Lest We Forget
Private Harry Allen, 9th Battalion Leicestershire Regiment (1897-1916)
Harry Allen was born in 1897 in Leicester, the son of Charles Samuel Allen and Kate nee Thacker. His mother died in 1904, when Harry was just 7, and his father remarried a much younger woman, Edith Lount. They continued to live at 237 Avenue Road Extension until sometime between 1911 and 1914, when the family moved to 86 Lorne Road. He had three brothers, John Rose, Walter Edmund and Samuel Purver, and two sisters, Gertrude Emma and Beatrice Violet. Of these only his sisters survived to see the end of World War I.
In 1911, aged 14, Harry worked as a wool washer in the hosiery trade. Aged 18, fully grown at 5 ft 4 and 3/4, Harry weighed just 8 stones and 1lb. He had a fresh complexion, grey eyes and light brown hair.
At the beginning of the war he lived 86 Lorne Road with the rest of his family. His brother Samuel had died earlier that year aged 19. He enlisted early on, on 8th September 1914, joining the Leicestershire Regiment. His battalion, the 9th (service), was formed in Leicester in 1914. Harry was sent with the rest of his comrades, first to Bourley Camp, Aldershot and then to Pernham Down on Salisbury Plain for final training. In 1915 he embarked for France, landing on 29th July. He served on the Western Front, where 517 men from his battalion died.
Harry was wounded on 8th October 1916 – a “severe” shrapnel wound in his back (right scapula), chest and arm. He was admitted to the field hospital, then transferred to a hospital in Rouen, then on 4th November to the The King George Hospital, in Stamford Street, Waterloo, an emergency facility created in what is now part of King’s College London. Between 1915 and 1919 over 70,000 soldiers were treated there. Harry was operated on and found to be in a very serious state internally. He died on 7th November 1916, of shock and loss of blood. He is buried at Welford Road Cemetery, Leicester, where there is a memorial plaque.
Harry’s medals, the Star, Victory and British, were sent to his father Charles. None of Harry’s personal effects survived to send with them.
I will be posting details of the remembrance plaque at St John the Baptist Church on Remembrance Sunday. Regards, Elizabeth.