Godfrey Lewis Allum

Godfrey Lewis Allum
Private 203413
5th Battalion Royal Berkshire Regiment.

G L Allum headstone


Initial research revealed that Godfrey died on 26 August 1918 and was buried at Péronne Road Cemetery, Maricourt, location IV. E. 34.   Godfrey Allum was remembered by his parents, brothers and sisters in the Reading Standard 1919 although the ‘In Memoriam’ supplied little information about the circumstances of his death and his age wasnot given.

An search of  Ancestry UK revealed that his parents were James Allum and Eliza Pendygrass Allum. In 1911 Godfrey’s second name is written as Louis on the census form. He was then aged 18, his year of birth is given as about 1893 and that he was born in Henley upon Thames; his occupation is given as a printers apprentice. His father was a labourer at a corn merchants and his mother is recorded as being a dressmaker.  Only rarely at the time were women recorded as having an occupation. Godfrey had an older sister, Olive, then 21 and working at the biscuit factory, and a younger sister Myrtle aged 14 and younger brother Cyril aged 12 who were presumably still at school. The family were living at 13. Elgar Road, Reading. Godfrey would have been about 25 when he was killed.

Colin Fox in ‘Their Duty Done’ gives an account of the 5th Battalion battle at Carnoy on 26 August 1918 and Godfrey Allum is numbered among the thirty-seven casualties of the battalion who were killed during the action. The fighting took place during the British advance to Péronne. The battalion orders for the day were to prepare for an attack between 4am and 4.30am:

 ‘They marched by compass bearing and only reached their forming-up position at 4.45am, thus losing their barrage which was now falling some 1,500 yards a head of them. Their attack was made on both sides of the village and was met with heavy artillery and machine gun fire that caused a large number of casualties. The survivors managed to reach a spur, which was their first objective, and the leading troops were able to fight their way to German trenches on a forward slope beyond the village facing the strip of woodland called Talus Boisé, west of Maricourt. A line was established late in the afternoon. On the following day the battalion moved forward and took up a position beyond Talus Boisé with its right on the small copse immediately to the east known as Machine Gun Wood. From here they moved back to Carnoy which had been meanwhile secured by other units and stayed there until the end of the month.’