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DateOriginal Topic
4th July 2003Cpl W W Allen VC - Living TV - July 8
By Martin Everett
ATV programme - entitled The Antiques Ghost Show - to be broadcast on Living TV (Sky 112) at 9 pm BST on Tuesday July 9 is to contain research into the life of Cpl William Allen who was awarded the VC for his actions at Rorke's Drift.
4th July 2003John Young

Please put me out of my misery, is it Allen or Allan? There appears to be a variation of the spelling on a number of official documents.

Canon William Lummis on page 85 of his work, 'Padre George Smith of Rorke's Drift', writes: 'Allan, whose name is frequently mis-spelt Allen...'

What in your opinion is the correct spelling? And why?

5th July 2003Ian Woodason

By personal choice, and because of the different spellings on differing official documents that you alluded to, I tend to go with the spelling on his (and his family's) gravestone, namely Allan.

Ian Woodason

Keynsham Light Horse - over 1000 headstones and memorials to those involved in the Anglo Zulu War of 1879 online (see links - left)
5th July 2003Martin Everett
Dear John,
May own thoughts on this. Allen's marriage certificate (in Brecon in August 1876 ) shows Allan. His VC is engraved ALLEN which I believe the spelling that the Army recorded for him. So like John Fielding - who is always officially recorded as John Williams.

My Great Grandfather was Samuel Everard and when he enlisted in 38th Foot in 1854, the recruiting sergeant wrote down Samuel Everett. These discrepencies happened before computers and National Insurance and Income Tax! The Victorians could be flexible about these things.
5th July 2003Martin Everett
Dear John,
You caught me very early in the morning - my brain was not in gear. Also I copied the blurb put out by the TV company. Let me start again to avoid confusion.

I believe that WWA was enlisted into the Army as ALLAN. We are unable to check this as his docs have not survived. The citation for the VC and the VC itself show ALLAN. WWA could read and write (acted as Assistant Schoolmaster in Brecon).

The 1851 Census in Northumberland shows family as ALLEN. Marriage certificate (August 1876) in Brecon shows ALLEN.
The regimental line is ALLAN. As I said above accurate spelling of names is not a thing that the Victorians seemed to care much about.

5th July 2003John Young
Martin & Woody,

Thanks very much for your replies, I'll stick with Allan, which I've maintained for sometime now.

Allan is, I told, the Scottish spelling and given his Northumbrian roots, I'll stick with that.

A clipped autograph I've seen shows Allan.

Allen, was informed by a man whose name is William Allen, is the Irish speling.

Thanks again,