William Edward David Allen

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William Edward David Allen (6 January 1901 – 18 September 1973) was a British scholar, Foreign Service officer, politician and businessman, best known as a historian of South Caucasus. He was closely involved in the politics of Northern Ireland, and had fascist tendencies.

Early career[edit]

Born in London, he was educated at Eton College. He was a military correspondent during the Greco-Turkish War (1919-1922) and the Rif War (1925). Allen stood unsuccessfully in Fermanagh and Tyrone at 1922 general election,[1] but was elected seven years later on his next attempt, at the 1929 general election as the Unionist Member of Parliament (MP) for Belfast West.[2]


He defected from the Unionists in 1931, to join Sir Oswald Mosley's New Party, and did not contest the 1931 general election.[2]

He was a close friend of Mosley and helped him to pursue his fascist ambitions from behind the scenes, by supporting him financially and by contributing mainly anonymous articles to The Blackshirt, including "The Letters of Lucifer". WED Allen also wrote a book BUF, Oswald Mosley and British Fascism (1934) under the pen name of James Drennan. It was believed that assertions he was an MI5 informant were false[3] however documents now available in the National Archive confirm that he was interviewed by MI5 and gave over information regarding the BUF's funding from Fascist Italy.[4]

In the pre-World War II years, he travelled a lot and conducted extensive research on the history of the peoples of the Caucasus and Anatolia. In 1930, along with Sir Oliver Wardrop, he founded the Georgian Historical Society which published its own journal Georgica dedicated to Kartvelian studies.

In the 1940s, he accompanied Orde Wingate on his mission to Abyssinia, and wrote a book of his experiences called Guerrilla War in Abyssinia.[5]

Allen was a Foreign Service officer from 1943 until he stepped down and returned to his native Ulster in 1949. Together with his two younger brothers, he ran David Allen's, a major bill-posting company.

Personal life[edit]

He was married: (1) from 1922 to 1932, to Lady Phyllis Edith King (1897–1947), daughter of Lionel Fortescue King, 3rd Earl of Lovelace (1865–1929)[6] (2) from 1932 to 1939, to Paula Gellibrand (1898–1986), once Cecil Beaton's favourite models, formerly the wife of the Marquis de Casa Maury and formerly the wife of Ivan Wilkie Brooks; and (3) from 1943, to Nathalie Maximovna.

Main works[edit]

  • Russian Embassies to the Georgian Kings: 1589–1605 (1970)
  • Problems of Turkish Power in the Sixteenth Century (1963)
  • David Allens: The History of a Family Firm, 1857–1957 (1957) Attributed to W.E.D. Allen but ghosted in part by his friend Kim Philby, the Communist spy.
  • Caucasian Battlefields: A History of the Wars on the Turko-Caucasian Border 1828–1921 (by WED Allen and Paul Muratof, 1953)
  • The Russian Military Campaigns 1943–1945 (part 2, 1946)
  • The Russian Military Campaigns of 1941–1943 (part 1, 1943)
  • Guerilla War in Abyssinia (1943)
  • A history of the Georgian people (1932)
  • The Turks in Europe (1919)

External links[edit]

  1. ^ Craig, F. W. S. (1983) [1969]. British parliamentary election results 1918–1949 (3rd edition ed.). Chichester: Parliamentary Research Services. p. 660. ISBN 0-900178-06-X. 
  2. ^ a b Craig, F. W. S. (1983) [1969]. British parliamentary election results 1918–1949 (3rd edition ed.). Chichester: Parliamentary Research Services. p. 654. ISBN 0-900178-06-X. 
  3. ^ Statesecrets.co.uk
  4. ^ The National Archive (1942), KV 3/35 14. British Union evidence of support from Italy (1)
  5. ^ W.E.D. Allen (9 April 1944). "Wingate of the Gideonites". The Palestine Post. Retrieved 10 January 2012. 
  6. ^ National Portrait Gallery

External links[edit]

Parliament of the United Kingdom
Preceded by
Robert Lynn
Member of Parliament for Belfast West
Succeeded by
Alexander Browne