Russell Victor Marrilean ATKINSON


ATKINSON, Russell Victor Marrilean

Service Numbers: 4461, 4431
Enlisted: 31 July 1915
Last Rank: Private
Last Unit: 13th Infantry Battalion
Born: Wilcannia, New South Wales, Australia, May 1894
Home Town: Lambton, Newcastle, New South Wales
Schooling: Waratah Public School, New South Wales, Australia
Occupation: Hairdresser
Died: Killed in Action, France, 28 October 1916
Cemetery: No known grave - "Known Unto God"
Australian National Memorial, Villers-Bretonneux, France
Memorials: Australian War Memorial Roll of Honour, Hamilton War Memorial, Wickham "Citizens of Wickham" Volunteers Honour Roll
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World War 1 Service

31 Jul 1915: Enlisted AIF WW1, Private, SN 4461, 13th Infantry Battalion
1 Apr 1916: Transferred AIF WW1, Private, 54th Infantry Battalion
16 Dec 1916: Involvement Private, SN 4431, 13th Infantry Battalion
16 Dec 1916: Embarked Private, SN 4431, 13th Infantry Battalion, HMAT Ballarat, Sydney

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Biography contributed by Evan Evans

From AWM:

4431 Private (Pte) Russell Victor Marrilean Atkinson, 54th Battalion, of Lambton, NSW. Pte Atkinson, a hairdresser before enlisting on 31 July 1915, embarked at Sydney on 16 February 1916 on HMAT Ballarat (A70) with the 14th Reinforcements of the 13th Battalion. He was taken on strength of the 54th Battalion on 1 April 1916. He was wounded in action on 19-20 July 1916, and rejoined his unit from hospital on 21 August 1916. He was killed in action in France on 28 October 1916. A court of enquiry on 4 June 1917 initially deemed him to have absented himself without leave. It was only following years of protest, including representations from his family, their local MP, and the Returned Sailors and Soldiers Imperial League of Australia, that in 1932 he was acknowledged by the Minister of Defence to have been killed in action. Pte Atkinson was last seen at the time of the evacuation of his battalion from the front line, and it was noted by the Officer in charge of Base Records that the battalion had come under shellfire during this operation. His widow and son were then granted a payment equivalent to the pension that they had been denied while Pte Atkinson was considered a deserter. Pte Atkinson is commemorated on the Villers-Bretonneux Memorial in France.