Peter William “PW” Atkinson

Peter William “PW” Atkinson

Birth
USA
Death 25 Oct 1941
Bago Region, Myanmar
Burial Martinsburg, Berkeley County, West Virginia, USA
Memorial ID 175477172 · View Source
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PW was a pilot in the U.S. Army Air Corps and was recruited into the American Volunteer Group (AVG) to fly for the Chinese Air Force and protect the vital supply route into China known as The Burma Road. On July 10, 1941 he joined 122 other AVG aboard the M/V Jagersfontein and sailed from the Port of San Francisco bound for the Port of Rangoon, Burma. After arriving August 15th they boarded the train to head northward to the town of Toungoo in Bago Region.

A devout Catholic, he was training at the AVG's Kyedaw Airfield near Toungoo, Burma. On Oct. 25, 1941 he entered a power dive over the airfield when a catastrophic equipment failure occurred and his Curtiss-Wright P-40B Tomahawk disintegrated, killing him instantly. The funeral service was conducted by AVG Chaplain Paul W. Frillmann and PW was buried in grave #3 of the Airmen's Cemetery at St. Luke's Anglican Church in Toungoo.

In combat in the skies over Burma & China the AVG would become known to the world as the Flying Tigers.

His best friend in the AVG was former Army pilot David Harris from Michigan. Harris witnessed Atkinson's fatal crash and was deeply saddened by the loss. He never forgot PW, and named his first son for PW...Peter Atkinson Harris.
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In 1947 an Army Graves Registration Service (AGRS) team went to the cemetery of St. Luke's Anglican Church in Toungoo, Burma. Thanks to information from the cemetery caretaker the AGRS team disinterred four sets of remains identified as AVG and transferred them to Barrackpore, India where autopsies were conducted on the skeletal remains and they were classified (as X-633,634,635,636) and re-buried. In late 1948 they were disinterred and transferred to Hawaii where, on Mar 22-23, 1949, they were interred in the Punchbowl Cemetery on Oahu, Hawaii. They rested in peace for 67 years until JPAC staff reviewed the files and notified 3 families. Through their efforts and many contacts with JPAC officials and congressmen the remains were disinterred on April 11, 2016 and DNA samples were immediately sent to the DNA ID Lab. Families were notified on January 4, 2017 that a positive ID had been made. The remains of X-635 have been positively identified as that of Peter William Atkinson. The families now await the return of their long lost loved Tigers.....



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  • Created by: Tripp Alyn
  • Added: 18 Jan 2017
  • Find A Grave Memorial 175477172
  • Find A Grave, database and images (https://www.findagrave.com : accessed ), memorial page for Peter William “PW” Atkinson (unknown–25 Oct 1941), Find A Grave Memorial no. 175477172, citing Rosedale Cemetery, Martinsburg, Berkeley County, West Virginia, USA ; Maintained by Tripp Alyn (contributor 47431564) .