Service Numbers: 1040, 2856
Enlisted: 3 September 1914
Last Rank: Lance Corporal
Last Unit: 1st Machine Gun Battalion
Born: Bicheno, East Coast Tasmania, 24 August 1889
Home Town: Bunbury, Bunbury, Western Australia
Schooling: Not yet discovered
Occupation: Lumper
Died: Kempton, Tasmania, 22 March 1972, aged 82 years, cause of death not yet discovered
Cemetery: St Mary's Anglican, Kempton
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World War 1 Service

3 Sep 1914: Enlisted AIF WW1, Private, SN 1040, 11th Infantry Battalion
28 Jun 1915: Wounded AIF WW1, Private, SN 1040, 11th Infantry Battalion, 'ANZAC' / Gallipoli, Bullet wound left arm.
9 Nov 1916: Embarked AIF WW1, Private, SN 2856, 51st Infantry Battalion, HMAT Argyllshire, Fremantle
9 Nov 1916: Involvement AIF WW1, Private, SN 2856, 51st Infantry Battalion
28 Jun 1917: Promoted AIF WW1, Lance Corporal, 51st Infantry Battalion
21 Aug 1917: Honoured Military Medal, Details of award not recorded.
24 Oct 1917: Wounded AIF WW1, Lance Corporal, SN 2856, 51st Infantry Battalion, GSW Back
9 Oct 1918: Transferred AIF WW1, Lance Corporal, 1st Machine Gun Battalion

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

Biography contributed by Saint Ignatius' College

Jack Allen (1889-1972)

Jack Allen was born on the 24th of August 1889. In Bicheno, Tasmania. His father’s name was Solomon Allen, who was a farmer of ‘The Ferns’ at Wattle Hill. He later moved to Sorell, Tasmania, in 1895 with his parents. He had two younger brothers, Hedley and Robert, who also both served in WW1 at Gallipoli. Hedley was 22 years old when he served and was awarded a Croix de Guerre (A military medal for heroism) by the king of Belgium. Robert was 19 when he joined. Jack travelled to Western Australia in 1909. He then travelled to Victoria to compete in the 165 Mile Warrnambool to Melbourne bicycle race road race (Australia’s oldest 1-day race), where he won a medallion. He was a Lumper before joining the war, which means he helped unload cargo from ships. He returned to WA when war was declared against Germany in 1914 and signed up at Black Boy Hill (WA). His service number was initially 1040 in the 11th Battalion.

Jack’s reasoning for signing up for war was that he wanted an adventure. Jack travelled to Cairo, Egypt for training in the 11th Battalion, on the SS Ascanius at Fremantle on the 31/10/1914 (See Source 1-5). After several months of training, they travelled to Lemnos Island to practice storming the beach. During the battle, he was wounded by a Turkish sniper, and was evacuated on the first medical ship (HMAT Themistocles). Upon returning to Cairo, he was awarded a Gallipoli Commemorative medal by a Bey (See source 10). Every wounded man on the medical ship received one. He recovered from his wound at the 8th Base Military Hospital for several months. He was then sent home to Australia and discharged from the military.

Jack signed up again and joined the 7/57 Reinforcement as an Acting Sergeant Major. He embarked on the SS Argyllshire on the 13/10/16 to England. He then travelled with the 51st Battalion from France to Belgium (His new service number was 2856). He was present at the Battles of Messines and Passchendaele (Ypres) where he received the Military Medal (See Source 9 & 11) for bravery. He was left for dead in no-man’s land and he made his way to the enemy camp. He stole important documents, and travelled back to the Allied camp, and the documents were sent to England. At one point during the battle, as the soldiers lined up to storm the enemy line (“Going over the top”) a young boy in front of him was scared, as he was number 13 in line, a number generally viewed to be unlucky. He offered to take the boy’s place in order to comfort him, and they swapped positions. Unfortunately, the boy was killed. Jack was wounded at Passchendaele near the end of 1917, so he spent several months in hospital in England. When he had recovered, he joined the 1st Machine Gun Battalion. He also became an instructor for Vickers’ guns in France until the Armistice. He was discharged after 5 years and 47 days in the army. He married a nurse named Caroline in 1921 whom he met when he was in hospital (Sources 6 and 12). They returned to Port Adelaide, Australia on the SS Commonwealth on the 21/6/21. They then travelled by railway to WA where they stayed for 2 months before returning to Tasmania. He remained there for 48 years. While in Tasmania, he joined the Citizens Military Force (Now Army Reserve) and the Volunteer Defence Corps as an instructor on Vickers’ Machine Guns. He was a JP (Justice of the Peace) for 21 years, a fire warden for 10 years and he and his wife were joint Company Secretary to the Committee that helped raise the money for the Kempton War Memorial. (Appointed August 7th, 1946 and completed their objective Nov 27th, 1951). Jack Allen died in 1972, aged 82. He is buried at Kempton, Tasmania (Source 13). He had two children named John and Robinette.




The AIF Project 2016, accessed 25 March 2019, <https://www.aif.adfa.edu.au/showPerson?pid=3277>.


National Archives of Australia 2019, accessed 25 March 2019, <https://recordsearch.naa.gov.au/SearchNRetrieve/Interface/ViewImage.aspx?B=3029774>.


Australian War Memorial n.d., accessed 25 March 2019, <https://www.awm.gov.au/collection/R1526242>.


Centenary of ANZAC n.d., accessed 25 March 2019, <http://www.centenaryofanzac.tas.gov.au/history/shared_stories/sorell_men_who_served_in_the_gallipoli_campaign>.877


Other information provided by Jack Allen’s family members and some dates and names from his handwritten story of his life.