Herbert Allen
Born October- December 1899 - Killed in Action 5th August 1917

    Herbert ‘Bert’ Allen was the youngest of three sons born to Edward and Margaret Edith Allen of Chapel Road, Epping. Bert had two older brothers - Charles and Edward Michael. The Allens were an established Epping family and Bert’s father Edward was manager of the local Gas Company and a collector of rates. Herbert was too young to serve at the outbreak of the Great War yet as the war wore on he was not going to allow that fact to dint his ambition. He initially enlisted in Chiseldon Wiltshire where the local regiment was the Dorsetshires. Following training he would be transferred to the 8th Battalion of the Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers. One of his friends back home in Epping was Gerald Church and both boys barely eighteen had joined up by late 1916. The Inniskillings were an Irish regiment who could trace their origins back to the 17thy century and the resistance of the townspeople of Enniskillen in Ulster to the efforts of the catholic James II to recover his throne. Many of those with Herbert in the Battalion were proud and hardy Ulstermen.

Despite the unrest in ireland that had proceeded the war’s outbreak it’s men both sides of the political and religious divide enlisted in large numbers in the British Army. The most conservative of estimates record more than 27,000 deaths of irishmen during the conflict. In the lead up to the battle of Passchendaele regiments from the south and the north fought shoulder to shoulder and with considerable effect. The 8th Battalion was part of this push. Raised as early as September 1914 in Omagh, Northern irelan. They had arrived in France in early 1916. After Herbert had joined them they had soon gone into action in the battle of Messines. They then reformed in preparation for the battle of Passchendaele around Langemarck. It was here that Herbert was killed. We cannot now be sure in exactly what circumstances save to say his body was never recovered and he is today commemorated on the YPRES MENIN GATE memorial as well as his home town of Epping.