The ALLARD family – Private ALLARD, Maurice William (1897-1918) and Private ALLARD, Reginald Bruce (1898-1988)

Maurice and Reginald Allard were born at 5 St Mary’s Road, Great Bowden, in 1897 and on 13th August 1898 respectively.  Their parents, Maurice Reginald Allard (1868-1937) and Annie Dods (1869-1941), had married at Market Harborough parish church in 1896.  They moved to Leicester before 1901 and were both active members of the St Martin’s congregation from at least 1906.  Maurice senior – a sealskin tanner in 1897 but later a journalist – was a sidesman for 22 years.  The family lived in Harrow Road until 1910 when they moved to 5 Winchester Avenue, remaining until Mr Allard died.

Allard 5 Winchester Avenue
5 Winchester Avenue, where the Allard family lived from 1910-1937


Maurice, who had hazel eyes and dark brown hair, was baptised at Great Bowden on 28th June 1897.  He attended Wyggeston Boys School from 1910 to 1912.  As a young man he worked as a clerk at Linglie Mill in Selkirk, Scotland.  He enlisted into the 9th Royal Scots at Edinburgh on 23rd August 1915, having recently completed 3 months at Leicester Junior Training Corps.  He was promoted to Lance Corporal for a short while but reverted to Private on embarkation.  Before leaving for France, Maurice put his affairs in order and wrote a will leaving everything to his mother Ann.  He served in France for three months 1916-1917 then returned to England.  He was discharged from the Army as ‘unfit for further service’ on 20th April 1917, due to a malformation of the anus which had been present since childhood and been operated on unsuccessfully.  At first the Army refused to accept that active service had aggravated his condition and declined to award Maurice a pension, instead giving him a gratuity of £30.  However, his father sent documents supporting Maurice’s claim that war service had made his condition worse and affected his overall health and the Army eventually awarded a pension.  He was also given the Silver War Badge.

Maurice returned to work as a hosiery manager but died on 12th October 1918 at home at 5 Winchester Avenue, of pneumonia almost certainly caused by co-called Spanish Flu.  As he had planned in 1916, concerned about dying in battle, his estate of £180 16s 9d was given to his mother.  Maurice’s funeral took place at St Martin’s a few days later and he was buried at Welford Road Cemetery.  He is first-named on the St Martin’s parish war memorial.  Maurice typifies the ad-hoc approach to commemorating the fallen at a local level because whilst he did serve as a soldier during the war his death was probably unrelated, whereas others who died later on as a direct result of wounds and illness sustained on active service did not appear.

Meanwhile Reginald, who was born on 13th August and baptised at Great Bowden on 29th October 1898, worked as a commercial clerk for Lennard Bros, Asylum Street (ladies’ shoe makers), before enlisting at Leicester in February 1917 aged 18.  He joined the 1st Royal Fusiliers and was appointed Lance Corporal but soon deprived of this rank due to “neglect of duty”.  Reginald seems to have found it difficult to adjust to army life.  Just six weeks later he was punished for non-appearance at morning inspection and soon after for being found in a barrack room during an air raid.  He left Surrey for the front with the 12th East Surrey Regiment and fought in France between April and September 1918 before sustaining a gunshot wound to the neck and shrapnel wound to the head.  His name was published in the Weekly Casualty List (Wounded) on 15th October, along with a great many of his regiment.  He was treated at No 7 Canadian General Hospital at Etaples and then No 16 Canadian General Hospital in Orpington before being transferred to the Royal Engineers Railway Commandment Authority in February 1919 for rehabilitative training and was finally discharged as unfit for further service on 12th June of that year.  No wonder – x-rays revealed several pieces of metal measuring ½” x 1’4” inside his skull, causing disabling headaches and giddiness.  Like his brother, Reginald was awarded the Silver War Badge and returned to live at home at Winchester Avenue.

Nevertheless, after the war Reginald continued civilian working life as a tax clerk and civil servant.  He left 5 Winchester Avenue in 1924 and probably moved to London soon after.  He married Kate Booker (1899-1991) in London in 1927 and they had two children David Bruce (1930-) and Jeannette Phyllis (1932-1971), both born in London.  They lived at the same house in Harrow – 30 Flambard Road – throughout the Second World War and until at least 1982.  Kate worked from home as a dressmaker.  Reginald and Kate eventually moved to Worcestershire where Reginald died in August 1988 and Kate in 1991.

After Maurice William Allard’s death his father became involved in various Union activities.  Between 1922 and 1924 he was secretary of the National Federation of Hosiery Manufacturers and 1925-28 he was district secretary of the Federation of British Industries, which lobbied for tariff reform.  In 1929 he registered a patent for improvements relating to ladies’ knickers.  Maurice died at a hospital in Skegness in 1937, still living at 5 Winchester Avenue.  Annie moved to 261 Overton Road and lived a few more years, dying in 1941.

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