Allan was the eldest of six children born to his parents James and Margaret. The family lived in Sydney where Allan’s birth was registered in 1891. Prior to World War 1 he had been a member of the NSW Mounted Rifles and was an Accountant at Inverell, employed by Thomas, Davis, Sheedy & Company.
Allan enlisted at Holsworthy NSW in August 1915. Before leaving Inverell he was given a farewell at the Council Chambers and presented with an Inverell Medal and two pairs of socks. His friends also farewelled him at the Inverell Hotel, giving a smoker’s outfit which included an inscribed silver matchbox, pipes and tobacco. He joined the 30th Battalion, 2nd Reinforcement, was promoted to Acting Sergeant and left Australia in December 1915 on the ship HMAT A35 Berrima. The Battalion arrived at Suez a month later.
By March 1916 Allan had been transferred to the 45th Battalion. He was sent to France in June and later promoted to Sergeant. The following year, prior to becoming a commissioned officer, he participated in courses at Balliol College, Oxford and Trinity College, Cambridge. He was appointed 2nd Lieutenant in June 1917 and returned to France. Although wounded in action in August he remained on duty. A few weeks later he was promoted to Lieutenant.
On 5 April 1918 Lieutenant Allan MacDiarmid was killed in Action. He has no known grave and his name is inscribed on the Australian National Memorial at Villers-Bretonneux, France. His personal effects were returned to his wife and included a watch, note books, Sam Browne belt, gum boots, dictionary, postcards and photos.
A month after Allan’s death his younger brother, Kenneth, enlisted however as he was under twenty one his parents refused permission for him to serve overseas.
Photo: Australian War Memorial Image PO5868.003