John Walter Osborne (or ‘Hobby’) Atkinson was born in Peterborough in 1896 but moved to Harrington Street when he was about 6.  In Nov 1914 he joined the 1/5th (Territorial) Battalion, Sherwood Foresters.   They landed in France in Feb 1915 and at the end of July they were involved in the first German flamethrower attack at Hooge, near Ypres.  Osborne was killed in action on 16th August and buried in a wood with a L/Cpl A Shirley who’d been killed minutes earlier.  But the grave was lost in subsequent fighting and both names are listed on the Menin Gate in Ypres.

Osborne was the oldest son (of five children) of Herbert Atkinson and Florence (nee Watts).  Herbert was born in Lincolnshire in 1876 but moved to Peterborough where he married Florence Watts and worked repairing waterproof sheets for railway wagons.  So presumably when the family moved to Sawley around 1902 this was to work at the sheet stores.  However, by 1911 he was a self-employed window cleaner, living at 4 Harrington St.   In 1939 Herbert and his youngest son were still living there and employed at the gas works. 

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