David Allaband

DAVID ALLABAND was born in New Jersey on September 2, 1912. His father, David S. Allaband, died three months before his birth, and his mother Suzanne passed when he was only four years old. The family had lived in Camden’s Eighth Ward, at 1654 Master Street, in 1910. Besides young David, there were two older sisters, Ida May and Elizabeth, better known as Lizzie. Ida May Allaband shows up in the 1914 Camden City Directory at 1818 Mulford Street, also in the Eighth Ward.

David Allaband never went past the second grade, and by the age of 12 was working on the Camden waterfront. He went to sea with the Merchant Marine at the age of 14. By April of 1930 he was living in Philadelphia and working as a longshoreman. He soon returned to Camden, however. David Allaband would go on to work on the docks and on the river aboard tugboats for much of his life.

Being young and unsupervised was not a good thing in those times, and David Allaband managed to get himself into a good deal of trouble in his youth. He already had a record when his participation in a string of robberies as part of the North Cramer Hill Gang earned him a six year sentence to the state prison in October of 1931. He served four years of his sentence before being released.

On his release he turned his back on criminality and put his life in order, returning to Camden and work on and along the river. He married Hazel Flanagan, and by the time he was drafted, in 1944, the Allaband family, then of 255 Mechanic Street, included four children, with one on the way. Five more were born after the war.

David Allaband was inducted into the United States Army on May 5, 1944 at Fort Dix, New Jersey. After basic training he was sent to Camp Claiborne, Louisiana where, on September 230, 1944 the 1385th Engineering Petroleum Distribution Company was formed. This unit was involved in building and maintaining the fuel depots so critical in carrying forward the European Campaign against Nazi Germany. The 1385th arrived in Le Havre, France after first debarking at Liverpool, England and was at Frankenthal, Germany when the Germans surrendered in May of 1945.

The end of war in Europe meant going home for many, but not for the 1385th. The company was sent to the Philippines to prepare for the invasion of Japan. President Truman’s decision to use the atomic bomb against Japan precipitated the enemy’s surrender, and finally brought an end to World War II.

Upon his return to the USA and discharge from the Army, David Allaband returned to Camden, where his wife had remained, the family then residing at 1632 South 6th Street. The large family needed a larger home, so by the mid-1950s he and his family had moved to Creek Road in Bellmawr, New Jersey.

Over the years David Allaband worked on five different tugboats: the Thomas, Rancocas, Christina, Herron, and the Taurus.

David Allaband was last a resident of Sewell, New Jersey. He passed away in April of 1982.

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