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Frank Allen


Frank Allen was born in 1891 to John and Ellen Allen of 24 Rock Street in Burnley, Lancashire. John was 31 years old and worked at the School Board Office in Burnley. Ellen was 29 years old and was recorded as being a Weaver in the 1891 Census. Frank was their first born child and was baptised on April 9, 1891 at St. Matthew’s Church, in Habergham Eaves, Burnley.

Early Life

By the time of the 1901 Census, the family had moved to 27 Church Street, in Burnley. Frank now had a brother Edward (aged one) and a sister Amy (aged five). At this time, John was recorded as being a School Attendance Officer.

In the 1911 Census, Frank (aged 20) was recorded as attending Chester College. His brother Edward (aged 17) is recorded as being a part-time Student Teacher. Frank now had two more brothers, Joseph Thomas (aged nine) and John Albert (aged six). The family had now moved to a larger house at 44 Thursby Road, in Burnley.

Chester College

Frank won a bursary and attended Chester College, qualifying in 1911. He was appointed to teach at Heasandford School Burnley and remained there until he enlisted in the army seven years later. He was a man of “literary tastes and a strong humorous vein” (Burnley Express obituary, December 1917).

Military Service

In August 1916, Frank enlisted in the Public Schools Battalion of the Royal Fusiliers in Burnley as Private 13/11670 Allen. He went abroad in January the following year, attached to the Royal Engineers. He was later transferred to the 2nd Battalion of the London Regiment as Private Frank Allen G/52914.

Frank’s younger brother, Edward, also enlisted into the Royal Fusiliers and went abroad a year before his brother Frank in 1915 at Christmas. He was wounded four times altogether and was transferred to the Pay Department at Woolwich, as he had not recovered sufficiently to be sent out again.

Lest We Forget

The 2nd Battalion London Regiment was moved to Rousseau Farm Camp on October 8, 1917, to prepare for battle the following day. The battle lasted for two days, during which Frank was killed in action on October 9.

Private Harold V. Ellis had written to Frank’s mother saying: “Frank and I had been very chummy having been in army training together at Edinburgh […] When I saw him on the night of the October 8 he was in the best of health and spirits. When the Battalion attacked the following morning I noticed afterwards that poor Frank was missing. I made inquiries about him and was told that a shell had exploded near him, killing him instantaneously.”

The writer closed by expressing his deepest sympathy, and that of his comrades, at the death of a hero fighting for his home and country. Frank was brought back behind the lines and given a proper burial.

Post Mortem

Frank was awarded the British War and Victory Medals for service to King and Country. He is commemorated at Tyne Cot Memorial. The Tyne Cot Memorial is one of four memorials to those who went missing in Belgian Flanders, which cover the area known as the Ypres Salient.