Canada's History - - VIMY 100 - Sub­mit­ted by Al­lan Anderson, Allen’s great-nephew.

HIS FAM­ILY AF­FEC­TION­ATELY called him Will, or Willy, but to his broth­ers in arms, William Alexan­der Allen was known sim­ply as Bill.

A lieu­tenant in the 58th Cana­dian In­fantry Bat­tal­ion, the twen­ty­four year old from Kin­car­dine, On­tario, fought at Vimy Ridge and, fol­low­ing the bat­tle, was or­dered to guard trenches that had been cap­tured from the en­emy. It was dan­ger­ous work, since the Ger­mans had been or­dered to re­cap­ture the po­si­tions in a se­ries of rapid coun­ter­at­tacks.

Allen’s di­ary en­try of April 17 sug­gests the men were worn out by fa­tigue: “[Bat­tal­ion] is be­ing re­lieved tonight by 1st C.M.R. The men have now done nine days duty in the trenches and are in no con­di­tion to carry on.”

Allen en­listed at Val­cartier, Que­bec, on Septem­ber 23, 1914, and served as a cor­po­ral in the 9th Bat­tal­ion. He likely re­ceived a field pro­mo­tion to lieu­tenant.

Sadly, his di­ary en­try of April 17 would be his last. He died the next day, killed by a Ger­man shell while walk­ing to his billet in Villers-Au-Bois, a small vil­lage near the Bel­gian bor­der.

“This of­fi­cer only with us a short time, but he showed great prom­ise. His death is greatly re­gret­ted,” states an en­try in the 58th Bat­tal­ion di­ary on April 18, 1917. Allen left behind two broth­ers and two sis­ters and is buried at Ecoivres Mil­i­tary Ceme­tery in Pas de Calais, France.

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