July 22, 1916 (Massachusetts) – December 8, 1941; 26 years old
Last local address: Noroton Heights, Darien
Graduated from the United States Naval Academy in June 1938
USS Enterprise (CV-6), Fighter Squadron Six
Born to Eric Allen [also in the Navy] (1880-1951) and Sarah Rogers Allen (1883-1940). Two brothers James (1918-2002) and Benjamin D. (1926-1989). Two sisters Sarah “Sally” C. Allen Manley (1919-2012), and Patricia Allen Close (1922-?).
U.S. Naval Academy senior picture, 1938; from navylog.navymemorial.org
ERIC ALLEN, JR.; Manchester, VT; “Ethan”
The Green Mountains lost another good Republican when Eric came to Annapolis. He admits he was headed for the ministry, but finished by casting his lot with Uncle Sam and has not regretted his choice. An infectious grin and an irrepressible sense of humor put him at ease anywhere, and though self-styled a misogynist, has always been ready to drag for a friend. Well known for his famed shower rendition of “Danny Deever,” nevertheless he has a pleasing voice, and choir and Glee Club always found him present. Around the pool, Eric and unorthodox dives were synonymous, but the sub-squad remembers him as the easiest man to save. Always a good roommate, even to his last clean gloves – may we someday be shipmates. Water Polo 4, 3, 2; Boat Club 1; Glee Club 4, 3, 2, 1; Musical Clubs 4, 2, 1; M.P.O.
Prior to his assignment on the USS Enterprise, Lt Allen saved a fellow pilot off the coast of San Diego in June of 1941.
From The Rutland (Vermont) Daily Herald June 10, 1941
(Special to the Herald) MANCHESTER, June 9 – News of the heroic rescue yesterday of a fellow Navy flyer, who had crashed at sea off the California coast, by Ensign Eric Allen Jr., formerly of Manchester (VT), has reached friends in the vicinity. According to the information received here, Ensign Allen, swam some 300 yards through breakers to rescue Lieutenant F.T. Corbin, who had crashed into the sea off the North Island Air Station near San Diego. Ensign Allen, aloft in another plane, saw the accident and hastily landed his craft on North Island. Plunging into the surf, he swam to the scene and brought Lieutenant Corbin back to shore, uninjured. Ensign Allen is the son of the Reverend Eric Allen Sr., former pastor of the Congregational Church of Manchester. He graduated from Burr & Burton seminary and from the United States Naval Academy in Annapolis in 1938.
From findagrave.com: Eric served as a Lieutenant Junior Grade and pilot of an F4F 6-F-12 Wildcat, Fighter Squadron Six, USS Enterprise (CV-6), U.S. Navy during World War II. He resided in Fairfield County, Connecticut prior to the war.
Killed by friendly fire hours after the attack. During the attack on Pearl Harbor the USS Enterprise, which was at sea and not at Pearl Harbor, dispatched a force of Six Wildcats which escorted a strike force consisting of 18 Torpedo Six TBDs, and six VB-6 Dauntlesses fitted with smoke generators to mask the TBDs as they approached their targets. Their mission was to locate Japanese Aircraft carriers that had launched the attack on Pearl and engage them.
Unable to locate the Japanese the 18 Torpedo Six TBDs and the six VB-6 Dauntlesses were told to return to the Enterprise. The six Wildcats were directed to continue on to Pearl Harbor and render any assistance as necessary.
As the 6 Wildcats approached Hickam Field near Pearl Harbor their arrival there triggered a panic, even though the message of their arrival was repeatedly broadcast, and they were fired upon by ground anti-aircraft fire. After being shot while still in his aircraft, Lt Allen bailed out at a low altitude over Pearl Harbor and suffered internal injuries. He landed in the oily water near the minesweeper Viero (AM-52).
Incredibly and with an indomitable spirit, Allen was able to swim, making his way in great pain through the oil and debris past the crippled battleship USS California toward Ford Island. At the Naval Academy, from which he graduated in 1938, he had been a strong swimmer. As he passed the minesweeper USS Viero (AM-52), sailors pulled Allen from the oily water and rushed him to the naval dispensary. Only when they tried to clean the fuel oil from him did they realize he had been struck by a bullet. By that time, it was too late and LtJG Eric Allen died at 2:00 a.m. on December 8th. After his death, he was buried in Halawa Naval Cemetery on Oahu but was later laid to final rest at the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific in Honolulu, Hawaii.
The fate of the other five pilots:
- Ensign Herbert H. Menges immediately fell victim to the anti-aircraft fire and crashed. He has since been noted as the first Naval fighter pilot to die during World War II.
- LtJG France F. Hebel’s fighter was shot down next and crashed near Wheeler Field. He had suffered a skull fracture during the crash and died.
- Ensign James Daniels was the only one of the six airmen to land on an airfield proper (Ford Island Naval Air Station).
- Ensign Gayle Hermann set down on a small golf course on Ford Island.
- Ensign David Flynn’s F4F apparently ran out of fuel, forcing him to parachute into a cane field near Barbers Point.
With a loss of three pilots and four aircraft, December 7, 1941, saw VF-6’s worst casualties through June 1942. David Flynn and James Daniels both survived the war
From The Norwalk Hour December 15, 1941
Lieutenant Eric Allen Jr., son of Mrs. Eric Allen of Noroton Avenue, Noroton Heights, formerly of Rowayton, was killed in service with the U.S. Navy at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, Mrs. Allen has been notified by telegram by the Navy Department. He died in action in the recent Japanese attack. A graduate of Annapolis, where another brother, James, will receive his commission, on December 19th. Lieutenant Allen was 26. His family has made their home in Noroton Heights for two years, coming to Noroton Heights from Rowayton. The family had previously lived in Manchester, New Hampshire. Lieutenant Allen is survived by his parents, his father being located on the west coast; two sisters, Miss Sally Allen, a member of the Daycroft School faculty; Miss Patricia Allen of Noroton Heights, and two brothers, James Allen, now at the United States Naval Academy, and Benjamin Allen, a student at Deerfield Academy. Webmaster Note: Lt Allen lived in Manchester, Vermont, not New Hampshire.
Buried in the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific, 2177 Puowaina Drive, Honolulu, Hawaii; Section C, Plot 1649. Photo from findagrave.com.