Harry George Atkins


About Harry George

  • Name
    Harry George
  • Initials
  • Surname
  • Date of Birth
  • Birth town
    Ipswich, Suffolk
  • Resided town
  • Commemorated
  • Nationality
  • Place of death
    Hadleigh, Essex
  • Date of death
  • Married
  • Occupation

Service Information

  • Army

  • Service Number
  • Rank
  • Regiment
    Royal Army Medical Corps


Harry George Atkins was born in Ipswich in 1894, to parents Harry and Ruth.  His father was in the bookbinding trade, as was Harry prior to enlisting in October 1915.  The family lived at 11 Norfolk Road, Ipswich for many years.  Harry had three younger siblings; Stanley, Percy and Bessie.

On enlistment Harry was attached to the Royal Army Medical Corps with the 3/1 East Anglian Field Ambulance and remained in the UK until April 1917.  In April 1917, he was serving on board the Hospital Ship Essequibo,  he served on HMHS Essequibo for the remainder of the war, alternating between periods at sea and on shore.

“The Essequibo was originally commissioned as a British hospital ship on 2 September 1915. In March 1917, with a RAMC unit on board, HMHS Essequibo was the first hospital ship to cross the Atlantic to Canada. On the return voyage Essequibo was stopped at sea north of Ireland for 75 minutes by a German submarine after two warning shots were fired.  After a search to verify that it was being used as a hospital ship, it was released to continue its voyage.  In the time that Harry Atkins was serving with the ship, it made five transatlantic crossings to Portland, Maine”.

Private Harry Atkins was promoted to Acting Lance Corporal in 1918, however he lost his promotion as a disciplinary punishment for ‘Neglect of Duty’ in failing to post his sentry and stating a falsehood to his Commanding Officer.  He was also subject to one day close arrest.  He was further charged with the loss of three glass urinals in October 1918!

Harry married Emily Margaret Alderton in Ipswich in 1925 and the couple had two children, Joyce (1926) and Gordon (1931).  In 1939, Harry and Emily are living with their children at Coulsdon, Woodfield Road, Benfleet, Essex and Harry was working as a foreman bookbinder.  The 1939 Register also mentions that Harry was a member (no 457) of the National Pigeon Service, during World War Two.   Membership was open to those who bred and trained homing pigeons and were prepared to place their services and those of their birds at the disposal of Service departments.

Harry was living at 62 Woodfield Road, Hadleigh, Essex when he died on 19 June 1962, aged 67 years.

Do you recognise this story?  Please get in touch if you can tell us more about Harry.


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