Ralph Conyngham Mitchison 1912 - 1941
Ralph Conyngham was born on 21 May 1912 to Herbert Guy Sturgess and Ivy Mitchison, of Wootton Rise, Palmers Road. He being the second son.
A Tribute From A Colleague
On 24 October 1941, Sgt. R C Mitchison, A.I.F., was killed in a motor accident whilst on duty in the Middle East.
On his arrival from England, Mr. Mitchison joined the staff of the Preparatory School early in 1939, and immediately became a prominent personality in the school. So very varied had been his interests and experiences in other lands, and so incredible his energy, that it was obvious that he should be a centre of interest to us all.
His life in England, at school and home, and his adventures abroad, had trained him in service to others, and his genuine interests in the boys and all the school activities testified to this. Nearly every morning I would see him striding up the road, carrying books, pictures and curios that were always eagerly studied by the boys, and they knew that he in his turn, displayed an interest in their hobbies, and encouraged their nature studies.
As soon as he joined the staff, he put the Scout Troop on a firm basis, and founded the Boxing Club. Under his control, the Scout Troop grew in numbers and efficiency, and has now become well known in the movement. On many weekends and during all the vacations, he took the boys to various camps, and his unselfish enthusiasm in this direction caused many a boy to copy his design for living, made up principally of service, self-confidence, and a love for the outdoors. We can all recall the successful Scout’s Fair, held on a pouring wet Saturday afternoon. With the help of a few keen parents, he worked with the energy and speed that would be the envy of the average man, and a horror to the lazy. He also organised concerts, a lecture and other functions to aid the slum children. At these functions it was amazing to see how seemingly quite boys worked with the ardour inspired by their Scoutmaster.
I can remember too, when he founded the Boxing Club. After cadet parades on Friday afternoons, there was always a rush to the gymnasium to see the fights fairly conducted by him. Even now, I can see his tall figure prancing about the ring, with a hawk-like eye on the sparring couples.
When the war started, “Mitch” became very restless; and mindful of his home in Britain, and knowing that Australian troops were in the Middle East that he knew so well, he enlisted with the 2/13 Battalion. I always welcomed his letters from the front.
They reflected his usual brightness and disregard to danger of any sort. His description of his escapes from Greece and Crete were quite vivid and exciting withal. As he saw so much action, it seems strange that he was taken in such a manner.
When the war is over, and we all resume the normal programme at Scots, it will be difficult to realise that “Mitch” will not be among those returning. We will miss his energy, wit and kindness, his haste in correcting any injustice, and his whole-hearted readiness to tackle any undertaking, no matter how new to him.
However, his memory is perpetuated in the form of our Scout Troop, and that is a perfect memorial to one who spent his life serving others, and died with the same ideals. Such a thought should serve as an inspiration to those boys who knew him, and it behoves them to pass on these ideals, thereby assuring the high reputation of their School and Troop.
Mitchison, Ralph Conyngham. Sergeant of the Australian Corps is buried in the Beirut War Cemetery
Source: The above was contributed by the family