The elder son of Brenan Atkinson, Rupert Norman Gould Atkinson was educated at Orley Farm School, Harrow, and at Marlborough College (Preshute). He enrolled in Pembroke College, Cambridge in June 1914 and joined the Public Schools Battalion of the Middlesex Regiment in September 1914. He received a commission in December 1914 and served with the West African Regiment in Cameroon before he was invalided back to England, arriving in Liverpool aboard the Mendi on 2 April 1916. 2nd Lieutenant Atkinson joined the Royal Flying Corps in August 1916 and received Royal Aero Club Aviator's Certificate 3646 on a Maurice Farman biplane at military school, Brooklands on 28 September. Within weeks, he was sent to France where he would be promoted to Captain in 1917 and earn the Military Cross. Flying the D.H.9 and serving first with 98 Squadron, and later with 206 Squadron, Atkinson scored five victories in 1918. Post-war, he served with the occupation forces in Cologne, Germany. While home on leave in March 1919, he died from pneumonia following influenza.
Great Britain, Royal Aero Club Aviators' Certificates, 1910-1950
T./Capt. Rupert Norman Gould Atkinson,
Gen. List and R.F.C.
For conspicuous gallantry and devotion to duty. This officer has done a large amount of successful artillery work, has taken part in many night bombing raids, and has continually distinguished himself by his fearlessness and determination in descending to low altitudes in order to attack hostile infantry and machine guns. On one occasion, also, he successfully attacked and drove down a hostile balloon.
Capt. Rupert Norman Gould Atkinson, M.C.
A gallant and determined officer whose services over the lines since May last in long distance and photographic reconnaissances, and as leader of bomb raids, have been of a very high order. On a recent occasion, when on solitary photographic reconnaissance at 15,000 feet, his machine was attacked by eight Fokker biplanes; one of these he shot down.