Veteran Stories:
Cyril L.C. Allinson

Army

  • Cyril L. C. Allinson served with the same battalion as John Mc Crae during World War I. Collection courtesy of Cynthia Macleod.

    Cyril L. C. Allison served with the same battalion as John Mc Crae during World War I. Collection courtesy of Cynthia Macleod.
  • This envelope containing a letter from the front was misdirected many times before it finally reached the recipient.

    This envelope containing a letter from the front was misdirected many times before it finally reached the recipient.
  • A letter of condolence from a soldier to his lost comrade's family in Canada. 1918.

    A letter of condolence from a soldier to his lost comrade's family in Canada. 1918.
Enlarge Image
Listen to this story

Transcript

My name is Cynthia MacLeod. I am recording something about my father, Cyril L.C. Allinson. He was born in England in 1893. He came out to Canada when he was about twenty years old, I think, and he enlisted with the Canadian Field Artillery. During 1915 and 1916 he fought at La Basse, Givenchy, (?) Lake in the Ypres salient, and at Mount Camel and Plugstreet Wood.

In 1916, August he was commissioned as a Second Lieutenant RGA at 191 Siege Battery. Later he saw action in the Somme, until he moved to Arras and Vimy Ridge for the 1917 battles. He was severely wounded, losing part of his brain and one eye on May the 30th, 1917 during the Battle of Arras. He was discharged in October, 1917.

After he was wounded, his mother was told he would either die or be a vegetable. He being a very determined Englishman heard this and decided no. So although he wore an eye patch (until my mother got him to remove it) and had severe war wounds, he went on to be a successful man and lived a full life.

I'd like to read a little bit from my father's memoirs. He wrote his memoirs for me when he was eighty years old. He talks about the second battle of Ypres where he was at Essex Farm with John McCrae when John McCrae wrote 'In Flanders Fields':

"On the afternoon of Sunday May the 2nd, the 2nd Battery is being strafed heavily. Lieutenant Alex Helmer had left his bunk. En route, an eight inch lands on him, blowing him to pieces. As soon as the strafing stops, a couple of his men go to the burying ground and dig the grave. The others go around the area, picking up as many of the pieces as they can find to put into sand bags, which are then laid into an army blanket in the form of a body. A small group gathered together and John McCrae recites part of the burial service, which we all are familiar with: "I am the resurrection, and the life." John McCrae was terribly moved. Alex Helmer had been one of his close friends. Shortly after that, he went and sat on the ambulance, looking at the grave and then writing the original version of 'In Flanders Fields'.

Follow us