Pictures courtesy of DNW
DCM GV (267579 Sjt: -A.S. Mjr:- A. Allerton. 1/7 W. York: R. -T.F.);
QSA (3) Transvaal, South Africa 1901, South Africa 1902, unofficial retaining rod between state and date clasps (7010 Pte. A. Allerton, Vol: Co: W. Yorks: Regt.) 1914-15 Star (190 Sjt. A. Allerton. W. York: R.);
BWM and VM (190 A.W.O. Cl.2. A. Allerton. W. York. R.);
TFEM EdVII, with Second Award Bar (190 L.Sjt: A. Allerton. 7/W. York: Regt.)
Damage to DCM and BWM sustained during an enemy air raid. Formerly held on loan by the Leeds City Museum where they suffered some damage when the Museum received a direct hit from a German bomber in 1941. The medals were released to the recipient’s son in 1983.
Provenance: Buckland Dix & Wood, September 1994.
DCM LG 28 March 1918: ‘For conspicuous gallantry and devotion to duty when in charge of the brigade runners in an attack. His work was carried on night and day, and frequently under heavy shell fire, and it was to a great extent due to him that communication was kept up. He showed great initiative and determination.’
Alfred Allerton attested for the 3rd Volunteer Battalion, Prince of Wales’s Own (West Yorkshire Regiment) in 1899, and served with the 2nd Volunteer Service Company in South Africa during the Boer War from March 1901. Awarded the Territorial Force Efficiency Medal under Army Order 95 of 1911, he subsequently served with the 1st/7th Battalion (Leeds Rifles) during the Great War on the Western Front from 15 April 1915 - the date that the 49th Division moved to France for active service. Discharged on 8 April 1916 upon the termination of his period of engagement, he was immediately recalled to the Colours, this time with the Regimental number 5665, and was appointed Company Sergeant Major. In accordance with the re-numbering of all Territorial Forces in early 1917 his regimental number was changed from 5665 to 267579.
Allerton was awarded the Distinguished Conduct Medal for his actions on 10 October 1917 west of Passchendaele in what was known as the Battle of Poelcappelle. The 49th Division was the centre of three divisions, 66th on their right and 48th on their left. 146 brigade was the centre brigade of the division; 1/7 Battaalion West Yorkshires the centre battalion of the brigade. The St. Julien Road was behind them and Passchendaele a mile or two ahead. The terrain was a nightmare of mud, shell holes, destroyed equipment and decaying bodies. The march to the jumping off position itself was a triumph of spirit over adversity. The Battalion War Diary gives the following account:
‘The battalion assembled at La Brique at 9am on 8 October and at 5pm stared to move up no 6 track to the assembly position. The night was very dark and rain commenced to fall shortly before 5pm and continued during the night making the march up to Calgary Grange very difficult, many parts of the track being almost impossible to follow; shortly after leaving the St. Julien road it was found that all the trench grids had been removed for a considerable distance. The head of the battalion reached Calgary Grange about midnight and the whole battalion was in position by 3am on 9 October; the men were all very tired. There was a certain amount of shelling on the way up but no casualties occurred until the battalion reached the assembly position.
The barrage opened at 5.20am; the troops were all ready and advanced at once; owing however to the broken ground, which was very wet and soft, and to the water in the Stroombeek, the troops did not keep up to the barrage at first, but I think they got up to it again before reaching the first objective. The companies at first kept rather too much to the right in the direction of Peter Pan but they afterward changed direction and passed Yetta Houses at about the proper distance. Battalion HQ moved forward behind the companies and took up a position in shell holes near Calgary Grange.
No news was received from companies until Lieutenant Baldwin MC, Officer Commanding left Company, for second objective came back wounded about 7am and said that his company was held up by machine gun fire and sniper fire from the left as soon as they moved forward through the first objective companies; he told me that he had given orders that 2 platoons should move along to deal with this M.G. but they apparently failed to silence this gun. As I got no reports whatever from the companies I went up to the front line myself near Yetta Houses and found that 3 companies were consolidating there with their left about 100 yards from Yetta Houses. The men were too crowded and I gave orders that the men of one company were to be collected and taken to some trenches further in rear.
Two officers were left on duty with my right company, but in the other 3 companies all the officers and the greater part of the senior NCOs had become casualties, this made it difficult to obtain really reliable information. Enemy machine guns and snipers in carefully concealed positions were very active; they continued to fire through the barrage and were able to prevent our advance to the second objective owing to the accuracy of their fire and the difficulty of locating their exact positions. A number of the enemy were killed by our rifle and Lewis gun fire and an enemy machine gun firing from the parapet of a trench on the right and enfilading troops advancing on the left was rushed by one man single-handed whereupon the team ran away; as the man found that he could not work the gun he disabled it.
During the morning of 9 October Captain Mander with 2 companies of the 1st/4th West Riding Regiment reported to me and at 2pm I sent one of these companies to Yetta Houses to fill the gap between the left of my line and the right of 1st/8th West Yorkshire Regiment. Small counter attacks were attempted by the enemy about 2pm and 6pm but these came to nothing. At 10.30pm on 9 October I received instructions that a company of the 1st/6th Battalion West Riding Regiment would mop up the area between my line and the most advanced posts.
Early in the morning of 10 October, the Officer Commanding the 1st/6th Battalion West Riding Regiment mopping-up company reported that his company had covered all the ground up to the post held by my right company; where Lieutenant Moore informed him that he was in the most advanced position of the Battalion; he therefore considered that he had carried out his instructions.
During the night of 9-10 October I sent first my Intelligence Officer and afterwards my Regimental Sergeant Major to ascertain the position in the front line, both were wounded however and I had no one else to send at the time. At 6am on 10 October I sent my Signalling Officer up to the front line; he reported that all was quiet and in order. The first companies of the relieving Battalion of the New Zealand Rifles came up about 9pm and relief was completed about midnight. Enemy shelling was heavy throughout the day of 10 October and during the relief and the New Zealand Rifles suffered a good many casualties.’
Allerton received a hand written note from General Goring-Jones (who was by now recuperating from wounds in England) congratulating him on the award: ‘My heartiest congratulations on your well earned DCM I was very glad indeed to hear that you had got it, for I am sure no man ever earned it better...’
Allerton was discharged Class Z Reserve on 21 February 1919, but continued to serve as a Territorial, and was awarded a Second Award Bar to his Territorial Force Efficiency Medal per Army Order 305 of 1922.