Walter Otto Herbert (Wal) ALLEN

ALLEN, Walter Otto Herbert

Service Number: 1612
Enlisted: 31 December 1915, Coolamon, New South Wales
Last Rank: Corporal
Last Unit: 55th Infantry Battalion
Born: Bendigo, Victoria, 1890
Home Town: Coolamon, Coolamon, New South Wales
Schooling: Gravel Hill State School
Occupation: Farmer
Died: Shell, Morlancourt, France, 4 July 1918
Cemetery: No known grave - "Known Unto God"
Memorials: Australian War Memorial Roll of Honour, Coolamon War Memorial, Methul & Coolamon Honour Roll, Villers-Bretonneux Memorial (Australian National Memorial - France)
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World War 1 Service

31 Dec 1915: Enlisted AIF WW1, Private, 1612, Coolamon, New South Wales
14 Apr 1916: Involvement AIF WW1, Private, 1612, 55th Infantry Battalion, Enlistment/Embarkation WW1
14 Apr 1916: Embarked AIF WW1, Private, 1612, 55th Infantry Battalion, HMAT Ceramic, Sydney
4 Jul 1918: Involvement AIF WW1, Corporal, 1612, 55th Infantry Battalion, Le Hamel - Blueprint for Victory

Help us honour Walter Otto Herbert Allen's service by contributing information, stories, and images so that they can be preserved for future generations.


Walter Allen was born and reared in the Bendigo district in Victoria. His grandfather, Jacob Allen had immigrated from Somerset, England to Victoria in 1851 and settled near Bendigo. His parents,  George Allen and Matilda Agnes Pieper (of Pieper’s Hill, Bendigo) were married at Bendigo in 1888. Walter was one of three children, the other children being  were Ernest E. Allen (Ern) and Frieda.

Wal was born about 1890 near Bendigo. He was educated at ‘Gravel Hill’ Bendigo, Victoria. The family later moved to Dullah in the Ganmain District where in 1907 George was successful in a ballot for property at Rannock, Coolamon.

He named it Friedaville. His brother Ernest remained on the farm (See Mark Brennan, editor, Coolamon)

Wal enlisted at Coolamon on 31 December 1915 aged 25 years, 10 months. Attestation/Oath 20 January 1916. Medical Exam on 31 Dec 1915 at Coolamon by Duncan Buchanan. 5 feet, seven inches; 11 stone 10 lbs, 35-39 inch chest; dark brown complexion; brown eyes, brown hair. Presbyterian; four vaccination marks size of 1/- on left upper arm; scar on right instep; mole on left shoulder; mole on right shoulder; circular scar beneath right knee.

According to Lance Cpl RF Little (RED CROSS FILES) one of medium height, nuggetty, fair; keen on sport; came from Goulburn district

Sgt Burke described him as about 5’10”, thick set and neither dark nor fair; left Aust with kangaroos

Cpl Cole said he was 5’7” stout build, fair complexion; aged 23/25; good name among his mates.

Cpl Price said he had a splendid physique, medium complexion, 5’6” or 5’7”


20 Jan 1916 B Company, Goulburn to 13 April 1916

18 January 1916 Cootamundra Recruiting Office


16 May 1916: Disembarked Ceramic at Port Said

29 July 1916: embarked on HMT Arcadian at Alexandria

9 August 1916: disembarked HMT Arcadian at Southampton via Marseilles

20 Jan 1916 to 9 August 1916 Private in 55th

10 August 1916: appointed Acting Corporal, 14th Training Battalion Camp 5 without pay – Hurdcott

8 January 1917 sick to hospital, 14th Training Battalion, Hurdcott; mumps

10 January 1917: Admitted Fovant Military Hospital Wells with mumps

16 January 1917 discharged from Fovant Military Hospital (mumps)

24 January 1917 Promoted corporal, 14th Training Battalion, Hurdcott

27 January 1917: marched in to 14th Training Battalion, Hurdcott ex hospital

11 April 1917 sick to Fovant Hospital, Hurdcott with influenza ex 14th Tng Bn

28 April 1917 sick to Fovant Hospital, sprained foot ex 14th tng bn


June 1917 Will – WHO Allen bequeathed sister Frieda Matilda Allen, Friedaville, Rannock via Coolamon

Witnesses: L. H. Blacka 54th Battalion, Orderly Room Sgt, 14th Training Battalion; and F. C. Allen, Battalion Orderly Room, 14th Training Battalion.


While other kangaroos proceeded to France he remained in England as instructor at 14th Training Battalion for about 18 months – physical instructor


27 July 1917: Corporal; attended 35th course in physical and bayonet training at Aldershot which terminated on 27 July 1917; qualified as ?? Tidworth

16 October 1917 Corporal; appointed Acting Sgt, 14th Training Battalion; R 6 ALP Depot in UK??

20 October 1917 Acting Sergeant; reverts to Permanent Grade of Corporal

5 November 1917: Cpl Marched in to Overseas Training Brigade, Longbridge, Deverill from 14th Training Battalion, Codford

31 December 1917 Proceeded overseas to France ex Overseas Training Brigade

1 January 1918: Marched in to AIBD, Havre ex England

2 Jan 1918 Marched out to unit

6 January 1918: Taken on strength of 55th Battalion

20 March 1918 Cpl 55th wounded in action; admitted 15 Australian Field Ambulance with multiple wounds to leg; taken to 61st Casualty Clearing Station (shot wound legs)

11 April 1918 NOK advised wounded

13 April 1918: Cpl; discharged to duty to AIBD ex Field Medical Unit ex wounded

16 April 1918 Marched in AIBD, Havre ex Hospital

30 May 1918: Marched out to unit

2 June 1918: rejoined 55th ex wounded

B coy

4 July 1918 Cpl; KIA Corporal Allen was wounded during a raid on the enemy positions south west of Morlancourt, Somme on 4th July 1918 whilst being helped out to the rear, he was killed by a shell. His body could not be found later, nor could any information as to his burial be discovered (Sgd HS Miller Lt Col CO 55th). He was aged 28.

KIA Hamel, France

Cable No CIBl 2687 from CO AIF HQ London 13 July 1918; confirmed by mail from CO AIF HQ London on 15 July 1918

16 July 1918 NOK advised KIA


JE Walker was helping to carry him from No Mans Land to his own lines just in front of Hamel. He had been badly hit all down the right side; he was conscious but in a bad state than a shell burst just in front of them. Walker himself was wounded and Allen hit again. Walker did not see him after that.

GRL Redford (Cpl) said they’d been lying on the tape ready to go over when one of their own trench mortars landed short and Allen wounded. Sgt E. Bouke dressed him and carried him back to our front line.

RF Little ‘On July 4 at 3.10 a.m. on the tape in the trench ready to hop over at Sailly le Sec, Allen was wounded by a flying pig i.e. HTM? I was only a few yards away and saw it happed. S/S Sgt Burke DCM helped to carry him out when Allen was struck by a shell and killed. The S/Bs left the body and returned but could find no trace of the body when they returned to the spot.

FG Goodchild 2659: buried between Heilliy and Aubigny. ‘I saw the two crosses with the names etc of Allen and Hart and the others (about 12 altogether) ready for erection. They were all buried in the same cemetery between Heilly and Aubigny.

Cpl DH Price had been told Allen had been killed by a shell whilst he as being helped back already wounded. Later could not find his body. D Copy 7 Platoon.

Lance Cpl AJ Gillett (55th) – left of Hamel (? Of Moroncourt) Cpl Allen went out with raiding party and was badly wounded. SGt Burke carried him some distance but Allen was dying and asked to be put down. Sgt Burke had to leave him as he was a big man. This happened in No Mans Land.

Sgt E.T. Bourke (7th platoon, b coy, 55th) Re 1612 Cpl Allen WHO reported killed in action on 4-7-18, I am very sorry to say he was killed on that date. He first got wounded by a shell in No Man’s Land coming back from a raid on the enemy’s line when he first got hit; he ran up to me and said “I am done old man,” and then fainted off. He was badly wounded in face and left side. I carried him from where he was wounded to a little behind out outpost line and lay him in a hole out of harm’s way of the enemies’ shells which were failing like hailstones. After we were in the hole for a while, Cpl Allen came to and said “Iam dying fast, leave me in the hole and get in and save yourself” as cool as if he was only going to have a short sleep. He was brave to the last and the sort of soldier that makes Australian history. After I had rested for a while I started off with him again and got to within 50 yards of our support line when he was again wounded and died in few minutes. He was buried where I left him in the field in front of a village called Morlancourt and all I can say is that cpl Allen was a true and brave comrade. He bore his wounds and took his fate without a murmur. Description: about 5’10” thick set and neither drk nor fair; left Australia with the Kangaroos and remained in England as instructor at 14th training battalion for about 18 months.

Cpl H. Cole 2525 B Coy 55th stated ‘that Allen was in B Company. On 4.7.18 the Battalion was holding the line at Hamel. About 4 or 5 a.m. a party of about 180 men drawn from the Battalion set out to make a reconnoitering raid on the German second line which was about 1,000 yards from our line. They quickly gained the trench and about quarter of an hour after setting out were on their way back, after having ascertained what they went in search of.; They had reached the 1st German line when Allen was hit in the head and shoulder by  piece of shell. Informant was next to him at the time. Informant spoke to Allen and he replied that he felt “Alright”. Informant was hit at the same time and after going on about 40 yards could go no further, he then saw Allen being helped out by Sergeant Bourke and Informant never saw him again. Informant was afterwards told, however, by a B Company man that Allen was hit again before regaining our lines and was killed outright. No particulars as to burial were forthcoming.



Buried between Heilly and Aubigny


18 August 1918 – effects received from the field – one parcel – with two discs, 1 bible, 1 diary, 1 dictionary, 1 metal cigarette case, 1 YMCA wallet, 1 German shoulder strap, 1 safety razor in metal case, photos, cards, letters, certificate. Came per Austral Glen on 28 March 1919.


30 August 1918: Higgins and Robinson, solicitors acting for G.E. Allen, executor for will re application for probate


23 August 1918 Mutual Life and Citizens Association Co Ltd asks for death certificate


28 December 1918 – request to British Red Cross for details re where he buried and how he was killed. Killed on 4th July 1918. any info greatly appreciated 3518 Cpl E.G. Day, 51st battery

Vera Deakin from Red Cross replied on 8 Jan 1919 forwarded unofficial report of SGt ET Bourke


28 March 1919 personal effects per Austral Glen

1 April 1919 one package per Austral Glen to Miss FM Allen, Friedaville, Rannock via Coolamon


15 February 1922 Memorial Scroll to father G.E. Allen and pamphlet ‘Where the Australians Rest


16 November 1922 Memorial Plaque

6 March 1923 Victory Medal

 11 January 1933 LJ Denyer of Rannock (son in law of Mrs GE Allen, Friedaville) asked Base Records for replacement NOK badge – to cost 6/4 including postage. (had been lost by mother in law)

 2 February 1933 MA Allen received medals

 Memorial 26 Villers Bretonneux France