Private 201561 Frank Herbert Allen

Allen Frank 96 796x600
Man on left believed to be Frank Allen. Courtesy of Norman Page.

Killed in Action on Wednesday, 24th October 1917, age 30.
Commemorated on Bay 6 of Arras Memorial, Pas De Calais, France.

2nd/7th Bn., Worcestershire Regiment. 183rd Brigade of 61st Division.
Formerly 3855 Worcestershire Regiment.

Born: Hallow, Worcs, Enlisted: Dudley, Resident: Tipton.

First landed France & Flanders, post 31st December 1915.
Medal entitlement: British War Medal, Victory Medal.
Soldier's Papers at National Archives did not survive.

Commemorated on the Tipton Library, and St. Matthew's memorials.
Commemorated here because he appears on a Tipton memorial.

Link to Commonwealth War Graves Site: www.cwgc.org/find-war-dead/casualty/738466/

Genealogical Data

Birth of Frank Herbert Allen registered December qtr 1886, at Martley, Worcs.

1901 Census
Parkfield Road, Hallow, Worcs.
Thomas Allen (41, Cowman, born Grimley), his wife Fanny Allen (45, born unknown),and their six children: Frank Herbert (14, Errand Boy, born Hallow), Joseph Thomas (11, born Hallow), Maud (9, born Hallow), Henry George (7, born Hallow), Florence Evelyn (4, born Hallow), and Millicent May (2, born Hallow).

Marriage of Frank Herbert Allen and Annie Olive Walton registered December qtr 1907, at Dudley.

1911 Census
Neptune Street, Tipton, Staffs.
In the household of George Albert Walton (43, Carter, born Kinver) - Frank's father-in-law;
Frank Herbert Allen (24, Labourer for Oil and Grease Merchant, born Hallow, Worcs), his wife Annie Olive Allen (18, born Tipton), and their two children: Leslie Frank (3, born Tipton) and Audrey Winifred (1, born Tipton). Annie was married and given birth to their first child before the age of 15 - a girl could marry at the age of 12 with parental permission. A further daughter, Evelyn Maud, was born in March quarter 1916.

Personal Data

After Frank's death, his outstanding army pay and allowances amounted to £6/1/10d (6 pounds, 1 shilling and 10 pence); this was paid to his widow, Annie O., in November 1918. His War Gratuity was £11/10/0d (11 pounds and 10 shillings), this was also paid to Annie in November 1919. The value of the War Gratuity suggests that Frank had enlisted in April 1915.

Action resulting in his death

The 2/7th Worcesters were one of the Battalions of the 61st (2nd South Midlands) Division, arriving in France in May 1916. They were involved in the Battle of Fromelles, the German Retreat to the Hindenburg Line, and the Battle of Langemarck before moving south to Arras in September 1917.

On 24th October 1917 they were in the front line just to the east of the infamous Chemical Works at Roeux, and were to make a raid on the German trenches opposite them. The objectives were identification of the German troops, to kill the enemy and destroy their equipment where possible; it was not intended to hold the trenches on completion of the raid.

At 3.50pm, under intense British artillery fire, the 50 raiders of the 2/7th Worcesters left their trenches and dashed forward. German machine gun fire caused the raiders to advance in dashes utilising shell-holes for cover, and the uncut barbed wire caused a temporary halt whilst being cut. The raiders reached the German trenches where they found numerous dead. Identification was obtained and two machine guns were destroyed.

By the standards of many trench raids, this was a success. However the 2/7th Worcesters still had 9 Other Ranks killed on that day with another dying of wounds on the next day. Private Frank Allen was one of the 9 men killed; he has no known grave and is commemorated on the Arras memorial.

Newspaper Cuttings