The son of Mr. A.E. Atkinson of “Cropthorne”, England. Emigrated to Canada in 1910 from England. Sidney Settled in the Wheatley area of Kent Co., ON, working on the farm of Jon Watson’s grandfather. When England declared war with Imperial Germany orders were issued for Reservist to report to their Regiments in England. It is known that on the 18th of August, 1914 eight British and two Belgium reservists departed Chatham by train to rejoin their units.
From the Wheatley Journal:
British Reserve forces who had spent the last four years in the vicinity received word Tuesday to report at Quebec for duty,
He (Sidney) left Wednesday for that city. During his sojourn here, Sidney has made many friends and all hope that it may be his good fortune to return uninjured. In six weeks his time of service would have expired.
It is reasonable to suppose that Rfm. Atkinson a reservist of the King’s Royal Rifle Corps, might have boarded a train in Windsor to start his journey. It would have taken a couple of days to reach Halifax and then some time to obtain passage on an east bound ship. A three week crossing the Atlantic at least and then perhaps, a brief stop at home. It is likely that he might not have reported for duty until late September or early October.
For his trouble he would have been kitted up and sent as quickly as possible to France. The British and French were about to begin an epic battle with the German troops near the town of Ypres. What would become known as the 1st Battle of Ypres would result in 24,000 BEF and 50,000 German fatalities through October and November 1914. Ypres and the salient around it would be the most dangerous place on the Western Front for the next four years. On 31 October, 1914 Rfm. Atkinson was reported missing in action and presumed dead. CWGC. WJ. 30/09/09.
Wheatley Journal 28 January, 1915:
Word was received last week that Sidney Atkinson who returned to his regiment in England shortly after the war broke out had been wounded at Ypres on October 31. As nothing has been heard of him since, it is thought that he is now a prisioner somewhere in Germany.
Curator Note: – As follows Sidney Edward ATKINSON was wounded and died of wounds. He is on the Wheatley cenotaph. He is also the first fatality for Chatham and Kent County in the Great War. JRH.
Wheatley Journal Newspaper (30-09-2009), CWGC
Age: 31, DOW Date of Death: 31/10/19
Casualty Type: Commonwealth War Dead., Grave/Memorial Reference: Panel 51 and 53.
Memorial: YPRES (MENIN GATE) MEMORIAL.