The Airmen's Stories - Sgt. G Atkinson
George Atkinson was born in Blyth, Northumberland on 16th June 1915 and educated at Blyth Secondary School.
He joined the RAF as an Aircraft Apprentice on 2nd September 1931 and trained as a Metal Rigger at No.1 School of Technical Training Halton. He passed out on 16th August 1934 and was posted to the staff at RAF College Cranwell.
Atkinson went to 4 Aircraft Park, Atbara, Sudan on 4th September 1935 and then joined 47 Squadron at Khartoum. He volunteered for pilot training and on return to the UK went No. 1 Depot Uxbridge on 13th July 1937. Atkinson did his elementary flying at 8 E&RFTS Woodley from 26th September to 29th November 1937 after which he went back to Uxbridge and then moved on to 3 FTS South Cerney on 11th December.
After passing out on 7th July 1938 Atkinson was posted to No. 1 AAS Eastchurch as a staff pilot. He joined 151 Squadron at North Weald on 3rd September 1939, the day war broke out.
On 14th August 1940, flying in Hurricane P3310, Atkinson was shot down into the sea off Margate during combat with Me109s. He baled out, was picked up by a boat and then transferred to the Margate lifeboat. Taken to a hospital near Maidstone with shock, Atkinson returned to North Weald after three weeks, only to find 151 had moved to Digby.
The ground crews were still at North Weald, salvaging Hurricanes, and Atkinson spent two weeks collecting spares in a Magister and flying the almost-serviceable aircraft to Henlow. He was not declared fit for flying duties until 24th September.
Atkinson was awarded the DFM (gazetted 7th March 1941) and stayed with 151 until 31st October 1941 when he was posted to 60 OTU East Fortune as an instructor.
Atkinson was commissioned in November 1941 and joined 96 Squadron at Wrexham on 26th March 1942 but rejoined 151 Squadron at Wittering on 15th April. He was posted to Canada in September 1943.
From 15th October until 30th June 1944 Atkinson was at 36 OTU Greenwood, Nova Scotia. He moved to 8 OTU, also at Greenwood, on 1st July and was there until returning to the UK on 31st December 1944.
Atkinson was posted in mid-January 1945 to 54 OTU Charter Hall where he was killed in a flying accident on 1st March. Mosquito NF2 HJ569 fell into a spin from a low-level roll and crashed into a field just short of Pallinsburn House. F/O ATR Cleave was also killed.
Atkinson is buried in Blyth Cemetery.
Above image courtesy of Dimitrios Corcodilos.