Posts Tagged ‘Great War’

The East Leeds Soldier who looked up from his trench on the Somme and saw his mother

December 1, 2008

blog-pte-allenThe author, Eric Allen. tells the tale of his distant relation, Private Allen, who looked up from his trench on the Somme and saw his mother passing by. 




Eric Allen


Can you image the shock of a soldier serving in the Great War who upon looking up from his trench, saw his mother crossing near by and no he wasn’t hallucinating and he hadn’t died and gone to heaven – this actually happened to private Albert Allen an early relative of mine and this is how it came about:

            Private Albert Allen was serving with his regiment in the trenches on the Somme – the site of the terrible carnage of July 1st 1916 where the flower of Britain’s youth perished together – notably the ‘Pals’ regiments. Albert was one of three brothers fighting in that conflict and the youngest of the three, Fred, had been seriously injured by an exploding shell on the 16th of that notorious month. His mother, Alice Allen who lived in Leather Street on ‘The Bank’ had tenaciously badgered the War Office for permission to visit her son who was lying wounded in the field hospital just behind the lines. After many unsuccessful appeals she was at last allowed to make the journey to France and it was while she was crossing the trenches to visit Fred, that she came face to face with her other son Albert. Can you imagine his surprise upon looking up from his trench in a foreign land hundreds of miles from home and seeing his Ma?

She was able to give him a few cheery words of encouragement as he went about his duties. While she was out there she was able to be of some help to the nurses in the hospital and said the spirit of the troops was great even amid all the carnage and the empty corn beef tins.

            Fred unfortunately died later of his injuries but Albert survived the war and gained the Military Medal in the process