Captain Arthur Samuel 'Tubby' Allen

Service Number NX2
Birth Date 10 March 1894
Birth Place Australia: New South Wales, Sydney, Hurstville
Death Date 25 January 1959
Death Place Australia: New South Wales, Sydney, Concord
Final Rank Captain
Units
Commonwealth of Australia Gazette 23 May 1919 on page 893 at position 6
London Gazette 7 January 1919 on page 312 at position 1
Physical description

Arthur Allen was born on 10 March 1894 at Hurstville, Sydney. He attended Hurstville Superior Public School before gaining work as an audit clerk with the New South Wales Government Railways. He also joined the cadets and then the 39th Battalion of the Australian Military Forces.

He was commissioned in 1913 and appointed to the Australian Imperial Force (AIF) on 24 June 1915. He embarked for Egypt with reinforcements for the 13th Battalion in August. In March 1916 he was promoted to captain and assigned to the 45th Battalion. Allen arrived in France on 8 June 1916 and fought at Pozieres in August. He remained in the front line on the Somme into 1917 and led his men through the battle of Messines in June. His leadership amidst heavy losses earned Allen the Distinguished Service Order and a promotion to major in July. He continued to lead men in combat, at Dernancourt in April 1918 and then as a lieutenant colonel in charge of the 48th Battalion at Monument Wood.

In June 1918 Allen went to England to attend the senior officers' course at Aldershot. Less than two weeks after the war ended Allen, aged 24, was promoted to lieutenant colonel and given command of the 13th Battalion. He was awarded the French Croix de Guerre for his service on the Western Front; his appointment with the AIF ended on 10 November 1919.

He became an accountant after the war and in December 1921 married Agnes Blair. Allen remained active in the militia and his accounting career continued parallel to his military career. In 1933 he became a full colonel in charge of the 14th Brigade. Five years later, in 1938, he became a brigadier and in October 1939 was given command of the 16th Brigade in the AIFi's 6th Division. His experience of battle informed his leadership and his rotund stature earned him the nickname 'Tubby'.

By 1940 Allen was in the Middle East and his brigade fought at Bardia and Tobruk. In March he left North Africa for the ill-fated Greek campaign, for which he was awarded the Greek Military Cross. His next campaign, in command of the 7th Division against the Vichy French in Syria, was more successful and he was promoted to general in August 1941. He returned to Australia in March 1942 and in August took charge of operations against the Japanese advance on Port Moresby. Again successful, Allen nevertheless came under what many consider unfair criticism from American General Douglas MacArthur and Australian General Thomas Blamey for moving too slowly in pursuit of the Japanese across the Owen Stanley ranges. He was relieved of his command on 29 October. Lesser appointments followed but in October 1944 Blamey recommended Allen be appointed Knight Commander of the Order of the British Empire.

After the war Allen became a senior partner in a Sydney accountancy firm. He died in January 1959 and was given a military funeral before being cremated. He was survived by his wife and two sons.

Collection items

Rolls

  • First World War Embarkation Roll

    Rank
    Lieutenant
    Place of Embarkation
    Sydney
    Embarkation Ship
    HMAT Runic A54
    Date of Embarkation
    09 August 1915
    Conflict
    First World War, 1914-1918

Honours & Awards

  • Honours and Awards:

    Award/Honour
    Companion of the Order of the Bath
    Classification
    Order of the Bath
    Unit
    16th Australian Infantry Brigade
    Conflict
    Second World War, 1939-1945
    Rank
    Brigadier
    London Gazette
    8 July 1941 on page 3881 at position 1
  • Honours and Awards:

    Award/Honour
    Commander of the Order of the British Empire
    Classification
    Order of the British Empire
    Unit
    16th Australian Infantry Brigade
    Conflict
    Second World War, 1939-1945
    Rank
    Brigadier
    London Gazette
    1 April 1941 on page 1865 at position 1
  • Honours and Awards:

    Award/Honour
    Mention in despatches
    Classification
    British/Australian gallantry awards
    Unit
    16th Australian Infantry Brigade
    Conflict
    Second World War, 1939-1945
    Rank
    Brigadier
    London Gazette
    30 December 1941 on page 7357 at position 2
  • Honours and Awards:

    Award/Honour
    Distinguished Service Order
    Classification
    British/Australian gallantry awards
    Unit
    45th Australian Infantry Battalion
    Conflict
    First World War, 1914-1918
    Rank
    Captain
    London Gazette
    25 August 1917 on page 8803 at position 1
    Commonwealth Gazette
    20 December 1917 on page 3379 at position 32
  • Honours and Awards:

    Award/Honour
    Mention in despatches
    Classification
    British/Australian gallantry awards
    Unit
    45th Australian Infantry Battalion
    Conflict
    First World War, 1914-1918
    Rank
    Major
    London Gazette
    28 December 1917 on page 13565 at position 93
    Commonwealth Gazette
    18 April 1918 on page 843 at position 23
  • Honours and Awards:

    Award/Honour
    Greek War Cross, First Class
    Classification
    Greek awards and medals
    Unit
    16th Australian Infantry Brigade
    Conflict
    Second World War, 1939-1945
    Rank
    Major General
    Commonwealth Gazette
    23 November 1944 on page 2607 at position 21
  • Honours and Awards:

    Award/Honour
    French Croix de Guerre
    Classification
    French awards and medals
    Unit
    45th Australian Infantry Battalion
    Conflict
    First World War, 1914-1918
    Rank
    Major
    London Gazette
    7 January 1919 on page 312 at position 1
    Commonwealth Gazette
    23 May 1919 on page 893 at position 6
  • Honours and Awards (Recommendation):

    Award/Honour
    Distinguished Service Order
    Classification
    British/Australian gallantry awards
    Date of Recommendation
    14 June 1917
    Unit
    45th Australian Infantry Battalion
    Conflict
    First World War, 1914-1918
    Rank
    Captain
  • Honours and Awards (Recommendation):

    Award/Honour
    Companion of the Order of the Bath
    Classification
    Order of the Bath
    Conflict
    Second World War, 1939-1945
  • Honours and Awards (Recommendation):

    Award/Honour
    Commander of the Order of the British Empire
    Classification
    Order of the British Empire
    Conflict
    Second World War, 1939-1945
  • Honours and Awards (Recommendation):

    Award/Honour
    Mention in despatches
    Classification
    British/Australian gallantry awards
    Conflict
    Second World War, 1939-1945
  • Honours and Awards (Recommendation):

    Award/Honour
    Greek Military Cross, Class A
    Classification
    Greek awards and medals
    Conflict
    Second World War, 1939-1945
  • Honours and Awards (Recommendation):

    Award/Honour
    Distinguished Service Order
    Classification
    British/Australian gallantry awards
    Date of Recommendation
    14 June 1917
    Unit
    45th Australian Infantry Battalion
    Conflict
    First World War, 1914-1918
    Rank
    Captain
  • Honours and Awards (Recommendation):

    Award/Honour
    Brevet Major
    Classification
    Brevet/temporary/honorary/promotions in rank
    Date of Recommendation
    08 May 1918
    Unit
    38th Australian Infantry Battalion
    Conflict
    First World War, 1914-1918
    Rank
    Lieutenant
  • Honours and Awards (Recommendation):

    Award/Honour
    Brevet Major
    Classification
    Brevet/temporary/honorary/promotions in rank
    Unit
    38th Australian Infantry Battalion
    Conflict
    First World War, 1914-1918
    Rank
    Lieutenant
  • Honours and Awards (Recommendation):

    Award/Honour
    Brevet Major
    Classification
    Brevet/temporary/honorary/promotions in rank
    Unit
    38th Australian Infantry Battalion
    Conflict
    First World War, 1914-1918
    Rank
    Lieutenant
  • Honours and Awards (Recommendation):

    Award/Honour
    Distinguished Service Order
    Classification
    British/Australian gallantry awards
    Date of Recommendation
    06 July 1917
    Unit
    45th Australian Infantry Battalion
    Conflict
    First World War, 1914-1918
    Rank
    Captain
  • Honours and Awards (Recommendation):

    Unit
    45th Australian Infantry Battalion
    Conflict
    First World War, 1914-1918
    Rank
    Commandant
  • Honours and Awards (Recommendation):

    Award/Honour
    French Croix de Guerre
    Classification
    French awards and medals
    Date of Recommendation
    17 September 1918
    Unit
    45th Australian Infantry Battalion
    Conflict
    First World War, 1914-1918
    Rank
    Major

Timeline

Date of birth 1894-03-10 Hurstville, NSW.
Date commissioned 1913
Date and unit at appointment (Officers) 1915-06-24 Appointed to the Australian Imperial Force as a second lieutenant.
Date of embarkation 1915-08-09 Embarked for Eygpt with reinforcements for the 13th Battalion.
Other units 1915-10-23 - 1916-03-02 13th Battalion.
Date promoted 1916-02-01 Appointed lieutenant.
Date promoted 1916-03-02 - 1917-09-25 Appointed capatain and assigned to the 45th Battalion.
Other 1916-06-08 Arrived in France.
Other 1916-08 Fought at Pozieres.
Other 1917-06 Led his men through the battle of Messines.
Date of recommendation honour or award 1917-06-14
Date of recommendation honour or award 1917-06-14
Date promoted 1917-07 Appointed major.
Date of recommendation honour or award 1917-07-06
Date of honour or award 1917-08-25 Distinguished Service Order, for leadership amidst heavy loses at the battle of Messines.
Other units 1917-09-25 - 1918-01-10 Temporary Commanding Officer of 45th Battalion.
Other units 1918-01-10 - 1918-01-25 Temporary Commanding Officer of 48th Battalion.
Other units 1918-01-25 - 1918-02-27 45th Battalion.
Other units 1918-02-27 - 1918-04-19 Temporary Commanding Officer of 45th Battalion.
Date of honour or award 1918-04-18 Mention in Despatches.
Date promoted 1918-04-19 Appointed temporary lieutenant colonel.
Other units 1918-04-19 - 1918-06-29 Temporary Commanding Officer of 48th Battalion.
Date of recommendation honour or award 1918-05-08
Other units 1918-06-29 - 1918-10-04 Senior Officers School, Aldershot.
Date of recommendation honour or award 1918-09-17
Date of recommendation honour or award 1918-09-27
Other units 1918-10-04 - 1918-11-20 48th Battalion.
Date promoted 1918-11-20 Appointed lieutenant colonel and commanding officer of the 13th Battalion.
Date of honour or award 1919-01-07 French Croix de Guerre, for his service on the Western Front.
Date of discharge 1919-11-10 Appointment with the Australian Imperial Force ended, however Allen remained active in the militia.
Date promoted 1933 Became full colonel in charge of the 14th Brigade.
Date promoted 1938 Appointed brigadier.
Date and unit at enlistment (ORs) 1939-10-13 Enlisted in the 2nd AIF.
Date promoted 1939-10-13 Given command of the 16th Brigade, 6th Division, AIF.
Other 1940 Active service in the Middle East.
Date of honour or award 1941-04-01 Commander of the Order of the British Empire.
Date of honour or award 1941-07-08 Companion of the Order of the Bath
Date promoted 1941-08 Promoted to general.
Date of honour or award 1941-12-30 Mention in Despatches.
Date returned to Australia 1942-03
Other 1942-08 Active service in Port Morseby, New Guinea.
Other 1942-10-29 Relieved of his command.
Date of honour or award 1944-11-23 Greek War Cross - First Class.
Date of discharge 1945-04-03
Date of death 1959-01-25

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