William Gladstone Atkinson was born in Huddersfield, Yorkshire during 1867. The 1881 Census shows that at that time the family lived at 34 Oak Cottage, Huddersfield, Yorkshire. The head of the family was Williams Atkinson aged 40, a Draper. His wife Mary Emma Atkinson aged 34 and their four children – Ruth Atkinson aged 15, William Gladstone Atkinson aged 13, Hugh Atkinson aged 10 and Kathleen Atkinson aged 8. Also living with the family and employed by William was Mary Wilson, Governess and Emily Braithwaite a General Servant.
William Gladstone Atkinson married Grace Rankin McOnie in Birkenhead, Cheshire on 6 August 1898. The 1901 Census states that the family lived at 31 Clayton Drive,Wallasey, Cheshire. William who was 34 years of age at the time is shown as being a Chief Marine Engineer. Grace who is 33 years of age was born in Glasgow, Scotland. They have one child William Henry Atkinson who is aged 1 year.
The 1911 Census shows that the family now live at 9 Ball Avenue, New Brighton, Cheshire. William Gladstone Atkinson was at sea at this time and does not appear on this census. William Henry Atkinson who is now 11 years of age attends school. They also have two other children, namely, Douglas Atkinson aged 8 and Grace Atkinson aged 4 years.
At some stage they moved to North Wales and resided at Gadlys House, Bagillt, Flintshire.
On Wednesday 17 October 1917 the following article appeared in the Liverpool Daily Post and Mercury, headed ‘Remarkable Fatality on a Mersey Steamer, Engineer Accidentally Shot’ – Mr A.G. Inglis, the Liverpool City Coroner yesterday conducted an inquiry into the circumstances of the death of William Gladstone Atkinson aged 49 years, a Marine Engineer, who resided at Gadlys House, Bagillt, Flintshire, Wales.
On Sunday, Atkinson who was Chief Engineer on a steamer sailing into the vicinity of the Bar of the Mersey was lying in his bunk innocently below deck. A man on the deck was carrying a loaded rifle which accidentally went off. The bullet pierced the deck and lodged in the stomach of Atkinson as he lay in his bunk. Death ensued before he could be landed at the Docks.
The evidence showed that the gun was fired accidentally. The man who held it said he thought the trigger must have been caught by a button of his clothing. At the time he had the butt of his rifle under his arm for the purpose of unloading the weapon. All witnesses identified that the matter was a pure accident.
The jury found that death was due to accident’.
Following his death the sum of £156.13s.0d was bequeathed to his wife Grace.