James Edward Allan

Date of birth: 14th February 1874
Place of birth: Barrow-in-Furness, Lancashire
Service No.: C/12006
Rank: Corporal, possibly Acting Sergeant
Regiment: Kings Royal Rifle Corps
Battalion: 21st (Yeoman Rifles)
Died: 4th November 1916 aged 42 years
Death location: Ypres, Belgium


Life Before the War
James was born the second son of William Allan, a master tailor, and his wife Mary. By the time of the census in 1881 the family had moved to Cheltenham in Gloucestershire where James attended Christchurch School. He later followed his father’s trade and became a tailor’s cutter.

James was a keen rugby player and won several caps playing forward for Hampshire.

He married Matilda Bungay, daughter of a Portsmouth bookseller, in Southsea on 31st October 1901 and they had a son James Douglas Nelson Allan on 8th April 1907. Sadly however, just over a year later in September 1908, Matilda died.

James remarried Bessie Maude Gilbert of Fareham on 7th November 1909 and they had a daughter, Phyllis Margaret Mary Allan on 21st November 1910.

At the time of his death Bessie was living at 14 Salcome Road, Shirley, Southampton.


Military Service
James enlisted in the 21st Battalion, King’s Royal Rifle Corps when they were formed in September 1915. The Battalion became known as the Yeoman Rifles as they were made up predominantly of volunteers from farming communities across Yorkshire, Northumberland, Durham, Lincoln, Leicestershire and Norfolk.

After training in Aldershot, the Battalion sailed for France in the first week of May 1916 where they became part of the British Expeditionary Force and were soon in the thick of the fighting. James was killed in action at Ypres on 4th November 1916.

In his obituary in De Ruvignys Roll of Honour, his Platoon Commander wrote “As a Sergeant he was simply splendid…I assure you he died like a gentleman for I was there.”

The Chaplain said “Sergeant Allan…showed the spirit of pluck and comradeship…in fact he died while he was helping others.”


James Allan is buried at Ridgewood Military Cemetery, West Vlaanderen, Belgium in grave III.1.2. The inscription on his headstone includes the words:

“Only Goodnight, Beloved – Not Farewell”

Researcher: Mandy Shearing
Published: 15th March 2016
Updated: Insert dates here

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