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Remembered Today:

Soldier tended to by his wife


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Hi All, I am researching the life of Captain Reginald Arthur Sinclair Allen who enlisted in the Canadian 5th Battalion and had served previously with the R.I R and the Warwicks in the Boer War . He was injured by Gas on the 27th of April and died from gunshot wounds . In may of the same year a chaplain wrote the following note to the papers

 

"On the first morning ( April 30th) while I was waiting in the hospital at Boulogne two Canadian Ladies in distress seeing that I was a clergyman asked me to bury Captain Sinclair Allen , who had died of gas poisoning the previous night one of the ladies was his widow who told me the  Captains last words were “tell England that I was murdered not killed in the action”

 

Now my problem is in tracing the Canadian Lady who was his widow, his wife is listed as Gertrude Elizabeth Allen in his war records but I can not find any list of her as a British or Commonwealth nurse. There is a Matron Gertrude Allen listed who is not the same lady ( she is Gertrude M Allen ) . 

 

Is there any other circumstance that a lady would be at the front if not a nurse or have I overlooked her somewhere ,

 

Any help greatly appreciated

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Is there any other circumstance that a lady would be at the front if not a nurse or have I overlooked her somewhere ,

I have heard of cases where wives had gone out to France to visit people in the base hospital on the coast - it was discouraged, for obvious reasons, but appears still to have happened to a limited degree.


Craig

Edited by ss002d6252
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You'll find bits in old newspapers about the army sending for a family member to visit a dying man in a French hospital, often coming too late to see them for the final time.

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It was relatively common for wives/next of kin to visit dangerously ill soldiers in the Base Hospitals, you often find telegrams in the service records.  If the relative did not have the means to travel the Army would provide a travel warrant.  It is more likely an officer, and his next of kin would have the means and they would only need to seek authority.

 

Although serving in the CEF I assume there were English connections. The facility was only available to those whose relative was 'dangerously ill' and could not be moved to the UK and as noted above  often the soldier died before the journey could be undertaken.  However there was nothing to stop wives and relatives with means travelling to the base hospitals at anytime.

 

Previously discussed on a number of threads, this one has a case study for an enlisted man at post 5

 

Ken

Edited by kenf48
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HI All,

 

Thanks for the replies , I think the dates exclude the possibility of the wife travelling to the Base Hospital. The Captain was wounded on the 26th admitted to hospital on the 27th and died by the 30th of April.

 

I think that his wife must have been close to hand either serving as a nurse or in some other capacity. I have checked the register of Canadian and British nurses but to no avail.

 

Thanks again for the input

 

 

 

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On 16/04/2017 at 15:15, J Doherty said:

HI All,

 

Thanks for the replies , I think the dates exclude the possibility of the wife travelling to the Base Hospital. The Captain was wounded on the 26th admitted to hospital on the 27th and died by the 30th of April.

 

I think that his wife must have been close to hand either serving as a nurse or in some other capacity. I have checked the register of Canadian and British nurses but to no avail.

 

Thanks again for the input

 

 

 

 

She could have been working with the YMCA or other organisations but that said, it so happens that the Commonwealth records on Ancestry are free to view this weekend and his service record shows he was wounded on the 24th April.  He is described as 'seriously wounded', information from OC Cmdg Canadian Division, dated the 25th April, alongside this entry in the remarks column there is also a note 'Telegram A.no 14' I can't tell you what that is but suggests a pro forma telegram.

He was admitted to No 7 Stationary Hospital on the 27th.

 

When his medals and plaque and scroll were despatched in 1922 his widow was living in County Waterford Ireland which appears to be where her pension was paid also.  

 

Five or six days would be ample time to travel from the UK to Boulogne, though self evidently not from Canada.

 

 

Ken

 

Having re-read the original post the records show his wound was 'GSW abdomen' not 'gas poisoning' as recorded by the chaplain.

Edited by kenf48
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It would have been more that possible for her to travel to France in the time quoted.  I have  details  of the family  of a mortally wounded officer who lived in Walsall and was at his bedside within 24 hours and just a few hours before he died. His twin brother, who was serving in France,  arrived at the hospital in Amiens after his parents.

 

TR

Edited by Terry_Reeves
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Hi Terry and Ken , Thanks for the input. As suggested I checked the records on Ancestry and found a Gertude Allen listed as a member of the VAD during the correct time period but have no way of knowing is the same one . The VAD cards gives no real detail,

 

His cause of death is listed as GSW but I believe he was caught up in the gas attack first. I believe it wasn't uncommon for soldiers that were incapacitated by gas to be picked off enemy fire.

 

His wife lived with the Captains mother after the war and both were very involved in community nursing and the British Legion.

 

I would like to be able to establish if his wife had any formal training and in what capacity was she at the front and if as ye say she was just visiting the base hospital.

 

I see by his file he was admitted to the no 7 stationary hospital which wasn't far from Canadian hospital at Etaples

 

Thanks Again

 

 

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The Rolls show V.A.D. Gertrude Allen served in F & F 24.4.1917 - 14. 3. 1919.

 

It may be the same woman, she may have been serving in the U.K., there are many possibilities.  However, whether or not she is the Captain's wife she wasn't in France on duty at the time of his death.  Her separation allowance was originally paid c/o a lawyer in Canada which suggests she perhaps wasn't domiciled there, but I can't find her on the passenger lists from Canada.

 

I wonder if the Canadian newspapers had an obituary.

 

Ken 

 

Edited by kenf48
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Captain Reginald Arthur Sinclair Allen was brought up in Waterford, Ireland. His wife was also of Waterford according to CWGC.

TEW

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There are details of a memorial service at Waterford in January 1918 in which he is named.

 

There is also an obituary in the Gloucestershire Echo but no mention of his wife. He was apparently educated at Cheltenham College and is also mentioned in a Roll of Honour July 1915.

 

Ken

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  • 1 year later...

Fascinated by this. Reginald Arthur Sinclair Allen was my great grandfather. Indeed I am going to Boulogne later this year to visit his grave. Known in our family that he hailed from Ireland no one quite sure how he ended up in Canada and also that no family seemed to have gone with him. We are not aware of any family in Canada. His son was brought up in Ireland I believe and  was in the Queen's Own Royal West Kent Regiment and was captured in May 1940 only about 30 miles from Boulogne.

 

Information on his final moments very moving. Was not aware of any service in the Boer War. If you have any additional information would love to hear more.

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Is this not Reginald on the 1911 Canadian census ?

image.png.bb17e2464c6372d0166c2a33ad2a90e3.png

'Gordon' is of course would be bad transcription, of Gertrude. (the original page is very badly written)
 

Craig

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