Private Ronald Shadrick Allen

Elizabeth Perkins writing Private Ronald Allen

Elizabeth Perkins was selected as the RSL’s representative on the Frank MacDonald Memorial Study Tour in 2019.

Elizabeth chose to research Tasmanian soldier Private Ronald Shadrick Allen, for the pilgrimage to the Western Front.

Before World War One, Ronald Shadrick Allen enjoyed country life at North Motton, North West Tasmania. Life consisted of farming, fishing in the Leven River, hunting, catching up with friends, including Frank MacDonald, of Ulverstone, and dances at the local hall at the North Motton Methodist Church.

In August 1915 a function was held in the small, rural village of North Motton. All the locals attended to say goodbye to seven young men, one of whom was Ronald Allen. The seven men would soon depart for World War One.

On Deadman's Road

Deadmans Road Pozieres sign

When letters stopped arriving home in July 1916, Ron’s worried parents, Herbert and step-mother Jessie made enquiries! Some of his mates from North Motton had already written home saying Ron’s had been badly wounded during a battle at a place called Pozières, in France, but nobody seemed to know where he was!

On the day of Ron’s demise, there was continuous enemy shellfire on the Bapaume Road.  The Allied reinforcements had to run the gauntlet across the road. Near this point, about 30 men from both sides of the conflict had been killed. Private Ronald Allen was one of these.

The carnage on Pozières Ridge led Australia’s official war historian Charles Bean to write that the soil there was:

‘More densely sown with Australian sacrifice than any other place on earth’.

It would later be known as ‘Deadman’s Road’.

Never forgotten

Elizabeth Perkins at Private Allen's grave Students from the holding the Australian flag in a Commonwealth War Graves Commission cemetery as Elizabeth Perkins reads information

Elizabeth visited Private Allen's grave and presented her research to members of the Frank MacDonald Memorial Study Tour 2019.

Mates together always

Mates together always!  No family to tend their final resting place but never forgotten through the following generations. Nonetheless, too young to have died so brutally, too young to have died at all!

They grew up together

They played together

They went to school together

They enlisted together

They trained together

They travelled thousands of miles together.

Then... they fought together

And DIED together!

Finally, they are tucked up in the warm earth together.

They are not alone!

Read Elizabeth Perkins' research about Private Ronald Shadrick Allen (PDF, 2.84MB)