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Gunner 946551 Eric Atkin

Regiment: 125 Anti-Tank Regiment Royal Artillery (18 div)

by a relative

Gunner Eric ATKIN125 Anti-Tank Regiment Royal Artillery (18 div)

Wartime experience

Eric enlisted on October 21 st 1939 and after a series of false starts his regiment finally set sail on October 28th 1941 on the SS Oronsay. By January 23rd 1942 they found themselves in Bombay boarding the ill- fated Empress of Asia.

On February 8th as the ship entered Singapore harbour she was attacked and destroyed by the Japanese Air Force. Remarkably only one person lost his life but about 620/0 of the regiment suffered from bums and wounds. Eric had bums to both hands.

Ten days later Eric joined the ranks of thousands of servicemen who became prisoners of war when Singapore surrendered.

On February 17th the regiment commenced their 20-mile march to Changi from the centre of Singapore. The first of many enforced marches and for the next three and a half years he was moved from camp to camp: starting at Changi, River Valley Road, various camps along the Burma railway, back to Changi and finally Kranji 2.

At the end of the war in the Far East, Eric returned home, married and dedicated his life to his wife, children and grandchildren.

He never forgot what it was like to be hungry, so no one who needed help was ever turned away from his door.