Robert ALLAN (1889-1962)

9th Infantry Brigade AIF


World War 1 Records


Lance Corporal: 705 Robert ALLAN.

Born: 1889. Greta, New South Wales, Australia. Birth Cert:23888/1889.

Married: 1910. Kurri Kurri, New South Wales, Australia. Marriage Cert:5307/1910.

Wife: Violet Selina Allan. nee: Higginbottom. (18..-1975) N.S.W. Death Cert:101717/1975.

Died: 1962. Kurri Kurri, New South Wales, Australia. Death Cert:20948/1962.

Father: David Allan.

Mother: Mary Allan. nee:.


Robert Allan enlisted with C Company 35th Battalion AIF on the 25th of November 1915 and was an original member of the Battalion and left Sydney on board HMAT A24 "Benalla" on the 1st of May 1916 with the rank of Private and disembarked at Plymouth England on the 9th July 1917. Robert was marched in the the Durrington Army Camp where he commenced training with the 9th Training Battalion at Larkhill.

Whilst at Larkhill Robert was promoted to Lance Corporal on the 7th of September and provceeded overseas for France with the Battalion on the 21st November 1916.

4th-5th April 1918


The Strength of the 9th Infantry Brigade was about 2,250 but their casulties during the 2 days of fighting numbered 30 Officers and 635 men either killed in action or missing.

9th Infantry Brigade Casulties.4th-5th April 1918
33rd Battalion. AIF 3 Officers 82 Other ranks
34th Battalion. AIF 5 Officers 120 Other ranks
35th Battalion. AIF 9 Officers 282 Other ranks (including 44 missing)
36th Battalion. AIF 12 Officers 133 Other ranks (including 1 missing)
9th Machine Gun Company. AIF 1 Officer 18 Other ranks (including 4 missing)

16th April 1918.

’On the 16th April, the rumours of a new German Offensive against Amiens seemed to be definitely confirmed. A German prisoner, taken by the French, volunteered the that Villers Bretonneux was to be attacked the next day. The 5th Australian Division, which had come line on the night of the 6th/7th April, and held the sector from Villers Bretonneux (inclusive) to the Somme canal was warned to be ready to retake the town, if captured by attack from the north ; and other preparations and counter-preparations were made. About 4 A.M. on the 17th, Villers Bretonneux, Bois d'Aquenne, to the west of it and the village of Cachy, to the south, were heavily drenched for three hours with phosgene, mustard and irritant gasses. But no assault followed. As soon as possible the local garrison, consisting of the 6/London(58 Dvn) and the 33rd Australian Battalion, was got out of the shelters in the town into the trenches around it. The gas shelling was repeated in the evening from 4 to 7 P.M., next morning and on the following days, being increased so as to include Bois I'Abbe, but with greatly reduced results. Nevertheless it was impossible for anyone to move that area without feeling some ill-effects from the mustard gas, and there were, in all, 1,074 gas casualties.’

’The gassing of Villers Bretonneux seemed to point to the probability of its not being attacked, but by this time air photographs had revealed the signs of imminent operations; an increase in the number of enemy batteries had also been noticed, while the roads were being registered by German artillery. There were, however, also indications that the Albert sector might be the objective of an attack which might extend to Arras and Vimy Ridge. On the 21st there was much air fighting near the Somme, and the famous airman Richthofen was brought down.1. That night a man of the 4th Guard Division, captured by the 8th Dvn , disclosed the fact that his formation had just relieved the 9th Bavarian Reserve Division in front of Marcelcave , and would attack Villers Bretonneux at 3 A.M. on the 23rd. Counter-preparations were continued, and the German railway centres were bombed, particularly Chaulnes .2 'No infantry assault materialized on the 23rd, two deserters came in from the 77th Reserve Division, just arrived from Russia, which had entered the line on 20th, south of the 4th Guard Division, opposite Cachy, and the French captured a gunner of the Guard Ersatz Division opposite Hangard. All these men said that the relief of the line divisions by " storm " divisions had been completed the infantry were ready to advance; the bombardment would begin early on the 24th and. last two and-a -quarter hours: and the attack would be assisted by new German tanks, which were already in position near the front line. 2 It is from the fact that tanks were used to punch a hole in the British line on either side of Villers Bretonneux, and that, in consequence, the Germans gained possession of the town and ground on either side for a short time, that the fighting on the 24th derives its interest.’

24th April 1918.

3:30am Heavy Bombardment heard on front. 10:30am Instructions received to be ready to move immediatly. 12:00 noon Instructions are now to move on 1 hours notice. Enemy attacked at Villers-Bretonneux at 6:30am and at 1:00pm. Was in position of the town and the ground to the South as far as HANGARD. By midnight the 13th and 15th Brigades and re taked the lost ground and captured 1200 Prisoners, 100 Machine Guns and 2 Field Guns.

Robert was Wounded in Action; 1st occassion on the 2nd June 1918

8th August 1918.

1: At about 1:00am a halt was made a few hundred yards in rear of the assembly tape and hot cocoa was served out to the men. The approach march was over and the Battalion on the tape, which had been ably laid by Lieutenant WARLAND and his scouts by 2.30am. The enemy was very quiet and we suffered no casualties before Zero hour which was at 4:20am when the barrage opened and the advance commenced as per App 11. At 6:45am the objective was reached by the most advanced troops and consolidation commenced. Tanks from the rear came forward and and formed up at the rear with the 4th Australian Division in artillery formation. At 8:20am as the barrage lifted the whole line went forward through us as if on parade.

Robert was Wounded in Action; 2nd occassion on the 14th of August 1918.

30-31st August 1918


On the northern flank the 3rd Division's attack had been arranged at short notice after a day exhausting to both infantry and artillery, and in the face of other particular difficulties. The timming of the attack was to be taken from the left where the 58th Division, somewhat further back than the 9th Brigade, started at 5:10am behind a very slow barrage to attack Marrieres Wood. The 9th Brigade using the 33rd Battalion, started at the time arranged, 5:40am, but the artillery had not yet received its orders and though it fired, the barrage was thin and machine-guns in the south-west corner of Road Wood stopped the 33rd.

One Company was late, but Captain: Walter John Clare DUNCAN. M.C. had swung his Company into its place. Major: Cedric Errol Meter BRODZIAK. D.S.O. was now killed while referring to his map.But within twenty minutes the artillery greatly increased its fire. The 33rd were able to raise their heads. A private Private: 726 George CARTWRIGHT. V.C. stood up and from the shoulder fired at the troublesome German gunner and then walking forward shot him and the two men who took his place.

Next, covering his run by exploding a bomb shot of the trench, he rushed the gun and captured 9 Germans. The 33rd stood up and cheered him, and then advancing by two's and three's entered the wood. Private: 792 William Allan IRWIN. D.C.M an Australian half-caste, after attacking like Cartwright, was mortally wounded and Died of Wounds on the 1st of September 1918.

The 33rd was now considerably behind the 6th London (58th Division), having chased the Germans from Marrieres Wood, was held up by fire from Wary Alley which curved up the gully between the woods. Comming through the south Company Sergeant Major: 967 Louis John MATHIAS. D.C.M & Bar. cleared the Germans by fire from a Lewis Gun.

The 33rd now set to bombing up the old trenches leading up to the upper end of the 1916 Spur where the Peronne-Bapaume Road also ran through. On the nearer side of the road a German battery commander with his gun crews and some infantry was blazing with six field-guns into the Australian groups everywere they left shelter.

From the southward side Lieutenant: 559 Edward Allen TURNBULL. and Lieutenant: William Alexander McLEAN. M.C. of the 33rd-the latter greartly helped by the leaders of the 10th Brigade Sergeant 1007 E E Walters. D.C.M, 39th Battalion and Corporal 5024 A V Grinton. D.C.M, 38th Battalion, worked up and presently rushed the guns, the German Battery Commander fighting to the last with his revolver. He was shot by Lieutenant: 559 Edward Allen TURNBULL.

Captain: Walter John Clare DUNCAN. M.C. reaching realised that the old quarry beyond it was a commanding position and accordingly took it and 40 German prisoners and placed a post on its eastern rim. He then went back to Wary Alley, and finding some of the 6th London Regiment, got Captain: S T COOKE M.C, and 20 men to garrison the quarry while the 33rd lined the Bapaume Road on the right.

(33rd Battalion War Diary)

Robert was Wounded in Action; 3rd occassion on the 1st September 1918 and was treated by the 9th Australian Field Ambulance for a Wound to his Leg and was evacuated to the 53rd Casualty clearing Station for further treatment before being evacuated to England onboard the Hospital Ship "Guildford Castle" on the 4th of September 1918.

Returned to Australia on board the HMAT A8 "Argyllshire" on the 9th of December 1918.

HMAT A8 Argyllshire

Family Information

Robert was a single 26 year old Coal Miner from Greta, N.S.W. upon enlistment. He lived with his wife Violet lived at Aberdare Street, Kurri Kurri, N.S.W. His parents David and Mary Allan had at least 6 children. John Allan bon 1888 at Greta, N.S.W. Birth Cert:25018/1888 and died in 1962 at Hamilton, N.S.W. Death Cert:35346/1962. Robert Allan born 1889 at Greta, N.S.W. Birth Cert:23888/1889 and died in 1962 at Kurri Kurri, N.S.W. Death Cert:20948/1962. James Allan born 1892 at Joadja Creek, N.S.W. Birth Cert:17784/1892 and died in 1970 at Wallsend, N.S.W. Death Cert:27068/1970. Agnes Allan born 1894 at Joadja Creek, N.S.W.17053/1894. Thomas Allan born 1898 at Wickham, N.S.W. Birth Cert:8493/1898 and died in 1963 at Gloucester, N.S.W. Death Cert:27931/1963. Charles Johnston Allan born 1899 at Merewether, N.S.W. Birth Cert:222625/1899 and died in 1966 at Kurri kurri, N.S.W. Death Cert:24042/1966.

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© Commonwealth of Australia (National Archives of Australia)

Under Construction; 25/06/2008-18/12/2016.

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