Private 40098 William Allen

Killed in Action on Sunday, 22nd October 1916, age 26.
Commemorated on Pier and Face 5 A & 6 C of Thiepval Memorial, Somme, France.

10th Bn., Worcestershire Regiment. 57th Brigade of 19th Division.
Formerly 9851 South Staffs Regiment.

Husband of Mrs Eliza Allen, of 196 Dudley Port, Tipton, Staffs.
Born: West Bromwich, Enlisted: West Bromwich, 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 St. Peter's, Greets Green Memorial.
Commemorated here because identified as Tipton on 'Soldiers Died in the Great War'.

Link to Commonwealth War Graves Site: www.cwgc.org/find-war-dead/casualty/773314/

Genealogical Data

Birth of William Allen registered September qtr 1889 at West Bromwich.

1901 Census
62a William Street, West Bromwich, Staffs.
Thomas Allen (42, General Labourer in Railway Carriage Works, born West Bromwich), his wife Mary Ann (40, born West Bromwich), and their 5 children: William (11, born West Bromwich), Mary Ann (10, born West Bromwich), Hannah Elizabeth (8, born West Bromwich), George Edge (5, born West Bromwich) and Thomas (1, born West Bromwich).

1911 Census
62a William Street, West Bromwich, Staffs.
Thomas Allen (52, Labourer, born West Bromwich), his wife Mary Ann (49, born West Bromwich), and their 5 surviving children of 11: William (21, Rivetter in Railway Carriage Works, born West Bromwich), Mary Ann (20, Packer in Glass Works, born West Bromwich), Hannah Elizabeth (18, Shop Assistant, born West Bromwich), George Edge (15, Rivet Heater, born West Bromwich) and Thomas (11, Scholar, born West Bromwich).

William Allen and Eliza Williams married at St. Martin's Church, Lower Church Lane, Tipton, in September quarter 1915. William was 26 years old and his occupation 'Private in the 2/5th Battalion, South Staffs Regiment', and living in Dudley Port.

Personal Data

After William's death, his outstanding army pay and allowances amounted to £3/5/8d (3 pounds, 5 shillings and 8 pence); this was paid to his widow, Eliza, in May 1917. His War Gratuity was £8/10/0d (8 pounds and 10 shillings), this was also paid to Eliza in December 1919. The value of the War Gratuity suggests that William had enlisted in approximately October 1914.

Eliza was granted a pension of 13/6d (13 shillings and 6 pence) per week effective from 18th June 1917, this was for herself and her child. She was also paid a Grant of £5 on 29th Septemebr 1917, and another Grant of £5 on 6th November 1918. Her address was given as 196 Dudley Port, Tipton, but at some time she had been living at Block 13A, Muntions Houses (Huts), Birmingham Road, Dudley. This suggests that she had been working in munitions at some stage, likely at the National Projectile Munitions Work in Hall Street, Dudley.

Action resulting in his death

After the 10th Worcesters exertions in July 1916 on the Somme, including the capture of La Boisselle, they moved north to Flanders which at that time was a quieter area. In early October they began their move back to the Somme battlefield.

After an overnight bivouac stay on 21st/22nd October near Albert, they marched north up the Albert-Bapaume road past La Boisselle where over 100 of their comrades had been killed during its capture on 3rd July. Guides then lead them northwards along the Ovillers Spur, past Mouquet Farm with Thiepval on their left, to the newly captured Stuff Trench where they relieved units of the 25th Division.

Stuff Redoubt was part of the German defensive scheme on the Thiepval Ridge, it was located to the east of Schwaben Redoubt and about a mile north of Mouquet Farm. It had been momentarily captured by the 36th (Ulster) Division on 1st July, but it was almost 3 months later during the Battle of Thiepval Ridge before the Redoubt was partially captured, then fully captured by the 25th Division on 21st October. This had included Stuff Trench, just north of the Redoubt, giving observation over the German positions in Grandcourt and the Ancre Valley. The trench gave visibility over German positions, but conversely was exposed to direct German artillery fire.

The War Diary of the 10th Worcesters for 22nd and 23rd October says:
Battalion relieved 8/Borders, 8/South Lancs and 11/Cheshires in trenches.
The enemy shelled our front line and supports very heavily, and during the night of 22nd/23rd, and the 23rd.
Casualties: Killed 12 Other Ranks. Wounded 33 Other Ranks. Missing 1 Other Rank.

The Commonwealth War Graves Commission records 2 killed on the 22nd, 3 killed on the 23rd, and 6 killed on the 24th, a total of 11 men.

William Allen was killed on 22nd October, most likely by German artillery fire. Like all but one of the 11 men, William has no known grave and is commemorated on the Thiepval Memorial to the Missing of the Somme.

Newspaper Cuttings