Alfred Atkey

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Alfred Atkey
Born 17 January 1894
Toronto, Canada
Died 14 February 1971
Allegiance Canada
 United Kingdom
Service/branch Royal Flying Corps
Royal Air Force
Years of service 1916-1918
Rank Captain
Battles/wars World War I
Awards Military Cross & Bar

Alfred Clayburn Atkey MC* (16 August 1894 – 14 February 1971) was a Canadian First World War pilot.

Early life[edit]

Atkey was born in Toronto, Ontario. His family headed west to a town called Minebow, Saskatchewan in 1906. He returned to Toronto to work at the Toronto Evening Telegram as a journalist. He then joined the Canadian Army, serving with the 2/24th London Regiment until the end of 1916.

Aerial service[edit]

In 1916 he joined the Royal Flying Corps as a probationary Second Lieutenant. In September 1917 he was posted as a bomber pilot flying Airco DH.4 with 18 Squadron. He and his gunners claimed nine victories flying the Airco DH.4 bomber.

In late April 1918, he was transferred to flying Bristol F 2B fighter/reconnaissance aircraft with A flight, 22 Squadron. Along with Lt CG Gass who was his gunner/observer, he claimed 29 aircraft shot down within a month.

In terms of number of claims, Atkey was the top claiming Allied two-seater pilot of the war. His total number of aircraft claimed shot down was 38 (comprising 13 and 1 shared claimed destroyed, 23 and 1 shared 'Out of Control'). Gass contributed some 13 of these claims (himself the most successful gunner in the RFC/RAF).

After posting back to the U.K. in June 1918, Atkey's rank was Captain upon leaving the Royal Air Force at the end of the war.

Honours and awards[edit]

When Atkey received the Military Cross the following was written in the The London Gazette:

"For conspicuous gallantry and devotion to duty. When engaged on reconnaissance and bombing work, he attacked four scouts, one of which he shot down in flames. Shortly afterwards he attacked four two-seater planes, one of which he brought down out of control. On two previous occasions his formation was attacked by superior numbers of the enemy, three of whom in all were shot down out of control. He has shown exceptional ability and initiative on all occasions."[1]

The following was written in the Gazette when he received the a bar to his MC:

"For conspicuous gallantry and devotion to duty. During recent operations he destroyed seven enemy machines. When engaged with enemy aircraft, often far superior in numbers, he proved himself a brilliant fighting pilot, and displayed dash and gallantry of a high order."[2]



  1. ^ (Supplement to the London Gazette, 22 June 1918, p. 7402.) Retrieved 1 August 2011.
  2. ^ (Supplement to the London Gazette, 16 September 1918, p. 10880.) Retrieved 1 August 2011.