GEORGE ALLEN

Private 7476, 12th Battalion Northumberland Fusiliers

Died 25th September 1915 aged 30

 No Known Grave Commemorated Loos Memorial, France

Son of William and Martha Allen

Lived 102, High Street, Heckmondwike


George was born in 1886 in Belper, Derbyshire the eldest son of William Allen, a Wire Drawer, and Martha nee Stone who married on 21st January 1882 at Duffield, Derbyshire.  The family had moved by 1901 to West Bank, Ambergate and by 1911 they had ten children, four of the five sons being employed as Wire Drawers at the Johnson and Nephew Mill in the village.

Also living and working as a Wire Drawer in Ambergate was James Edward Shaw, who had been born in Brighouse in 1871 and married Hannah Bertha Garrett at St Ann's Church, Ambergate, Derbyshire in 1902.  But in 1914 James Shaw and his family moved to 13, Thomas Street, Heckmondwike and George Allen moved with them as their lodger.  It is known that George enlisted in the Northumberland Fusiliers in September 1914 at Cleckheaton and then went to training camp.  No individual service record survives.

Twelve months later the War Diaries for the 12th Battalion of the Northumberland Fusiliers show that the Battalion disembarked in Boulogne at 1.15am on 10th September 1915.  From there they progressed by foot and train to the front close to Hill 70 and Loos.  On 25th September and the days following they were involved in hostilities around Hill 70.  There was much loss of life and confusion.

The Derbyshire Courier newspaper reported that a letter had been received by George Allen's parents from a comrade, Private G Key, son of Matthew Key of Over Heage a nearby village, who wrote that George Allen had been wounded in the shoulder but not seriously.  Then there was no further news of George who remained officially missing, prompting his parents in Ambergate to place adverts in the newspapers and for the local vicar to write to the authorities.  The agony of not knowing what had happened to their son was to continue for 12 months by which time the authorities officially declared that he had died on 25th September 1915.  A memorial service was then held for George in Bethel United Methodist Church, Ambergate.

Seventy miles away in Heckmondwike, James Edward and Hannah Shaw were still living at 13, Thomas Street.  George Allen's name was submitted to the local war memorial committee for inclusion on the Green Park Memorial and on the Vellum Roll as a Heckmondwike resident.


Medals: Victory, British and Star

Commemorated:  St Andrew's Parish Church, Derby Road, Ambergate; St James's and St Saviour's Parish Church memorials in Heckmondwike; Green Park Memorial and Vellum Roll.{KH-005}

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