Derrick Allen citation for Conspicuous Gallantry Medal



Derrick Allen citation for Conspicuous Gallantry Medal


Account of night 2 November 1944. Sergeant Allen's Lancaster was attacked by night fighter after successful attack on Dusseldorf. Allen opened fire twice and damaged fighter but the Lancaster was badly damaged. Whilst Lancaster was in uncontrolled dive Allen went to the rear and in desperate circumstances released the rear gunner from jammed turret with an axe. The aircraft broke in two he successfully parachuted. Signed by station commander, base 53 commander and air officer commanding 5 group.



Temporal Coverage



One-page typewritten document mounted on an album page


This content is available under a CC BY-NC 4.0 International license (Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0). It has been published ‘as is’ and may contain inaccuracies or culturally inappropriate references that do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of the University of Lincoln or the International Bomber Command Centre. For more information, visit and





Recognition of which recommended: C.G.M.

Appointment held: Air Gunner

Particulars of meritorious service for which recommendation is made:-

SGT. ALLEN was the mid-upper gunner of an aircraft detailed to attack DUSSELDORF on the night of the 2nd November 1944. Shortly after leaving the target his aircraft was attached by an enemy night fighter. SGT. ALLEN opened fire, damaging the enemy aircraft, but the enemy continued to close in and shot away more than half of the port fin and rudder as well as damaging the fuselage and control trims. As a result, the captain had great difficulty in controlling the aircraft. Some minutes later, the enemy fighter again attached the damaged bomber. SGT. ALLEN again opened fire, but the enemy fighter set fire to the port outer engine, and again hit the fuselage. The captain attempted to extinguish the fire in the flaming engine without avail. The aircraft lost height in an uncontrolled dive, and the captain ordered the crew to abandon the aircraft. The rear gunner however, was unable to open his doors, so SGT. ALLEN immediately went to the assistance of the rear gunner, and chopped away at the doors with an axe. The aircraft was blazing and rapidly losing height, but SGT. ALLEN gallantly continued to work freeing the rear gunner. In desperate circumstances SGT. ALLEN succeeded in freeing the rear gunner from his turret and moved forward to bale out. At this moment the aircraft broke in two, and SGT. ALLEN found himself in mid air, he immediately pulled his rip cord and very soon after landed. In this gallant and devotion to duty beyond praise and in keeping with the highest traditions of the Royal Air Force. In recognition of his outstanding heroism and extreme devotion to duty, I recommend that SGT. ALLEN receive an immediate award of the C.G.M.

Date: January 14th 1945.

[signed] D W F Bonham-Carter [/signed]
Group Captain, Commanding,
R.A.F. Station, Waddington

I consider the heroism and devotion to duty displayed by Sgt. Allen on this occasion to beyond praise. A fact not made clear in the citation is that the Captain ordered the crew to abandon the aircraft when it was at 17,000 feet. Four members of the crew left safely at this stage and Sgt. Allen might easily have done the same, but he continued his efforts to free the rear gunner until the aircraft broke up at about 2,000 feet. The three remaining occupants were thrown clear, but the pilot’s and rear gunner’s parachutes were not used and they were killed. By his determination to aid the rear gunner, Sgt. Allen almost forfeited his own life, and I do most strongly recommend that he be awarded the Conspicuous Gallantry Medal (Flying).

Date:- 19th January, 1945.

[signed] A Hesketh [/signed]
Air Commodore, Commanding,
[under lined] No. 53 Base, Waddington. [/underlined]

[handwritten] I strongly recommend the Immediate Award of the Conspicuous Gallantry Medal. [/handwritten]

Date:- [underlined] 22 Jan 45 [/underlined]

[signed] H A Constantine [/signed]
Air Vice Marshal, Commanding,
[under lined] No. 5 Group, Royal Air Force



Great Britain. Royal Air Force, “Derrick Allen citation for Conspicuous Gallantry Medal,” IBCC Digital Archive, accessed April 12, 2024,

Item Relations

This item has no relations.