Private 16829 John Akins

Akins John 96 422x600

Died of Wounds on Sunday, 2nd July 1916, age 39.
Buried in Grave A. 11. at Morlancourt British Cemetery No. 1, Somme, France.

1st Bn., South Staffordshire Regiment. 91st Brigade of 7th Division.

Son of Mr J. and Mrs R. Akins, of Tipton, Staffs.
Born: Tipton, Enlisted: Dudley, Resident: Tipton.

First landed France & Flanders, post 31st December 1915.
Medal entitlement: British War Medal, Victory Medal.
Soldier's Papers at National Archives did not survive.

Commemorated on the Tipton Library Memorial.
Commemorated here because he appears on a Tipton memorial.

Link to Commonwealth War Graves Site: www.cwgc.org/find-war-dead/casualty/570800/

Genealogical Data

Marriage of John Akens (sic) and Rebecca Davies registered June quarter 1891 at Dudley.

1891 Census
1 House 3 Court, Union Street, Tipton, Staffs.
Rebecca Davies (32, Head, Brickmaker, born Tipton), her 3 children: John (12, Scholar, born Tipton), Joseph (6, Scholar, born Tipton), Annie (2, born Tipton), and John Akins (38, Boarder !!, Coal Miner, born Tipton).

Marriage of John Akens (sic) and Rebecca Davies registered June quarter 1891 at Dudley.

1901 Census
8 Simons Passage, Tipton, Staffs. (John Davies/Davis/Akins was not living with the Akins family in 1901)
John Akins (49, Coal Miner, born Tipton), his wife Rebecca (46, born Tipton), Rebecca's son by her first marriage: Joseph Davis(16, Coal Wheeler, born Tipton), John and Rebecca's 2 children: Rebecca Akins (7, born Tipton), and Joseph Akins (5, born Tipton).

1911 Census
19 Simons Passage, Tipton, Staffs.
John Akins (59, Labourer, born Tipton), his wife Rebecca (58, born Tipton), Rebecca's 2 sons by her first marriage: John Davies (32, Carter - Furniture Remover, born Tipton), Joseph Davies(24, Labourer, born Tipton), John and Rebecca's 2 children: Rebecca Akins (19, born Tipton), and Joseph Akins (15, Coal Wheeler, born Tipton).

Personal Data

This is very possibly the "J ATkins" on the Tipton Library Memorial, as the 'Staffordshire Roll of Honour' records Pte J ATkins, South Staffs. The J Atkins that I have identified as being from Tipton was in the MGC, and has no indication of ever being South Staffs.

Morlancourt was a location for Field Ambulances, about 5 miles south west of Mametz. It is possible that John was wounded on either 1st or 2nd July.

Action resulting in his death

The 1st South Staffs, as part of 7th Division, attacked the village of Mametz. This was well to the south of the Somme battlefield where the attack achieved many of the objectives. The initial attack at 7.30am captured most of Mametz, but was forced to a halt by mid-morning by German resistance. By early afternoon, the attack was carried forward again with a German garrison of around 200 surrendering. By 7.30pm, all the Staffords objectives had been achieved.

The 1st South Staffs had 4 officers and 82 men killed on the 1st July 1916, with more dying of wounds of subsequent days. Of these 82 men, 5 were from Tipton: James Butcher, Luke Gwilliams, Dan Turner, George Wheatley and John Wilkinson. James Butcher and George Wheatley are buried in Dantzig Alley Cemtery, the other three have no known grave and are commemorated on the Thiepval Memorial to the Missing of the Somme. Another man, John Akins, was wounded in action and died on 2nd July.

War Diary for 1st South Staffs
1st July 1916: MAMETZ
7.30 am:
Attack launched. The attack was pushed forward very successfully and with very few casualties until the whole Battalion was in MAMETZ, where a large number of Germans were encountered. At 9.08 am a message was received from O.C. ‘D’ company stating the Battalion was held-up on South side of MAMETZ and required reinforcements, the enemy being in strong numbers in the village. A Company of the 21st Manchester Regiment was sent to our support and at 11.20 am we received a message stating that we had advanced to the North East corner of the village and were consolidating. We also held BRIGHT ALLEY with a small force.
The position of Companies was:- ‘C’ Company on the Right, making a strong point, ‘D’ Company in DANZIG ALLEY making a strong point with two Stokes Guns. ‘B’ Company on the Left Front.
2.00 pm:
Battalion had gained and was consolidating the whole of its objective with the exception of BUNNY ALLEY.
3.10 pm:
Battalion had to withdraw in line with the church as FRITZ TRENCH had not been captured.
5.30 pm:
Battalion Headquarters moved up into MAMETZ and on reaching the village found that the Battalion’s final objective had not been captured. Major Morris, with great skill, at once reorganised all the troops in the village and allotted each a task. The final objectives were taken and held at about 7.40 pm.

War Diary for 1st South Staffs
2nd July 1916: MAMETZ
All quiet during the early hours of the morning.
10.45 a.m. Received message from Brigade “The 17th Division will attack FRICOURT”
11.45 a.m. Enemy shelled us rather heavily but without causing casualties. The attack on FRICOURT seemed to be progressing favourably. Were again heavily shelled for 10 minutes at 4.45 p.m.
Estimated casualties during the day – 15 Other Ranks.

Newspaper Cuttings

Tipton Herald 5th August 1916
The following soldier has died of wounds: R Atkins, South Staffs. (Mis-print for Akins)