Category: Military
Rank: Lieutenant
Regiment or Ship: 32nd Chinese Labour Corps
Address: Station Road, Bexhill on Sea

Photos and newspaper articles

First World War Experience

The only information we have on Lieutenant Allen is from two articles in local newspapers.

The first, dated 5th October 1918 reads:-

“Lieutenant R. A. Allen, formerly so well known at the York Hotel, has written an interesting letter to Mr. F. G. Wise, the Captain of the Fire Brigade. It will be remembered that Lieutenant Allen saw service in the Boer War with the Cape mounted forces, and was present at the surrender of Cronje.  He was afterwards at the diamond mines, and there acquired a knowledge of Chinese, which led to his selection for his present post with a Chinese Labour Corps in France.

Lieutenant Allen says the Corps have been doing some fine work.  Their Company had the honour of being in the forward area all the time.  He does not think the War will last much longer.  He adds:- “What licks creation is that every time we get a big stunt on a strike breaks out at home.  As you say, it will  be a bad day for thousands when the sword is turned into a ploughshare.  The sword in the snapshot is the one presented to me by the Company on my gazette to the C.L.C. Fancy.  I have been out 14 months now, and although pretty rough at times, and always thick, so far I have come out in the pink of condition. The food question is a difficult one; we are well looked after so far as that is concerned.”  When he gets leave Lieutenant Allen intends to visit Bexhill.” 

The second, dated 8th February 1919, reads:-

“Old Bexhillians, who remember his former connection with the York Hotel and with local sports, were pleased to see Lieutenant R. A. Allen, 32nd Chinese Labour Corps, back in our town for the weekend.  He left Bexhill on Tuesday, expecting to return to France on Thursday.”

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