Their bodies are buried in peace; but their names liveth for evermore.
Their Duty Done
A tribute to the men and women of the East Gippsland Region who Died as a result of their participation in World War One : 1914 -1919
6103 Lance Corporal Mitchell Wightman - Bruthen Killed in Action 28 January 1917
The Wightman family had settled in Leongatha before arriving in Seaton where Mitchell was born 6 March 1875. Sometime after 1877 his mother, Elizabeth, was left to raise the five children, Annie, Ernest, Hill, Mitchell and Kate on her own. Once they left school the boys all acquired butchering skills with Hill having a slaughter licence at Glenmaggie in 1898. At the age of 23 he went to Leongatha, where he took over the management of the business of Mr J. Hall for a couple of months and then he and Ernest purchased the Bruthen business from Mr W. Hosie in 1898. He enjoyed a large connection in and around the district due to his indomitable pluck and perseverance, characteristics which combined to carry him successfully in his business. Mitchell and his brother continued at Bruthen for about ten years before returning to Leongatha. When Mitchell was 41 years old he enlisted on 30 March 1916 and being unmarried, named his mother as next of kin. William Haggar, from Sarsfield, was with him when they sailed with the 7 th  Battalion on the Themistocles on the 28 July. They arrived at Plymouth on 11 September and were marched to Perham Downs where they were attached to the 37 th  Battalion on 23 September and proceeded to France on 22 November 1916. Age and maturity may have influenced the decision to promote Wightman to Lance-Corporal but it was a short lived promotion. On the night of 28 January, William Haggar, Victor Gray and Mitchell Wightman were among those to go on a night raid. Gray saw Wightman hit in the back of the head by machine gun fire and believed he died almost instantly. Gray and another soldier tried to carry Wightman’s body in but the enemy fire was so hot that they had to abandon Wightman’s body after Gray fell on barbed wire. Later, stretcher bearers were able to get to Wightman’s body to bring him in but while doing so the enemy opened fire, again forcing them to leave him behind on the stretcher and find cover for themselves. Some days later they tried again to recover his body and found that the enemy had attached wire from their own trench to Mitchell’s feet and stretcher in order to shoot anyone attempting to recover him. Yet again, they were thwarted in retrieving his body.  Finally, two weeks later the Tyneside Scottish Brigade were on a raid in the same place and managed to cut the wire and return his body for burial. He was buried at Cite Bonjean Military Cemetery, Armentieres. In September 1917, Mitchell’s sister in law, Hill’s wife Ada, gave birth to their third child whom they named Mitchell after the uncle who had died earlier in the year. Mitchell, the younger, followed in his uncle’s footsteps and was killed in action on 6 August 1945 while serving with the 2 nd  AIF in WW2.
….. another soldier tried to carry him in