War Memorials in Sowerby, North Yorkshire

John Richard Atkinson

April 1892 - 15th September 1916 (age 24)

Rifleman R/20686
9th Bn. King's Royal Rifle Corps

James and Emily Atkinson and their eight children lived at Green Lane Cottages (also described as Green Lane Cabin). James was a railway inspector, and the cottage appears to have been alongside the railway at the very far end of Green Lane West. Their 5th child, John Richard joined Sowerby School in March 1896 later becoming a clothier's assistant. He married Gertrude Taylor at Barnsley early in 1914.

John Richard Atkinson became another casualty of the Battle of the Somme. His grave can be found at Bronfay Farm Military Cemetery, Bray-Sur-Somme plot 11.C.21, France. Bronfay Farm was a casualty clearing station located a few miles behind the lines at that time so it is likely that he was wounded in the battle and brought back for medical attention where he died.

Bronfay Farm British Cemetery

John Richard Atkinson's headstone at Bronfay Farm, British Cemetery - "There Shall Be No More Death Nor Sorrow Nor Crying"

In October 1916 a service was held at Thirsk Primitive Church and the following report was made:

Three friends connected with this church and congregation have made the great sacrifice. We are mourning them in sincerity and truth. One of our friends was Pte. J.R.Atkinson, From his earliest days he had been connected with this church. He had grown up to be trustworthy, honourable, esteemed by all who knew him. He had taken a great art, as most young fellows do, in athletics and was captain of the cricket club connected with this church for some time, and I venture to say, from friends who knew him, that he always played the game, not only in cricket, but in matters of life. He did not want to fight - few of our soldiers wanted to fight but because they realised it was their duty they went forth to make the sacrifice. Only a short time ago he attended the services of this church, and we little thought he was so soon to be called away.

From the army chaplain had come this message to his mother:

Just before the battle we had a service together, and I am glad to think we faced the possibility of death.

The other two of the three friends referred to in the service were Harry Kendrew and William Seavers, also remembered on the Sowerby memorials.

Less than a year later, the Atkinson family faced another tragedy when John's elder sister Susannah died on 10th July 1917 at the age of 27, her home was recorded as Green Lane Cottages. She was interred at St.Oswald's with the following inscription on the cross:

In loving memory of Susie beloved wife of Percy Dobby who died 7th July 1917 aged 27.
Also of John Richard Atkinson KRRC brother of the above who fell in action in
the Somme 15 Sept 1916 aged 24 years interred at Bromfey(sic) Farm
Military Cemetery 2.25mls NE of Bray-sur-Somme France.
Also Evelyn their beloved sister who died 11th February 1961
aged 77 yrs

The information on this page was compiled by Steve Billings.

Information about John Richard Atkinson on the Commonwealth War Graves Commission website

Information about John Richard Atkinson (Bronfay Farm Military Cemetery) on the War Graves Photographic Project website

Information about John Richard Atkinson (St Oswald's Churchyard) on the War Graves Photographic Project website

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