Who's Who - Sir James Allen

No photograph available Sir James Allen (1855-1942) served as New Zealand Minister of Defence during the First World War.

With his naturally imperialistic inclinations Allen was active in the pre-war years in strengthening New Zealand's military preparedness.  When William Massey, Prime Minister since 1912, formed his coalition government in the summer of 1915 Allen was consequently appointed Minister of Defence.

Allen worked closely with both Massey and the Deputy Prime Minister (and himself Prime Minister from 1906-12 and 1928-30) Sir Joseph Ward in guiding the New Zealand war effort from 1915, which included mobilising troops for firstly the disastrous Gallipoli campaign and thereafter for fighting on the Western Front.

It was Allen who introduced conscription in New Zealand in August 1916, a controversial decision which nevertheless succeeded in boosting the strength of the already acclaimed New Zealand division in France.

Allen, who also served as Foreign Minister from 1919-20, died in 1942.

The "linseed lancers" was the Anzac nickname assigned to members of the Australian Field Ambulance.

- Did you know?

Who's Who