Howard John Victor ALLEN

1918 ~2014


'John' ALLEN, the youngest son of Frank Harry & Beatrice, was born in Devonport on 29th July 1918.

2nd October 1934 Deed of Aprenticeship with Plymouth Trawlers Limited "to learn the business of Fitting Turning and General Engineering... for the term of five years from the thitrteenth day of August, One thousand nine hundred and thirty four"  .

When Plymouth Trawlers ceased business in 1938, John Chant, a Director of the company, signed off the Apprenticeship..."This is to Certify that Howard, John, Victor, Allen, has completed the term of Service as herein described to the entire satisfaction of this Company and we have the pleasure to recommend him to anyone requiring his services. We have at all times found him, honest, industrious, truthful and sober, and a first class workman."    John Chant Director

John joined the Royal Navy on 16th February 1938 and was posted to serve on HMS Centurion. 


Launched: November18,1911
Commissioned:    May   1913
Decommissioned:          1924
Fate:   Sunk in June        1944

Centurion sailed for Malta on 9th January 1939 arriving on the 19th. She was not  a well ship and had two spells in the floating dock for repairs. John passed his 4th class exam there and was made up to Petty Officer on 22nd February.  He tells "The bells nearly made me mad", when he was recalled to the ship on 9th April as news broke of Italy's invasion of Albania, two days previously.   Later that month Centurion was badly holed in the stern and returned to Valetta for repairs. Finally on 7th May they set sail for Gibraltar, arriving in Plymouth on the 14th

HMS Centurion  arrives Valetta 1939

Centurion was at that time a target ship operated under remote control. John recalls receiving an extra 1s.3d. 'danger money' whilst serving and he thinks that she was finally used as a landing platform in the 'D' day invasion of Normandy

Joined Renown  28th August 1939

Left Renown 27th March 1945

 'Late in 1939 she identified the Graf Spee's supply ship "Watussi" in waters 100mile south of "The Cape". The crew of the Watusi set fire to the ship and took to the boats. The Crew of Renown watched as the Watussi was sunk with the warship's 15" guns. The German crew were picked up by HMS Sussex.' {informant H.J.V.Allen  Engineering Artificer, HMS Renown}


1939,  April 15th John made an entry in his diary "Wrote letter to M. hope it is answered".


1943 GRO Marriage INDEX December Quarter1943

ALLEN Howard J.V.   WHIELDON Monica E.    (Calne)  Chippenham 5a 112


Honeymoon in Edinburgh before re-joining Renown and sailing for Far East.

HMS Renown was the lead ship of the three 26,500-ton Renown class battlecruisers of the Royal Navy, the other two were HMS Repulse and the cancelled HMS Resistance.
She was built by Fairfield Shipbuilding & Engineering Co. Ltd. at Govan,Glasgow, Scotland. Completed in September 1916, she was too late to serve in the Battle of Jutland but served with the Grand Fleet in the North Sea during the remaining two years of World War I.
Renown was reconstructed, greatly changing her appearance and giving her a modern anti-aircraft gun battery, much enhanced aircraft-handling facilities, and up-to-date gunfire controls. This work was completed in September 1939, just after the outbreak of the Second World War.
Renown's high speed made her a valuable asset during World War II. In late 1939, she was sent to the South Atlantic to search for the German pocket battleship Admiral Graf Spee.

 She covered minelaying operations along the Norwegian coast in early April 1940 and, on the 9th of that month, engaged the German battlecruisers (or light battleships) Scharnhorst and Gneisenau, damaging the latter. Later in 1940 and into 1941, she operated with Force "H", based at Gibraltar, to provide strategic presence in both the Atlantic and Mediterranean. While with Force "H", she participated in a bombardment of Genoa, Italy, in February 1941. In May, she took part in the hunt for the German battleship Bismarck. After Home Fleet service in 1942-43,

Renown was sent to join the Eastern Fleet in the Indian Ocean. Operating from Ceylon in 1944-45, she helped contain the Japanese in the East Indies.
had brief post-war service in British waters and was sold for scrapping in March 1948.

Drafted to HMS Adamant when HMS Renown left Colombo in 1945.

HMS Adamant was a World War II submarine depot ship.
Completed in 1942 she served in the Eastern Fleet (Colombo/Trincomalee) with 4th SM Flotilla (comprising 9 T-class boats) from April 1943 until April 1945 and then serviced her flotilla at Fremantle, Australia.
Drafted to HMS Maidstone  VJ day 15th August 1945 to Fremantle on Submarine repairs.

Maidstone berthing and on fire at Fremantle

HMS Maidstone: sister ship to HMS Forth built at Clydebank and launched 11th August 1938. Dispalcement:8,900  Sped: 17 Knots. Compliment 1,167  Armament: Eight 4.5 - inch AA in pairs plus Eight 2 pounder AA guns. Served in the Mediterranean, South Atlantic and Rosyth 1939 - 1940, and again in the Mediterranean followed by the eastern and Pacific fleets.

John returned to England in 1945 and  the next 3 years on ships based at Weymouth




March Quarter 1947

ALLEN Claire M. WHIELDON  Chippenham  7a 642  (Calne)


On 24th November 1950 John Qualified for Commissioned Officer...


Certificate of Educational Qualification for Commissioned Officer (Branch List)


Chief Engine Room Artificer


has qualified, educationally, for promotion to Commissioned Office (Branch List) in the ENGINEERING Branch. His marks and the subjects of the Higher Educational Test in which he obtained them are shown below, The maximum for each paper is 100.

General Knowledge       64

Practical Mathematics  55

English                              56

Mechanics                        58


Admiralty, S.W.1.                     Alfred Chown

24th November, 1950               for Director

                                       Education Department


HMS Unicorn  Aircraft carrier support ship

 In December 1945 she was nominated for return to UK and arrived at Devonport on 16th January 1946. She was Paid-off and de-stored prior to reduction to Reserve status.

Brought forward for service in 1948 she was refitted for use as a Maintenance and Replenishment aircraft carrier. In 1949 after recommissioning she was deployed to support HM Light Fleet Aircraft Carrier TRIUMPH which had been transferred to the Far East to reinforce the RN presence

HMS Padstow Bay

Padstow Bay (ex - Loch Coulside) 24th August 1945 Broken up 1959. HMS Padstow Bay (K608) was a Bay-class anti-aircraft frigate of the British Royal Navy. She is named for Padstow Bay in Cornwall. She was originally laid down as the Loch-class vessel Loch Coulside by Henry Robb of Leith.

John joined HMS Cumberland in 1953

HMS Cumberland

The fifteenth Cumberland (57) was a County-class heavy cruiser that served in World War II.
HMS Cumberland the 15th of the line was launched in 1926 and did her first, commission in 1927 on the China Station she continued on the China Station until l938 returning to Chatham her home port only for refits. Returning to the U.K. she went trooping to Australia and in 1946 went into reserve. In 1951 the Lords of the Admiralty decided to turn HMS Cumberland into the first and only Trials Cruiser, a duty she continued to carry out until l958, testing everything from Atomic Warfare defences to Plastic Hats! She also tested out new gunnery techniques, Radar, Fibre-Glass Boats. Some of which is still used in the modern Navy of today. During this period Cumberland became the oldest serving ship in the Royal Navy, and when she finaly paid off her paying off penant was over 600 feet long!!

HMS St Kitts destroyer  50,000hp

By July 1954 John had joined HMS St Kitts

HMS St Kitts  R18  4th October 1944

Broken up at Sunderland 14th February 1962.

HMS Drake  in Devonport. on " planned Maintenance"
HMS Eagle was an aircraft carrier of the British Royal Navy, in service 1951-1972. It is one of the two largest British aircraft supercarriers ever built.
Initially laid down in 1942 at Harland and Wolff shipyard in Belfast as one of four ships of the Audacious class that were laid down during World War II as part of the British naval buildup during that conflict. However, two were cancelled at the end of hostilities, and the remaining two were suspended. Originally Audacious, she was finally launched as Eagle (the fifteenth Royal Navy ship to receive this name) in March 1946, after the Audacious class carrier Eagle was cancelled.
A number of changes were incorporated into the design, although Eagle was launched too early to see an angled flight deck installed, and the ship was commissioned in October 1951.
Her first wartime service came in 1956, when she took part in the Suez Crisis. The ship's aircraft of that period included Westland Wyverns, Douglas Skyraiders, Armstrong Whitworth Sea Hawks and de Havilland Sea Venoms. An angled flight deck was fitted in 1956-1957 with a mirror landing sight. In 1959 she was taken to Devonport Dockyard for an extensive refit and modernisation along the lines of that given to HMS Victorious. She was re-commissioned in 1964 as a very new and different ship. In addition to major improvements to her accommodation, machinery and weaponry she also acquired a proper angled deck (at 8.5 degrees) with steam catpults, enlarged island and as a result of all these plus more changes; an increased displacement (+50,000 tons). This made her the largest ship in the Royal Navy. By this time, the airwing had changed to Blackburn Buccaneer, Sea Vixen and Fairey Gannet aircraft. The Supermarine Scimitar also saw service on the ship during this period before being replaced by the Buccaneer.
She was refitted at Devonport once more to give her the more powerful catpults and wires to operate the F-4 Phantoms. She re-commissioned in 1967.
However, by the mid-1960s, the British Government had decided that the days of the large Royal Navy aircraft carrier were limited. The fleet was swiftly run down, with Eagle being the penultimate to decommission. She was paid off in 1972, and towed to Devonport where she was placed on reserve. Up until 1976 she was officially still on reserve but had been used as a source of parts for Ark Royal until the latter decommissioned as well in 1978. Eagle was then swiftly scrapped.


1958 GRO BIRTHS INDEX June Quarter 1958

ALLEN Ruth E. WHIELDON Plymouth 7a 642



At Scapa Flow

Valetta Harbour



The Arctic Star              The Ushakov Medal

The ALLEN Family About 1950 at Trevaylor, Elburton, Plymouth

Frank Harry, George Alfred, Amy,  Beatrice, Dorothy Beatrice, David Scott Evans,

                             Ronald,                            Monica, Howard John Victor

               Brian, Andrew S Evans, Mark S Evans ,

                                                             Claire Margaret