Major General Sir Leonard Henry Atkinson KBE or ‘Atco’ was in the Benson from 1924. He read engineering at UCL and was commissioned into into the Ordinance in 1936. He transferred to the REME at its formation in 1942, serving initially with the famed Guards Armoured division in Europe from 1943-1945, and was to serve the REME for the rest of his career, becoming DEME 1963, taking over the Army apprentices colleges at Arborfield and Carlisle in 1965 for the Corps, and became its Colonel Commandant in 1967 on his retirement as a Major General.
It was whilst commanding the REME component of the Guards Armoured Division as part of the liberation of Europe that he had the essential if unglamorous task of keeping military vehicles in a fit condition for Horrocks’ boys. Among many later appointments, he was an instructor at the Staff College at Quetta, Commandant of the REME training centre and Commander of Berkshire District.
On his retirement he became Chair of the Council of Engineering Institutions, and Chair of a parliamentary working party on maintenance engineering. He was an active liveryman with the Turners Company, was their master in 1987, and an exceptionally well regarded stamp collector, still referenced today; he was a Fellow of the Royal Philatelic Society of London and his stamp collection was exhibited at Alexandra Palace.
He was initiated into Connaught Army & Navy Lodge No 4323, and joined the OW Lodge in 1953, preceded by his brother Rodham, and followed some years later by his son Charles. He was Worshipful Master three times in 1960, 1970, and 1971. He was Chairman of the Masonic School for Girls, a member of and later the President of the Board of General Purposes, and he was also very senior in Rose Croix. His son Charles followed him into the Benson and into the Lodge, being initiated in 1970 and becoming Master in 1976. However he followed in his uncle Rodham‘s footsteps in terms of profession.
He was a member of Bucks and the Naval & Military Club.