ATKIN, Jesse Marson

Lieutenant Sherwood Foresters (Notts and Derby Regt.)
Att’d. 3rd. Bn. Worcestershire Regt.

Died Saturday 7th November 1914 (Age 23)

Commemorated at Ploegsteert Memorial, Hainaut, Belgium
Memorial Ref.: Panel 7

Photograph kindly provided by Julie Page, of St Neots, Cambridge ( Great Niece of J.M. Atkin and granddaughter of Bertha Atkin)

Jesse was the son of Henry Atkin & Fanny Atkin residents of School House, Westwood.
Jesse’s father, Henry, who was a railway signalman, originated from Loughborough, Leicestershire. His mother Fanny (nee Auckland) was born in Sedgebrook, Lincolnshire, as was Jesse’s eldest brother Harry. Fanny and Henry married in Newark in 1876. By 1881 they had set up home at Old Westwood, Westwood, Notts and had three children. By 1891 they had moved to the then newly-built New Westwood and could be found still there on the 1901 census and remained there until at least 1915. The Census of 1901 lists the family as follows – Henry (50), Fanny (51), Harry (24) a railway goods clerk, Charles Alfred, a Grocer’s Assistant (20), Helen (18), Amy (16), Arthur (12), Jesse (9) and Bertha (3). Jesse had another sister, named Edith, aged 22 who had left home by 1901.

The 1911 Census shows Jesse still at New Westwood aged 19 and he is described as a ‘normal student’. His sister Bertha is the only sibling still at home aged 13. By this time Mary Auckland aged 62 had come to live with the family and she was Jesse’s aunt and was a nurse (domestic).

The 1916 Free Press “Selston Roll of Honour – Jacksdale Ward” briefly reports that “Lieut. J.M. Atkin, who joined the army in August 1914, was granted a commission in the Sherwood Foresters ….. went abroad Oct 30th, and was killed in action in 1914, on (Saturday) November 7th.

A fuller article in ‘The Ripley & Heanor News’ entitled “Codnor Park Lieutenant Killed – A Distinguished Scholar” reports “On Monday, the parents of Lieutenant Jesse M Atkin, Sherwood Forester of Jacksdale, received a message informing them that their son had been killed and expressing Lord Kitchener’s regret and sympathy. Deceased, previous to going to the front, was engaged in scholastic work at Bournemouth. He was 23 years of age and stood 6ft 4 inches high. Lieutenant Atkin was the son of Mr H Atkin, New Westwood and entered The University College, Nottingham in the session 1910 –11. Whilst at college he passed the final examinations of the Bachelor of Arts Degree of London. He received his military training under Captain Trotman in the Officers Training Corps, passing ‘A’ and ‘B’ Military examinations. At the completion of his college career he applied and was accepted for the special reserve of officers. A touching incident in connection with the announcement of his death was that his sister, who is engaged in the Jacksdale Post Office was the one to receive the sad message”. We have since been informed by Jesse’s family that it was his sister Bertha, who worked in the Jacksdale Post Office. Jesse’s other sister Amy was a local school mistress.AtkinJMSchoolPic-300x188

Photo: Thought to be taken at Bournemouth, where Jesse had a position as a school master.
Jesse is seated in the middle row, second from the right. All photographs kindly provided by Julie Page, of St Neots,Cambridge (Great Niece of J. M. Atkin and granddaughter of Bertha Atkin)

A further Ripley & Heanor newspaper article dated 4th December 1914 states that “A Memorial Service was held on Sunday evening at St Mary’s Church, Westwood, for the late Lieut. J.M. Atkin of Jacksdale, who was killed whilst serving at the front with the Sherwood Foresters. The Rev. C. Harrison, vicar, paid a sympathetic tribute to the dead officer, and at the close, the Dead March was played by the organist, Miss Naylor. The collection will go towards defraying the cost of a tablet for the fallen soldiers of the district.”

The Atkin family lost two sons to the Great War as Jesse’s elder brother, Charles Alfred Atkin, a Private serving with the South Staffordshire Regiment, was killed in action on 30th May 1918.

Jesse was awarded the 1914 (“Mons”) Star, the British War and Victory Medals

Jesse’s parents are buried in the church cemetery at Westwood, St Mary’s. His mother Fanny died on 1st December 1924, aged 72, which indicates that she would have been 39 years old when Jesse was born. His father, Henry Atkin, died on 21st April 1928, aged 76. The family grave pays tribute to Jesse, with the inscription “who fell in action in Belgium”. It is interesting to note that the grave of Fanny’s sister, Mary Auckland an ex-ladies maid who never married, is close by, with the inscription “sister of Fanny Atkin.” We would welcome any further information about the Atkins of School House, Westwood, or about the Auckland family.

Sherwood Foresters World War One Fatalities – 11,409

Bertha Atkin, sister of Jesse, who received the sad news via telegram

Bertha Atkin, sister of Jesse, who received the sad news via telegram

 ATKIN, Jesse M