Larren M. Allen
Mr. and Mrs. Don C. Allen of 329 S. 4th street have been notified by the
Navy Department that their son, Lieut. Larren M. Allen, 30, a Navel Reserve pilot,
is missing in action in the Southwest Pacific.
Lieut. Allen has been in the Navel Reserve since February, 1940, and left San Diego
for overseas duty June 24, 1943.
The flier is one of a family of 13 children born to Mr. and Mrs. Allen. He has
four brothers in the armed services, two of them overseas, and a sister in the WACS.
Lieut. Allen was married to Catherine Gier November 22, 1942, who is with her parents
in Jacksonville, Fla. A son was born to them December 31, 1943.
The brothers of the missing flier are Sgt. Gilman Allen, an aerial gunner with an air
force unit overseas in the Atlantic area; Sgt. Corbin Allen, in the air corps, stationed
in Michigan; Pvt. Gale Allen, U.S. Marines, San Diego; and Pfc. Hardy Allen, a Marine in
the Southwest Pacific.
His sisters are: Sgt. Ann Hughes of the WACS; Mrs. Savannah Warren of Davenport, Iowa;
Mrs. Alma Whitsell of Preemption, Ill.; Mrs. Roberta Taylor of Los Angeles; Mrs. Freda Smith
of Los Angeles; Mrs. Lena Fay Hayes of Mt. Vernon; and Mrs. Delilah Wilkey of Belle Rive.
(The following article was printed in the Mt. Vernon Register-News dated June 2, 2001.)
Shot down by enemy forces while protecting a commander's plane, Larren M. Allen, a former
Jefferson County resident, was hailed as a World War II hero.
Allen was one of the veterans featured in last weekend's Register-News Memorial Day photo
tribute on Page 4A.
Virgina Oathout Walker of Waltonville Road identified Allen as one of her relatives and
provided the newspaper with military documents and a book about the Allen family, "The Allens
of Little Egypt," by Hardy Lee Hiram Allen. The book was compiled and edited by Corben Elko Allen.
Allen's grandmother was Walker's aunt.
"He certainly deserves some credit, as he was a hero," Walker said. "All of Larren's
brothers also served in the military.
Navy man Allen was reported missing in action Jan. 4,1944, when the plane he was flying,
a unit of Photographic Squadron 3, was shot down by an enemy fighter plane over the Pacific
during the Marshall-Gilbert Action about 15 miles south of Kwajalein, according to documents
supplied by Walker.
According to Navy documents, Allen was piloting a PB4Y-1 Liberator during a minimum altitude,
oblique photographic reconnaissance mission along the beaches of the heavily defended enemy air
base at Roi Island along the adjacent reefs and islands of Kwajalein Atoll.
Allen and the plane of the commander approached the islands from the north at minimum altitude
of 200 feet, about 10,000 feet of the beach and covered a distance of about five miles. Enemy
fighters took off from the airfield just as the planes started their run and intercepted the
planes as they sought to retire from the target.
Twelve Zekes took positions above the planes, bracketing them, and made persistent high side
attacks on both planes with six fighters. Their attacks were fought off by the gunners for awhile,
but Allen's plane was hit and crashed into the water. As soon as Allen crashed, the attack on
the commander's stopped. The primary mission of Allen's plane was to cover the commander's plane
against enemy fighters.
"Fulfilling this mission with great skill, Lt. Allen at all times kept his plane in close
formation on the wing of the commander's plane where he was unquestionably subjected to the
heaviest and most vicious fighter attacks," reads a Navy document. "The commander's success
in bring back photographs of the highest military importance was in large measure due to the
excellent protection provided by Lt. Allen. He displayed extraordinary heroism."
Allen was born Oct. 15, 1913, in Mt. Vernon, the fifth child and third son of Don Clarence and
Grace (Pigg) Allen.
He married Catherine Elizabeth (Geyer) Anderson Nov. 20, 1942, at the Navel Air Station in
Pensacola, Fla. She died Sept. 5, 1953, at the U.S. Naval Hospital in Charleston, S.C.
Allen was given the Purple Heart, the Distinguished Flying Cross, the American Defense Service
Medal, the World War II Victory Medal, the American Campaign Medal, the Asiatic-Pacific Area
Campaign Medal, and two Bronze Star Medals.
Submitted by: Ken Richardson