Leonard Atkins enlisted with the Bedfordshire Regiment in December 1915 at Watford. He was called for Service on 25th February 1916, and was stationed in Britain until 6th July 1916. He landed in France on 7th July and had only been a the Front for a few weeks when he was killed in action on 26th September 1916 taking part in attack on the village of Thiepval on the Somme. The attack was halted by machine gun fire, but after a period of had close-quarter fighting the village was finally secured. It was likely that Leonard was killed in action at this point. At the time of his death he was serving with the 6th Battalion of the Northamptonshire Regiment and it is not known when he switched from the Bedfordshire Regiment.
Leonard’s death was recorded in the Abbot Langley Parish Magazine in November 1916, and a Memorial Service was held at St Lawrence Church in the village on 6th December 1916 to commemorate his, and others from the village, that had lost their lives in the preceding months.
“Leonard Atkins was well known amongst us an obliging, civil, quiet man. He was one of the later ones to join up, and had only been in France a few weeks. He was killed in action on September 26th. The relatives of these brave men have the sincere sympathy of us all.”
Leonard was born on 23rd November 1890 at Abbots Langley one of four sons and three daughters of Newman Atkins, a Hay Binder, and his wife Elizabeth. The family lived at 76 Breakspeare Road, Abbots Langley. At his enlistment he gave his occupation as a Carman.
Four of Leonard’s cousins also served in the Great War –William, Henry, Arthur, and Ernest. Ernest was killed in action at Passchendaele on 1st December 1917, but the other cousins all survived.
Leonard Atkins was commemorated on the Thiepval Memorial to the Missing, and on Abbots Langley War Memorial.