Thursday, 11 February 2016

Manitoba's WWI Fallen: Sidney J. Allanson of Winnipeg

To commemorate the 100th anniversary of the start of the First World War, I am working on a series of blog posts and radio shows that will look at some of the Manitobans who died in action. For more about this project and links to other posts, follow this link.

Sidney J. Allanson was born and raised in Cheshire, England, where his parents continued to live.

In Winnipeg, he worked as an accountant with the Grain Growers’ Grain Company and lived in a room at 238 Colony Street. He was involved with the YMCA and was a member of St. Stephen’s Church and its dramatic club.

Allanson enlisted with the 61st Battalion and left for Europe on March 31, 1916. He  transferred to the Princess Patricia's Canadian Light Infantry in June 1916.

August 28, 1916, Manitoba Free Press

On July 18, 1916 he was in a forward trench with one other soldier when they came under enemy fire. A shell landed along side them, killing both. His commanding officer noted of the 22 year-old: “He stuck to his post on that day under very trying circumstances, showing himself a real man.”

At first, Allanson was reported as missing - presumed dead as it took a few days for soldiers to dig down to find what was left of his remains. He is commemorated at the Menin Gate Memorial in Ypres.

September 14, 1916, Winnipeg Tribune

Reverend Charles W. Gordon, the former pastor at St. Stephens but known to most of the English-speaking world as popular novelist Ralph Connor, was overseas as the chaplain for the 43rd Winnipeg Battalion. In August 1916 he wrote a letter to Reverend Patterson, the sitting pastor of St. Stephens. In it, he included a mention of Allanson and his death.

Canadian Virtual War Memorial entry
Attestation Papers
Commonwealth War Graves Commission entry