Archive: In Memoriam

James ATKINS, 22nd September 1914

James Atkins was the first of the University’s Alumni to lose his life in the First World War.

Able Seaman Atkins was aboard HMS Hogue on the morning of September 22nd 1914 on patrol in the North Sea with HMS Aboukir and HMS Cressy, all old Cressy Class Armoured Cruisers. An explosion caused Aboukir to sink and assuming it was a mine Hogue stopped to lower its boats. Too late it was realised that it was a torpedo attack by the German U-boat U9 which then fired two further torpedoes sinking Hogue, and a further three sinking Cressy. 1,459 crew lost their lives before Dutch and British merchant ships and trawlers arrived saving the remaining 837.

James, who was a student from September 1912 to April 1914 is remembered in the first edition of the Woolwich Polytechnic Magazine January 1916 pages 2 & 7, and on the Woolwich War Memorial. Link: Woolwich Polytechnic Magazine Jan 1916

As with all the University’s fallen, over the next four years we hope to build up a fuller picture of our former student James Atkins in order to preserve his memory in our Archive, where James’ student record can also be found.