Baseball in Wartime

Baseball's Greatest Sacrifice


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Those Who Died That Others Might Be Free

 

George Atkinson

 

Date and Place of Birth: 1915 Port Rowan, Ontario Canada

Died: August 4, 1943 Sicily

Baseball Experience: Amateur
Position: Pitcher
Rank: Lieutenant
Military Unit: 4th Field Company, Royal Canadian Engineers

Area Served: Mediterranean Theater of Operations

 

George E Atkinson was born in Port Rowan, Ontario in 1915. He graduated from Simcoe High School and Queen’s University in Kingston, Ontario.

 

Pitched for Port Rowan in the local amateur Tobacco Belt League. In a game against Hagersville in June 1935. Atkinson was on second base with teammate, Jack Moore, the runner at third. For some unknown reason Atkinson stole third resulting in two Port Rowan runners at that base. Moore broke for home at the same time as Atkinson rapidly retreated to second. The Hagersville catcher, somewhat confused, threw the ball to his shortstop who, seeing Moore break for home, returned the ball to the catcher but threw low allowing Moore to score and Atkinson to again advance to third.

 

Atkinson was working as a mining engineer at Timmins when he enlisted in the Royal Canadian Engineers in October 1941. He took a three month officers’ training course at Brockville Officers’ Training School before being stationed at Camp Petawawa in Ontario.

 

In the summer of 1942, Lieutenant Atkinson was transferred to Halifax, Nova Scotia and went overseas to Europe in October 1942.

 

Serving with the 4th Field Company, Royal Canadian Engineers in Sicily, Lieutenant Atkinson was reported seriously wounded on July 29, 1943. He died on August 4.

 

In December 1943, Lieutenant Atkinson was posthumously decorated with the Military Cross, “having directed his men in battle although he had lost an arm and was otherwise seriously wounded.”

 

In May 1944, Simcoe High School held a memorial service for Atkinson and other former students who had lost their lives in WWII.

 

George Atkinson is buried at Agira Canadian War Cemetery in Italy.

 

Added April 9, 2007.

 

Copyright © 2013 Gary Bedingfield (Baseball in Wartime). All Rights Reserved.