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Francis James ALLEN
Private Francis James Allen
27th Battalion, The Australian Imperial Force
Frances James Allen was known as Jim and his brother, Douglas, was the youngest of the Allen family. He loved his older brother, Jim, very much and would tell people what an excellent sprinter Jim had been before he left Australia with the Australian Imperial Force. After service in the War, Jim was cared for at the Australian Auxiliary Hospital in Southall, West London. Jim’s injuries were severe: both of his legs were amputated. He had to propel himself on a little board to get around, once he had returned home.
Jim’s nephew, Peter, remembers his uncle fondly. His aunt Mary took Jim in after the War, as she herself had lost both of her children in a fire. The family knew that Jim became very expert in his embroidery. He embroidered the ‘Rising Sun’, the emblem of the Australian Army, when he got back to Australia, something which the family still possesses.
Jim was part of a large family and had five brothers and three sisters. His brother Douglas included this in his memoirs:
My brother Jim won the 100 yards championship of the Stanley District at Biarra a few miles from Esk. He went to World War One, regimental No 2105 25th Battalion. He was wounded at Passchendaele; they amputated one leg at the dressing station and one of the stretcher bearers was Tom Grant from Murwillumbah. He told us the story how the soldiers were lying outside the dressing station waiting for attention. He was transferred to Southall Hospital where all the men had lost a limb. Later on they had to take the other leg off. Both legs were now about six inches long. When he arrived home on the hospital boat Karoola he had a wheel chair propelled by two handles.Later on he had a motorcycle, he sat in the chair which had a gear lever handle etc. that he drove from the chair. Then he got a motor car (Willy) which had a hand clutch and he drove it during WWII. He went with other motor cars and met the wounded and he would take them to the hospital or wherever they had to go.