ATKINSON A.K.

ARTHUR KENNETH ATKINSON 1896-1918

131400 Sapper Arthur Kenneth Atkinson, M.M., 206th Field Company, Royal Engineers was killed in action 3 December 1918 and is buried at Soumoy Communal Cemetery, Belgium.[1]  He was 22 years old and is commemorated on the Evenwood War Memorial and the Roll of Honour, St. Paul’s Church, Evenwood.

Family Details: 

Arthur Kenneth was the son of John and Margaret Atkinson who lived at 1 Ford Terrace, Chilton Buildings, Ferryhill, Co. Durham.[2]  It is likely that he was born in 1896 at Etherley and his birth was registered at Bishop Auckland.[3]  In 1901, the family may have been living at Southend Cottage, Darlington.  John was then 29 years old, Margaret was 26 and Arthur was 4 years old.  John was born at Etherley, Margaret at Toft Hill and Arthur at Etherley. [4]  Sometime during the war, Mr. and Mrs. Atkinson moved to Ramshaw.[5]  Later, Mrs. Atkinson lived at 22 Fishburn Terrace, Fishburn, Co. Durham. [6]

Military Details:

 17 August 1915: A.K. Atkinson attested at Stockton-on-Tees when 20 years old. He was 5’4” tall and worked as a blacksmith.  He lived at 2 Ford Terrace, Chilton.  He joined 284th Field Company, Royal Engineers and was given the regimental number 131400.[7]  He entered France 21 August 1916 [8] after being transferred twice firstly to No.8 Company in March 1916 then 12th Mechanical Bridging in May 1916 [9] presumably for specific instruction and training.  Arthur W. Byers, steelworks engineer employed by the Durham Steel & Iron Company confirmed that Arthur Kenneth Atkinson was a “good” blacksmith.  During his military service he progressed as follows: [10]

  • 17/8/15 – proficient
  • 1/12/17 – skilled
  • 15/10/18 – superior (Lancs. Division)

Sapper A.K. Atkinson served a total of 3 years 109 days: [11]

  • Home: 17/8/15 – 20/8/16…1 year 4 days
  • B.E.F.: 21/8/16 – 3/12/18…2 years 105 days
  • Total……………………….3 years 109 days

Whilst serving overseas, Sapper A.K. Atkinson was admitted to hospital on 4 occasions: [12]

  • 19/9/16 – 21/9/16
  • 16/8/17 – 24/8/17
  • 5/7/18 – 10/7/18
  • Again in October 1918 but the exact date cannot be deciphered.

Sapper A.K. Atkinson was awarded the Military Medal.[13]  Details remain unknown, further research is required.  The Military Medal was instituted in 1916 and awarded to non-commissioned ranks of the Army, Royal Flying Corps and Royal Naval Division for acts of bravery against the enemy.  Some 115,600 Military Medals were awarded during the First World War with 5,796 bars, 180 second bars and 1 third bar.  After 1913, the Military Medal was replaced with the Military Cross which was opened to all ranks.

Whilst serving with 206th Field Company it was stated that Sapper A.K. Atkinson was “accidentally killed” but then this description was changed to “Killed in Action.” [14]

Sapper A.K. Atkinson was awarded the British War and Victory medals[15] and the Military Medal.

Announcement of his Death

The Evenwood Parish Magazine reported as follows:

“Also for Mr. and Mrs. Atkinson of Ramshaw, whose son Sapper Arthur Kenneth, M.M., R.E., after going through safely four years of fighting, was killed in December 1918, by the explosion of a bomb whist clearing away debris.” [16]

Burial

 Sapper Arthur Kenneth Atkinson M.M. is buried at Soumoy Communal Cemetery.  Soumoy is located north west of the town of Philippeville, in the region of Namur, Belgium.  This cemetery contains the graves of 1 officer and 5 men of the 206th Field Company, Royal Engineers killed in action 3 December 1918.  The officer is:

  • Second Lieutenant William W. Bruce M.C. aged 23 years from Aberdeen

The other ranks are:

  • Sapper Herbert William Bryant, aged 25 from Cardiff
  • Sapper Frank Hackney aged 30 from Cheshire
  • Sapper Judah Jacobs aged 25 from Bethnal Green, London
  • Sapper William Cuthbert McCarthy M.M. aged 23 from Jarrow, Co. Durham.
  • Sapper Arthur Kenneth Atkinson M.M. aged 22.

 Commemoration

Sapper A.K. Atkinson, M.M. is commemorated on the Evenwood War Memorial and the Roll of Honour, St. Paul’s Church, Evenwood.

 References:

[1] Commonwealth War Graves Commission

[2] Army Form B.2505

[3] England & Wales Birth Index 1837-1915 Vol.10a p.246 Auckland 1896 Q3

[4] 1901 census Note: no definite record has been traced for 1911

[5] Evenwood Church Magazine

[6] CWGC

[7] Army Form B.2505

[8] Military History Sheet

[9] Army form B.200

[10] Army Form B.195 Certificate of Trade Proficiency

[11] Military Service Sheet

[12] Army Form B.103 Casualty Form – Active Service

[13] London Gazette 7 October 1918

[14] Army Form B.200

[15] Medal Roll

[16] Evenwood Church Magazine April 1919

Photographs:

ATKINSON A.K. Headstone

ATKINSON A.K.
Headstone