Able Seaman L. Atkinson


UNIT: H.M.S. Vanguard

NUMBER: J.15252

STATUS: Killed in Action

DATE OF DEATH: 9th July 1917

CEMETERY OR MEMORIAL: Portsmouth Naval Memorial

AGE: 21

Lance Atkinson was born in the mid 1890's in Acomb near York. He was the youngest son of Charles Frederick and Maria Atkinson and was the youngest child amongst four boys and two girls. His father was a gardener who had worked at Askham Bryam and Harewood House before moving to Northallerton and working at Mount Pleasant. The family probably lived in Allen House on Darlington Road, Northallerton, though they may also have lived in Victoria Cottage, in Victoria Place.

Lance joined the Navy in 1911. He was killed, aged 21, aboard H.M.S. Vanguard when the ship mysteriously exploded whilst at its moorings in the British naval base at Scapa Flow in the Orkneys on 9th July 1917. In total over 700 lives were lost in the tragedy, the cause of which remains a mystery to this day.

Lance had two brothers in the armed forces. One was a prisoner of war, having been captured at the Battle of Le Cateau during the retreat from Mons in 1914 and the other was serving in South Africa. Lance's service medals, which were sent to his family after the War, were the 1914/15 Star, The War Medal and The Victory Medal.