By Linden Allen:
Morris ‘Moses’ Allen.
A true survivor of the Great War, who paid an awful price to do so…
On this day 101 years ago (25th April 1915) members of the ANZAC Forces, in the company of an equal or greater number of members of the BRITISH INDIAN ARMY landed on the Gallipoli Peninsula and fought together with great heroism! My Grandfather – Morris ALLEN was among them.
Having made it ashore, he survived three hellish months before being blow off the cliffs overlooking the bay by an artillery shell. Severely injured, he was shipped to the UK, where after nearly a year of rehabilitation was then inducted into the British Army and then sent to the Somme, where he was later gassed…………..
Morris, or to give him his proper name ‘Moses’, had escaped with his two brothers from the pogroms and anti-Semitism rife in Russia at that time. He was still very young, but even so he decided that the UK was for him, whilst his two older brothers carried on their search for a new home. Ironically they finally landed in Australia, each bearing a Turkish passport – apparently, acquired along the way!!
Moses anglicised his name to ‘Morris’ and also in an effort to fit in and assimilate into his new community took the surname ‘Allen’ rather than use the family name of ‘Annenberg’. Unusually, he also married out of faith, taking an English bride, whom he met whilst being billeted in Leeds.
I’m so proud of him, he arrived here in the UK at the turn of the 20th century, when there was no ‘dole’, no free housing, education or health services, and sadly, back then anti-Semitism was the accepted norm! However, he just knuckled down, got on with it and worked hard – asking for nothing and just getting on with his life.
Things took a turn for the worst amongst the countries of Europe, a new world order was rising and my granddad saw the writing on the wall. He decided that the only way to defend his new life was to take up arms in the service of the Crown, and so he applied to join the British Army. Unfortunately, the army was still rather conservative in its outlook and views at the time and refused to accept him; simply because of his Jewish heritage! Undeterred, he took their suggestion, joined that British Indian Army instead and went out to serve on the frontiers of the Empire. Eventually, he along with many others were formed together as the British Indian Army’s contingent that took part in the ill fated Gallipoli landings…………..
Sadly, my father Ken, Morris’s son, didn't know his dad like I know mine, Morris returned from the war a confused, angry, frightened, tormented soul who suffered so badly as the result of his service to his adopted country. He served from the first day to the last, but having witnessed untold horrors, countless deaths and deprivation he suffered, just like many others since, from the extremes of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) which, because it wasn't known about back then, went untreated until his untimely death in 1938.
Three generations of our family have served the Crown now, starting with the example set by Morris; my father served in WW2 and I and my brother have served in more recent conflicts, each with equal pride.
I only discovered Morris’s story when I began to investigate why there were two different numbers on some of his medals; he was given a new number when he was transferred into the British Army – having proved his worth; As a Master Sniper…………….
I marched in his footsteps, in awe and with pride as an Englishman born and bred, trying very hard to live up to his ideals. I never met him but his ethos has guided me and set me on the path that I have followed all my life. I keep his medals at home but wear with pride his silver wound medal on my cut off, as reminder of who I am, where I came from and what my family has so willingly given to our home country and its monarchs………..
At the going down of the sun, and in the morning – I WILL remember them................
Regards L J Allen (SW One Voice Crew)
BRITISH SNIPER - by UK Veterans One Voice
This is not fiction. The scene is a major UK base in a hot sandy country. It’s Friday. The crowd spills out of the mosque and gathers about a kilometre in front of the camps main gate. One of them steps forward carrying a Rocket Propelled Grenade (RPG). The crowd egg him on. He takes careful aim at the camp and fires. Fortunately the range is too great and the weapon hits the sand harmlessly. On orders from the commander, no return fire from the base despite it being justified.
Next Friday the crowd gathers closer to the base. The guard on the camp take precautions and ‘stand to’. Sure enough the same man steps forward with a new RPG. The crowd are clearly part of the attack and again actively encourage the insurgent. The camp has heavy machine guns lined up on the attacker as he fires. The request to engage him is made and refused. Too many ‘innocent’ people would be hurt - even though the innocents are clearly abetting the attack, and are the audience for it. The risk from legal action is considered greater than the risk of death from the insurgent’s weapon. This time the rocket hits the base. Fortunately no one is injured. Fear of legal aid funded ambulance chasing lawyers back home has again endangered the lives of British troops.
On the following Thursday a ‘routine’ patrol left the camp. For once it is double strength at 20 soldiers. Later the patrol is unusually active as they return from their arduous task. Running and dashing seemingly erratically from cover to cover they return into the security of the base camp. Hopefully the insurgents will not have been able to count the numbers and realise that four soldiers did not come back.
Friday. Prayers at the mosque finish and the crowd again gather to watch and encourage the weekly rocket attack. The same insurgent steps forward. From hi-res cameras he has already been identified as an active member of the local insurgency. He raises the RPG and sights on the camp.
Four men have spent the previous night in great danger. Two are a sniper team. The other two are deployed to cover their backs. It has been both baking hot by day while at night bitterly cold. Water is limited. No sleeping bags or hot food. No movement permitted to prevent them giving away their position. Peeing into bottles, defecating into cling film, to avoid leaving evidence and smells of their presence, that might give them away. If discovered, help would not reach them in time to save their lives. As the insurgent’s finger tightened on the trigger of the RPG, a single shot cracked out. The round flew almost 1200 metres across the face of the crowd missing them safely. The RPG jumped unfired into the air and the insurgent’s body briefly flew across the ground having been hit by a veteran of long military service, a graduate of the Army Sniper School. Sniper action was agreed as the best way of avoiding mass civilian casualties. Duty done, eventually, the sniper returned home to the UK and a happy civilian family life, with the respect of those who know him.
The range a human voice can carry is at most 180m. Above the noise of a jeering crowd it is much less. No warning was required however under the rules of engagement. There was no requirement to give a warning to someone about to attack our troops.
Today, 17th Jan 2016 the sniper is the subject of an IHAT investigation for unlawful killing. Specifically, he did not shout a warning to the RPG armed insurgent 1200m away.
IHAT and civilians are not suitably qualified to investigate the actions of troops in war.