Thursday, March 10, 2011

Vyrell Baillie Mitchell 1929-1972

Vyrell Baillie Mitchell was born in Durban, South Africa. He graduated from the Royal Naval College, Dartmouth, in 1946 and served with distinction as a pilot in the Royal Navy until 1962 when he retired with the rank of Lieutenant Commander. During the Korean War he saw service flying Sea Furies of 801 Squadron off HMS Glory.
Returning from the Far East, he graduated from the Central Flying School as a flying instructor in 1954, following which he instructed on Meteors and Vampires.After various flying and ground tours, his final job in the Navy was as Flag Lieutenant and personal pilot to Adm Hopkins.
On leaving the Navy he joined Beagle Aircraft at Shoreham as a pilot engaged in sales, test flying and military-liaison duties. In January 1967 he joined CSE Aviation at Oxford Airport, Kidlington, as Piper aircraft sales manager, a position that he held until early this year when he was appointed general manager (spare parts). Throughout his career Vyrell Mitchell distinguished himself as a very fine pilot and one with a tremendous enthusiasm for flying. This extended into his spare time with air racing and rallying. His first association with Prince William was in 1968, when he acted as co-pilot on a flight from the UK to Tokyo in the Prince's Twin Commanche.
He took part in the London-to-Australia Air Race and more recently, flying a Twin Comanche as co-pilot to Tim Phillips from Ireland, he was second overall and class winner in the London-to-Vancouver air race. He was killed along with Prince William of Gloucester in the crash of Piper Cherokee Arrow at Halfpenny Green on the 28th August 1972.