Personal info

  • Name: Alfred ATKINSON
  • D.O.B: 6th Feb, 1874
  • D.O.A: 18th Feb, 1900
  • D.O.D: 21st Feb, 1900
  • Award: Victoria Cross
  • Occupation at time of action: Sergeant, 1st Battalion The Princess of Wales’s Own (Yorkshire Regiment)
  • Book: The Complete History - Volume 1
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Sources & Acknowledgements

Paardeberg, Orange Free State, South Africa 18 February 1900

18 February 1900

More details about:
The Second Boer War 1899 - 1902 

The Boer commander in the west was General Piet Cronje. His position at Magersfontein blocked a direct advance on Kimberley from the south. Field Marshal Roberts decided to outflank him and on 15 February, having crossed the Modder river, fifteen miles east of Magersfontein, General French, commanding the cavalry, entered Kimberley. Cronje at once withdrew from Magersfontein and began to make his way east, along the Modder river, heading for Bloemfontein. On 17 February, as he was crossing the river at Vendutie Drift, a few miles north-east of Paardeberg, French, who had ridden back from Kimberley, caught up with him. Cronje established a fortified laager on the north bank of the river. The next day Kitchener, in temporary command as Roberts was sick, ordered a frontal attack on the laager across the river from the south. This proved a costly failure. The losses suffered on this day were the heaviest of the war. In the course of the battle, Sergeant A Atkinson rescued Lieutenant Hammick of the Oxfordshire Light Infantry, who had been wounded, and also took water to other wounded men. Not only was the British attack unsuccessful but Christiaan de Wet, who had ridden to Paardeberg to assist Cronje, managed to capture the strategic hill known as Kitchener’s Kopje to the south-east of the British position. During this part of the battle Lieutenant F N Parsons of The Essex Regiment helped defend the 81st Battery RA. He then rescued a wounded private of the Essex Regiment. Parsons was killed in action a few days later. De Wet did not evacuate Kitchener’s Kopje until the 21st. On the 27th, Cronje surrendered with 4,000 men.

Citation

 During the battle of Paardeburg, 18th February, 1900, Sergeant A. Atkinson, 1st Battalion Yorkshire Regiment, went out seven times, under heavy and close fire, to obtain water for the wounded. At the seventh attempt he was wounded in the head, and died a few days afterwards. 

The London Gazette of 8 August 1902, Numb. 27462, p. 5086

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