23RD JULY 1918 AGE 21


Robert George Allen's inscription was signed for by Mr EW Allen, I think this will be his youngest brother, Edward Wilfred Allen because his father was Ernest J Allen. The words "Don't worry" are in inverted commas, which would suggest that they are the words of the dead man and no, I don't think they mean don't worry that I'm dead because I shall now be alright. I think that brother Edward was fully conscious of the irony of his choice. His brother had gone off to war telling them all not to worry - and look what happened.
Robert Allen had gone off to war in October 1915 when he was 18. He had been out at work since he was 14 when he was a door boy in a restaurant. Ernest J Allen was a baker in Battersea and in 1901 the family had, Jacob Buss, another baker, living with them. Buss was a naturalised German citizen.
Allen served with the 1st Battalion The Rifle Brigade and died of wounds in a Casualty Clearing Station behind the lines in Pernes. There's no indication in the war diary when the wounds might have been received.
Edward Wilfred Allen was too young to have served in the war but if you follow up Ernest J Allen, Ernest Jones Allen, he was killed in action on 25 September 1918 whilst serving as a driver with the Royal Horse Artillery.