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Bowles Mitchell (1750-1824)


Bowles Mitchell was baptised on 8 October 1750 at St. Paul’s, Deptford, the son of James Mitchell and Mary (née Bowles), who were both from Deptford and had married on 16 February 1738 at St. Gregory by St. Paul.  


Mitchell sailed on Cook’s Second Voyage.  He joined Resolution on 22 January 1772 as an AB from Barfleur.  He became a midshipman on 12 June before resuming as an AB from 1 July 1773.  


Mitchell kept a log.1  Beaglehole states, “This is a very good and full log, with intelligent comment on islands, people, birds etc., but lacking on the scientific side.  The first two pages of the first volume give some interesting lists – an analysis of the crew in the watches when the ships sailed from the Cape, further broken down into officers, fo’c’sle men waisters and afterguard; and a list which identifies the barber, the baker and other functionaries who do not figure in the muster books as such.”


John Elliott described Mitchell as “a steady young man”. He also records that they were mess mates, together with John Whitehouse, Richard Grindall and Henry Roberts.  


Mitchell drew a few charts and coastal views during the voyage.


Mitchell joined Discovery on 10 February 1776 for Cook’s Third Voyage as master’s mate.  However, he was discharged on 11 July before the start of the voyage.  


He was promoted lieutenant on 18 May 1777, and was in command of Kite cutter from March 1788 until February 1791.  Mitchell later served in HMS Russell.  He was listed as a superannuated commander on 24 August 1810.


Mitchell, who never married, died in Ramsgate, Kent on 18 January 1824, leaving a will proven on 10 February.2  The will refers to relations named Davis and Parry.  An older sister, Mary Mitchell, had married Daniel Davis and it is their offspring that are mentioned. 


John Robson



  1. TNA.  Adm 51/4555/194-5.  It runs from 22 November 1772 to 13 March 1775. 
  2. PROB 11/1681.


Originally published in Cook's Log, page 19, volume 35, number 4 (2012).

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