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WWII 1940 GEORGE MEDAL/LLOYDS MEDAL/IMPERIAL CHEMICAL INDUSTRIES BRAVERY AWARD GROUP OF 9 MEDALS & EPHEMERA TO CAPT. J.R. ATKINSON, MERCHANT NAVY

*** RESERVED *** The unique 1940 ship captain's off the coast of Colwyn Bay, Denbighshire 9 ct gold Imperial Chemical Industries Bravery Award with reverse 'Presented to J.R. Atkinson by Imperial Chemical Industries Ltd. for Conspicuous Bravery at Sea on December 30th 1940'. George Medal George VI to Captain John Robert Atkinson; Lloyd's Medal for Bravery at Sea Medal to Captain J.R. Atkinson, S.S. "Calcium" 30th December 1940; WWI War Medal to John R. Atkinson; Mercantile Marine Medal to John R. Atkinson; 1939-45 Star; Atlantic Star; WWI War Medal; Royal Society of St. George Medal. Accompanied by a host of original material including 1941 Admiralty Letter for the award of the George Medal 'for gallant conduct and devotion to duty in S.S. Calcium in action with the enemy', telegrams, I.C.I. letters of congratulations, I.C.I. 'Secrets' letter, a letter of thanks from the parents of the deceased stoker expressing their gratitude '...for it means a lot to parents to be able to visit their son's last resting place', family letters, newspaper articles, original photographs including recipient at ship's wheel, Certificate of Efficiency; 1941 letters from The Royal Society of St. George, The Mercantile Marine Service Association congratulations on award of the Lloyd's War Medal for Bravery at Sea and confidential wartime papers issued to Masters of Merchant Vessels and a Board of Trade Examination Report dated 1 Jan 1941 which details the incident in minute detail. Intriguingly, it is recorded in this document that 'the ship's confidential papers and official agreement were lost.'
Description

George Medal Gazetted 10 June 1941. West Lancashire Evening Gazette 11 Jun 1941: 'The first awards of the George Medal to men in the Fleetwood & Thornton districts were officially announced today. The recipients are Captain John Robert Atkinson, aged 45, of Kenilworth Ave., Fleetwood and Chief Engineer Thomas Edward Bramley, aged 43, of Fleetwood Road, Thornton. They were members of the crew of a steamer that hit a mine and Mr James Morrison, aged 28, a stoker of Belmont nr. Bolton, lost his life. It was the bravery displayed by the captain and chief engineer in going down in the stokehold to find Mr Morris that earned them their medals. The following is the official announcement accompanying the award:- "After an explosion caused by a mine, the stoker on duty was missing. The chief engineer had tried to enter the stokehold, but could not, owing to the heat from a broken steam pipe. The master tried to reach the stoker by the alleyway leading through the engine room; a narrow passage that could be only be navigated sideways. The chief engineer followed the master along the passage which, as the ship was settling by the stern, was flooded to a depth of 3ft. The stokehold was full of steam, but they found the stoker's body and transferred it to a ship that was standing by."

Captain Atkinson comes from the Over-Wyre family of that name, born at Knott End-on-Sea, he has been going to sea all his life and has been with the same firm for more than a quarter of a century. Undaunted by their nerve-shattering experience, both men went to sea again within a short time. Some weeks ago they each received a letter from their Employers' Works Council saying, "We wish to express our admiration of the outstanding courage displayed by you in connection with the recovery of Mr Morris' body."'

The S.S. Calcium was built 1918 by G.Brown of Greenock as a single boiler, triple-compound engine & owned by I.C.I. (Alkali)Ltd. She struck a mine en-route Fleetwood to Llandulas in ballast. Her sister ship "Sodium" took her in tow but "Calcium" was stern-down and filling and eventually sank. The single casualty of the 9 man crew was James Morrison, buried at Belmont St. Peter Churchyard, Bolton.

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