1885 - 1916
CPL David Wallace Crawford
1887 - 1916
Lce-Corpl John Joseph Nickle
1894 - 1916
Pte 17911 Morton Neill
1897 - 1916
Lieut Edward Stanley Ashcroft
1883 - 1918
L/Cpl 17776 Gordon Whittingham Allan
- Age: 27
- From: Prenton
- Regiment: The King's (Liverpool Regiment) 19th Btn
- K.I.A Sunday 30th July 1916
- Commemorated at: Thiepval Memorial
Panel Ref: P&F1D8B &8 C.
Gordon Whittingham Allan. L/Cpl no 17776, No 3 Coy 19th Battalion, The King’s (Liverpool) Regiment
Gordon was the son of Thomas Henry Allan and his second wife Jane nee Whittingham. He was born in Prenton in 1888 and educated at Claughton Higher Grade School before working for The Universal Shipping and Forwarding Company in Liverpool. He was a keen footballer, supporting Tranmere Rovers and was a member of the YMCA Football Club. On 5th September 1914 he was one of the early volunteers for the 1st City Battalion along with his half-brother, also Thomas Henry (Harry) Allan, who transferred to the Manchester Regiment on 11th September and served in India.
Gordon was sent for training at Sefton Park before moving into specially built accommodation at Knowsley. He left Liverpool in April 1915 for further training at Belton Park in Grantham, then onto Salisbury Plain before leaving for the front in November 1915. Before leaving he became engaged to Bess and they had a photograph taken and turned into a postcard which Gordon sent to his parents, with these words pencilled on the back; “Had this taken when Bess was here. What do you think of it. Most people think it is pretty rotten. Still keeping very fit, how are you both getting on? Love to both Gordon” I still have it. My uncle, his nephew, remembered, as a very little boy, being taken for a ride on his motorbike and being very upset when Gordon left, not because he knew where or why he was going but because there would be no more rides for a time.
We believe, though have not had this confirmed, that Gordon was involved in a Bombing Section of 14 men against the enemy position at Guillemont on 30th July. This was led by Sergeant Albert John Edwards, the only survivor of the action, who was awarded the Medal for Distinguished Conduct in the Field. We know he was reported killed in action at Guillemont on 30th July 1916 aged 27 and this was reported in the local paper, along with a photograph.
Gordon’s parents were so distraught at the loss of their beloved son that for a long time family members avoided talking about him in order to save them further distress. This was probably the case in many thousands of homes across the country.
Gordon’s name is on the war memorial opposite St Stephen’s Church, Prenton and the one in Hamilton Square. It is also on the memorial at Thiepval, which I visited in 2003, the first family member to do so. Though I had the location of the names of his regiment, I was somewhat daunted by the size and height of the memorial, realising that his name may be some sixty feet above my head. It was however, at almost exactly my eye level and the impact was astonishing. By that time on my trip, I’d seen many thousands of white crosses and the 54,000 names at the Menin Gate, but to see the name of someone to whom I was related, even though I’d never met him and indeed had only been born some 34 years after his death, had a very powerful effect.
Since then, Gordon’s great, great, great niece and nephew have seen his name on the memorial during school trips and most recently, my brother, Philip, who has Gordon as one of his names, was there.
Gordon’s parents also had his name inscribed on the family headstone in Woodchurch churchyard, where on 30th July, 2016, my sister, niece and I placed one of the poppies from the Tower of London.
Thanks go to Gordon's Great Niece Joy Allan for the biography of Gordon and for permission to use the photograph.