Sons of Men - Evansville's War Record
Gold Star Biographies
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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.
April 15, 1998