Atkiss, Arthur

Arthur Atkiss was born in the June Quarter of 1911(Flintshire (Mold)HAW/13A/26), the son of Thomas William and Frances (Fanny) Atkiss (nee Griffiths).    They had been married in the Registration District of Chester in the September quarter of 1901 (Chester Vol. 8a, Page 798).

Thomas William (Sometimes Thomas or William on most documents) age 26, is seen on the 1901 census living in Higher Shotton, Hawarden as a Boarder with Thomas Caddick, 25, Married and a Galvanizer, like William, both from Bilston, Staffordshire.   They are in the household of Samuel Williams and his wife Sarah.

By the 1911 census of course, William and Frances were married, and their family had grown quite considerably.  They were living at Pine Cottage in, Queensferry.     Thomas W. Atkiss was head of the household, and age 38 years, he tells us that he was a Galvanising Man at Summers & Co. Limited, and they had been married for 11 years.   Fanny, 34 tells us that 6 children had been born and they were all still living.   She also tells us that she was born in Queensferry, where all the children were also born.    They are Lily, 9, Thomas, 7, Frank, 5, Nelly, 3 and twins Ethel and Maggie age 1.    Fanny must also have been pregnant with Arthur as the census was taken in the April and he was born in the June quarter of 1911.  There was a Lodger as well, Alfred Lathom, 48, widower and a Labourer in the Chemical Works, he gave no place of birth.

I have no information re Arthur’s childhood or teenage years, except that I believe that he was one of 4 sons that Thomas & Fanny had.

By the 1920’s fate was to deal a terrible blow to the Atkiss family, Thomas William was to die in the June quarter of 1921 (Registers at Chester City –              Cheshire West   CHC/4/37).   This makes me feel that he died in a Chester Hospital, possibly the Old Chester City one.

So even if Arthur was the youngest child, he would have been only 11 years old when he was orphaned.

The 1921 census, which was taken on the 19th of June 1921, was to reveal how bad the situation was for Fanny Atkiss and her children.   Thomas William Atkiss had died a few months before, he was buried on the 16th of April 1921, so Fanny was on her own with 8 children, the youngest 2 years old.

She was head of the household now and she was 44 years and 7 months old, widowed and had been born oat Castle Hill, Flintshire.   Their eldest daughter Lily Atkiss was 18 years and 11 months old, single and had been born in Plough Terrace, Aston, Flintshire.  Thomas W. Atkiss, her eldest son was 17 years old, he was a Council Carter for Hawarden Rural Council.  Frank Atkiss was 15 years old, single and a Council Carter for Flintshire County Council, Mold.   Both had been born in Pentre, Queensferry.  Arthur Atkiss was 10 years old.  Etherel (sic) Atkiss was 11 years old, and both had been born in Shotton, Flintshire.   George Atkiss was 7 years old, Lizzie Atkiss was 5 years old and Kitty Atkiss was 2 years and 1 month old and she completed the family, they had been born in Queensferry, Flintshire.

Fanny was to die in the following March quarter 1922, (Flintshire (Mold)HAW/14A/11), leaving her family orphaned.   Any information on what happened to this family would be appreciated, they, bless them, had a very hard time.

By the 1930’s Arthur is seen on the Royal Welsh Fusiliers Enlistment Register that he enlisted on the 3rd of February 1930, I think as Reserve for 7/5 years and this source gives his date of birth as the 12th of April 1911 (The 1911 census was taken on the 2nd of April 1911, so Arthur was born 10 days after this was taken.)   On the 20th of May 1938 he was transferred to TAK, I’m sorry to say I do not know what that is, but on the 12th of December 1941 he was Transferred to the Pioneer Corps and his documents were sent to Bournmouth on the 17th of December 1941.

There is a Casualty List (No 1204 (Page 17)) that tell us that he had died on the 29th of July 1943.

On the Register of Deaths his age is given as 30 years.

The Army Deaths – R.N.H. Chatham Deaths 1943 shows us – 4189240 ATKISS, Arthur, 30, Pioneer Corps, 844 S??///Co., July 27, RNH Chatham, Bacillary Dysentry* (Acute?)*

According to “The Dictionary o Medical Terms – 4th Edition – ISBN 0-7475-6987-8)) – Bacillary dysentery is caused by the bacterium Shigella in contaminated food.

 So, Arthur was to suffer a painful death, but looks as though through no fault of his own.  However, it was sudden, as according to the newspaper report of his funeral, it was.   Arthur had taken part in fighting in France and had been at Dunkirk.   Was his story that he was one of the many thousands who made it on the boats or was he forced to make his way to the coast as many thousands did through France.

Arthur’s story is a sad one and he’d been through many things, but his family loved him, and he was missed, sadly his name was not put on the War Memorial, for whatever reason, he must have it added now.

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