Robert A Allen joined the Army Feb 39, serving initially with Royal Engineers and Royal Artillery, 2nd Anti aircraft Division then volunteered for airborne forces, where he started off with the 4th Para Bn which was the last of the all volunteer parachute battalions in June 1942. Before joining the military he was a clerk.
In Oct 42, he was then posted to Depot and School Airborne Forces at Hardwick Hall to undertake intensive airborne training and RAF Ringway Manchester to complete his parachute training. He undertook Parachute Course No.35 and passed and was awarded parachute pay. Today this training is known as "P" Company and is considered one of the toughest selection courses of any military.
In January 1943 he disembarked in North Africa and joined the 3 Platoon, A Company, 3rd Parachute Bn (likely as a casualty replacement) and made an acting, unpaid, Corporal. He then took part in a series of battles which earned the Parachute Regt approx half of their battle honours. The fighting was tough and the brigade earned the nickname the "Red Devils" from the Germans.
Thereafter the record states "Field", ie in theatre of operations, but does not separately specify Sicily or Italy, although as we know from his account he served there. In his account he was wounded in Sicily.
In Dec 1943 he returned to the UK (with the bulk of 1st AB Div) and was married in Feb 1944. The battalion was based in Lincolnshire at this time and we know it is here that he heard Gen Montgomery give a lecture.
On the 17 Sept he emplaned for Arnhem on Op Market Garden, and undertook several days of fierce fighting against a much larger German force equipped with heavy armour. Initially reported missing he was eventually confirmed as POW and interred in Stalag 12A initially. He celebrated his 21st birthday as a POW in Germany
He was returned to the UK in May 1945, and officially demobbed in 1946.
Please read his personal account and his service records for more detail into Robert's service.
Created with information and images kindly supplied by Robert AllenRead More