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Sergeant Fred C Allen


Harrogate Herald 17th November 1915

W H Breare letter

You remember Charlie Wood, who got up that three days' show for the boys coming out of the trenches? He is a son of Mr and Mrs George Wood and brother of Miss Connie Wood, who collected those cigarettes and sweets sent to you on that occasion. Well, he is on leave and came in yesterday. He is very fit and jolly. I was delighted to hear from him that you speak of me as "the old man". That's right! I look upon you as my boys and am proud. I would have you regard me as something more than a casual friend, and I believe you do. Do not be afraid of giving me trouble. I have always time for your concerns.

Charlie Wood is the proprietor of a cinema and variety house in Scotland. He turned them over to a manager to run for him while away and enlisted. Charlie has a very responsible job and is happy in he consciousness of duty done and doing. Do you wonder that he is content? He is in the 50th Division. Sergeant Fred Allen, son of Christopher Allen, is in the same locality as Wood, and he has sent me, by Charlie, his kind regards. It is a cold day, but I am warm.

Allen's kind thought has done it. Perhaps you remember Allen went to Canada, enlisted when war came, and is at the Front. He married, lately, a daughter of Assistant Stationmaster Knowles. Long life and happiness to them both.


Harrogate Herald - 22nd December 1915

[I think this is the Fred Allen of the Canadians - son of the Cathcart House Allens] I keep seeing Charlie Wood, who is stationed about 500 yards from here, and I can tell you he is sure looking well, although he doesn't get much fatter. I wish he would hurry up and give us another variety show, for the last one was "some" success.

That Sergeant Fred C Allen takes a philosophical view of the soldier's life will be gathered from the following cheery letter : 

I surely must apologise for not having written to you these last two or three months, and I must plead excess of work as my excuse. I still receive the Herald regularly each week, for which I tender you my best thanks. Just now we are in the midst of our busiest time, as the Xmas extras need some transporting. If only people at home knew what a rush there is at this time of the year, I guess they would get their parcels off in good time instead of leaving them to the last minute. However much we try to handle the goods with care, it is impossible to deliver the whole of them in perfect order, especially when so many parcels are so poorly packed. I often wonder if the senders and the receivers ever think of the extra work thrown on the Army Service Corps at these times? I guess the majority of them have forgotten there is such a branch of the service. Well, we're right here and ready for as much work as comes along our way. As long as we bring a bit of pleasure to the boys up the line, there is no kick coming from us. Of course we often get sore heads when extra late trips have to be made, but sore heads, wet feet, and every other soldier's complaint are curable by a couple of the renowned No. 9's or an extra large dose of castor oil. I see there have been great things doing in the recruiting line this last week or two, and I can assure you it is most encouraging to us all out here to see so many roll up to swell the ranks. What beats me is why could not they come up before so much pressure was put on them? This is a healthy enough life and full of excitement. As for the danger - well, if your date is up, no matter whether you belong in the Army of "the mothers' own fireside borderers", you cheques will go in. A dugout is certainly not a perfect drawing room, but I guess we have heaps more fun in one then any of the slackers get at home. Think of the beautiful odour of a nice juicy kipper stuck on a piece of stick, frizzling in front of the fire; clouds of smoke from our pipes filled with issue tobacco, and a pint of dope they call "English ale" waiting to be mopped. There's even a great advantage in the mud, which is ankle deep out here. We haven't to clean our boots, and that means less work. Then there's the pleasure derived from the issue of green envelopes. Why, I've seen a single envelope put up by auction that was not knocked down until three "English" beers had been bid for it. Whoever saw an envelope at home bring in so much wealth? Say, Mr Breare, I could go on pointing out the advantages of the Army to the extent of three or four more pages, but I think I have filled up too much of you valuable time already. I keep seeing Charlie Wood, who is stationed about 500 yards from here, and I can tell you he is sure looking well, although he doesn't get much fatter. I wish he would hurry up and give us another variety show, for the last one was "some" success. Well, we are all figuring out Xmas entertainments, and it's a cinch things will not be dull for us out here. Of course we would all like to be at home for the good old times, especially myself, for it was so many years ago since I enjoyed an English Christmas. Still, we're willing to stay out on this job until "the old country" has proved once more that she is still at the top of the roll. Let the peace cranks come out here and we'll soon show them where to get off at. Now, Mr Breare, I'll quit, or you'll get tired of reading this rot. There's no fresh news to relate, although if it was not for the censor I could tell you some good news. You might alter my rank on your list, as we have several Allens in this outfit, and it is bad enough having to wait three, and sometimes four, days for the Herald without chancing a misdeal when the mail is given out. I'll now wish you and yours every happiness this Xmas, and all kinds of good wishes for the coming year. Again thanking you for your great kindness to us lads.


Harrogate Herald - 8th January 1919

W H Breare letter

I had a visit from my old friend, Sergeant Fred Allen, on Monday, who was accompanied by his brother-in-law, Lieutenant Hamilton, Argyle and Sutherland Regiment, who married Miss Alix Allen, one of the twins. Likewise another old friend looked in, Corporal "Billy" Bell, son of Mr Smith Bell.


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