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
Pte 13380 Sydney Langley Allman
- Age: 21
- From: Fairfield Liverpool
- Regiment: The King's (Liverpool Regiment) 19th Btn
- K.I.A Monday 9th April 1917
- Commemorated at: St Martin Calvaire Brit Cem
Panel Ref: I.A.14
Sydney Langley Allman was born in the March quarter of 1896 at 10 Squires Street off Smithdown Road, Liverpool to James Allman a bakers assistant and his wife Martha Ann (nee Langley) who married in Toxteth Area in March quarter 1892.
The 1901 Census shows them still at 10 Squires Street.
In the March quarter of 1904 they had a daughter Ivy Allman.
In May 1910 his mother Martha Ann died, aged 37 and was buried in Toxteth Park Cemetery.
His father James and the two children went to live with the Howards, possibly James' married sister, at 36 Portman Road, Wavertree where they appear on the 1911 Census and Sydney is a 15 year old bakers errand boy possibly working at the same Bakery as his father.
In 1914 Sydney enlists into The King's Liverpool Regiment initially with the 4th Battalion then onto the 12th Battalion and finally the 19th Btn but he remains as Sidney Langley Allman Pte. 13380 throughout his Army Career.
20 August 1915 Army Records reflect his embarkation to France.
On 09/04/1917 The First Battle of the Scarpe was set for Zero hour 5.30 a.m. amongst heavy snowfall during the 9th and 10th at 3 p.m the 19th Advance began
17th, 19th & 20th Battalion at the Battle of Arras 09th April 1917
Everard Wyrall records the events of the day in Volume 2 of his History of the King's Regiment (Liverpool).
The 89th Brigade formed up for the attack with the 19th King's on the right and the 20th King’s on the left. The 17th King’s supplied the “mopping up" parties and he 2nd Bedfords were in close support.
It was just after 3pm when the advance began “According to scheduled time the waves advanced in good style and with determination; everyone was cheerful and in the best of spirits”
That advance is described by others as magnificent. From the OP’s the observing officers saw a wonderful sight – long lines of men advancing steadily up a long and gradual slope towards the enemy’ front line. Then suddenly they disappeared. The observers quite pardonably, imagined that the German front line had fallen into the hands of the assaulting troops and that the latter were on the way to the enemy’s support line. Alas something very different had happened. When the advancing troops had reached the summit of the long slope up which they advanced the ground suddenly dipped before the German front line , and when the observing officers thought they were already in the Bosche lines they had not, as a matter of fact, even reached the wire. What the observers took to be the front line was really the support line; the front line could not be seen - it lay just behind the crest of that slight rise in the ground.
The attacking waves of the 19th King’s got within 100 yards of the German wire but were then held up. They were faced by three belts of entanglements, practically untouched by our artillery, and nothing could be done but to dig in or else take shelter in the many shell- shell-with which “No Man’s Land" was pitted. By this time the battalion’s losses were very heavy, and when darkness fell “A" and “B" Companies (about 140 in all) lay in shell-holes, two or three hundred yards north east of St. Martin, but just south of the Cojeul River, and “C" and “D" Companies (140 all ranks) were along the river bank, but on the northern side about 150 yards north east of St. Martin.
The first waves of the 20th King’ advanced at 3.7pm. At 4pm Lieut Beaumont, commanding “A" Company, reported that he had had some forty casualties in passing through the enemy’s barrage. The next message, timed 4.40pm, stated that the position of the battalion at that period was on a crest in front of the enemy’s wire and about 100 yards from it. On the right the 21st Division was observed to have penetrated the enemy’s front line, but in the left the right Battalion of the 21st Brigade (the Wilts) was on the St. Martin- Neuville Vitasse road; the left flank of the 20th King's was, therefore, “ in the air”.
Urgent messages were sent up from Battalion Headquarters to “push on, keeping in touch with right” But little else could be accomplished until those formidable belts of wire had been cut sufficiently to allow the rapid passage of the attacking troops, headed by their bombers.
At 9:30 that night 89th Brigade Headquarters ordered both the 19th and 20th Battalions to withdraw, the former to the two sunken roads running south east from St. Martin, the latter to north west of St. Martin; the guns had been ordered to cut the enemy’s wire during the night in preparation for another attack during the 10th April.
Of the 17th King’s - the “moppers up" – there is little to relate. There was nothing to “mop up" so that they did not function. Yet they had shared all the perils of the advance, and when after they had fallen back and at midnight held the following positions, “B", “C", and “D" Companies in and around the sunken road north of Boiry-Becquerelle and “A" Company in trenches west of Henin, they lost 2 officers and 16 other ranks killed, and 3 officers and 48 other ranks wounded.
Sydney Langley Allman was one of those killed in action on 9th April 1917 aged 21.
He now rests at St Martin Calvaire British Cemetery, France. The inscription on his headstone reads:
“UNTIL THE DAY DAWN AND THE SHADOWS FLEE AWAY”
His Father James received his Pay of £10:1s on 11 July 1917. A War Gratuity of £12 was later paid on 25/08/1919 to his father James. There is no record of any Dependants Pension being awarded.
The CWGC commemorated him with a military headstone at Saint Martin Calvaire British Cemetery, St Martin Sur Cojeul as S L Allman aged 22. However they have his service number showing as 13388 when it was 13380. Enquires are ongoing with CWGC to alter the service number on the headstone to reflect the correct number that Sydney served under.
Grateful thanks are extended to Ian Chambers for his help in providing the depth in this biography.