Tributes paid to D-Day veteran and Légion d’Honneur recipient Patrick Allen, who has died aged 92
PUBLISHED: 16:08 29 August 2017 | UPDATED: 16:45 29 August 2017
Robin Savage Photography
A Normandy veteran from North Walsham who was recently honoured by the French for his role in the D-Day landings has died at the age of 92.
Patrick Allen, known as Paddy, was 19 years old when he served as a first lieutenant on a tank landing craft which took part in missions to Gold Beach in 1944, carrying loads including a dangerous cargo of 206 tonnes of munitions.
In the 11 days following D-Day he was involved in three further crossings.
He was one of the 30 veterans presented with the Légion d’Honneur by General the Lord Dannatt at a ceremony in Norwich in February following the French government’s decision to award its highest military decoration on the 70th anniversary of the country’s liberation.
His son James Allen said he wore the insignia “with great pride”, adding: “He was a person who didn’t necessarily seek recognition.
“He was always extremely hard-working and energetic. He loved living in the countryside and he always had a passion for the coast and anything to do with the water.
“He didn’t talk about the war in any great detail until the 70th anniversary sparked some recollections and discussions. His reflections on the war were that it was tragic in terms of the loss of life, and as far as the invasion was concerned he felt very sorry for the French, and the impact it had on their villages and countryside.”
After the Second World War Mr Allen, who was born in Ipswich, pursued a career in agricultural businesses. He joined the family flour-milling firm of Marriages at Felixstowe and moved to north Norfolk in the 1950s to join his father-in-law’s company, corn merchants and millers Barclay Pallett.
He later worked for Boots Farm Services advising farmers on the application of agricultural chemicals, a relatively new concept in crop management at the time.
Mr Allen was an active member of the North Norfolk Conservative Association, as well as a leading fundraiser. He was made an MBE in recognition of his contribution to party political services in December 1993. He was also actively involved in raising money for the RNLI.
He married Susie (Pallett) in North Walsham in 1951 and they shared a partnership of 62 years until her death in 2013. He is survived by three sons and five grandchildren.
A thanksgiving service will be held at St Nicholas Church in North Walsham at 2pm on Wednesday, August 30.