ALLEN [AYLEN], William

No.17376, Private, William ALLEN
Aged 23

1st Battalion, Suffolk Regiment
Killed in Action presumed on Tuesday, 25th May 1915

William Aylen was born on 19th May 1892 in Hundon (Risbridge Q2-1892 4A:718), son of Albert and Martha AYLEN (née PITT). The surname at marriage was ALLEN.

William Aylen was admitted to Class 3 at Hundon Board/Council School in July 1896, leaving December 1903 when leaving the village.

1901 census...Aged 8, now "ALLEN", he was at Babel Green, Hundon with his father Albert [36] thrashing machine engine driver,born Clare; his mother Martha [38];sisters Emily [16] and Ethel [11]; brothers George [15] a farm labourer, and Ernest [5]. All except his father were born in Hundon.

1911 census...Aged 18, William Allen, a farm labourer, was at Temple End, Little Thurlow with his parents; brothers George and Ernest (both farm labourers); sister Violet M. [3] born Little Thurlow.

The pension card has his father as AYLEN and in Great Thurlow.

He enlisted in Bury St Edmunds. "Soldiers Died" have him as born at Mount Pleasant, that being at Hundon. He served less than one year, dying just 13 days after arriving in the BEF on the last day of 2nd Ypres.

From Lt Col Murphy's "History of the Suffolk Regiment" and the battalion war diary we learn:-
Positioned near Witte Poort Farm on the 24th, and having been un-successful that day, the battalion was ordered to take Bellewaarde Farm at all costs. Thus, shortly after midnight the battlion again moved up to the west side of Witte Poort Farm, but not in touch with either flank unit.The attack was to be on a front of 400 yards. Two companies were put in the firing line, two in support the order was given to charge but they immediately came under withering fire. Men fell in heaps everywhere and the attack failed. A few then managed to dig themselves in on a sunken road and they were gradually joined by stragglers until their number rose to nearly 100. They held this position throughout the day despite heavy shelling. The remnants of the battalion, now only 3 officers and 181 OR were relieved that night, marching back through Ypres to Balloon Wood.
CWGC shows 41 of the 1st Suffolks were killed on 25th May 1915, not one has an identified grave.

photo courtesy Robert Mason

photo: Commonwealth War Graves Commission

William Allen is commemorated on the Menin Gate, Ypres, panel 21
and also on Little Thurlow war memorial

click here to go to the Commonwealth War Graves Commission website for full cemetery/memorial details

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