The Airmen's Stories - F/O J H L Allen
James Henry Leslie Allen was born in Remuera, Auckland, New Zealand on 13th November 1914 but was orphaned at four when his parents died in the 1918 influenza epidemic. Brought up by his aunt, he was educated at Huntley School, Marton and Napier Boys' High School. In 1931 Allen went to England for sea training and joined HMS Conway in May. He won His Majesty's Gold Medal in July 1933 as the most efficient cadet and in August he went to the Blue Funnel Line as a midshipman.
In June 1936 Allen applied for a commission in the RAF, he was successful and began his flying training at 1 E&RFTS, Hatfield on 24th May 1937. Allen was posted to 10 FTS at Dumfries and in March 1938, with his training completed, he went to the School of Naval Co-operation on flying duties and remained there until February 1939, when he was posted to 151 Squadron at North Weald.
Allen went to France with other pilots of 151 on 16th May 1940 to reinforce 87 Squadron, which had suffered heavy losses. On the 19th he was wounded in the left arm by return fire from a Hs126 and returned to England, rejoining 151 at Martlesham Heath on 5th June.
The squadron was ordered off on 12th July 1940 to protect the convoy code-named 'Booty' from an approaching German formation. 151 attacked two staffeln of Do17's about 20 miles east of Orfordness. Allen was caught in a withering cross-fire and his Hurricane, P3275, was last seen gliding down with a dead engine. He is believed to have drowned.
Allen is remembered on the Runnymede Memorial, Panel 5.
(Above image courtesy of Dean Sumner)