SOE Atkinson, John George Patterson

John Robertson

Staff member
John George Patterson
  • UNIT
Force 133 SOE
  • RANK
13th February 1943
  • AGE
Phaleron War Cemetery,Greece 10.E.18
parent unit Royal Army Service Corps
Officer Producing Centre,RASC 1940
commissioned 2Lt 26.10.1940
WIA/POW/Escaped 1941 Crete
MI9 (2 Lt - Lt) 1941-42
awarded M.C. and bar (Greece 1941-42)
SOE 1942-43
WIA/POW 10.1.1943 Greece
executed Greece




Military Cross : Lt. ATKINSON served with the British Forces in GREECE and was later sent to CRETE, where he took over the command of No. 34 D.I.D. a few days before the invasion of the island. During the fighting there, under orders of his superior officer, he took the personnel of the No. 34 D.I.D. and occupied a defence perimeter to cover the M.T. Car park and rear of the D.I.D., where they engaged a number of enemy gliders. With the personnel of the No. 34 D.I.D. he occupied this position for seven days, most of which time they were under heavy bombardment from the air.

On evacuating this position, Lt. ATKINSON led his men to the embarkation point, but, as it was not possible to evacuate them, they were taken prisoner by the Germans.

Lt. ATKINSON was taken to the P/W camp at NEA KOKKINIA, ATHENS, where he remained until he made his escape in mid-July. From this date until he finally escaped from GREECE on 8.10.41 he was hidden and looked after by friendly Greek families in ATHENS. While at large there he contacted a number of Imperial Service personnel and collected a lot of information of great value.

He made arrangements for his own escape from GREECE and for that of others in conjunction with Lt. CRAIG and the captain of a caique, named GRAMMATIKAKIS. They embarked on the caique, 26.9.41 on the coast of ATTICA opposite the island of PALAVLA. They travelled via the island of ANTIPAROS where they remained for several days owing to bad weather and so that the Greek captain could proceed to PAROS for a permit from the Italian naval control to sail to CRETE. They reached CRETE and, after drifting twenty-four hours near PORT SPINALONGA owing to engine trouble, left for ALEXANDRIA, arriving there 8.10.41. They had sailed from the Greek mainland to ALEXANDRIA in an open boat.

On his arrival at G.H.Q., Lt. ATKINSON volunteered to return to GREECE in order to aid in the escape of further Imperial Service Personnel, whom he knew to be hiding in the ATHENS area.

This officer, besides evincing courage throughout, showed initiative and foresight to a high degree by arranging his own evacuation and that of others from GREECE and at the same time establishing contacts with friendly Greeks. As a result, he is now behind the enemy lines making possible the escape of our personnel thanks to his courageous work.

Military Cross (Bar) : Lt. ATKINSON made a very fine escape from GREECE last October for which he was awarded a Military Cross.

Despite the hardship, suffered during his period of hiding in GREECE and in sailing in an open boat from the mainland of GREECE to ALEXANDRIA, however, this officer volunteered to return to GREECE to rescue British troops.

He left ALEXANDREA on behalf of G.S.(I) by submarine, in company with two N.C.O.'s reaching his island base some days later.

After making all arrangements and plans, this officer sailed in a small boat to ATHENS, successfully, evading enemy patrols en route. He entered ATHENS on foot and spent four days there, during which time he obtained much valuable information, met a number of leading Greek citizens and gathered an intelligent impression of the conditions of ATHENS under German rule. He contacted and rescued twenty Imperial Service personnel, led them out of ATHENS, hired a boat and brought them. safely back to the island base, where he contacted the submarine on its return journey.

During his stay in ATHENS, he laid the foundations for further rescues and put new heart into the Greek leaders of the escape organisations.

In view of the short time at Lt. ATKINSON's disposal - ten days from the time he landed at his island base to the time the submarine called again - it is a very fine effort, calling for courage and initiative of high quality.

On his return here with the British troops he had rescued he immediately volunteered and went back a second time to enemy territory to effect further rescues of British and Imperial troops.

This officer has not only set a fine example to others in GREECE, but is responsible for the rescue of twenty-two people and indirectly of many more through information obtained and contacts made in ATHENS. Lt. ATKINSON has throughout shown himself to to be extraordinarily brave and has done invaluable work.


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