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"My family saga", 1955 - 1976

Reference Code: GBR/0014/GALN 2

Scope and Contents

Autobiographical account by George Allen written for his family covering his life and naval career, highlighting key events and turning points and analysing his response to them. Also includes details of people, colleagues and family members.

Subjects, issues and people covered include: childhood and education; his mother, Beatrice Allen (née Wilkinson, known as Betty) and her circumstances and career; joining the Royal Navy aged 12, naval traditions, reforms to the navy by [Sir John] Fisher, Allen’s role looking after Edward, Prince of Wales [later Edward VIII]; Australia and his attachment to Molly McArthur; his decision to specialise in torpedoes; World War I, mobilisation of the fleet, his position with the Home Fleet (1913-1916) and morale "It is difficult for a future generation to grasp the elevation of the spirit which was the dominant characteristic of the time, so utterly different from the grim and fatalistic attitude of people when war came again in 1939"; the Battle of Jutland; Stephen King-Hall; appointment to the battle cruiser Tiger (1917-1919); surrender of the German fleet and the peace parade; HMS Vernon (1919-22) and teaching work; HMS Marlborough (1922-4), the Turkish leader Mustapha Kemal and operations against Greece; HMS Effingham (1925-6) and Allen’s work in supervision of its construction, presence of women on board ship in the East Indies station, meeting his future wife Lilian Griffin [Lila] Eady [later Lila Allen]; naval promotion; contracting malaria and a journey from Baghdad to Palestine via Homs and Beirut; Staff College, Greenwich (1927); marriage and tensions between married life and a service career; appointment as Fleet Torpedo Officer on Nelson, the flagship of the Home Fleet; a demonstration of the "Navy at Work"; the Invergordon mutiny; death of first child during childbirth; the passage of the Nelson through the Panama Canal; birth of Patrick Allen; Executive Officer on HMS Delhi (1931-3) and visits to Washington [United States], [Admiral Sir Reginald Plunkett-Ernle-Erle-] Drax, the Los Angeles Olympics, Hollywood and meeting Mary Pickford; service with Rawling and lost chances of promotion; birth of Elizabeth Allen; Singapore (1934-7) and the build up of the naval base without consideration of attack from the landward side, Winston Churchill’s restrictions on spending and observations on the Japanese attack on Singapore; Allen’s duties as Naval Attache in Bangkok; work for the Plans Division, preparation of the merchant navy for war and general preparations including bringing officers out of retirement; Allen’s post of Assistant Director of the new Trade Division; the impact of Winston Churchill as First Lord of the Admiralty; government efficiency; arrangements for air raids; Dunkirk; shipping, first hand experience of convoys and the Battle of the Atlantic; the Battle of Britain; arrangements for the evacuation of Patrick and Elizabeth; the Home Guard, rationing; Allen’s transfer to the convoy side of the Trade Division and Dudley Pound; Allen’s involvement with combined operations, work with the United States forces, planning of ‘Torch’ [Codename for 1942 operation in French North West Africa] and the success of landings in Oran and Algiers; agreements reached in the Casablanca conference and the decision to attack Sicily; 1943 and Allen’s work in the Mediterranean and India, planning of Husky [codename for the invasion of Sicily] in Cairo; planning for ‘Bucaneer’ [a cancelled operation against the Andaman Islands] and for an abortive operation against Rhodes; the planning and execution of "Shingle" at Anzio [Italy]; planning of "Brassard", the invasion of Elba and difficulties with the French army; Anvil [the invasion of Southern France] and the preparation for landing US troops; general observations on planning; the positive effect of [Sir Thomas] Troubridge; [Lord Louis] Mountbatten [Supreme Allied Commander South East Asia]; [Admiral James] Somerville [Commander in Chief Eastern Fleet]; Allen’s work at COHQ, discussion of the PLUTO project [Pipeline Under The Ocean], a visit to Germany to investigate German plans to invade Britain and observations on German officers [Karl] Doenitz, [Alfred] Jodl, Hans-Georg von Friedeburg and Jodl’s comment "our arrangements for the invasion of England were about the same as Julius Caesar’s" (page 105); Spearhead (1947) and work on planning a combined operations exercise under [1st Lord] Montgomery [of Alamein]; Sir Claude Auchinleck as Commander in Chief, India, on the situation in India; Sir Henry Tizard on nuclear warfare; Allen’s work as literary advisor to WSC on naval issues, visits to Chartwell, WSC’s stroke, 80th birthday and receiving the Williamsburg bell, and WSC’s funeral; collaboration with Bernard Fergusson on "The Watery Maze"; and Allen’s role in Surrey County Council. The account ends with reflections on his life and the strength of his marriage.


  • Creation: 1955 - 1976

Conditions Governing Access

From the Fonds:

The collection is open for consultation by researchers using Churchill Archives Centre, Churchill College, Cambridge.


2 file(s) : paper

Language of Materials


Finding aid date

2015-03-23 11:14:38.167000+00:00

Repository Details

Part of the Churchill Archives Centre Repository

Churchill Archives Centre
Churchill College
Cambridge Cambridgeshire CB3 0DS United Kingdom
+44 (0)1223 336087