b. 06/02/1874 Leeds, Yorkshire. d. 21/02/1900 Paardeburg, South Africa.
Alfred Atkinson (1874-1900) was born on 6th February 1874 in Leeds, West Yorkshire, the son of a Farrier-Major, James Atkinson, who served with “H” Battery, 4th Brigade, Royal Artillery. It is believed that it was this battery that captured the guns which reputedly the metal from which the Victoria Crosses were made.
Alfred enlisted with the 1st Battalion, Yorkshire Regiment (later Green Howards) and rose to the rank of Sergeant and was posted to the Second Boer War.
During the Battle of Paardeburg on 18th February 1900, Sergeant Atkinson went out seven-times, under heavy and close fire, to obtain water for the wounded. At the seventh attempt he was wounded in the head, and died a few days afterwards.
He was awarded the Queen’s South Africa Medal with clasps for Kimberley and Paardeburg, and was gazetted for the Victoria Cross on 8th August 1902, having had the medal posted to his father earlier in the year on 30th April 1902. Atkinson was buried in an unmarked grave in Gruisbank British Cemetery, Paardeburg, near to where he fell. He is named on the memorial at the cemetery. His medals are now held and displayed at the Green Howards Museum, Richmond, Yorkshire.
LOCATION OF MEDAL: GREEN HOWARDS MUSEUM, RICHMOND, YORKSHIRE.
BURIAL PLACE: GRUISBANK BRITISH CEMETERY, PAARDEBURG, SOUTH AFRICA. (EXACT LOCATION UNKNOWN)
Alfred Atkinson's medals at the Green Howards Museum, Richmond
(Picture courtesy of Thomas Stewart).
Paardeburg War Memorial