Arthur Samuel Allen

For other people named Arthur Allen, see Arthur Allen (disambiguation).
Arthur Samuel Allen

Hammana, Lebanon. 2 September 1941. Major General A. S. "Tubby" Allen (centre), as commander of the 7th Division. (Photographer: Frank Hurley.)
Nickname(s) Tubby
Born 10 March 1894 (1894-03-10)
Hurstville, New South Wales
Died 25 January 1959 (1959-01-26) (aged 64)
Sydney, New South Wales
Allegiance Australia
Service/branch Australian Army
Years of service 1913–1945
Rank Major General
Commands held 7th Division
16th Brigade
14th Brigade
48th Battalion

World War I
- Gallipoli Campaign
- Western Front
- Battle of Pozières
- Battle of the Somme
- Battle of Messines

World War II
- North African Campaign
- Operation Compass
- Greek campaign
- Syria-Lebanon campaign
- Kokoda Track campaign
- New Guinea campaign
Awards Companion of the Order of the Bath
Commander of the Order of the British Empire
Distinguished Service Order
Volunteer Decoration
Mentioned in Despatches (2)
Croix de Guerre (France)
Greek War Cross – First Class (1942)
Other work Associate of Commonwealth Institute of Accountants, June 1922; Fellow, Institute of Chartered Accountants in Australia; Director of companies

Major General Arthur Samuel "Tubby" Allen CB, CBE, DSO, VD (10 March 1894 – 25 January 1959) was an Australian soldier. During World War II he reached the rank of major general and commanded Allied forces in the Syria-Lebanon and New Guinea campaigns. Allen was frequently referred to during World War II by the nickname "Tubby"; an indication of his stocky build and the affection with which he was regarded by both soldiers and the Australian public.

Early life

Allen was born in Hurstville, in Sydney. He attended Hurstville Superior Public School before gaining work as an audit clerk with the New South Wales Government Railways. Allen also joined the cadets and then the 39th Battalion of the Militia.

World War I

He was commissioned in 1913 and joined the Australian Imperial Force (AIF) on 24 June 1915. Allen 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. He arrived in France on 8 June 1916 and fought at the Battle of Pozières in August. Allen 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[1] and a promotion to Major in July. He continued to lead men in combat, at the Battle of Dernancourt in April 1918, and then as an acting Lieutenant Colonel, in charge of the 48th Battalion, at Battle of 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 — at the age of 24 — he was promoted to Lieutenant Colonel and given command of the 13th Battalion. He was awarded the French Croix de Guerre[2] for his service on the Western Front. His appointment with the AIF ended on 10 November 1919.

Between the wars

He became an accountant after the war and in December 1921 married Agnes Blair. Allen returned to accounting, but remained active in the Militia. In 1933 he became a full Colonel, in charge of the 14th Brigade. Five years later, in 1938, he became a Brigadier.

World War II

Major General Iven Mackay and his senior officers. Brigadier Allen is in the front row, at left.
Allen (right) in Papua with General Douglas MacArthur (centre) and Lieutenant General Edmund Herring (left).

In October 1939, Allen was given command of the 16th Brigade in the Second AIF's 6th Division. Later in 1940, Allen was in North Africa, where his brigade fought at Bardia and Tobruk. In March, Allen and the brigade left North Africa for the ill-fated Greek campaign, following which he was awarded the Greek War Cross.[3]

He was then given command of the 7th Division, and commanded it in the invasion of Syria and Lebanon, against Vichy French forces. Allen was officially promoted to Major General in August 1941.

Following the outbreak of war with Japan, Allen returned to Australia in March 1942, and in August took charge of operations against the Japanese advance along the Kokoda Track. Although he was successful, Allen nevertheless came under what many consider unfair criticism from the Allied commander in the South West Pacific Area, U.S. General Douglas MacArthur and the Allied land forces commander, the 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 1942. Lesser appointments followed, but in October 1944, Blamey recommended Allen be made a Knight Commander of the Order of the British Empire (KBE), although Allen was never appointed.

Later life

After the war Allen became a senior partner in a Sydney accountancy firm. He died on 25 January 1959 and was given a military funeral before being cremated. He was survived by his wife and two sons.

Military awards

See also


  1. 1 2 London Gazette: (Supplement) no. 30251, page 8803, 24 August 1917 Distinguished Service Order (DSO).
  2. 1 2 London Gazette: (Supplement) no. 31109, page 312, 3 January 1919 Croix de Guerre.
  3. 1 2 London Gazette: (Supplement) no. 35519, page 1595, 7 April 1942 Greek War Cross
  4. London Gazette: (Supplement) no. 35120, page 1865, 28 March 1941 Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE).
  5. London Gazette: (Supplement) no. 35209, page 3881, 4 July 1941 Companion of the Order of the Bath (CB).

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