WW1 Alumni

Atkinson, HJ


Henry J. Atkinson

Henry John Atkinson (Jack)

2nd Lieutenant, King's Own Light Infantry

Henry Atkinson was born 9th July 1894, lived at 97 Calton Avenue, Dulwich and was student at Alleyn's until 1912. He was a School prefect as well as a House prefect and House Captain for Brown's. Henry was a bright and cheerful individual and often played a prominent part in School and House games. He played in first teams for cricket and football and was an excellent shot. He was known to be keen and thoughtful in everything he undertook. 

After the outbreak of war in August 1914, he decided to enlist in the London Rifle Brigade. After being declared fit for service, he sailed for France in the early Spring of 1915 as part of the British Expeditionary Force, where he served in the trenches until being invalided with appendicitis in November 1915. 

Henry was then gazetted to the 8th Battalion of  the King's Own Yorkshire Light Infantry as a 2nd Lieutenant. He fought overseas with the regiment in France and Flanders and was involved in the major British operation on the Somme in the summer of 1916. During this fighting, he was killed in action on August 17th whilst on patrol in Delville Wood. He was buried by his comrades at Delville Wood near Longueval. 

His Colonel (G. Meryill) wrote of him, "although he had only been a short time with me I had already noticed him as a young officer of exceptional promise, full of dash and keenness, for which qualification he was selected as Bombing Officer. He was always ready for a dangerous job and was a typical specimen of the best type of young officer. His death is deplored by us all".

With thanks to Harry's great great niece, Jessica Wigmore, for providing some of the photographs and information.