Great Britain

World War 2 veteran who flew 34 night time missions dies aged 97

Arthur Atkinson

Arthur Atkinson is greeted by Prince Edward (Image: NC)

Tributes have been paid to Arthur Atkinson’s “wonderful sense of humour” and “cheeky way with the ladies” after he died on Friday. The keen musician and dancer, who was born in Lancaster, worked at his local Co-op until he joined the RAF in 1941 and trained as a gunnery sergeant then as a wireless operator. He then joined Bomber Command – where aircrew suffered a death rate of 44.4 percent. 

Arthur Atkinson as a young soldier

As a young man, he flew 31 night-time missions (Image: NC)

Confirming Friday’s news, a spokesman for the International Bomber Command Centre in Lincoln said: “Desperately sad to report the loss of one of our great friends, Wireless Operator Arthur Atkinson. He served with 61 Squadron, flying from RAF Coningsby and Skellingthorpe.” 

After the war, Mr Atkinson, whose wife died in 2007 after they had been together for 63 years, managed Navy, Army and Air Force institutes on a civilian basis. 

He also continued his love of flying, eventually buying a microlight with his son and flying around Coningsby.