Poppy

First World War in Headington and Marston, Oxford

[Thomas] Harold ALLEN (1897–1918)

(Allen is also listed on the All Saints’ Church Roll of Honour and thus appears twice in the “tour”)

Thomas Harold Allen (known as Harold) was born in Shrewsbury in 1897, the son of Thomas Allen (born in Overton, Flintshire in 1863) and Mary Emma Edwards (born in Gobowen, Shropshire in 1862).

His parents were married at Oswestry, Shropshire on 7 November 1895 and he was their only child:

  • Thomas Harold Allen (born in Shrewsbury in 1897, reg. second quarter).

The 1901 census shows Thomas Harold (already named simply as Harold) at the age of 4 living with his parents at 2 Belle Vue Gardens, Shrewsbury. His father Thomas Allen (37) was a domestic coachman.

Near the end of 1901, when Harold was only three, his mother Mary Ann Allen died at the age of 38 in the Atcham district of Shropshire.

By the time of the 1911 census Harold (14), who was still at school, was living in All Saints’ parish, Headington at 123 Lime Walk (in the house called “Hazeldene”, then numbered 75) with his father Thomas Allen (46), who was working as a domestic coachman, and his maternal aunt Miss Jessie Edwards (40), who presumably kept house for them.

At some point between 1911 and 1918 Harold or his father must have had contact with St Andrew’s parish. As his father became a farm bailiff, it is possible he worked in Old Headington.

Grave of Thomas Harold Allen

Poppy In the First World War Thomas Harold Allen served as a Private in the Royal Fusiliers (Service No. 54938).

He died in Yorkshire, in the Halifax registration district, at the age of 21 on 2 September 1918 and was buried in Headington Cemetery five days later (9. X. 4).

He is listed on the roll of honour both of All Saints’ Church (where his home was) and of St Andrew’s Church (where his father may have worked at the time of the war).

Right: Thomas Harold Allen’s grave in Headington Cemetery, photographed in 2010. He was an only child, and his father, a widower, must have had this gravestone put up in his memory. It reads:

IN
LOVING MEMORY OF
THOMAS HAROLD ALLEN
DIED [unclear]
SEPT 2 1918, AGED 21 YEARS

BLESSED ARE THE PURE IN HEART
FOR THEY SHALL SEE GOD

The following words were added after his father's death in 1930:

ALSO OF
THOMAS ALLEN
FATHER OF THE ABOVE
DIED NOV. 19th 1930 AGED 66 YEARS

THY WILL BE DONE


St Andrew's memorial board

Postscript

Harold’s father
  • Thomas Allen had by 1928 moved from Lime Walk to St Asaph, 56 Stapleton Road, still in All Saints' parish. He died at the age of 66 and was buried in Headington Cemetery on 22 November 1930. At the time of his death he was described as a farm bailiff.

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