Allan Oswald COKER


COKER, Allan Oswald

Service Number: 1842
Enlisted: 29 February 1916, Adelaide, South Australia
Last Rank: Private
Last Unit: 5th Pioneer Battalion
Born: Gawler Plains, South Australia, 20 December 1879
Home Town: Salisbury, Salisbury, South Australia
Schooling: Salisbury Public School
Occupation: Farmer
Died: Killed in Action, Morlancourt, France, 29 July 1918, aged 38 years
Cemetery: Beacon Cemetery, Sailly-Laurette
Plot 1, Row C, Grave 1
Tree Plaque: Not yet discovered
Memorials: Adelaide National War Memorial, Australian War Memorial, Roll of Honour, Smithfield Honor Roll WW1, Smithfield War Memorial
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World War 1 Service

29 Feb 1916: Enlisted AIF WW1, Private, SN 1842, Adelaide, South Australia
11 Apr 1916: Involvement AIF WW1, Private, SN 1842, 5th Pioneer Battalion, Enlistment/Embarkation WW1
11 Apr 1916: Embarked AIF WW1, Private, SN 1842, 5th Pioneer Battalion, HMAT Aeneas, Adelaide
29 Jul 1918: Involvement AIF WW1, Private, SN 1842, 5th Pioneer Battalion, "Peaceful Penetration - Low-Cost, High-Gain Tactics on the Western Front"

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

Biography contributed by Julianne Ryan

Allan’s father Wiliam jnr, was born in Wickham-Bishops, Essex England in 1836.

William’s father was also William and was born 4th July 1800 in Wickham-Bishops.

William senior married Sarah Hopgood (b.1808) and the whole family came to South Australia on the Rajasthan in 1838. William senior died in 1869 and is buried in Salisbury.

William junior became a pioneer land owner, farmer, mason and dairyman of the area.
They lived at Salisbury, Para Plains.
He married Hannah Susannah Martin on 13 November 1857 at Gawler Town.

Hannah’s father was George Martin of Gawler.

William and Hannah had 13 children, all born at Gawler Plains.

1.      William                  b. 23 Oct 1858

2.      James                   b. 21 Jan 1860

3.      Hedley James       b. 19 June 1861 – d. 1935

4.      Frederick William   b. 20 May 1863

5.      Albert Edward        b. 8 June 1865

6.      Martha                  b. 21 June 1867

7.      Letita                     b. 16 May 1869

8.      Alfred Ernest         b. 3 July 1871

9.      Lilian                     b. 4 April 1873

10.   Sarah May             b. 1 June 1875 – d. 23/6/1934 Salisbury

11.   Arthur Herbert       b. 7 Dec 1877

12.   Allan Oswald         b. 20 Dec 1879

13.   Elliott Lindon          b. 7 Dec 1884 – d. 20/2/1910 Broken Hill

William jnr died 9/12/1910 75yr and Hannah in 28/2/1912 75yrs in Salisbury.

Allan attended the Salisbury Primary School.  He was a farmer.

Prior to enlisting Alan was closely associated with the Congregational Church and connected to the Literacy Society, Rifle and Cricket clubs. It is said he was held in high esteem by his many friends.

RELATIVES in force:

Nephew: Sgt 2858 Joseph William BLAKE, Australian Army Postal Corps
– son of Allan’s sister Martha BLAKE and Joseph William BLAKE snr

Nephew: Private 1673 Herbert Wiliam COKER 27th Battalion  (b. 8/1/1893)
- son of Hedley James COKER and Grace COKER (nee McNicol)


Allan was described as: 35 years of age; 5’ 7 ¾” tall; 136 lbs; fresh complexion; grey eyes; dark hair; Congregational.

31/12/1915 completed medical in Adelaide, South Australia

29/2/1916 enlisted into WWI in Adelaide, South Australia

15/3/1916 appointed to Base Light Horse, Exhibition Camp

23/3/1916 appointed to 2nd 5th Pioneer

11/04/1916 embarked from Adelaide onboard HMAT A60 Aeneas

as a Private with 5th Pioneer Battalion

16/5/1916 disembarked into Suez, Egypt

21/6/1916 embarked onboard HT Ivernia to join British Expeditionary Forces, ex Alexandria

29/6/1916 disembarked into Marseilles, France

31/8/1916 arrived into Etaples, France

12/9/1916 contracted mumps and influenza

21/9/1916 discharged to unit and fought throughout the Western Front

2-12/9/1917 on leave in France

29/07/1918 killed in action, Morlancourt, France

Buried in: Beacon British Cemetery, Sailly-Laurette, France
                Plot 1, Row C, Grave 1

Buried by: Chaplain Harwood

His name is commemorated on:

- Panel 174 of the Australian War Memorial, Canberra, ACT

- Family grave at Salisbury (Saint John the Evangelist) Church of England Cemetery, Church Street, Salisbury

- His name is on the Salisbury reserve, at the corner of Memorial Avenue and Orange Avenue

- Smithfield War Memorial

Medals: British War Medal (36093); Victory Medal (35820); Memorial Plaque and Scroll (348377)

Submitted by Julianne T Ryan 21/07/2019. Lest we forget.