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James Atkinson 433 # 040

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James Atkinson Gotts, born Earsdon, Northumberland, enlisted Northumberland Fusiliers at Cramlington, KIA 1 July 1916 France & Flanders. That is all from the Medal Roll and CWGC Entry. No Service Record. My Dad was named after him.

Is that it, just another name on a monument? Nothing else to put flesh on the bone?

It is surprising what you can find...


Let's start at the beginning. James was the third baby named James Atkinson Gotts, son of George & Jane Anne née Rogerson: the first one they had was born on 09 Aug 1880 at Seaton Sluice, Hartley, near Seaton Delaval in Northumberland, but he died aged 2. James Atkinson number 2 was born on 26 Aug 1883, in Monkseaton, and lived for a year. And yet on 15 Dec 1893 another baby boy was born at Holywell, close by, and called James Atkinson Gotts.  Tempting fate by calling him that? At least this James lived until he was 22.


In 1901 we find the family at 31 Dene Row, Holywell




George 163

Head

45

Miner Stone Man

Norfolk Norwich

Jane A 171

Wife

43


Northumberland Tynemouth

George W 388

Son

23

Miner Coal Hewer

Northumberland Monkseaton

Edward A 383

Son

18

Miner Timber Man

Northumberland Seaton Sluice

Hannah M 391

Daughter

16


Northumberland Morton

Rachel A 390

Daughter

14


Northumberland Whitley

Isabella M 431

Daughter

11


Northumberland Earsdon

Liza 393

Daughter

9


Northumberland Earsdon

Sara A 392

Daughter

8


Northumberland Earsdon

James A 433

Son

7


Northumberland Earsdon

Jennie R 394

Daughter

5


Northumberland Earsdon

Annie D 395

Daughter

4


Northumberland Earsdon

So the family with 10 children were living in a typical pit terrace house, described by my cousin Brian who grew up just round the corner, as having “a front kitchen where they all lived, a sitting room which would have been kept tidy for visitors with the curtains half drawn to stop the sun bleaching the furniture. From the ground floor there were steep steps going up from the kitchen to a couple of rooms upstairs. The larger of these served as a bedroom for the children, with a blanket hung across to divide the girls from the boys. The smaller room was for the parents.”

And why the use of 'Atkinson' as a middle name for so many children? Unsurprisingly, it was Jane Ann's mother's surname.

Although this shows his father George as from Norwich, we know he is from East Ruston in Norfolk, moving up the coast to seek work between 1861 (with his parents in East Ruston) and 1873 when he married Jane Ann Rogerson in Newcastle-upon-Tyne. We know this from the birth certificate he had to apply for for his pension.

George Willie his brother at the left, James Atkinson on the right, aged about 20-22, with a friend who also went to war


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