John James Atkins 1898 – 1958

John was the fifth of the children of Charles Horace and Emily (née Smith), born on 5th April 1898 in Lyne. He was baptised on 29th May at Holy Trinity, Botleys and Lyne, near Chertsey in Surrey, with his father given as a labourer in the parish records.

He grew up here and at Kingston, also near Chertsey, as shown in the 1901 and 1911 Censuses. By 1911, at the age of 14, he was already employed as a farm labourer. Charles relocated the family to Long Lane Farm in Shepherdswell at some point between 1911 and 1917, as evidenced by records, with John given as living at Long Lane Farm in the 1916 Dover Directory.

John joined the Navy on 16th October 1917, with his role given as a boiler fireman. His service number was K46548 and he was described as 5’ 8” tall, with brown hair, grey eyes, and a fresh complexion. He had a tattoo of a butterfly on his left forearm.

Following training, he served on the ‘Alexander’ and the ‘Repulse’, and was probably discharged on 20th February 1919.

He married Ethel Bianchi at St Andrew’s in Shepherdswell on 5th July 1919 and went on to have at least six children between 1921 and 1937.

The 1939 Register showed the family living at 37 Kemps, Cuckfield in Sussex, where John was working as a labourer “heavy worker”. He died in Cuckfield at the age of 59, in the 1st quarter of 1958.