Frank ALLEN
Rank: Private
Number: 87903
Unit: 13th Battalion King’s (Liverpool) Regiment
Date of Death: 12 December 1917
Age: 19
Cemetery: Mory Abbey Military Cemetery, Mory, Pas de Calais, France

In the late summer of 1897, 42 year old Arthur Allen married Mary Turner at All Saints Church, Marple. She was a woman 14 years young than him. They lived on Strines Road and Frank worked at the nearby printworks. Not long after their marriage, their first child was born and they named him Frank. The following year, Gilbert was born.

When Frank had finished school, he also went to work at the printworks. It's understood he remained in the Strines area until he enlisted in army. His service number is not an early one and it is likely that he was conscripted in 1916 when he became 18.

After a period in reserve, the 13th King's moved back into the front line, on 11 December 1917, near the village of Noreuil (approximately 15 kilometres south east of the French town of Arras). At 6am the next day, the German artillery started to shell the front line, support and communication trenches. The whole Battalion "stood to" as they knew this must be a preliminary to an attack.

The barrage lasted about 40 minutes and then a German aeroplane flew over and fired a white rocket as a signal. The German infantry  left the safety of their trenches and came on across No Man's Land. The trench occupied by "A" Company had been destroyed by the shelling and the men had taken up positions in shell holes just into No man's Land. The whole Battalion now opened rapid rifle fire on the Germans, supported by their light machine guns - the Lewis guns. This heavy and accurate fire forced the enemy to withdraw but, at 7.15am, the Germans again started to bombard the King's trench.

The Regimental History records that this barrage lasted for 25 minutes and the German infantry then attacked again. "But his second attempt was even more disastrous than the first. Rifle and machine gun fire met the oncoming Boche and smashed his attack."

"A" Company, still in the shellholes, found the second barrage had destroyed the barbed wire in front of them. "As the Boche attacked, the men of this Company left their positions and, with a cheer, advanced to meet the enemy. The enemy had, however, had sufficient and, leaving many dead and wounded behind him, fled back to his trenches."

There were no further infantry assaults during the day but the German artillery bombarded the trench on three separate occasions - 10.40am, 2.30pm and 4.15pm. Frank was one of 22 to be killed during the day. Over 50 had been wounded.

Further information, including a photograph, about Frank can be found in the book "Remembered" by P Clarke, A Cook and J Bintliff.

   
           
   
     
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