Born in Sydney in 1893, Ray Allen originally studied science at Sydney University but left in August 1914 to join the Army at the outbreak of war. He served as an officer in 30 Bn in the Middle East and later in France where he was mentioned in dispatches and received the Military Cross. Seriously wounded at the battle of the Somme, he was invalided home in August 1917 with a crippled right arm. He learned to write with his left hand and his disability was no bar to further studies and professional activities.
He entered the faculty of medicine, graduating in 1922 with credit and first place in final year. He was president of the Sydney University Medical Society in 1922. There followed two resident years (1922-3) at Royal Prince Alfred Hospital where he worked under Professor AE ('Arty') Mills and Dr GE Rennie, two eminent but very different personalities. In 1924 and 1925 he was resident medical superintendent of Bodington Sanatorium for tuberculous patients at Wentworth Falls.
December 1925 saw RAM Allen put up his plate in Marrickville, where he conducted a general practice for many years. He was appointed a clinical assistant at Sydney Hospital (his old teaching hospital) in 1928, honorary assistant physician in 1929 and honorary physician in 1949. From 1941 to 1945 he was a tutor in clinical medicine. He had an attachment to Marrickville District Hospital from 1929, becoming senior physician there in 1938.
From 1935 Allen also practised as a consultant physician at 175 Macquarie Street and as an anaesthetist. He was the last of the assistant physicians to be appointed a tutor in anaesthetics at Sydney Hospital, a post he held from 1935 to 1940. He obtained the College Membership by examination in 1942, after successfully completing the Sydney University law course and graduating LLB in 1940. With that background in law and medicine he was subsequently appointed secretary to the Medical Defence Union.
Allen was one of the foundation members of the Imperial Service Club and an active committee member in its early years. He always maintained his interest in the Club, was a cheerful person, fond of racing and fishing, and had many friends. He married Georgina Augusta Cousens, a nurse, and they had one child, Loraine Georgina, who was born while he was studying medicine. Loraine graduated MB BS in 1942, married Dr Stephen Dobell-Brown and practised as an obstetrician in Liverpool until her death in 1980.
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