From our ‘Family histories’ section: The Allen Family: ‘Thomas James Allen’: Courtesy of Pam Dray
Thomas James Allen was born on 18th December 1879 in Oxford the second child of nine. His parents were Thomas Allen and Eliza Hitchman and they were a family of cobblers. They moved around the country quite a bit until finally settling in the Eastbourne area where in 1904Thomas Junior signed up in the Naval Reserve. Shortly afterwards, his parents and siblings moved to 44 Cheriton Road, Cheriton, where they set up The Northampton Shoe company. This is where the census of 1911 shows the family, minus Thomas of course, and including my grandmother Winifred as well as his sister who married the previous year to Herbert Henry Milton a postman. They were all living on The Bayle with another brother Richard Allen. Little is known of Thomas and he died a bachelor with the sinking of the HMS Ramsey on 8th August 1915. In the 1911 census Thomas also a cobbler by trade was lodging with Henry Clarke and family in Worthing Sussex.
There was possibly not much contact with Thomas and his family during the war as in 1934 when medals were sent to the family, they were returned as gone away. It would have been unknown to the medal office that when the medals were dispatched both Thomas’s parents had died. At some point in time when my father was researching the family history in the 1970’s, he obtained Thomas’s medals and donated them to the Folkestone library. The “Dead Man’s Penny” is on display but the others are in the Maidstone archive.
As Thomas’s parents moved to Folkestone, his is the first listed name on Folkestone’s war memorial.
Courtesy of Pam Dray