[Skip to content]

Person Details
31 May 1892
Stapenhill Derbyshire
William was the son of James Atkin and his wife Annie nee Heighway. James was born in Anslow, Staffordshire, the son of Charles Atkin, a collier. Annie was born in Leominster, Hereford, (birth registered 1869 J/F/M Leominster) the daughter of Hiram Heighway, a railway guard. James (23) and Annie (24) were married at Stapenhill St Peter, Derbyshire, on 24 December 1893; both were resident in Stapenhill. According to the 1911 Census when they had been married for 18 years they had had nine children of whom only 8 survived: William Herbert b. 31 May 1892, Charles James b. 31 January 1894 (J/F/M Burton on Trent), Rosamond Margaret b. 1895 (A/M/J Burton on Trent) bap. 15 June 1898 Stapenhill St Peter, Frances Mabel b. 1898 (A/M/J Burton on Trent) bap. 15 June 1898 Stapenhill St Peter, Samuel Henry b. 1 August 1900 (J/A/S Basford), John b. abt 1903, Dorothy May b. abt. 1906, and Frederick Arthur b. 22 May 1910 (J/A/S Basford). The eldest four children were born in Stapenhill, Derbyshire, and the four youngest in Kirkby in Ashfield. At the time of Rosamond and Frances' christening in June 1898 the family was living at 65 Waterside, Stapenhill, Derbyshire, but had moved to Kirkby in Ashfield by the time of Samuel's birth in 1900 and in 1901 were living on Vernon Road in Kirkby in Ashfield. James (31) was a coal miner. He and Annie had five children: William (8), Charles (7) Rosamund (6), Frances (2) and Samuel (8 months). By 1911 James and Annie were living at 27 Cookson Street, Kirkby in Ashfield. All eight of their children were still living at home: William (18) a coal hewer, Charles (17) a pony driver underground, Rosamond (16), Frances (12), Samuel (10), John (8), Dorothy (4) and Frederick (10 months). The family home was still at 27 Cookson Street at the time of William's death in 1916. However, the later CWGC record gives his mother's address as 55 Clumber Street, East Kirkby, Nottinghamshire. William's father, James, may have died in 1930 (Mar Basford) aged 60. Of William's siblings: Dorothy May probably died in 1919 aged 13 (death index: Dorothy May Atkin b. abt 1906 d. 1919 June Nottingham) Charles James probably died in 1985 (Dec Mansfield) aged 91. Probate: Atkin Charles James of 2 Cookson St Kirkby in Ashfield Notts died 2 December 1985 Probate Manchester 27 January Not exceeding £40000. Frederick Arthur probably died in 1977 (Dec Mansfield) aged 67. Probate: Atkin Frederick Arthur of 28 Alexandra St Kirkby in Ashfield Notts died 7 October 1977 Administration Nottingham 6 December £1421.
He was a miner (hewer) in 1911
31 May 1916
2875494 - CWGC Website
Stoker 1st Class
HMS Black Prince Royal Navy
William joined the Royal Navy on 1 June 1915 on a 12 year engagement (5 years + 7 years Royal Fleet Reserve). He served in the following ships and shore establishments: Victory II, 1 June 1915–18 September 1915 (Stoker 2nd Class, Stoker 1st Class 31 July 1915); HMS Vernon, 19 September 1915-24 October 1915; HMS Black Prince, 25 October 1915-31 May 1916. He died on his 24th birthday at the Battle of Jutland when HMS Black Prince was lost with all hands. His body was not recovered for burial and he is commemorated on the Portsmouth Naval Memorial. His Naval record is annotated: ‘NP4065/1916. DD [discharged dead] 31st May 1916. Killed in action.' The circumstances surrounding the loss of HMS Black Prince were unclear for many years because there were no positive sightings of Black Prince after 17.42. Recent historians hold to the German account of the ship's sinking. Black Prince briefly engaged the German battleship Rheinland at about 23:35 GMT, scoring two hits with 6-inch shells. Separated from the rest of the British fleet, Black Prince approached the German lines at approximately midnight. She turned away from the German battleships, but it was too late. The German battleship Thüringen fixed Black Prince in her searchlights and opened fire. Up to five other German ships, including battleships Nassau, Ostfriesland, and Friedrich der Grosse, joined in the bombardment, with return fire from Black Prince being ineffective. Most of the German ships were between 750 and 1500 yards of Black Prince - effectively point blank range for contemporary naval gunnery. Black Prince was hit by at least twelve heavy shells and several smaller ones, sinking within 15 minutes. There were no survivors from Black Prince's crew, all 857 being killed.
Mansfield Reporter 16 June 1916: ‘North Sea Battle. At present we [have] ascertained there are four Kirkby sailors who sacrificed their lives in the recent Jutland naval battle. These are: Petty Officer (-) Otter of the Invincible, who had been (-) years in the navy, and took part in the Falkland Islands and North Sea Battles, Stoker E Wood, of the Tipperary, Stoker B Atkins (sic), of the Black Prince, and Stoker Butler also of the Black Prince. There were a number of other men engaged in the fighting, but these are all the dead [as far] as we know.’ (www.britishnewspaperarchive.co.uk) The Bundeswehr Museum of Military History, Dresden: Painting, oil on canvas: ‘SMS Thueringen destroys the English cruiser Black Prince in a night battle at 2am on 1 June.’ Clause Bergen (1885-1964). Caption: 'Present given by the commander of Thueringen, Captain Hans Kuesel, to his nephew in 1921. Bergen established his reputation as a marine painter with depictions of the Battle of Jutland (31 May-1 June 1916). When the Imperial German Fleet returned home, he was in Wilhelmshaven and asked officers involved in the battle to give him detailed accounts of the events.'
Remembered on