Allen, 7012090 Corporal John Maybin, 1st Battalion Royal Ulster Rifles, died in a motorcycle accident in Birmingham on 24th July 1941 while on a parachute training course in England.
John Maybin Allen, Royal Ulster Rifles, grew up in Belfast, and enlisted in the army in the mid-1930, eventually going to the 2nd Battalion Royal Ulster Rifles, and he served from 1936-1939 in Palestine. In June 1939 he had married Patricia Adams, daughter of George and Emily Adams of Kent, England, and his wife was pregnant at the time of his death, their daughter Margaret being born in March 1942. He is interred in Gravesend Cemetery, Kent. This death occurred before the battalion was declared an airborne unit.
His father was Daniel Joseph Allen (1887–1967). Farm labourer Daniel, then 23, had married domestic servant Sarah Elizabeth O'Reilly (1892–1970), then 18, in St James’ RC Chapel, Aldergrove on the 26th April 1911. They went on to have five children – John Maybin Allen, born 28th February 1912 at Doagh, Doagh Grange, Thomas Allen (1915–1943), Daniel Joseph Allen (1919–1979), Malachy Allen (1933–1950), and Rita Allen (1936–1996).
John's younger brother Thomas, husband of Annie Allen, of Armagh, also served and was 7012142 Serjeant Thomas Allen, 1st Bn. The London Irish Rifles, Royal Ulster Rifles, and he died on 4 December 1943 in Italy. He is buried in Minturno War Cemetery, Italy.
Allen, Thompson McWhirter,
Merchant Marine, was aged 31 and Third Engineer Officer aboard M.V.
Eulima (London) when his ship was sunk with all hands in 22nd February
1943. He was born on the 3 October 1911 at Crumkill, Kells and he was
the son of Samuel James Allen and Hannah Jane Allen, nee McCartney, of
Tullynamullen, Kells, Ballymena, Co. Antrim. The farmer couple had
married in 1st Ballymena Presbyterian Church on the 21 December 1910. He
is remembered on Panel 48 of Tower Hill Memorial.
The ‘MV Eulima’ was a fuel tanker owned and operated by Anglo-Saxon Petroleum Co. She was sailing from Liverpool to New York in ballast as part of convoy ON166 when she was torpedoed at around 0700 on 23 Feb 1943 by U-186, commanded by Kapitan Leutnant Siegfried Hesemann. In the same attack, the submarine sank a freighter.
'Eulima' did not sink immediately, and was finished-off by a second torpedo from U-186 at about 10.30 the same morning. She went down north-west of the Azores. All the 54 crew and nine gunners were lost.
U-186, commissioned in July 1942, was herself depth-charged and sunk with all 53 hands by the RN destroyer HMS 'Hesperus' on 12 May 1943, north of the Azores.
Allen, 14358464 Gunner William, Royal Artillery and attached to 301st Field Regiment, East African Artillery, was lost at sea on the 12 February 1944 while serving on the SS Khedive-Ismail (London) He was aged 30. His next of kin and wife was Fanny Jane Allen.
He was born on the 16 July 1913 at Kildrum, Kells and he was the son Samuel, originally Tullynamullan, Kells, and Elizabeth Allen, nee Witherspoon and of Kildrum, Kells, later of Shankbridge, Ballymena. He is commemorated on Column 4 of the East Africa Memorial, Nairobi.
SS Khedive Isma’il was a steamship sunk by a Japanese submarine and there was great loss of life. The vessel had been launched as ‘Aconcagua’ by Scotts of Greenock in 1922 but passed into Egyptian ownership in 1935 and was renamed after Isma'il Pasha, a former Khedive of Egypt. She was requisitioned as a British troopship by the Ministry of War Transport In 1940.
On 6 February 1944 Convoy KR-8 of five troop transports sailed from Kilindini Harbour at Mombasa, Kenya to Colombo, Ceylon. It had a naval escort led by the heavy cruiser HMS Hawkins. In the early afternoon of Saturday 12 February 1944, the Japanese submarine I-27, commanded by Lt-Cdr Toshiaki Fukumura, attacked the convoy south-west of the Maldives. Khedive Ismail was struck by two of four torpedoes launched, she broke in two, and it took two or three minutes for her to sink; almost no one below decks could have survived.
The ship was carrying 1,511 personnel including 178 crew, 996 officers and men of the East African Artillery's 301st Field Regiment, 271 Royal Navy personnel, and a detachment of 19 Wrens. Also on board were 53 nursing sisters accompanied by one matron, and 9 members of the First Aid Nursing Yeomanry. Only 208 men and 6 women survived. 1,297 people, including 77 women, lost their lives.
The sinking was the third worst Allied shipping disaster of World War II and the single worst loss of female service personnel.
It appears that I-27 tried to hide from the victim’s escorts after the attack by staying below survivors. While HMS Paladin lowered boats to begin rescuing survivors, HMS Petard released depth charges that had to be set to detonate in shallow water and so were lethal to survivors; sadly, the destruction of a dangerous submarine took precedence over their lives. I-27 under Commander Fukumura had a history of success and of machine-gunning survivors of ships anyhow.
On Petard's third run, her depth charges again forced I-27 to the surface, and unable to sink her with shellfire, Paladin rammed the submarine and caused considerable damage to her own hull. A torpedo from Petard, the seventh she had fired, destroyed I-27.
Percival Crabb was Chief Petty Officer, Stoker on the SS Khedive Ismail:
I was in the POs mess with seven other petty officers when the troopship was torpedoed between 1400 and 1500. By I believe two tin fish, one in the engine room and one aft under the counter, I was asleep at the time. Immediately she listed over; everyone made a dash for the companionway except yours truly and PO Harper; we both made for the two portholes, which were open.
I remember scrambling through and hobbling down the ship’s side, stepping over the rolling chock and diving into the sea, by the time I surfaced the ship had gone. I swam to a green smoke canister some thirty yards away, hanging on to this I looked around me, there were several survivors either swimming or hanging on to whatever floated.
The convoy had dispersed by this time and it seemed we were left to our own devices; some 200 yards away were two lifeboats from the ship, one upside down, survivors were all making for them so I decided to do the same.
I am almost certain the submarine passed under me, as there was quite a turbulence of water and a wake left behind. This was the scene when the destroyers Petard and Paladin arrived at high speed, the submarine must have been picked up on their asdics, because they started depth charging some 300 yards away. I distinctly remember one charge from the thrower exploding just above the surface of the sea. It was a very strange experience to feel the shock waves coming through the water and the almighty thump in the stomach. Luckily, I was still hanging on to the smoke float, which took most of the concussion.
Paladin had dropped off a motor boat and sea boat to pick up survivors. I eventually made it to the troopship’s lifeboat and got aboard, we managed to row the boat towards Paladin, which was slowly circling us, while Petard was still depth charging further away. We got alongside Paladin and hastily scrambled aboard, among us were three nursing sisters, two wrens and one South African WTS; this was all that was left of their contingents. I remember a seaman throwing me a pair of sandals, as I was barefoot, because the steel decks of the destroyer were very hot.
At that moment a large Japanese submarine came to the surface and both ships opened fire and then Paladin started to increase speed, she was going in to ram. We were told to hang on to something solid, as the ship closed the submarine at high speed, the submarine veered off and Paladin struck her a glancing blow, the submarine’s hydroplanes tore a hole from the forward boiler room right aft to the engine room, putting the ship out of action, and flooding the boiler and engine rooms.
Survivors and crew went about the ship throwing everything moveable over the side to lighten her. I dumped loads of 4-inch shells from ready use lockers. Both sets of quadruple torpedo tubes were turned outboard by hand and fired to lighten ship. On board Petard, six torpedoes were fired at the Japanese submarine, but they all missed, the seventh was fired by local control and did the trick. It blew the submarine in half; I watched the two halves upend and sink with no survivors.
The next job was to remove everyone except essential personnel from Paladin to Petard, a tricky manoeuvre, but successfully done and now the job of all jobs, to take Paladin in tow and get her back to safety. After 36 hours of towing we arrived at Addu Atoll where the cruiser Hawkins was waiting with everything from pumps, collision mats, shoring and personnel to get Paladin seaworthy for the long trip to South Africa for essential repairs.