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McLENNAN, Allan Neil MC (1889-1968)

McLENNAN, Allan Neil MC (1889-1968)

Allan Neil McLennan was born at 'The Sisters' via Terang on 28 July 1889, the son of John McLennan and Mary nee McLeod. He was enrolled as a boarder at Geelong College in 1906 and played with the 1st Football XVIII in 1908 and 1909. He was a member of the Athletics Team in 1908. He later entered Ormond College, Melbourne University, where he graduated BA, LLB.

Neil McLennan (Officers & NCOs, 1909).

Neil McLennan (Officers & NCOs, 1909).

He was on the staff at Geelong Grammar School when, during World War I, he enlisted in the AIF on 4 January 1915 as a Private in the Light Horse. He was promoted Corporal in March, Sergeant in May, 2nd Lieutenant in June (22 Battalion), Lieutenant in February 1916 (6th MG Company), and Captain in April 1917. He embarked with 22 Battalion for Egypt on HMAT A64 Demosthenes on 16 July 1915, and then Gallipoli. In February 1916 he transferred to 6 Machine Gun Company in France.

C E W Bean reported his actions at Mouquet Farm in August 1916 in the Official History:
'On August 24th, Lt O A Jones¹ of the 21st started from the Chalk Pit with ninety men carrying bombs, small arm ammunition, flares, and water. Some were left halfway at ‘K’ Dump; but fifty continued on. At Park Lane they were divided into tens, because the Germans would be able to see them descending the slope beyond. Jones and the first ten got through, and also part of the second ten; 2½ hours later Lt A N McLennan (Melbourne) of the 22nd arrived with eight or nine more. No others came through the barrage. The men were blown or half-buried more often than seriously wounded. The work of the signallers was at least equally difficult. Although five ‘laddered’ lines were laid to The Quarry for use in the coming attack, they broke down immediately the operation began.'

McLennan suffered trench fever in December 1916, and was hospitalised in England. Transferred to 2 Machine Gun Battalion in March 1918, and was awarded the Military Cross, gazetted 1 January 1919, the citation read:
'For continuous good work as Company and Machine Gun Group Commander, his work has been specially valuable while in command of groups of MG Batteries during operations at Ville-sur-Ancre in front of Morlancourt, and the Hamel operation and subsequent exploitation. His organisation and control on those occasions were invaluable. He is always cool under fire and his work has been consistently excellent.'

The Australian War Memorial (AWM) Collection holds a group portrait, taken in about 1915, of the officers of the 22nd Machine Gun Company, AIF, including Captain A N McLennan.

He returned to Australia, embarking on 5 March 1919, demobilised May 1919. He served as a Major in the Intelligence Corps in the Second World War, being discharged on 8 May 1946 from HQ Southern Command.

¹Oscar Anglesey Jones, born in 1890, the son of John Francis and Margaret Eleanor (Thomas) Jones, of Broadford and East Kew, recommended for the Military Cross at Mouquet Farm, subsequently awarded the Croix de Guerre (France) with palm, died of wounds at Second Bullecourt on 4th May 1917, buried at Grevillers British Cemetery, Grave II.D.2.

Sources: Based on an edited extract from Geelong Collegians at the Great War compiled by James Affleck. p 257 (citing The University of Melbourne: Record of Active Service of Teachers, Graduates, Undergraduates, Officers and Servants (1926); C E W Bean, The Official History of Australia in the War of 1914-18 Vol III The AIF in France 1916; National Archives; AWM H15433; The Pegasus).
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