SKELTON - IN - CLEVELAND
"WE WILL REMEMBER THEM"
1554 Private JOHN ANDERSON ATKINSON.
4th Battalion, Yorkshire Regiment.
Died of wounds, aged 22, on the 21st June 1916.
Born and enlisted at Skelton in Cleveland.
Son of Elizabeth H Dixon and Stepson of J W Dixon of Port Clarence.
Bailleul Communal Cemetery Extension.
1901. John, aged 7, was living at 53 High St, Skelton, where he had been born.
His mother, Elizabeth, aged 35, was single and had had John out of wedlock. She presumably is the house-keeper. Born in Bilsdale, N Yorks.
They live with John's Grandfather, William, aged 71, who is a Widower and still works down the Mines as a Horsekeeper.
Elizabeths 2 brothers live with them - Edward, aged 23, a Boilerman at the Mines and William, aged 32, Cartman at the Mines.
1911. The family are still at 53 High St. John, now 17, is working as a Woodman for Skelton Castle Estate.
His Grandfather has died. William has left home and John and his mother live with Edward Atkinson, who still works in the Ironstone Mines as a Boiler Fireman.
In September 1912, Elizabeth married John W Dixon of Port Clarence.
The 4th Yorks Battalion were part of the 150th Brigade, 50th (Northumbrian) Division.
John's low Battalion number indicates that he was very likely a Volunteer for the Territorial Force and part of the Skelton G Company who agreed to service abroad when War broke out.
His Medal Card shows that he went to France on the 18th April 1915, when the 4th Yorks first went out.
No doubt he had fought through all the trials that they had at Ypres and been with them up to his death.
At the time of John's death the 4th Yorks Battalion were defending the line at Kemmel, about 12 kilometres below Ypres.
The War Diary for the 20th recorded:-
"3 other ranks were wounded by trench mortars before the Bn was relieved at night by the 2nd Bn Leinsters of the 24th Division. "X" Company took over Kemmel defences, while the rest of the Bn marched to Locre."
John must have been one of these casualties and been taken back to the Hospital at Bailleul, where he died next day.
Full details of the preceding days based on the Battalion War Diary can be read here.
Bailleul is about 15 kilometres South West of Ypres and was a vital centre for the British Army. It was in British possession for the whole war apart from April to August 1918. The Communal Cemetery Extension contains over 4,400 burials of Commonwealth soldiers.