Atkin, Richard Walter

He was the son of the Right Hon. Baron James Richard Atkin, Lord Justice of the Court of Appeal, and Lady Atkin, daughter of William Hemmant, of Sevenoaks. His family address was Evelyn Gardens, London. He came to Winchester from Mr. J.S. Norman’s school at Sevenoaks and played in Commoner XV and VI in 1914. He was both a House prefect and a school prefect. The Wykehamist of December 1917 described him: “”Dickie” as most people called him, possessed the most charming and endearing personality. Always full of fun, he was a person who thoroughly enjoyed life. Always sweet tempered, he was never heard to run down anyone, no matter who it might be. Always cheerful, he was immensely popular wherever he went….. And so it was, wherever he went his presence was like a ray of sunshine on a cloudy winter’s day”.

In April 1915 he went to RMA Woolwich, obtaining a commission in the Royal Field Artillery later in the same year. He went to France in March 1916 and was wounded in the following October, but did not remain away from his battery for long. He fell at Pilkem Ridge on August 14th 1917, during the Third Battle of Ypres.

His Brigade Commander, Lieutenant Colonel H G Ricardo (C, 1873-18977) wrote to the school on 15th August 1917, explaining the circumstances of Atkins’ death: “May I as an Old Wykehamist – head of Du Boulay’s House with Lord Selborne in 1877 – send you a few lines to thank the old School for the splendid young fellows it has been sending us. Four joined my Brigade last year – Cowan, Potter, Patten and Atkin, and Glossop came to the other Brigade in our Divisional Artillery. A finer lot of young officers, imbued with all the instincts of gentlemen and the traditions of Winchester, no commanding officer could desire. They were with me all through the Somme battle last autumn and through the trying winter, and are now sticking it well through the third battle of Ypres. I deeply regret to say that young Atkin was killed yesterday morning whilst his battery was in action covering the crossing of the Steenbeck by our infantry, a high velocity gun putting a shell into the gun-pit and knocking out the whole detachment. He was such a cheery boy and a great favourite. It speaks well for his battery that within three minutes a fresh detachment had been got together by a young bombardier, and the gun was again in action. Carry on. Tell the present generation of Wykehamists that one is proud in these days of being an Englishman, prouder still of being a Wykehamist”.

War: World War 1

  • Surname: Atkin
  • Forenames or initials: Richard Walter
  • House: K
  • Years in School: 1910-1915
  • Rank: 2nd Lieutenant
  • Regiment: Royal Field Artillery
  • Date of Birth: 8th April 1897
  • Date of Death: 14th August 1917
  • How Died: Killed in action
  • Location in War Cloister: Outer F3
  • Decoration: NA
  • Burial Site: DRAGOON CAMP CEMETERY: Grave A. 11.