm of his hand.

Your friend and comrade,

John Jameson McCarthy

He just hoped that they’d all made it out of the mess that was Gdansk and back towards the 8th ID.  He hadn't had any news of them since the letter however and he didn't like to dwell on what that meant, if anything.

A call from Terry brought him back from his recollecting and he folded the letter back into its envelope and put it back in his jacket pocket with the other letters he treasured.  Terry was proving to be a really sound guy to know in Mitch’s opinion and he was extremely grateful to the Receiving Officer, this one in a Royal Navy uniform, in Chatham who’d introduced him.  She was one of those people who seemed to know everyone and everything that was going on and when Mitch had told her that, after being declared medically unfit to return to active service, his intention was to try to find his wife Jemma and their kids she had done her best to help.

The last letter he had from Jemma had said that she was leaving their home in Ealing in West London and was moving with her parents to live an aunt of her mother's down near Ashford in Kent.  He’d never been there himself but he had an address and the Receiving Officer, after commenting on his luck at being sent by ship from Denmark to Chatham, had been able to tell him that Ashford actually wasn’t that far from Chatham and to give him a hand drawn map of how to get there.  Even better she’d introduced him to Terry who was taking a cart load of supplies to the military garrison in the town and the old trader had been happy to let him tag along.

She had also provided him with a ration book that contained a number of coupons for items that were now restricted, even when there were supplies at all and had taken all the mail off him.  She had even promised to return Methuselah's bible to his regiment in the hopes that one day it would be passed on to his family.  It was his family bible so Mitch thought that that was what Methuselah would have wanted.  He had also given her as much detail as he could about the other British casualties that he knew about, not just Rooke but also the other Green Jackets who had died and were buried in some unknown field in Poland.  It was quite a depressing list!

Mitch had then been surprised when he’d been allowed to keep his carbine, pistol, body armour and helmet but the Receiving Officer had explained that he was expected to report to his local militia company and help out with training new recruits and in any other way that he could.  He had important skills that would need to be passed along to others to help protect his community from the various lawless elements that were taking advantage of the current situation and he still needed to do his bit.  Even though it was good to know that he still had a role to play this had all rather worried Mitch as he had expected the so called Safe Zone to be a safe place for his family.  He just hoped that they were all still alive and well!

“What did you say?” Mitch called back in response to whatever it was that Terry had said.

“I said that we’re here you dozy twat!  This is Bucksford Lane.”

Mitch glanced up and saw that Terry had pulled up outside a small semi-detached house which had the number they were looking for.  He didn't need to glance at Jemma's letter to check that it was the right address, he knew it off by heart by now and he just hoped that if they'd moved on for some reason that they'd left information with the current occupants.  Mitch quickly shuffled down the cart and climbed off, using his crutches to support himself.  Force of habit made him sling the strap of his rifle over his shoulder and he turned to also pick up his backpack.

“I’ll bring that for you mate,” commented Terry quietly, almost nervously.  “Go knock on the door.”

Mitch nodded and started hobbling towards the house, the sound of his metal peg leg and crutches on the pavement interspersed with winces as he put weight on his right ankle.  His mouth was suddenly dry with nerves and the pain seemed to lessen with each step.  He had been looking forward to this moment for years and he was suddenly nervous about just what he would find.  Had his family survived?  Even if his wife had met someone else he could handle it, just as long as both she and his two children were still alive!

He didn’t get far down the path though before the front door of the house flew open and a rather haggard woman in her late twenties came running out.

“Mitch!” Jemma cried as she embraced him, almost knocking him over with the force of her greeting and bursting into tears as she hugged him.  “Everyone told me that you were dead but I never gave up hoping!”

“No luv.  Nearly but not quite!”

Behind Jemma some other people had come to the front door.  Mitch recognised his father in law coming out, smiling as much as he had on Jemma and Mitch's wedding day.  Mitch then spotted his son Ben, not a toddler any more but a boy of six, who rushed forward to join the family embrace with a cry of Daddy!  Pain shot through Mitch's legs as he lifted Ben up in his right arm, tightly hugging him.

The last person was a little girl of about three who stayed in the doorway, nervously looking out and unsure what was going on.  She was worried about her mother who seemed to be crying and the little girl started to sob a little herself.  Mitch stiffened in his wife’s embrace, tears starting to flow and Jemma turned to the little girl with a broad smile.

“Charlotte, come and meet your Daddy!”

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