Who Remembers W/O Atkinson?

Again, probably not many people remember W/O Atkinson who did some 15 minutes aircraft test on three Beaufighter I with Navigator Radar Operator R.C. Harris while stationed at No 51 O.T.U on August 16, 1944.

Probably not…

51 OTU August 1944 Atkinson

I found this information on the Internet (source).

This pilot could be Warrant Officer Atkinson but I am not sure  because we have few clues other than he was a pilot with No. 51 O.T.U. in August 1944.


March 23
Night Rangers were undertaken with the following crews partaking: F/O Paton with P/O Hanson, F/O Atkinson with W/O Primer, and F/O Rayner with P/O Hartley. All three crews ran into trouble as indicated in the reports that were made:

F/O Paton & P/O Hanson.
This crew crashed on landing on their return to Wittering and were both killed. From the remains of their flight log, it seemed as though they had been through some flak and on approaching base they called for a priority landing as the aircraft had little aileron control. They made one circuit without a landing approach, and on the second circuit went in from about 200 ft.

F/O Rayner & P/O Hartley.
They attacked a train south of Verden from where light flak was experienced, causing some damage to their aircraft. The R/T was unserviceable and P/O Hartley passed all instructions to F/O Rayner by writing with his finger tip on the windscreen.

F/O Atkinson & W/O Primer.
Although they did not claim attacks, their operation took them over Bremen at roof top level, getting very low to avoid the intense anti-aircraft fire which was being thrown up at them. They reported flak of all types and in taking evasive action, F/O Atkinson felt a sharp tug at the wing of the aircraft, On his return to base, the ground crews found a piece of domestic wireless aerial wrapped round the mainplane. This was a tough experience and was indicative of the type of opposition the Squadron was up against.

Then this

The Squadron strength was now as follows:

    Commanding Officer     W/Cdr Ivins

    Adjutant                         F/Lt Woodcock

    Intelligence Officer         S/Ldr Marlowe

    Engineering Officer        F/Lt Watts

    Medical Officer               F/Lt Leggett

    Signals Officer                P/O Wood

    Navigation Officer           F/O Marsh


“A” Flight “B” Flight
S/Ldr Robertson & W/O Smith S/Ldr Bodien & F/O Booker
F/Lt Stevens & Sgt Aldridge F/Lt Gregory & P/O Thompson
F/O Yeats & P/O Howlett F/O Atkinson & W/O Primer
F/o Boyle & Sgt Friesner F/O Raynor & P/O Neville
F/O Turner & Sgt Bolton P/C Humphries & P/C Lumb
P/O Furniss & P/O Ferguson F/O Zykmn & F/Lt Kalinowski
P/O Armstrong & F/Sgt Daly F/Lt Coombes & P/O Ashworth
W/O Kneath & W/O Leyland F/O Morris & F/O Fisher
W/O Butcher & Sgt Spencer P/O Bushen & Sgt Ferguson
F/Sgt Lucas & F/O Elvin W/O Flight & F/Sgt Mackins
F/Sgt Kemp & Sgt Maidment F/Sgt Penman & Sgt Phillips
Sgt Campbell & Sgt Phillips F/Sgt Knight & Sgt Roberts
Sgt Lavelle & Sgt Griffiths Sgt Playford & Sgt Kelsey
Sgt Heath & Sgt Cottrill Sgt O’Connor & Sgt Webb
Sgt Williams Sgt Dickenson
F/O Sampson P/O Scobie

Now being stationed in the South West of England, Ranger operations were generally designed for France, but because of German air activity by night over the South coast, full night readiness had to be undertaken.


A lot of practice flying took place to get all crews fully operational on the new aircraft, equipped with the Mark Vlll A.I. This was not without its problems. F/O Boyle had engine failure on two occasions, requiring him to carry out single engined landings. F/Sgt O’Connor also had the same experience.

There were more postings in and out of the Squadron as crews became “tour expired” . This was to be a regular feature to maintain a fully effective Squadron strength:

S/Ldr Bodien was posted to O.T.U. at Cranfield on rest.
S/Ldr Pennington and F/O Donnet returned from rest.
F/O Atkinson was posted to Canada as a Gunnery Instructor, thus ending a four year connection with 151 Squadron, having been with them since the outbreak of the war. (He was later killed in a flying accident in Canada.)
S/Ldr Frank Marlowe, the Squadron Intelligence Officer, and regarded as the “Father and Mother” of the Squadron, was Mentioned in Despatches for long and meritorious service.

Was W/O Atkinson temporarily posted to No. 51 O.T.U. before returning to Canada? Could this be the same Atkinson people talked about on this forum?


Hi guys,

just read the threat about George Atkinson, he was my Great Uncle and some what of a hero of mine.

All I have seen and been led to believe from the family (including his wife Pat) say he was killed in a training accident on a Beaufighter not a Mosquito…

He served from 1936 flying Hart trainers, Hurricanes in th Battle of france and Battle of Britain and for a while on Spit Mk 1s while with 151 at North Weald. He was awaded the DFM and bailed out over the Thames esturay earning the “catapillar”. Confirmed 3 “kills”.

After the BoB went to training squadron for “rest” in Canada and returned on Mosquitos flying some of the famed low lever raids, one of which he picked up a length of telephone cable on his wing.

It was after this tour he ended up at RAF Lucheas and was killed 12th March 1945…

I would like to know where any information is written about him, as I am trying to trace as much as possile about my great uncle. I am in the process of getting the RAF records and medals.


David Petters

Probably not that important after all…

Or is it?

To learn more about RAF 151 Squadron click here.


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