First Aid Boxes - A True Story from Nick Wolsey

from, Nick Wolsey

My Uncle, John Allen, born 1915, died 1997, served as a tank commander in North Africa and Italy. The following is an extracts from the book, The North Irish Horse, a hundred years of service.

"Sergeant Allen and his crew returned that morning in a replacement tank. The attack started at 5.30pm, the order of march being Corporal Barbour, Lieutenant Ballantyne and Sergeant Allan. The enemy reacted immediately with very accurate machine gun and mortar fire. When Corporal Barbour's tank reached the minefield it was blown up, Although further mines exploded in sympathy, the other two tanks were able to struggle past the disabled tank. Sergeant Allen engaged an anti-tank gun in a farmyard and then followed Lieutenant Ballantyne. When Allen's tank was hit on the left track by a mortar bomb, the tank swerved off the road and dropped ten to fifteen feet below the road, coming to rest facing a farm two to three hundred yards away. Sergeant Allen engaged the farm with both machine guns. Lieutenant Ballentyne continued alone to his objective, his tank hit a mine and he and his crew were captured. The crews of the other two tanks remained in their vehicles until after midnight when Colonel Dawnay gave the order to immobilise and evacuate.

In 1962 Major John Allen retired from commanding the Londonderry Squadron after twenty one years service."

Nick Wolsey. What the history book does not record was that Sergeant Allen was brought up on a charge for not bringing the First Aid Kit out of his tank when he evacuated it. This upset him greatly and from that day he kept his first Aid Kit immediately to hand. Even after his retirement he brought that First Aid Kit home and kept it with him while he lived in Londonderry, and then in Elie in Fife, Scotland. (below) Major Allen's FAB.