Allen was baptised on February 23rd 1894 at Astbury Church and spent his childhood growing up in Newbold Astbury. His parents were John and Jane Pemberton. John was a collier and in 1901 the family include Allen seven, Ethel five, John four and Mary just one, all born in Astbury. His Sunday school prize book from 1904 shows that he attended the Wesleyan Chapel on Congleton Edge.
By 1911 Allen is employed on the farm of Mr. Frank Brindley, on Mow Lane Gillow Heath.
Mr. Brindley was from Biddulph and lived with his wife Alice and their eight children. Allen was the only employee listed on the census.
Enlisting at Biddulph recruiting office, Allen joined the North Staffordshire Regiment; his regimental number was 33254 although the battalion is unknown as no service records have been found. However at some stage Allen transferred to the 1st Battalion Royal Dublin Fusiliers. Training of this battalion took place at Nuneaton, Warwickshire. After training the battalion was due to embark for France but orders were countermanded and they attached to the 29th Division, 86th Brigade and ordered to the Dardanelles.
They sailed from Avonmouth on March 25th 1915 and passed through a rough Atlantic into a much warmer Mediterranean Sea on their journey to Alexandria in Egypt. They travelled on to Mudras on the Island of Imbros – the deep water naval base – completing their journey at Cape Helles on the Gallipoli Peninsula. The battalion fought in this most inhospitable terrain with many casualties from the enemy shelling until they were relieved by the 7th North Staffords in July.
The autumn brought more tragic news when heavy storms caused flooding of the trenches with many loses. Allen and his friends no doubt welcomed the orders to evacuate Gallipoli on January 7th 1916; the 29th Division where now returning to Egypt. The men spent the next two months guarding the Suez Canal and on March 13th 1916 they embarked at Port Said for a sea journey to Marseilles, their destination the Western Front.
By the end of March the division was at Pont Remy a British base near Abbeville, and in July they saw action in the Battle of the Somme where they were used in offensives at Albert and Transley Ridge. The winter was spent defending their lines in a cold Flanders and when out of the line in billets the troops passed their time letter writing, reading, playing nap or to “crumb up”; that was picking the lice from their shirts. There was always a chance to get drunk, and afterwards going to a safe bed with a thick head and their lice of course! At least there would be bacon, bread and tea for breakfast in the morning.
April 1917 found the Dublin Fusiliers fighting in the Arras offensive in the Battles of Scarpe until ordered north to the Ypres salient for the Third Battle of Ypres. With the inevitable appalling conditions the brave men were again in action at Langemarck, Broodseinde and Poelcapelle. Fighting in the Ypres salient during July and August brought more casualties in the battalion.
During these battles Allen was seriously wounded but without any service records it is unknown where treatment was sought. Sadly, on August 11th 1917, Private Allen Pemberton died from his wounds and he now rests in the Dozingham Military Cemetery Poperinge. He is also remembered on the Biddulph memorials.
Michael Turnock and Kathleen Walton.
Photographs of Private Allen Pemberton’s medals and his gravestone were submitted by L. Owens.