David Mitchell (Royal Navy officer)

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Portrait of Sir David Mitchell

Sir David Mitchell (ca. 1642 – 1 June 1710) was a Scottish admiral. He descended from "a family of good repute, more distinguished for integrity than for riches", and was apprenticed at 16 to the master of a trading vessel from Leith, Edinburgh.

In the Second Dutch War (1665–1667), while mate of a ship in the Baltic trade, he was pressed into service with the Royal Navy and rose to be Admiral of William III's Blue Fleet (8 February 1693). He was knighted by William III, apparently informally, about May 1694 before he joined Edward Russell, 1st Earl of Orford's grand fleet, but was officially dubbed a Knight Bachelor at Kensington, London, on 6 December 1698.

He was a Commissioner of the Admiralty from 1699 to 1702 and a Member of the Lord High Admiral's Council 1702 to 1708. He obtained numerous royal honours and appointments, including that of Gentleman Usher of the Black Rod. Because of his naval knowledge, he became a close professional friend of Czar Peter the Great. David Mitchell's coat of arms are stated by De Neve to be appropriated for his tomb without justification from the Mitchells of Tillygrieg ('he bears arms, but hath no right', citing his humble background).

During the Grand Embassy of Tsar Peter the Great in 1697-1699 Mitchell captained the flagship HMS York which brought him to England. During the voyage the Tsar was given instruction on ship handling by Mitchell—mostly in Dutch since they were both fluent in it. At the Tsar's request Mitchell was assigned as his official escort and translator during the nearly six months Peter was in London.