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Dates of existence
William “Bill” Allen was born in Bristol, England on May 9, 1892. He immigrated to Canada with his family in 1911, setting up a homestead near Smiley, Saskatchewan. He joined the Army in 1916 and was wounded at the Somme, which resulted in the amputation of most of his left arm. After he was discharged from the armed forces in 1917, he enrolled at the University of Saskatchewan in the College of Agriculture. In 1922, he received his BSA from the University of Saskatchewan and went on to do graduate work at Harvard and Cornell, where he earned a PhD in Agricultural Economics in 1925. He married Gwendolen Woodward in 1926. He returned to the University of Saskatchewan and established the Department of Farm Management, of which he was Head until his resignation in 1938. During his time at the University, Allen directed a provincial soil survey in 1935 and was in charge of the first major debt survey of rural Saskatchewan in 1936. Allen was a member of the Provincial Milk Control Board, the Saskatchewan Land Utilization Board, the International Council of Agricultural Economists, and the Canadian Society of Technical Agriculturists. In 1938, he was appointed the first Agricultural Commissioner for Canada in the United Kingdom. During World War Two, Allen’s duties included keeping Britain supplied with Canadian food and to negotiate trade agreements covering the sale of Canada’s agricultural products to Britain. Allen was a passenger on the S.S. Nerissa when it was sunk by a torpedo off the west coast of Scotland on April 30, 1941. Allen was listed as missing and presumed dead. Allen is memorialized with a plaque in Convocation Hall on the University of Saskatchewan campus and an annual award in the College of Agriculture.