Leighterton in the Cotswolds in Gloucestershire bears the graves of many Australians who died in the service of the Australian Flying Corps during the Great War. In a previous blog, I wrote about Leighterton and its significance in the war, as well as its local impact - click here. I promised to write about the men who lie in war graves there. This piece examines the role of Lieutenant Geoffrey Dunster Allen.
Geoffrey Dunster Allen was the elder son of George Allen, of 'Maynella', Deakin Avenue, Haberfield, New South Wales; Geoffrey had worked in accountancy. He was born in Newcastle, New South Wales in Australia; and enlisted on 15th June 1917 into the Australian Flying Corps.
Geoffrey embarked from Melbourne, Australia on the 4th August 1917 and arrived in Glasgow, Scotland on 2nd October 1917. He graduated in late July 1918 as a Flight Officer Pilot from the 5th Training Squadron at Minchinhampton. Minchinhampton was another training area for the Australian Flying Corps.
Geoffrey was killed on the 7th September 1918 in an aeroplane crash in his Sopworth Camel and fatally injured when his plane looped, spun and crashed into a hay barn. He was given a full military funeral.
In 1930, his father George arrived in Leighterton from Australia to visit his son's grave twelve years after his death. Amongst Geoffrey's effects that were sent back to his family in Australia was several cases containing many things including his clothing, a pair of roller skates as well as, an aeroplane propeller. One can only wonder if George Allen returned to Leighterton in part to pay respects to his son but also to commemorate the airman and adorn his grave with a very special, very unique souvenir: a propeller. For Geoffrey's grave is adorned with an aeroplane propeller. A very personal memorial.
In everlasting remembrance of Lt. Geoffrey Dunster Allen
Dearly loved son of G and S Allen Sydney Australia
Accidentally killed 7th September 1918
Aged 21 years
'Blessed are the pure in heart
For they shall see God'