Birth date: 11 March 1886
Birth place: Australia: Queensland, Gin Gin
Death date: 07 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.

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Rolls and Awards

  • Rank: Private
  • Date of Death: 07 June 1917
  • Unit: 49th Australian Infantry Battalion
  • Rank: Private
  • Date of embarkation: 07 October 1916
  • Place of embarkation: Sydney
  • Rank: Private
  • Unit: 49th Australian Infantry Battalion

Collection Items


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