Alexander Allen

Date of birth: 1857
Place of birth: Belfast
Service No.: Not known
Rank: Boatswain
Vessel: SS Taplow
Service: Mercantile Marine
Died: 5th June 1917 aged 59 years
Death location: At sea


Life before the War
It has proven to be very difficult to find out any personal information for Alexander or any members of his family.  Records show that the family lived at 8 Northam Street, Southampton.  This information is probably from the 1911 census, although there appears to be no proof of this fact from recognised sources.

It appears to be true that Alexander was the son of Robert and Mary Allen of Belfast and that he married Letitia Armstrong, in Belfast, on 19th May 1884.  Letitia was probably born in the city in 1864.

There is also irrefutable proof that there was at least one child from Alexander and Letitia’s marriage, although an unofficial source states that there were a total of 6 children:

Robert James  b.1885 Belfast.  May have left for New York 6 January 1935.  He was a Steel Worker.

Hugh  b.1888 Belfast and d.1889 Belfast.

Alexander  b. 13th February 1890 Belfast and d. 19th November 1966 Vancouver.

Hugh  b.1893 Belfast.

Samuel  b.1896 Belfast.

William John  b.1902 Belfast.

There is a living relative of Alexander Jnr living in Canada who has been trying to find out information about his family.

It is a mystery why information is so hard to come by for this family, and that also applies to the demise of Alexander Snr.


Service history
The Taplow started life as the Talavera, a cargo steamer, built in Stockton-on-Tees in 1904.  In 1916, the vessel’s name was changed to Taplow.

On 5 June 1917 the vessel left the Spanish port of Huelva, bound for Port Talbot, carrying a cargo of copper and copper ore.

Somewhere between the two ports the vessel disappeared with the loss of 25 men.  It is presumed that she was either torpedoed or hit a mine.


Researcher: Mark Heritage
Published: 9th March 2015
Updated: Insert dates here

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