Staff-Sergeant Albert Edward Allen
Unit : 16 Parachute Field Ambulance, attached to 3rd Parachute Battalion.
Army No. : 7522555
Awards : Bronzen Kruis
Ted Allen was born on the 9th July 1914. His father served as a medic in the First World War and was three times Mentioned in Despatches for actions tending the wounded at Loos and on the Somme. Ted joined the Royal Army Medical Corps on the 8th March 1940 and was posted to the 206 Field Ambulance. Having later volunteered for the Airborne Forces, he qualified as a parachutist on the 10th June 1942 and joined the 133 Parachute Field Ambulance. He became acting Quartermaster Sergeant in December 1942, and from the 1st January to the 13th February 1943 was involved in experimental parachuting trials at Sherburn-in-Elmet. At an unknown time around this period he was transferred to the 16 Parachute Field Ambulance and took part in operations in Sicily and Italy, in July and September 1943 respectively.
For his actions at Arnhem, Staff-Sergeant Allen was awarded the Dutch Bronze Cross. His citation reads:
On the 18th September 1944 at Osterbeck, Staff-Sergeant Allen was left in command of a half section of 16 Parachute Field Ambulance which was attached to and in support of 1st Battalion Parachute Regiment. The situation was obscure, difficult and dangerous, there being constant mortar and small arms fire, and there was no contact with the Dressing Station in the rear. The Section was unprotected, and contact with Battalion and Company HQs hazardous and difficult.
Staff-Sergeant Allen proceeded to organise his half section into bearer parties and arranged the collection of casualties from the neighbouring woods, gardens, houses and streets of the suburbs. He himself supervised and directed the provision of a high standard of first aid and care of the wounded, though he had no Medical Officer to rely on, the Battalion Medical Officer having been captured, and his Section Officer being cut off. He worked incessantly throughout the day and the ensuing night, commanding the Section, providing treatment and sustenance for the casualties when he had collected them.
By the morning of the 19th September, the casualties numbered about thirty, and no evacuation having been possible Staff-Sergeant Allen took over a nearby house and organised it as a Casualty Collection Point, himself supervising the removal of the wounded to it, although under intermittent fire. Throughout the day, despite two direct hits from mortar bombs on the house, resulting in wounds to some of the already wounded as well as Royal Army Medical Corps Orderlies, Staff-Sergeant Allen continued to control the work of collection and care of casualties, remaining cool, calm and decisive, and directing most ably the prosecution of the work. A third mortar bomb now partially destroyed the Casualty Collection Point killing and wounded many of the occupants including three Royal Army Medical Corps Orderlies killed. Staff-Sergeant Allen then ordered the evacuation of the survivors, and located 181 Field Ambulance Dressing Station where they were taken.
At the Dressing Station Staff-Sergeant Allen found shortage of Staff, and despite long hours without rest, he assisted in the organisation of a minor surgical theatre, staffed it with his own section and himself worked as Operating Room Assistant.
Without his devotion to duty, his high standard of skill, and his outstanding organising ability and leadership, many wounded would have gone untended and uncollected even. In all his service with 16 Parachute Field Ambulance Staff-Sergeant Allen has shown himself to be most conscientious, hard working and capable. In addition to being senior Section NCO and carrying out the concomitant duties untiringly, he was always most willing to take on extra work in connection with the welfare and efficiency of the Unit, and often for example spent many hours preparing tables of a high standard of accuracy, and acted in fact as Unit Intelligence NCO.
Taken prisoner, Allen assisted at the temporary hospital established at the Apeldoorn Barracks. It is believed, from the few words that he spoke of his experiences at Arnhem, that he escaped on the 15th October in the company of Captain Lipmann-Kessel, who, in his book "Surgeon at Arms", refers to an accomplice simply as "Staff". Also in the party was Major C. J. Longland and Lieutenant Peter Allenby (both also of 16 Parachute Field Ambulance). Eventually making contact with the Dutch Resistance, the group were sheltered in the Ede area before attempting to return to the Allied lines on Operation Pegasus II, 18th November 1944. The evacuation failed and the would-be escapers were scattered. Ted Allen appears to have remained at large until he was captured on the 24th December and sent to Stalag VIIIC at Sagan. At the end of January and early February, the camp's population was evacuated before the arrival of the Russians; Ted Allen refused to leave as he insisted, quite falsely, that there were 39 men in his charge who were unfit to move. 24 hours later he left the camp on foot and encountered Russians of the 2nd Ukrainian Army. Having made his way to the port of Odessa, he sailed for England, possibly aboard the Duchess of Richmond.
Returning to the 1st Airborne Division, he accompanied them to Norway in May 1945 before being discharged in March 1946. On the 15th October 1947, Ted married Amy Davies, the widow of Lance-Corporal Henry Davies of the 250th Light Composite Company, who died at Arnhem on the 22nd September 1944. He enlisted in the Territorial Army and on the 14th February 1956 served with the 13th (Lancashire) Battalion The Parachute Regiment, being discharged two years later. Ted Allen died in Lancashire on the 27th January 1998.
My thanks to Howard Anderson for this account.
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