William ALLEN

ALLEN, William

Service Number: 552
Enlisted: 26 August 1914
Last Rank: Private
Last Unit: 9th Infantry Battalion
Born: Toowoomba, Queensland, Australia, 8 February 1884
Home Town: Maryborough, Fraser Coast, Queensland
Schooling: Not yet discovered
Occupation: Painter
Died: Malaria & Dysentry whilst a prisoner of war, Belemedik POW Camp, Turkey, Belemedik, Turkey, date not yet discovered
Cemetery: Baghdad (North Gate) War Cemetery
Plot XXI, Row F, Grave 4,
Memorials: Australian War Memorial Roll of Honour, Ballarat Australian Ex-Prisoners of War Memorial, Maryborough City Hall Honour Roll
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World War 1 Service

26 Aug 1914: Enlisted AIF WW1, Private, 552, 9th Infantry Battalion
24 Sep 1914: Involvement Private, 552, 9th Infantry Battalion, --- :embarkation_roll: roll_number: '9' embarkation_place: Brisbane embarkation_ship: HMAT Omrah embarkation_ship_number: A5 public_note: ''
24 Sep 1914: Embarked Private, 552, 9th Infantry Battalion, HMAT Omrah, Brisbane
25 Apr 1915: Involvement AIF WW1, Private, 552, 9th Infantry Battalion, ANZAC / Gallipoli
28 Jun 1915: Imprisoned ANZAC / Gallipoli, Reported missing 28 June 1915 at Gaba Tepe. Died of illness in captivity 18 December 1916 at Belemedik Camp, Turkey

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Biography contributed by Robert Wight

Private William Allen was born on 8th February 1884 at Warra in Queensland. He was the 6th child born to Joseph Francis and Elizabeth Eliza Allen (nee Beard). Both parents had died before William enlisted in the Army, Joseph in 1903 and Elizabeth in 1914.

Prior to enlistment at Maryborough on 26th August 1914 he had spent 3 years in Wide Bay Infantry Regiment and was working as a painter & decorator. He finished school at 18 after secondary schooling. William was 30 years old when he enlisted and conformed to the enlistment standards that were in place at the beginning of the war.

William was posted as a Private with 9th Battalion A.I.F and along with his elder brother James, embarked at Pinkenba Wharf, Brisbane aboard the H.M.A.T Omrah (A5). Between February and March 1915 the 9th Battalion, under orders, moved from Mena Camp through Alexandria to the Island of Lemnos where they encamped until orders for Gallipoli on 8th April 1915.

The 9th Battalion embarked aboard the Malda, one of the 30 - 40 transport ships, and under cover of darkness disembarked into lifeboats to go ashore on 25th April 1915 at Ari Burnu. William stated "We knew that we were to face a strong enemy. For a while it was very exciting. We entered the trenches and fought back against the strong attacks". "With the explosion of shrapnel the people around me died, they took me prisoner as I was distracted". William was later to be reported as missing on 28th June 1915 and held as a prisoner of war by the Turks initially at Constantinople and later at Belemedik. He was with other prisoners who worked on the Baghdad rail line.

He died from Malaria & Dysentery while a prisoner of war. He was initially buried in the Christian Cemetery at Belemedik and later reburied at Baghdad North Gate War Cemetery, Iraq, Plot 21, Row F, grave 4. The last personal effects of William were returned home to his family via S.S Euripides in October 1917. Brothers who also served in WW1 - James 601 Military Medal, John Walter 1502, Samuel 1713, Archibald 1757

Source: Adopt a digger.org

Statement, Red Cross File No 70107, CPO R.W. SIMS, 24 February 1919: 'Taken prisoner by the turks on June 28th 1915. This private died in Hospital after rather a long illness of Malaria dysentery etc. on the 18th December 1916. Belmedik Bozanli. This man had every possible attention in this Hospital as at this time we had Major McMullen Pearson, I[ndian]M[edical]S[ervice], in attendance, - captured at Kut. The funeral was carried out by his comrades according to the rites of the English Church. A large cross was erected for identification and remembrance.'