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Sunday, 7 February 2016

Manitoba's WWI Fallen: Garnet "Sport" Mitchell of Winnipeg


Garnet "Sport" Mitchell grew up on Lenore Street in Wolseley making a name for himself on the local sports scene.

In 1912 he was captain of the Tigers' rugby football club and a manager and member of the Young Conservatives' 1913 city champion lacrosse team. While Mitchell was a decent player, it was his leadership and organizational skills that were his greatest strengths.

The war caused great disruption to the city's sports leagues. Some struggled to attract enough teams to continue, while most teams affiliated with universities, such as his Young Conservatives, shut down all together. Because most under-18 teams and leagues were affiliates of the senior ones, it had a ripple effect trough the community.

In the summer of 1915 Sport was working for the city's playground commissioner helping to organize youth sports. Of particular interest to him was Mulvey School's sports fields. That's where he, his brother "Tote" and other neighbourhood friends hung out, played informal games and taught the younger kids.

The Mitchell brothers decided to create their own sports club dedicated to rugby football. They signed up enough area youth for the new "Tammany Tigers Athletic Association" to quickly field both a junior (under 16) and juvenile (under 18) team.

April 26, 1917, Winnipeg Tribune

Sport was a member of the 100th Winnipeg Grenadiers militia and in August 1916 enlisted with the the 184th Battalion. He went overseas in March and less than a month later, on April 20, 1917, was killed in action. Mitchell was 23 years old.

His brother Tote, who also fought in the war, lost an arm. When he returned, he took over the management of the Tammany's senior rugby football team and in 1925 they became the first Winnipeg team to play for the Grey Cup.

May 19, 1917, Winnipeg Tribune

The above letter to the editor was printed after his death. it was penned by A. E. Coo, president of the Amateur Athletics Union - Manitoba Branch.

Related:
Officers Declaration Paper
Canadian Virtual War Memorial entry

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