ALLEN, Frederick

No.1557, Bugler, Frederick ALLEN
Aged 25

3rd Battalion, Rifle Brigade (Prince Consort's Own)
Killed in Action on Sunday, 18th October 1914

An Old Contemptible

Frederick Allen was born in Soham on 6th June 1889(Newmarket Q3-1889 3B:535), baptised in Soham on 21st June 1889, son of Matthew and Emma ALLEN (née TURNER) of Mill Croft, Soham.

1891 census...Aged 1, he was at Brook Street, Soham with his father Matthew ALLEN [29] bricklayer born in Soham: his mother Emma [24] born in Fordham; brother Herbert [3] born in Soham.

1901 census...Aged 11, he was at Brook Street, Soham with his parents, brother Herbert, sisters Rose M.[8], Maud [7], Winifred [5] and Kate [2]. Now all except his father are recorded as born in Fordham.

1911 census...He was presumably in Tipperary, Ireland in the Army. His widowed mother was at 47 Brook Street with his brothers Herbert (farm labourer), Bert [6] and Robert [8] and sisters Rose, Maud, Winifred and Kate. They were all recorded as born in Soham for this census. His father had died in 1908.

His Army records after his death show his married sisters as Rose Mary PERKINS in Snailwell, and Maud HOBBS at 24 Mill Corner, Soham. The rest of the siblings were still single and living in Soham. The pension card has his mother still at Brook Street.

He enlisted on 11th December 1905 in the 4th Suffolks (Militia) giving his age as 17 years, a labourer from Soham, employed by Mr John Lockwood of Ely. he was 5 feet 4 inches (163.8 cm)tall, weighed 111 lbs (50.5 kg) , chest 35" to 37.5" (88.9 to 95.3 cm), blue eyes, brown hair, Church of England.
On 12th February 1906 he joined the regular Army, signing for 9 years in the colours. He was slightly larger and six months later, no doubt encouraged by Army life, he was 5 feet 5.5 inches (166.4 cm) tall, weighed 123 lbs (56 kg) and chest was 37.5" 95.3 cm).
Joining the Rifle Brigade at Winchester on 14th February 1906 he was posted to the 3rd battalion on 27th June and on 12th July was in Devonport. He extended his service to 12 years in the colours on 23rd March 1909 and was posted top Tipperary on 4th October 1910. Much of his service movements is too faint to read . The 3rd Rifle Brigade in August 1914 was at Cork. Part of 17th Brigade in 6th Division they moved to Cambridge but quickly on to Newmarket. maybe he got to see his family?.
On the 8th September 1914, the Battalion left Southampton on the S.S. 'Lake Michigan', having on board the Headquarters of the 17th Infantry Brigade, and the 2nd Battalion, Leinster Regiment, and arrived at St. Nazaire on the 10th, where the boat had to remain outside the harbour until the morning of the 12th while the rest of the 6th Division were disembarking. They took part in the Battle of the Aisne (this earned him the clasp to the 1914 Star for being within range of the enemy guns between 5th August and 22nd November 1914) before moving marching north to Flanders, to Hazebrouck.
There they came into contact with the enemy on 12th October, who were fighting a rear guard action waiting for reinforcements. Moving forward they took Meteren and Bailleul but reaching Prémesques on the 17th they were halted and withdrew to their line at l'Epinette on the 19th. In the six day advance from Hazebouck to Prémesques the Division had suffered 750 casualties. Of these, the 3rd Rifle Brigade lost 21 killed on the 18th, only one has an identified grave.

A press cutting at the time:-
BUGLER F. ALLEN - We regret to announce the death of Bugler Frederick Allen, son of Mr. and Mrs. Matthew Allen of Brook Street, Soham. Bugler Allen, who was attached to the Rifle Brigade at Winchester, was in Ireland at the outbreak of the war, and very soon afterwards was ordered to England with his regiment which was encamped for a time at Cambridge and Newmarket. From the latter place, they journeyed to France, and intimation has only just come to hand that the unfortunate young nan was killed in action on Oct.18th.
Bugler Allen, whose photograph we produce herewith, was 25 years of age and had been with the Rifle Brigade for nine years, having only about another twelve months to complete the period of his service. The bereaved parents have been the recipients of many expressions of sympathy in the great loss they have suffered.
A letter from Lord Kitchener to the bereaved parents says: "The King commands me to assure you of the true sympathy of the King and Queen in your sorrow.-Kitchener

photo: Commonwealth War Graves Commission

Frederick Allen is commemorated on the Ploegsteert Memorial, Belgium, panel 10

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