Allen DCM, Hugh Charles

Allen, Hugh Charles (Charles)

Distinguished Conduct Medal

Second Lieutenant

1st/7th (Fife) Battalion (Territorial), Black Watch (Royal Highlanders)

Killed in action on Monday 23 April 1917 (aged 26)

Buried:

Brown’s Copse Cemetery, France (Grave II. B. 28)

Commemorated:

Commonwealth War Graves Commission

Newtownards and District War Memorial

Journey of Remembering Belfast Book of Honour

BIOGRAPHY

Hugh Charles Allen was born on 10 June 1890 at 34 Cavehill Road, Belfast and he was the youngest son of Hugh Wallace Allen and Charlotte Allen (nee Camlin) who were married on 23 July 1878 in Kirkinriola Parish Church of Ireland Church Ballymena.  Hugh Wallace Allen from Kells was a son of John Allen, manager of a linen finishing factory.  Charlotte Camlin of Wellington Street, Ballymena was a daughter of James Camlin, a photographer.

Hugh Wallace Allen was a National School teacher and he and Charlotte had at least four children:

James Camlin (born 27 May 1879 at 1 Shandon Street, Belfast)

John (born 20 March 1881 at 69 Hopeton Street, Belfast; served as a Quartermaster Sergeant with the East African Forces during the First World War and was awarded the Distinguished Conduct Medal in 1918)

Susan (Susie, born 2 June 1885 at 27 Fairview Street, Belfast)

Hugh Charles (born 10 June 1890 at 34 Cavehill Road, Belfast)

Hugh Charles Allen was one-year old when his mother Charlotte died of peritonitis on 10 August 1891 (aged 37) and she was buried in Belfast City Cemetery (Grave Q 632).

On 18 July 1899 his father, Hugh Wallace Allen, and Annie Maria Berry (born Co Clare) were married in Tickmacrevan Church of Ireland Church, Co Antrim and in 1901 the Allen family was living at 38 Old Park, Belfast.

When Hugh Wallace Allen was Principal of Ekenhead National School in Belfast the Allen family lived at Glencot, Glenburn Park, Belfast and after he retired they lived at 71 Manor Street, Belfast.  Then they moved to Ulsterville in Newtownards.

Hugh Charles Allen worked as a commercial traveller for Messrs Black & Company of Glasgow.  In April 1913 he enlisted in the Black Watch Territorials and was called up in 1914.  That year he was awarded the title of ‘Best Shot’ in his Battalion.  It was noted that he was 5 feet 11¼ inches tall and it was ‘on account of his height’ that he had been rejected for the Horse Artillery.  On 2 May 1915 he went to France and while serving in the ranks he was wounded five times, one being a gunshot wound in the right buttock.

In January 1917 when he held the rank of Sergeant (No. 1381) Hugh Charles Allen was awarded the Distinguished Conduct Medal for conspicuous gallantry in action.  ‘He led his platoon with great courage and initiative and, although wounded, continued to do so until the capture of the enemy front line was affected’.

Sergeant Allen was commissioned in February 1917 and he transferred to another Battalion of the Black Watch.

Second Lieutenant Hugh Charles Allen was 26 when he was killed in action on 23 April 1917.  He had made his will and his property and effects were received by his father who was living at Ulsterville in Newtownards.

There is an inscription on Second Lieutenant Hugh Charles Allen’s CWGC headstone:

Until the day break and the shadows flee away

Hugh Wallace Allen died on 15 January 1922 (aged 69) and was buried alongside his first wife.

Second Lieutenant Hugh Charles Allen is commemorated on Newtownards and District War Memorial and in the Belfast Book of Honour (Page 8).