Sons of Men - Evansville's War Record
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Pvt. Ernest Scott Atkinson
65th Balloon Company
June 2, 1893 - December 2, 1918

     "Only yesterday he had performed his duty in the usual jovial
mood, jollying along with apparently not a care to dampen his sunny
spirit.  It was hard to believe and none could force themselves to
realize that the prince of good fellows had been called at this stage of
the game.  But he had completed his duty faithfully; he had cast his
bit into the maelstrom to carry on the fight for democracy, like the
soldier he was. The flight to the Heavenly plains was his final
accomplishment."

     Such was the esteem in which the comrades of Ernest Scott
Atkinson held him.  The sudden death of this "prince of good fellows"
cast a pervading gloom throughout the post, which overshadowed the
hearts of his numerous friends.  He was born June 2, 1893, in Spencer
County, Indiana.  He received his elementary education in this county,
and for four years attended high school at Richiand.  His ambition to
make good led him to continue his studies and receive a higher training
for his life career.  For six months he took a commercial course at
Valparaiso University.  Then he was employed by the Republic Iron & Steel
Mills of Youngstown, Ohio.

     During the winter of 1917, when America needed men, Ernest
Atkinson responded. On December 12, 1917, he enlisted at Columbus,
Ohio, and was sent to Omaha, Neb., for training in the aerial service.
Five months later he was transferred to a Balloon School at Arcadia,
Cal., twelve miles from Los Angeles. For seven months he continued
his training, ingratiating himself with his comrades, making friends
with everyone he met, proving his good fellowship and leaving with
them the true impression that they had made a worthy acquaintance.
Suddenly fate intervened. His career was unexpectedly terminated
by the colliding of the motorcycle which he was riding with an
automobile, November 30, 1918.  The accident resulted in a fractured
skull and several broken bones. He lay in a half-conscious condition
until his death on December 2, 1918. His body was brought to Evansville,
but was buried in Spencer County.

     A close churn of Atkinson, Ralph W. Vroman, said of him: "I was
not alone as his friend. All who knew him were his friends, and knew
him as one who was always thoughtful of others, ever standing for
that which was right, and above all, hi~ conduct was always that of a
gentleman."

     A letter from his commanding officer, Max C. Fleischman, said:
"Chauffeur Atkinson was held in very high regard by all of the members
of the Motor Transport Corps with whom he was associated, and
the floral offering was provided by them as an expression of their
sentiments. His death was an untimely one and I desire to extend
my deepest sympathy to his family."

     Another friend, speaking of him said: "His character was beautiful
and one surely to be compared with the best; no discouraging
elements in his life seemed to mar his sunny and cheerful spirit.
Ernest had a smile for everyone, and could often make bright a path that
once had seemed so dark."

_____

Sons of Men: Evansville's War Record,
Compiled by Heiman Blatt,
Published by Abe P. Madison, 1920
pp. 30-31.

cdmyers@wowway.com
April 15, 1998