Fred Allen

28647, Lance Corporal, 4th Battalion, Grenadier Guards, (4th Guards Brigade. 31st Division).

Missing In Action on the 12th April 1918.

Lance Corporal Fred Allen

Fred was born in Holloway, London in 1883. On Monday 18 May 1914, he married Ethel Caroline Canfield at Aston parish church.

He was posted to France in July 1917 and served continuously on the Western Front.

On 21 March 1918, the Germans launched their Spring Offensive, often referred to as the Kaiserschlacht ("Kaiser's Battle"), but also known as the Ludendorff offensive. This was a series of assaults along the Western Front aimed at breaking through the Allied lines, outflanking the British forces and forcing the French to seek armistice terms. On 11 April 1918, the 31st Division, with whom Fred's battalion were serving, were called forward in ex-London buses to form a defensive line near Estaires. This was to allow retreating British and Portuguese troops to withdraw. Next day the Germans threw in all their reserves to try and capture Hazebrouck.  At dawn on the 12th April 1918 the Battalion arrived at the village of L’Epinette. Due to the fact that there were insufficient tools the companies were not well dug in and were highly vulnerable to German machine gun and light artillery fire. A devastating barrage rained down on the troops and there was heavy fighting in the area. As a result the Battalion suffered a 90% casualty rate that day, one of whom was Fred Allen.

A post war pension card shows that the couple had a child, Thomas George Kitchener, who was born on 8 January 1917. Ethel remarried on 20 March 1922 to Albert Edward Gray of Aston.

Fred Allen has no known grave and his name is recorded on the Ploegsteert Memorial, Comines-Warneton, Belgium. (Panel 1.) 

Medal Entitlement: British War Medal & Victory Medal.

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