Birth date: 8 October 1883
Birth place: Australia: Queensland, Gin Gin
Death date: 25 April 1918
Death place: France: Picardie, Somme, Villers-Bretonneux
Final rank: Private
Service number: 2615 - First World War, 1914-1918
Unit: 49th Australian Infantry Battalion

Ernest Allen was born at Gin Gin, Queensland, on 8 October 1883. He was considered an expert horseman with considerable skill as a marksman and became champion of the Wide Bay region in Queensland in 1914. The 32-year-old farmer and grazier enlisted with the Australian Imperial Force on 5 July 1916. Two of Allen's brothers, Josiah and James, also enlisted that same day. Together the three brothers departed Sydney with reinforcements for the 49th Infantry Battalion aboard HMAT Ceramic on 7 October 1916.

Having been sent to England and then the Western Front, Allen and his two brothers fought at the battle of Messines on 7 June 1917. It was on this day that both of his brothers were killed in action. Allen frequently wrote letters home, describing the conditions on the front. His experiences there led him to write in one letter that he was quite pleased the 1916 referendum on conscription had failed, a sentiment shared by many other soldiers at the time.

In April 1918 the Australian 13th Brigade (of which the 49th Battalion was a part) was given the task of recapturing Villers-Bretonneux from the Germans. Ernest Allen was killed in action on 25 April 1918 while fighting to recapture the town. He is commemorated on the Villers-Bretonneux Memorial in France. Sadly, whilst Allen's family requested any and all information about his burial and belongings, the transport ship carrying his personal effects from England back to Australia was sunk by a German submarine. All they received were two photographs of his grave and his service medals.

Rolls and Awards

Roll of Honour

  • Rank: Private
  • Date of Death: 25 April 1918
  • Unit: 49th Australian Infantry Battalion

First World War Embarkation Roll

  • Rank: Private
  • Date of embarkation: 7 October 1916
  • Place of embarkation: Sydney

Collection Items

Private Record

1. Allen, Ernest (Private, d.1918); 2. Allen, Josiah (Private, d.1917); 3. Allen, James Edward (Private, d.1917)

Collection relating to the First World War service of three Allen brothers: 2615 Private Ernest Allen, 49 Battalion; 2614 Private Josiah Allen, 49 Battalion, and 2616a James Edward Allen, 49 Battalion. The collection consists of 28 letters written by the brothers between 1916 and 1918 to another... Maker: Allen, Ernest

1DRL/0027 (With records)

Digitised Collection

Letters from Ernest Allen to his brother, 1916-1918

Letters relating to the First World War service of 2615 Private Ernest Allen, 49th Battalion. In this series of letters to his brother, Allen details his experiences whilst serving with 49th Battalion. He was one of the three Allen brothers to serve during the conflict, all of whom served with 49th...



Date of birth 1883-10-08
Date of embarkation 1916-10-07
Date of death 1918-04-25