LEATHERHEAD WAR MEMORIALS - WWII
AB Clifford Gordon Allen
Town Memorial WWII PanelALLEN, CLIFFORD GORDON Age: 28
Clifford Allen is remembered on this headstone
on his parents' grave in Leatherhead Parish
Churchyard, Section D, Worple Rd end.
IN LOVING MEMORY OF
OUR DEAR SON
CLIFFORD GORDON ALLEN
KILLED IN ACTION
APRIL 29 1940
AND BURIED AT SEA
AGED 28 YEARS
GREATER LOVE HATH NO MAN
Clifford Allen's father, James, died on 12 Dec 1956 aged 82.
His mother, Minnie, died on 9 Sep 1961 aged 84.
Clifford Allen is named on the Town Memorial and in
the RBL Roll of Honour in the Parish Church.
He was buried at sea and is accordingly
also named on the Portsmouth Naval Memorial.
Rank: Able Seaman
Royal Navy: HMS Fleetwood
Date of Death: 29/04/1940
Service No: P/JX 129299
Son of James B. and Minnie M. Allen, of Leatherhead, Surrey.
Grave/Memorial Reference: Panel 38, Column 1.
Cemetery: Portsmouth Naval Memorial
Commonwealth War Graves Commission entry
based on https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/HMS_Fleetwood_(U47)
HMS Fleetwood was a Grimsby-class sloop of the Royal Navy. Built at Devonport Dockyard in the 1930s, Fleetwood was launched in March 1936 and commissioned in November that year. She served in the Red Sea until the outbreak of the Second World War. Fleetwood served as a convoy escort during the war, which she survived, and sank the German submarines U-528 and U-340. Post-war, the ship served as a radar training ship, remaining in use until 1959, when she was scrapped.
In April 1940, when Germany invaded Norway, the sloop HMS Fleetwood was attached to the Home Fleet. She provided anti-aircraft cover for Allied landings at Åndalsnes and Molde, and when the sloop Pelican was damaged by German bombs, Fleetwood towed the damaged ship back to Lerwick in the Shetland Isles.
She then returned to Romsdalsfjord, relieving the damaged sloop Black Swan on 28 April.
On 29 April she was near missed by a German bomb, which caused little damage, and was herself relieved on 30 April by the sloop Auckland and the cruiser Calcutta, having fired all her anti-aircraft ammunition. Fleetwood evacuated 340 troops to Britain.
Although 'little damage' was caused to Fleetwood by the near miss bomb it appears that it claimed the life of Clifford Allen:
ALLEN, Clifford G, Able Seaman, P/JX 129299, Fleetwood, 29 April 1940, bombing, killed
April 1940Surrey Advertiser - Saturday 4 May 1940
21st Transferred to Home Fleet for AA defence duties in Norwegian waters with units deployed in support of allied military operations. To be deployed as AA Guardship at Namsos and Andalsnes. Passage with HM Sloop PELICAN.
22nd Detached from HMS PELICAN and took passage to Andalsnes. Rejoined damaged HMS PELICAN and established tow. (Note: HMS PELICAN was hit aft by a bomb whilst on passage to Namsos and stern structure demolished.)
23rd Towed damaged Sloop HMS PELICAN to Lerwick.
28th Return passage to Andalsnes for AA Guardship duties in place of HMS BLACK SWAN.
29th Under air attacks at Andalsnes.
30th Relieved as Guardship by HM Sloop AUCKLAND,
Embarked 340 personnel for evacuation and took passage to UK. [Fleetwood was out of anti-aircraft ammunition]
KILLED ON WAR SERVICE TWO SURREY NAVAL MEN
After having survived the bombing of the Iron Duke, A./B. Clifford Gordon Allen, youngest son of Mr. and Mrs. James Allen, of 15, Church-road, Leatherhead, was this week reported killed in action. His parents have as yet no details of the circumstances. On Monday they received his last letter saying he was well.
On Tuesday came a telegram from the Naval authorities regretting his death. He was last known to be serving on a vessel other than the Iron Duke. Mr. and Mrs. Allen have been informed that their son, who was 28 and unmarried, has been buried at sea.
He was born at Mickleham and attended Mickleham School and, later, Leatherhead Central School. He was formerly in the choir at Leatherhead Parish Church. A./B. Allen joined the Royal Navy at the age of 15, soon after leaving school. In peace-time he would have been due to complete his period of service in about year’s time, and he had then planned to get married. He was last home nine weeks ago.
[The other casualty was Able Seaman Px G Yates of Chertsey, who was born at 11 o'clock on November 11th 1918, when the Armistice was signed.
He was given the name Pax to commemorate the fact.]
Leatherhead Parish Magazine June 1940
THE VICARAGE, LEATHERHEAD
May 16, 1940
My Dear People
As one writes one is conscious the a great battle is raging in Belgium, and one can have little idea of what is in store for our fellow countrymen in general or our Leatherhead men in particular, though by the time this is in print the issue may be clearer to us.
However only a few weeks ago we heard of the death at sea of another of our boys, Clifford Allen. He had joined the Navy several years ago; in fact, not so long after leaving the Parish Church Choir, in which he had sung as a boy. To his parents and other members of his family our hearts go out in sympathy.
Portsmouth Naval Memorial
After the First World War, an appropriate way had to be found of commemorating those members of the Royal Navy who had no known grave, the majority of deaths having occurred at sea where no permanent memorial could be provided. An Admiralty committee recommended that the three manning ports in Great Britain - Chatham, Plymouth and Portsmouth - should each have an identical memorial of unmistakable naval form, an obelisk, which would serve as a leading mark for shipping. The memorials were designed by Sir Robert Lorimer, who had already carried out a considerable amount of work for the Commission, with sculpture by Henry Poole. After the Second World War it was decided that the naval memorials should be extended to provide space for commemorating the naval dead without graves of that war, but since the three sites were dissimilar, a different architectural treatment was required for each. The architect for the Second World War extension at Chatham was Sir Edward Maufe (who also designed the Air Forces memorial at Runnymede) and the additional sculpture was by Charles Wheeler and William McMillan. Chatham Naval Memorial commemorates more than 8,500 sailors of the First World War and over 10,000 from the Second World War. In total 18613 casualties are named.
the website editor would like to add further information on this casualty
e.g. a photo of him, his name on Portsmouth Naval Memorial
and of any recollections within his family.
last updated 22 Apr 20