No More Parades/ Obituary – Lesley Allen, Ist Battalion The Gloucestershire Regiment, 1930 – 2023
Lesley Allen, ex-C Company 1 Glosters, died peacefully at home on the 19th of July aged 93. Born in Hampshire, in 1930, he signed up in 1947, and served with the Royal Hampshires, the Dorsets and the Wiltshires, before volunteering for the Glosters to fight in Korea. In later life, he recounted his experiences for Operation Portrait, which is a record of the last survivors of the battle. Lesley will feature in a book – ‘The Final Roll Call’ – to be published this autumn.
Recalling the battle of the Imjin River, he described the shock of becoming aware of thousands of Chinese advancing from the valley below – like an army of ants. In wave after wave, they attacked – mostly in the dark – with bugles sounding all night long. When it got tough, someone said, “We are British Bulldogs, and we don’t give up”.
When the order came, he tried to break out but didn’t stand a chance. Initially, he believed that he was about to be summarily shot, but some of his chums joined him and the moment passed. He then became a POW for over two years and was kept in terrible conditions. Once more, the Glosters stuck together and helped each other through their harsh ordeal.
On his release in 1953, he returned to the UK and tried to sign on for a full career. Despite everything that he had been through he still loved army life – “we were all in it together” was the way he described it. However, he was persuaded not to apply and, instead, settled back in Hampshire in Southampton. There he lived for the rest of his life, married, and fathered 7 children. He is survived by over 80 direct descendants. There now remain just 8 survivors from the battle.
Plans for the funeral are currently yet to be agreed. Condolences to the family should be sent to Lesley’s daughter, Sabrina, at: email@example.com
Picture of Leslie taken earlier in the year at the Scattering of Sam Mercer’s Ashes @ Imjin Barracks