November 10, 2004
Lyle Allen drove a tank through Europe during World War II fighting the Third Reich while his wife, Florence Allen, supported her country back home as one among the legions of women repairing and building ships as a riveter.
Lyle Allen will be honored as grand marshal of this year’s Veterans Day parade 10 a.m. Thursday on Main Street in Mesa, with Florence Allen riding by his side.
Now a Gold Canyon resident, in 1942 Lyle Allen was working in the Puget Sound Shipyard in Bremerton, Wash., when he met his future wife.
"I was working on a lathe and he was working in the machine shop, too," Florence Allen said. One night at a social, Lyle Allen asked her to dance and they fell in love. World War II was under way and he was soon pulled into the service. After basic training he had a 14-day leave, so he and Florence married.
While Lyle Allen was shipped to England and then Omaha Beach in the Normandy region of France, Florence Allen stayed in the United States and worked.
Her husband’s absence was hard, "but time passed quickly because I was employed," she said.
While serving in the war, Lyle Allen ate sea rations that caused damage to his stomach, took shrapnel in his eye and suffered frostbite on his feet and ears. The physical ailments and mental trauma have stayed with him.
"War is cruel," he said. "I can’t watch a war picture. I can’t stand the loud explosions that sound like a bomb coming in because we were in a lot of field artillery. It affects you."
Lyle Allen said he promised himself that if he made it home he would enjoy his life. At 84, both Allens just want to see those who have served their country honored.
"(People) should acknowledge it because so many thousands died fighting for our country and I think they should be remembered," Lyle Allen said. "If you live through it, you’re very fortunate. There’s no glory in war."
Welcome to the discussion.
Keep it Clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually-oriented language.
PLEASE TURN OFF YOUR CAPS LOCK.
Don't Threaten. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated.
Be Truthful. Don't knowingly lie about anyone or anything.
Be Nice. No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to another person.
Be Proactive. Use the 'Report' link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.
Share with Us. We'd love to hear eyewitness accounts, the history behind an article.