Private James Atkinson

Private James William Atkinson, 23rd Battalion ( 4th Tyneside Scottish ) Northumberland Fusiliers. He was killed in action in France on 1st July 1916 on the first day of the Battle of the Somme, aged 34. He was the son of Sara Anne Atkinson of Wooperton and the husband of Mary Jane Boyd, formerly Atkinson, of 27 Colliers Close, Shilbottle, Alnmouth. He is commemorated on the Thiepval Memorial, Thiepval, Somme, France. Before enlisting in December 1914 he had been employed as a miner. The Battalion was part of the 102nd Tyneside Scottish Brigade of the 34th Division and was tasked to take the German positions in the La Boiselle sector. The attack was only partially successful and very heavy casualties were suffered. For the period 1-3rd July 9 Officers and 178 Other Ranks were killed and 7 Officers and 444 Other Ranks were wounded. This was the highest casualty rate of all the Brigade Battalions involved. The  photograph shows troops advancing over no mans land  with their lines neatly spaced and very little cover available. The second photo shows Tynesiders as they began their attack at about 7.30 a.m. The colour image shows a peaceful Somme landscape today with ” no gas, no barbed wir, no guns firing now”.

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