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Henry Liles Allen graduated from Wadesboro High School in 1936, attended The Citadel for two years and then transferred to UNC.
After graduating in 1940, he entered the service in January 1942 and completed flight training in June 1943. He joined the 15th Air Force in Italy in February 1944.
On Feb. 20, 1944, the U.S. 8th and 15th Army Air Forces began Operation Argument, a weeklong series of operations against the German aircraft industry. These manufacturing facilities were heavily defended, and the 15th Air Force lost 90 aircraft of the slightly more than 500 that flew missions.
On Feb. 25, 1944, Allen flew as co-pilot with an experienced B-17 crew to gain experience before taking command of his own airplane. The crew dropped their bombs on aircraft plants in Regensburg, Germany. On the way back, the plane was damaged by antiaircraft fire and German fighters. One of Allen’s surviving crewmates wrote to Allen’s mother:
“The fighter struck, hit us from about 8 o’clock low, and some of his incendiary bullets pierced the bomb bays and set the gasoline on fire. Lieut. Knapp knew the situation, and slowly withdrew the plane from the formation so that it would not endanger the more fortunate planes that were returning home. Despite the intense heat and suffocating fumes, he and Lieut. Allen held the plane as level as possible, sounded the alarm, and allowed us to bail out.”
Allen was listed as missing in action on Feb. 25, 1944, and was officially declared dead after the war.
Alumni Secretary J. Marion “Spike” Saunders ’25 wrote to Mr. and Mr. Allen: “Henry loved the University, and always seemed to receive news from Chapel Hill with so much appreciation. We here feel that his service to his country has become a part of the imperishable traditions of the University and we honor his memory. I hope that the weight of sorrow which I know has been on your hearts is softened by happy memories of his useful life and service.” Sources: GAA Alumni Records
According to information from a fellow airman and a newspaper article from 1988. Lt. Henry L. Allen was killed when his plane was shot down and crashed in the yard of a German citizen named Seeuber. Mr. Seehuber and other citizens of Altotting arranged a funeral wervice for the six american airmen and buried them on Mr. Seehuber's property. In 1988. Mr. Seehuber's son, Andreas who at age 14 had first discovered the plane wreckage, invited the families of the six airmen to a Memorial Service for the airmen. In August, 1988, a memorial service was held , attended by military representatives of the U.S. military in West Germany and the U.S. Air Force. They placed wreaths at the base of a large bronze plaque. At some time between 1944 and the present, Lt.Allen's body was returned to be buried in Wadesboro, N.C.
All of his immediate family were deceased at the time of the service in Altotting in 1988. The U. S. Army declined to provide any information to his relatives citing the Freedom of Information requirements.
2Lt. Henry Allen is buried at Eastview Cemetery in Wadesboro, Anson County, North Carolina.