Private 130074 James Atkins

Atkins James 96 443x600

Died of Wounds on Saturday, 20th April 1918, age 19.
Buried in Grave VI. C. 66. at Doullens Communal Cemetery Extension No.1, Somme, France.

Machine Gun Corps, 38th Company. 38th Division.

Son of William H. and Rose Atkins, of Burnt Tree, Tipton, Staffs.
Born: Tipton, Enlisted: Tipton, Resident: Unknown.

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, and Park Chapel memorials.
Commemorated here because he appears on a Tipton memorial.

Link to Commonwealth War Graves Site: www.cwgc.org/find-war-dead/casualty/82440/

Genealogical Data

Birth of James Atkins registered December Quarter 1898 at Dudley.

1901 Census
Wellington Road, Tipton, Staffs.
William H. Atkins (39, Railway Wagon Carpenter, born Tipton), his wife Rosehannah (29, born Tipton), and their 4 children: Thomas (9, born Tipton), William (7, born Tipton), Jesse (5, born Tipton), James (2, born Tipton).

1911 Census
12 Whitehouse Street, Burnt Tree, Tipton, Staffs.
William Henry Atkins (45, Railway Carriage Inspector, born Tipton), his wife Rose (40, born Tipton), and their 5 children: Thomas (19, Butcher, born Tipton), William (17, Printer, born Tipton), Jesse (15, Labourer, born Tipton), James (12, born Tipton), and Ralph (4, born Tipton).

Personal Data

This James Atkins may not be the "J Atkins" on the Tipton Library Memorial, as the 'Staffordshire Roll of Honour' says Pte J Atkins, South Staffs. James Atkins was in the Machine Gun Corps and has no indication of ever being South Staffs.
J Akins from Tipton was in the South Staffs and may well be man intended to be commemorated, so this may well have been an error in the 'Staffordshire Roll of Honour'.

After James's death, his outstanding army pay and allowances amounted to £4/10/0d (4 pounds and 10 shillings); this was paid to his father, WIlliam H., in September 1918. His War Gratuity was also £4/10/0d (4 pounds and 10 shillings), this was also paid to his father in December 1919. The value of the War Gratuity suggests that James had enlisted in February 1917.

Action resulting in his death

James Atkins is recorded by the Commonwealth War Graves Commission as belonging to the 38th Company of the Machine Gun Corps. As the Machine Gun Corps was reorganised to be Divisional level troops in 1918, this is almost certainly to have been the 38th Machine Gun Battalion, belonging to the 38th (Welsh) Division.

At the end of March 1918, the 38th (Welsh) Division moved from Armentieres, on the French-Belgian border, to the Somme. This was due to the German Spring Offensive commmencing 21st March having driven the Allied forces back over the 1916 Somme battlefields. The Division was located from Albert to Aveluy Wood and Mesnil, south of the current day Thiepval Memorial.

This is likely to have been the area where James Atkins was wounded in mid-April 1918 and evacuated to the 3rd Canadian Stationary Hospital at Doullens, where he died from his wounds on 20th April 1918. He is buried in Doullens Communal Cemetery Extension No. 1.

Newspaper Cuttings