Fred Allcock
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This page is in memory of Stoker Petty Officer Fred Allcock who was killed when H.M.S. Juno was sunk off the coast of Crete 21st May 1941.  I was contacted by his son Gerald who was kind enough to send me photos and documents, including some of the very personal letters from Fred to his wife, Alice.  The page is also a tribute to Fred's shipmates on the Juno and the other ships that were sunk off Crete during those days in May 1941.

The last photo of Fred, taken in Malta.

Fred was born on the 21st October, 1905 in Hanley, Stoke-on-Trent, he joined the RN in 1925, aged 20 years, and served until his discharge in 1937, when he was 32.  Fred married Alice in 1935, and he reenlisted in the RN on 20 September 1938.  Alice's sister Lily had previously married Arthur, Fred's brother, and it was through this connection that Fred and Alice came together.  In one of Fred's surviving letters written to Lily & Arthur, (he was one year into a two year period away at sea) he describes how pleased he was that he attended Lily's wedding and met Alice, they got engaged and then Fred went away for 2 years.  But they were determined they would be married when he got back, they were equally determined to get a house and everything organized before they had children.  Their first, Gerald, who has sent me the information about Fred, was born in April 1939.

Fred & Alice get married, 1935

Alice, about 14 yrs old.

Fred served in a number of ships in his years in the RN, one of them was the Bulldog seen in the photo below.

H.M.S. Bulldog passes Europe Point, Gibraltar, Feb 4 1935. Fred served on her.

A card from Fred to Alice, his 'Darling Sweetheart', one Christmas.

Fred [back row on the right] as a footballer.  I don't know if it was a ship's team or some other grouping.  The photo is a little damaged with age.

In 1980 Alice wrote down her memories of her time as a young girl growing up in Hanley near Stoke-on-Trent, she died in 1989 but if she were still alive I'm sure she would not mind me quoting the last few sentences of those memories that she had written down

"...just a few months before Gerald was born we had moved into the new house Fred and I had chosen and watched it being built, we furnished it and to both of us it was wonderful.  Fred didn't spend much time at home, just a few leaves, he was a good family man and to be at home after being at sea for months at a time was a happy time, we didn't spend much time together but I look back and they were the happiest days of my life.

Gerald was born on the 28 April 1939 then came Sept. when War was declared, it was the most frightening time of my life."

This is a picture of the Juno that was used on greetings cards used by crew members to send home.

Christmas would have been a difficult time for all servicemen away from home, and especially those who like Fred, had young children.  In a letter written to his "Darling Mother" sometime before Christmas 1940 he said; "... I should like to think that I were coming home for Xmas as it seems to be having a special attraction for me this time, ...."  Fred's second son was born late in 1940, while Fred was at sea on the Juno and in his letter of 27 Jan, '41 he says "... I don't even know his name.."  Alice called him David.

Xmas party on Juno, possibly 1940.  Fred is back row, 2nd from the right.

Being away at sea was becoming hard for Fred, as it would have been for his shipmates but as he said in his letter; "... it almost renders lumps out of ones heart but it's no good Darling we've got our spot of work to do out here, & we must carry on until such time that we should be relieved or to see it through to the end...".   Mail was always a vital booster for morale for all serving men, but the opposite was also true, a lack of mail hurt.  Fred apologizes to Alice for not having written recently but "... we have just completed a rather extensive trip at sea & I was only allowed to write one sheet of air-mail in nearly three weeks......"  In the same letter "... it not only seems ages since I had any news from home but really is, and it puts one at a loss at what to think..."  News from home was always eagerly awaited.

He was looking forward to getting home and seeing his young family, but did not know when that would be; "..just think Darling he [Gerald] will soon be two years old out of which I have not been home for nearly twelve months, it's a bit grim don't you think so, & not only that there doesn't seem to be any signs of us coming home yet, we will do some-day, we came out here in rather a big hurry & I suppose we shall return in the same way, .... "

The recurring theme in Fred's letters is the wish to come home, and to spend time with Alice and the boys, his last letter home was written on the 5th May; "... I can very often picture myself taking the boys to the corner shop and letting them just simply have what they want.......  I think it's time we had a spot of leave, I love you Darling with all my heart and soul & think of you & the children always ..... "  Fred died 3 weeks later on the 21st.

This photo was sent to me by an Italian, it shows the view from an Italian bomber at the time that the Juno exploded.  It was hit amidships and so Fred is likely to have died in this explosion, he would have been in the engine room.  According to the Captain in his letter to the families of those who died, 'The ship sank almost immediately...'

The telegram that everyone hoped not to receive, this one telling Fred's wife, Alice, that he was 'missing on war service'.  In October Alice received notice that she would receive pension payments of 25 shillings and sixpence a week as a widow, and an additional 14 shillings and nine pence for the two boys, a total of 2-0-3p a week.  Alice, like all those widowed by the war, must have felt that her world had collapsed.

The telegram was followed by other letters confirming that Fred was to be presumed dead and explaining how Alice could apply for a pension.  Unfortunately the letter confirming the telegram had incorrectly quoted Fred's rank (it effectively demoted him), and Alice had to get them to correct this.  That must have hurt a young widow with two children.

Alice received a note from the Palace, and Fred was also remembered in his local paper where it also said that Fred had been a member of the naval detachment which attended the funeral of King George V.  Take a look at the photos on the following page.

To Alice from the Palace.

Gerald follows his father, Fred, into the Navy, middle row, on the left with hand on hip.  17 yrs old in 1955/56 in the Royal Naval Reserve.

Stoker Petty Officer Frederick Allcock, died on H.M.S. Juno on the 21st may, 1941.

Fred is remembered on the Chatham Memorial, the section below is taken from his entry in the Register at The Commonwealth War Graves Commission site.

In Memory of
Petty Officer Stoker FREDERICK ALLCOCK

C/KX 95097, H.M.S. Juno, Royal Navy
who died age 35
on 21 May 1941
Son of James and Margaret Allcock; husband of Alice Allcock, of Stoke-on-Trent, Staffordshire.

Chatham Memorial