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Robert Hounsome Allen


Robert Hounsome Allen was born in 1891 to Frederick Stephen Allen and his wife, Mary. Frederick was originally from Chichester in Sussex and was a Fish Salesman’s Clerk. They lived at 99 Herbert Street, in Blackley, Manchester. At the time of his birth, Robert had an elder brother Frederick and later was to have two more brothers and two sisters.

Early Life

By 1901, the family had moved to 1 Glenfield Street, in Blackley and Robert attended Burgess Street Primary School, in Harpurhey.

Chester College

Robert left Chester College in 1911.

Military Service

Robert joined the Manchester Regiment 18th Battalion and was attached to the “C” Company.

Lest We Forget

On July 1, 1916, the first day of the Battle of the Somme, the regiment had nine Battalions committed, including the Manchester Pals, the 16th (1st City), 17th (2nd City), 18th (3rd City) and 19th (4th City), all serving in the 90th Brigade of the 30th Division.

The day proved to be the deadliest in the British Army's history, with more than 57,000 killed, wounded or missing. It was on this day that Robert was wounded and died early the next day, on July 2.

During the Battle of the Somme, the 30th Division was given the task of assaulting the village of Montauban. The 90th Brigade were to play a prominent part in the Battle, and although the main brunt of the attack fell to the 16th and 17th Battalions of the Manchester’s and the 2nd Royal Scots Fusiliers, the 18th Battalion more than played its part.

Along the entire allied front, the whistles blew and the men scrambled out of their front line trenches and began the 3,000 yard advance towards the enemy positions. The 55th, 21st and 89th Brigades advanced across no man's land to attack the first two lines in front of Montauban, in preparation for the 90th Brigade's attack.

The first two lines fell quite easily. The 18th Battalion’s orders had read: “After the first bombardment has been completed they will come and go to Montauban by the communication trenches, moving on top and beside the trench. In the event of coming under fire they will get into the trench and continue to move as fast as possible. As far as possible the loads of casualties will be picked up and taken on.”

The 16th and 17th Battalions moved in good order across the battlefield, and by 9.10am, had passed a trench taking casualties from a machine gun. This gun was responsible for causing almost 100 casualties amongst the 18th Battalion - mostly men from “C” Company. Robert was one of those fatally wounded.

Some 48 hours after leaving their assembly trenches, the 90th Brigade was relieved and the 18th marched to Happy Valley - about 2 miles from Bray. The 18th Battalion suffered a considerable casualties - 175 soldiers were missing or wounded.

Post Mortem

Robert was awarded the British War and Victory Medals and the 1915 Star. It is recorded that he died of wounds on July 2, 1916. He is remembered at the Dive Copse British Cemetery at Sailly-Le-Sec, in France.