FIRST NAMES: William Leslie


RANK: Second Officer

UNIT: Merchant Navy - SS. Fort Lamy



OCCUPATION: Merchant Navy Officer

ADDRESS: Sutton on Forest

STATUS: Lost at Sea

DATE OF DEATH: 8th March 1943


MEDALS: 1939-45 Star, Atlantic Star, Victory Medal

Photo of WL Allen
William Allen (left) pictured in Jack Dempsey's Bar, New York.

William Leslie Allen was born in The Forge cottage Ainderby Steeple on the 24th December 1908 and was the son of William and Emily Allen. William won a scholarship to Northallerton Grammar School in 1922 and left in 1925 when he joined the Marine Merchant Navy School at South Shields to prepare for a life at sea.

At the age of sixteen and half he took his first ship the SS Kenmore owned by Furness Withy and Co Ltd. He was to be apprenticed for four years and was paid a total of 60. 11 the first year 13 the second year 15 the third year 21 the fourth year. He was also given 12/- per annum as an allowance for his washing. He then sailed on the SS Jessmore, Nova Scotia, London Exchange and finally on July 5th 1930 the SS Tasakani at Southampton. In August 1930 he once again entered Marine School this time to study for his mates ticket for which he had to pay a fee of 2.

On the 22nd April 1935 he married Marjorie Ellen (Dolly) Johnson who lived at the Old Royal George public house Morton-on-Swale. After a honeymoon in Tynemouth the couple went to live at Sutton-on-Forest near York. When the depression of the 1930s caused most of the world merchant shipping to be laid up, William became an agent for the Prudential Assurance Company covering the area of Sutton on Forest, Huby Strensall and Stillington. Their son William jr was born in 1939. When war came William joined the Home Guard and served around the York area as a commissioned officer.

There was a call for merchant navy crews and in 1941 William went back to sea as a serving navigation officer (2nd officer) with the Merchant Navy on the SS Fort Lamy a merchantman of 5,000 tons from Newport. The SS Fort Lamy plied the Arctic convoy route which was patrolled by the German U-Boat Wolf Packs.

On the 8th March 1943 the convoy in which the SS Fort Lamy was sailing which was carrying landing craft as part of it's cargo was south of Greenland when it was attacked by a U-Boat Wolf Pack. The SS Lamey was one of many Merchantmen torpedoed and sunk that night. William and the most of the crew went down with the ship.

William Allen lies in an official maritime war grave at the point where the SS Fort Lamy went down. He is remembered on Panel 50 of the Tower Hill Memorial to the Merchant Navy in London and on the Northallerton Grammar School Memorial Plaque and also on the War Memorial at Sutton-on-Forest York.

William was aged 34 years.