Mates to the end

Mateship drove David Henry Allan to enlist.

On the 21 August, 1914, Dave, 21, sent his enlistment form for the Great War. His faithful mate, Roland “Rowly” Dennis also enlisted.

Mateship was an enduring theme in  Sergeant Allan's story, as Jordan Moss, of St Patrick's College, Launceston, was to discover as he researched the former Tasmanian miner for the Frank MacDonald Memorial Study Tour 2018.

Mateship helped Sergeant Allan charge up the beach at Gallipoli. Mateship is why he dug out his men, buried by a shell during battle, and attended to their wounds.

Sergeant Allan was killed at Mouquet Farm, Pozieres, France, on 26 April 1918. He and his mate, Roland ‘Roly’ Dennis, were both hit by a stray shell. They are buried side-by-side. Mates to the end.

On 27 April 2018, Jordan visited David Allan's and Roland Dennis’ graves at Adelaide Cemetery, Villers-Bretonneux, France and presented a speech of the impact they had on him.

Sergeant Allan’s effects were sunk on a cargo ship, and his family never received his personal belongings. After years of asking for his belongings, his mother Sarah was informed of those by letter in 1920. As Allan’s father Joseph had died in 1919, Sarah also received his Military Medal.

Rowland Harris Dennis DCM

Distinguished Conduct Medal

'For conspicuous gallantry and devotion to duty. During severe fighting, this warrant officer has displayed great gallantry and disregard of personal danger, in spirit and cheering all about him by his example. His devotion to duty on all occasions has been conspicuous, and he has been of the greatest assistance to his company commander.'

Source: 'Commonwealth Gazette' No. 31 Date: 4 March 1919

Essay competition

The essay Jordan Moss entered for the Frank MacDonald Memorial MM Prize addressed this topic:

1917: the worst year of a hideous war (for Australia and Australians) wrote Max Blenkin, defence correspondent Australian Associated Press, 14 December 2016. How accurate do you think this statement is?