Charles Alder Allen, was born in 1892, the youngest of eleven children, and eighth son, of Anne (née Alder) and Richard Allen, a corn factor’s carman, of 45, High Street, Thame. He was baptised at St Mary’s church, Thame on 29th May 1892.
Charles enlisted in April 1915 with the Royal Artillery as a Gunner, and used the alias “William Charles Alder” during the period of his service. He was posted to the 156th Brigade, Royal Field Artillery, serving with the 33rd Divisional Artillery. “William” then spent several months with the brigade at Bulford camp and Larkhill in Wiltshire, the home of the RHA and RFA Training Schools, before embarking for France on the troop transport “Miadan”, landing in Le Havre on the 11th December.
Charles was serving with “B” Battery, armed with 18 pounder horse drawn field guns. They spent the next few months in various actions in northern France on the Le Bassee front, moving down to the Somme in early July 1916. They were quickly in action in places such as High Wood, Bazentin, and Montabaun, laying down artillery barrages ahead of the advancing infantry.
In December 1916, “William’s” name appeared on one of the wounded casualty lists, this most likely to have occurred when the brigade was in action the previous month in the Maurepas-Bouchavesnes area south of the Somme.
At the beginning of April 1917, the 156th started to lay down the barrage in advance of the attack on Vimy Ridge, the start of the Battle of Arras. “William” was wounded again, and after evacuation through the casualty clearing system, died of his wounds at a base hospital in Wimereux on the 12th April. He was 25 years old.
L/11878 Gunner Charles Alder Allen is buried in Wimereux Communal Cemetery, Pas de Calais, France. He is remembered in Thame on the war memorial and on All Saints church and St Mary’s church memorial boards.
The Thame Remembers Cross was delivered to Wimereux Communal Cemetery, Pas de Calais, France on 19th June 2015 by Roy Motteram