First American Foreign Legion Volunteer Killed In France
James Mitchell was born in July 1883. He became a professional soldier and was a veteran of the revolution in Mexico and several uprisings in Latin and South America. He was drawn to the conflict in Europe and went to France in 1914 and enlisted into the French Foreign Legion at Dunkirk. The French Foreign Legion is a military service wing of the French Army that was exclusively created for foreign nationals willing to serve in the French Armed Forces.
On February 22, 1915 Mitchell was at the Somme front and was killed in action at Frise during a trench raiding venture. With his death he became the first of the American volunteers in the Legion to die in the current conflict, the first ‘true blooded’ American to die in the war. The actual first American citizen to die in combat, Charles Parrot, was killed in November 1914, was of half French parentage.