Roland Herbert Allen
t/Lance Corporal, Royal Engineers
Age 15, Class Mat A: 'Decidedly good ability and character - should go far.'
Roland Herbert Allen joined the war effort in June 1917. He lived with his father and sister in East Dulwich Grove and was still completing his studies when he joined the Army at 17 years old. After being attested, Roland found himself appointed to 24th Reserve Brigade, one of 26 Reserve Brigades recently reorganised following the introduction of conscription on 1 September 1916. These brigades, known as ‘Young Soldier Battalions’, primarily concentrated on the basic training of young recruits. After receiving this training, these recruits would then be posted to a ‘Graduate Battalion’ before being posted to the necessary Division. This reserve scheme was experienced by Roland who, after successfully completing basic training, found himself recommended to join the Meteorological Section of the Royal Engineers. This was a home service division, formed in 1915, that was responsible for delivering reports and forecasts on gas and artillery operations as well as supplying the Royal Flying Corps with meteorological information. Roland served with the Royal Engineers in this role until the end of the war and was discharged on 23 January 1919.