Victoria_Cross_of_canada

THE

 

TO THE VICTORIA & GEORGE CROSS

COMPREHENSIVE GUIDE

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b. 27/05/1915 Wilton Place, Redcar, Yorkshire. d. 26/03/1997 Portland, Dorset.

 

DATE AND PLACE OF GC ACTION: 15/03/1939 Jinsafut Camp, Palestine.

 

Thomas Atkinson (1915-1997) was born on 27th May 1915 at Wilton Place in Redcar, Yorkshire, the son of Walter and Sarah Atkinson (nee Hicks). His family had long associated with the sea and with the crew and coxswain of the Zetland lifeboat. He grew up with Stanley Hollis (later VC) but after attending West Dyke School and working at several different jobs, he enlisted with the Green Howards Regiment on 20th November 1933, at the age of 18.

 

During a stationing at Portland in Dorset, he met and married Doreen Bowen in 1937, before he was posted to Palestine where he was in charge of mechanical transport at Jinsfaut Camp, about 20 miles from Nablus.

 

On 15th March 1939 at Jinsfaut, a truck caught fire, and Corporal Atkinson was heavily involved in organising the removal of the remainder of the Mechanical Transport to a point clear of the burning truck. He was indefatigable in his efforts to subdue the fire right up to a time that he was severely burnt in endeavouring to save the life of a comrade. He and Private Thomas “Jock” McAvoy were both awarded the EGM for the action. Atkinson received his EGM from HRH The Princess Royal at Catterick Camp in Yorkshire on 25th July 1939. On the date of the exchange of the EGM for the new GC, he had to wait until 1942 for the investiture due to his war service.

 

When he recovered from his burns suffered in the Jinsfaut incident, he was promoted to Sergeant and moved to France in October 1939 with his battalion. However, it was soon discovered that the burns he had suffered made him unfit for service. He was posted to training jobs in Britain until he was finally discharged on medical grounds in 1944.

 

He returned to Portland to rejoin his wife and took a job as an Admiralty driver on the nearby naval base. Between 1946-48, he did a similar job in Singapore Dockyard before returning home to be employed as a stone sawyer in the stone industry in Portland. He remained there until he retired in 1965. He was a keen gardener, fisherman and snooker player in his spare time.

 

His wife sadly died in 1996, just a year before Thomas passed away on 26th March 1997, aged 81 and he was buried in Portland Cemetery. His medals were sold by John Hayward in 1973 and are held by the Green Howards Museum in Richmond, Yorkshire.

 

LOCATION OF MEDAL: GREEN HOWARDS MUSEUM, RICHMOND, YORKSHIRE.

BURIAL PLACE: PORTLAND CEMETERY, PORTLAND, DORSET.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Thomas Atkinson EGM

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Picture - Kevin Brazier

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Thomas Atkinson's medals at the Green Howards Museum, Richmond, Yorkshire

(Thomas Stewart).

“The KING has been graciously pleased to approve of the Award of the Medal of the Military Division of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire to the undermentioned : -

 

For Gallantry.

No. 4388625 Corporal Thomas Atkinson, 1st Battalion, The Green Howards (Alexandra, Princess of Wales's Own Yorkshire Regiment)

 

Corporal Atkinson, was in charge of the mechanical transport when a truck caught fire at Jinsafut Camp, Palestine, on 15th March, 1939, organised the removal of the remainder of the Mechanical Transport to a point clear of the burning truck.

 

Without his initiative and energy in rallying the drivers, and assisting them to move their trucks out of danger, the remainder of the transport must have caught fire as well; and a general conflagration throughout the camp would have been inevitable.

 

Corporal Atkinson was subsequently indefatigable in his efforts to subdue the fire right up to the time that he was severely burnt in endeavouring to save the life of one of his comrades.”

25th July 1939 - transcribed by

Terry Hissey