John Allen was the son of Fanny and Henry Allen of 57 King Edmund Street, Dudley. He was a Leading Stoker on HMS Flirt, a Star class destroyer launched in 1897. In 1916 she was assigned to the Dover Patrol with significant duties protecting the English Channel and the vast amount of equipment and thousands of troops who had to cross in both directions. For the protection of Dover a barrage of nets and mines had been established, backed by a force of 23 trawlers drifters together with Flirt. German U-boats were always dangerous but in what became the Battle of Dover Strait on the 27th October 1916 a strong German night attack led by destroyers was made. They broke into the barrage and sank seven trawlers and drifters. Flirt had already sailed from Dover and attempted to pick up survivors but the enemy destroyers returned. Flirt was torpedoed with the loss of all the crew of 60 except for those who had rescued the trawler-men. Leading Stoker John Allen was 25 years of age and is commemorated on the Portsmouth Royal Naval Memorial and the Dudley and St. James church, Dudley, Memorials.
St James Vicarage, The Parade, Dudley DY1 3JA
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