Birth date: 11 March 1886
Birth place: Australia: Queensland, Gin Gin
Death date: 7 June 1917
Death place: Western Front: Western Front (Belgium), Messines Area, Messines
Final rank: Private
Service number: 2616A - First World War, 1914-1918
2616 - First World War, 1914-1918
Unit: 49th Australian Infantry Battalion

James Edward Allen was born at Gin Gin, Queensland, on 11 March 1886. He was considered a skilled marksman and was a member of the Gin Gin Rifle Club. The 30-year-old farmer and grazier enlisted with the Australian Imperial Force on 5 July 1916 along with two of his brothers, Ernest and Josiah. Together the three brothers departed Sydney with the reinforcements for the 49th Infantry Battalion aboard HMAT Ceramic on 7 October 1916.

Having been sent to the Western Front, Allen frequently wrote letters to his brother William back in Australia, in which he responded to news from home and described the conditions at the front. In a letter dated 4 June 1917 he wrote of a large-scale offensive to take place over the coming days, and on 7 June Allen and his two brothers fought at the battle of Messines.

Initially listed as missing in action, Allen was later confirmed to have been killed in action on that day along with his brother Josiah. One witness reported seeing him killed by an artillery shell. James Edward Allen is commemorated on the Ypres (Menin Gate) Memorial in Belgium.

Rolls and Awards

Roll of Honour

  • Rank: Private
  • Date of Death: 7 June 1917
  • Unit: 49th Australian Infantry Battalion

First World War Embarkation Roll

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

Australian Red Cross Wounded and Missing Files

  • Rank: Private
  • Unit: 49th Australian Infantry Battalion

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 James Edward Allen to his brother, 1916-1917

Letters relating to the First World War service of 2616a Private James Edward Allen, 49th Battalion. In this series of letters to his brother, Allen details his experiences whilst serving with the 49th Battalion. He was one of the three Allen brothers to serve during the conflict, all of whom...



Date of birth 1886-03-11
Date of embarkation 1916-10-07
Date of death 1917-06-07