Arthur Samuel ALLEN DSO

ALLEN, Arthur Samuel

Service Number: NX2
Enlisted: 13 October 1939
Last Rank: Major General
Last Unit: 13th Infantry Battalion
Born: Hurstville, New South Wales, Australia, 10 March 1894
Home Town: Not yet discovered
Schooling: Not yet discovered
Occupation: Not yet discovered
Died: Adelaide, South Australia, 25 January 1959, aged 64 years, cause of death not yet discovered
Cemetery: AIF Cemetery, West Terrace Cemetery, Adelaide, South Australia
Section: LO, Road: 2S, Site No: 18
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World War 1 Service

9 Aug 1915: Involvement Lieutenant, 13th Infantry Battalion
9 Aug 1915: Embarked Lieutenant, 13th Infantry Battalion, HMAT Runic, Sydney

World War 2 Service

13 Oct 1939: Enlisted Australian Military Forces (Army WW2), Major General, SN NX2

Arthur Samuel Allen

Arthur enlisted into the AIF as a 2nd Lieutenant and was allocated to the 8th reinforcements of the 13th Battalion AIF, and saw service in Egypt. He was promoted Lieutenant on the 01-02-1916 and transferred to the 45th Battalion AIF at Tel al Keber, and further promoted to Captain on the 12-03-1916. Arthur was awarded a Distinguished Service Order on the 28-08-1917, his citation reads:

“For conspicuous gallantry and devotion to duty. He led his company with great dash and determination against enemy trenches through heavy artillery and machine-gun barrage, and against a stubborn resistance of the garrison, of whom he captured 100 prisoners. He continued to rally and lead his men to the attack, gaining further ground by his aggressive spirit, and setting a fine example of initiative and organizing ability”.

Later he was promoted Major whilst in the field on the 19-09-1917, and Mentioned in Despatches “For distinguished and Gallant service and devotion to duty during the period 26-02-1917 to 20-09-1917”. Arthur transferred the 48th Battalion AIF to command temporary with the temporary rank of Lt Colonel on the 20-04-1918. He was taken back on the strength of the 45th Battalion AIF with the rank of Major on the 22-05-1918 His service record also states that:
To be honorary Captain and to be noted for Brevet Rank of Major in the Australian Military Forces on promotion to the substantive rank of Captain, for specially meritorious service during the present war.
He was awarded the French Croix De Guerre 01-11-1918, and promoted Lt-Colonel on the 20-11-1918, returning to Australia and his appointment terminated on the 10-11-1919.
Arthur returned to his profession of an Accountant after the War however still served as an Officer in the Australian Military Forces receiving the following promotions, Major 31-03-1921, Lt Colonel 31-03-1921, Colonel 31-10-1933, Temporary Brigadier General 13-10-1939 and enlisted for service in the 2nd AIF, Regimental number NX2. He saw active service once again in the Middle East from 14th January 1940 to 16th March 1942 where he was awarded a Greek Military Cross class A and promoted to the rank of Major General on the 14-08-1941, he then served in New Guinea from 13th August 1942 to 4th March 1943. On his return from New Guinea he was appointed General Officer Commanding Northern Territory Forces on the 15th March 1943 till 28th October 1944, his appointment being terminated on the 30th April 1945. In his service record it states that his WW2 Campaign Stars awarded in 1948 were lost in the mail, another three Stars were re-impressed and posted to his address on the 24th September 1951. Major General Arthur Samuel Allen died on the 25th January 1959 aged 65.

1. Companion of the Bath - Listed in the LG 08-07-1941 Page 3881
2. Commander of the Order of the British Empire - Listed in the LG 01-04-1941 Page 1865
3. Distinguished Service Order - Listed in the LG 25-08-1917 Page 8803
4. 1914-15 Star
5. British War Medal
6. Victory Medal
7. Mentioned in Despatches - Listed in the CG 18-04-1918 Page 843
8. 1939-45 Star
9. Africa Star
10. Pacific Star
11. Defence Medal
12. War Medal
13. Mentioned in Despatches - Listed in the LG 30-12-1941 Page 7357
14. Australian Service Medal
15. The Colonial Auxiliary Forces Officers Decoration - Listed in the CG 16-05-1929
16. 1937 Coronation Medal
17. 1953 Coronation Medal
18. French Croix De Guerre - Listed in the CG 23-05-1919 Page 893
“ For continuous devotion to duty and untiring energy during the whole of the fighting from February till July 1918. During this period Major Allen was either in command or 2nd in command of a Battalion. During the heavy fighting near ALBERT on 27th March and 5th April 1918, Major Allen commanded the 45th Battalion with conspicuous gallantry and skill. In both engagements his Battalion made a strong defence and stubbornly resisted the enemy attacks. When the 12th Australian Infantry Brigade participated with the French in the attack on MONUMENT WOOD near VILLERS BRETONNEUX on 3rd May 1918, Major Allen commanded the 48th Battalion which made the actual attack on the 12th Australian Infantry Brigade front in conjunction with the French on their right flank. On this occasion Major Allen handled his Battalion with great tactical skill. Throughout the fight he showed great personal courage and his extreme coolness, confidence, and personal bravery inspired all”.
19. Greek Military Cross, Class A - Listed in the CG 23-11-1944 Page 2607

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Biography contributed by Faithe Jones

Arthur Allen's rotund appearance earned him the nickname "Tubby" amongst his fellow officers in the Australian Army. While this moniker conjured visions in one's mind of a cuddly, harmless teddy bear, this could not be further from the truth. When Thomas Blamey was appointing brigade commanders for the 6th Division, Allen was one of the three officers chosen. As the 6th Division played a pivotal role in the drive from Cairo westward along the Mediterranean coast of North Africa, scattering substantial Italian forces before them, Allen's 2/16 Brigade spearheaded the assault on the first coastal town encountered, Bardia. The 2/16 Brigade, and its commander, gained a fearsome reputation as they remained on the forefront of the Allied offensive all the way to Benghazi (a distance of 800 kilometres). Despite the strategic errors of British command, Allen and the 2/16 Brigade retained their reputation in the ill-fated Greek campaign, so on 18 June 1941 Blamey promoted Allen to the rank of major-general and appointed commander of the 7th Division. Allen and his new division faced difficult conditions in Syria, before Churchill decided to send the 6th and 7th Divisions back to the Far East, but Curtin, upon the advice of the Australian military chiefs, insisted that those AIF divisions return home post haste. After their arrival in their homeland, Allen and the division under his command contributed to the difficult fighting in the jungle of Papua New Guinea.

Arthur Samuel Allen was born in Hurstville, a suburb of Sydney, in 1894. He attended Hurstville Superior Public School before gaining work as an audit clerk with the NSW Government Railways. He then served in the 39th Battalion of the militia, but not commissioned until 1913. He was appointed to the First AIF on 24 June 1915, embarking with reinforcements for the 13th Battalion in August, bound for Egypt. In March 1916 he was promoted to captain and assigned the 45th Battalion. He arrived in France on 8 June 1916 and fought at Pozeres in August. He remained leading in the front line in the Battle of the Somme during 1917, as well as through the Battle of Messines in June. The following month Allen's leadership despite heavy casualties was officially recognized when he received the Distinguished Service Order and was promoted to the rank of major. He attained the rank of lieutenant-colonel in command of the 48th Battalion, which he led at Monument Wood. He was awarded the French Croix de Guerre for his service on the Western Front, but his appointment with the AIF ended on 10 November 1919. He became an accountant after the war and married Agnes Blair in 1921. He remained active in the militia, attempting to simultaneously live as a civilian and a soldier. In 1933 he was made a full colonel in command of the 14th Brigade. In 1938 he was promoted to brigadier, attaining the command of the 2/16 Brigade, that earned him such a high military status, in October 1939. By the time he returned to Australia in March 1942, Allen was one of the few officers in the Australian Army who had commanded, through both world wars, men from platoon level, through company, battalion, and finally divisional level. Unfortunately Allen was relieved of the command of the 7th Division on 29 October due to Blamey and MacArthur's squabbling during the Kokoda campaign. He was replaced by George Vasey. Later in that month Allen was made Knight Commander of the Order of the British Empire. The official historian observed that Allen was:

Blunt in speech, honest as the day, choleric yet kindly, without affectation or pomposity, he was a leader of a kind that immediately appeals to Australians. His military lore is drawn from experience rather than study, and is based upon a wide and sympathetic knowledge of men in battle.
After the war he became a senior partner in an accountancy firm. Passing away in 1959, Allen was given a military funeral, after which he was cremated. He was survived by his wife and two sons.

ww2dbaseSources: P. Brune, A Bastard of a Place: Australians in Papua, Australian War Memorial, J. Beaumont, Australia's War: 1939-45.