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Capt Arthur de Bells Adam (MC)
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
Lieut Edward Stanley Ashcroft

Pte 22306 Raymond Eric Allen


  • Age: 23
  • From: Brockton, Salop
  • Regiment: The King's (Liverpool Regiment) 20th Btn
  • K.I.A Sunday 30th July 1916
  • Commemorated at: Guillemont Rd Cem
    Panel Ref: IV.H.2
Raymond Eric Allan was born in the Shipton Area of Church Stretton Shropshire in the June quarter of 1893 to Richard Allen, a blacksmith, and his wife Elizabeth (nee Williams) who married in 1891 in Shipton Shropshire living with relatives. Raymond was the 2nd child of 7 children of their marriage. He had 3 brothers Cyril F.W. 1881-1973, Arthur G. 1899 -1969, Oakley b. 1906 and 3 sisters Doris E. b.1895, Kathleen M. b.1898 and Jessie M. 1908 - 2001.   

In 1901  7 year old scholar Raymond is living with father the head of that household at Mogg Forest, Brockton, Shipton. His father is shown as a Labourer on a farm.

In 1911 Raymond now 17 years old appears on the Census as Eric Allen a servant and waggoner on a farm of John Arthur Morgan at Shipton Grange, Much Wenlock, Salop.

On the 9th November 1914 Raymond enlists in Liverpool into the 20th Battalion of The King's Liverpool Regiment as Private 22306 Raymond Eric Allen, a Clerk then aged 21 years and 103 days. He is described as being 5 Foot 9 inches in height, weighed 146 lbs with a 38 and a half Chest. He had grey eyes, dark brown hair  and his religion was Church of England.

Formed in November 1914 the 20th Battalion were originally billeted at Tournament Hall, Knotty Ash before on 29th January 1915 they moved to the hutted accommodation purposely built at Lord Derby’s estate at Knowsley Hall. On 30th April 1915 the 19th Battalion alongside the other three Pals battalions left Liverpool via Prescot Station for further training at Belton Park, Grantham. They remained here until September 1915 when they reached Larkhill Camp on Salisbury Plain. He arrived in France on 7th November 1915.

His Army record shows that after enlistment he was 363 days at home 09/11/1914 to 06/11/1915 then in France from 07/11/1915. It also shows  that he had two periods in hospitals in April 1916 suffering from Pyrexia (Fever) before being returned to his Unit with the 20th Btn. On 30/07/1916 the 20th Battalion ws part of the offensive against the German stronghold of Guillemont. 

The battalion diary records:when he was killed in action, aged 23 during the fighting for Guillemont Village, France during the Somme Offensive.


"On 30th July 1916 at 4:45 a.m. the Second Battle of Guillemont commenced in a Thick Mist and it was impossible to see more than ten yards this continued till 6 a.m. when it lifted slightly but it was still difficult to see 100 yards away, by 6 a.m. the German Maltz Horn Trench had been gained. Second Lt. C P Moore reported he had 150 men, 4 Stokes guns and two Lewis guns. He was the only Officer remaining. By 9.10 a.m. he sent back a message that his men had been reduced to seventy five. Two patrols which he had sent out in front had not returned."

Raymond was among those killed in action on that day. He was aged 23 and now rests at Guillemont Road Cemetery IV.H.2 where his headstone bears the epitaph:

"HERE LET HIM SLEEP AWHILE"

The events of 30th July 1916 were regarded at the time as Liverpool’s blackest day. There follows an extract from The History of the 89th Brigade written by Brigadier General Ferdinand Stanley which gives an indication of the events of the day.

30th July 1916

The 20th King’s Battalion Diary records:

“At 4.45am prompt the attack was launched. Unfortunately, a thick mist prevailed and it was impossible to see more than 10 yards ahead. This continued until about 6 o’clock when it lifted slightly, but it was still too hazy and impossible to see what was happening 100 yards ahead. This being so, it was not surprising to find that the attacking waves were experiencing great difficulty in maintaining connection.”

At 6am, Lt. RE Melly, No.1 Company, reported that his men had taken the German Maltz Horn trench.

At 6.30am, 2/Lt. CP Moore reported that he had 150 men, 4 Stokes Mortars and 2 Lewis Guns, but he was the only officer. He also said that due to the fog, both his “flanks were in the air” i.e. he was not in contact with neighbouring troops.

At 9.10am, Moore was still not in contact at his flanks, and now he had only 75 men, he had sent out 2 patrols and neither not returned. Later Moore established communication with the French on his right.

Around 10.00am, 2/Lt Musker reported that he had just over a company with him, but his left flank was suffering from German machine gun fire. Later he reported that he had over 30 casualties from the machine gun fire. His flanks were also “in the air”. No contact was made with this party until the remnants returned around 9.30pm, all runners sent were killed or missing. The War Diary states that this group had: ”held the ground won all day, and this permitted the consolidation of the ground won on the Maltz Horn ridge with little interference from the enemy”.

Relief for 20/Kings had been planned for 11.00pm, but it was 5.00am on the 31st July before it took place, ending a tragic day for the Liverpool Pals.

Casualties for 20th Battalion were 16 Officers and 357 Other Ranks

When darkness fell on the battlefield the 30th Division held a line from the railway on the eastern side of Trones Wood , southwards and including Arrow Head Copse, to east of Maltz Horn Farm. On this line the division was relieved by the 55th Division during the early hours of the 31st July.

 

 

The events of 30th July 1916 were regarded at the time as Liverpool’s blackest day. There follows an extract from The History of the 89th Brigade written by Brigadier General Ferdinand Stanley which gives an indication of the events of the day.

Guillemont

Well the hour to advance came, and of all bad luck in the world it was a thick fog; so thick that you couldn’t see more than about ten yards. It was next to impossible to delay the attack – it was much too big an operation- so forward they had to go. It will give some idea when I say that on one flank we had to go 1,750 yards over big rolling country. Everyone knows what it is like to cross enclosed country which you know really well in a fog and how easy it is to lose your way. Therefore, imagine these rolling hills, with no landmarks and absolutely unknown to anyone. Is it surprising that people lost their way and lost touch with those next to them? As a matter of fact, it was wonderful the way in which many men found their way right to the place we wanted to get to. But as a connected attack it was impossible.

The fog was intense it was practically impossible to keep direction and parties got split up. Owing to the heavy shelling all the Bosches had left their main trenches and were lying out in the open with snipers and machine guns in shell holes, so of course our fellows were the most easy prey.

It is so awfully sad now going about and finding so many splendid fellows gone.       


 

His father Richard received his Army Pay of £6:10s:10d on 23/11/1916, sadly there were no soldiers personal effects found. A War Gratuity of £7:10s was also paid with his 3 medals to his Father Richard on 23/09/1919.

Raymond is remebered at home on the Shipton Church plaque.

Grateful thanks are extended to John Cooper for providing family information and the photograph of Raymond.