He was born in 1892 near Bristol, England, and immigrated to Canada with his family in 1911, taking out a homestead at Smiley, Saskatchewan.
He joined the army in 1915, was wounded at the Battle of the Somme in 1916 and sent to the Beaufort War Hospital to recuperate. Discharged in 1917, Allen enrolled at the University of Saskatchewan as an associate student in Agriculture, transferring to the degree course and graduating in 1922.
His studies took him to Harvard and Cornell universities, earning a PhD in 1925. He returned to the U of S to organize and then serve as the first head of the Department of Farm Management.
He resigned in 1938 to accept the position of the first Commissioner to Britain for Canadian Agriculture.
In 1941, while en route to England, he lost his life at sea when the steamship Nerissaa he was on was torpedoed.
The Allen Memorial Prize is awarded annually to the top graduating student in Agricultural Economics. He is also memorialized with a plaque in Convocation Hall which reads in part: "HIS SENCERE, MANLY CHARACTER INSPIRED THE RESPECT OF MANY FRIENDS, ESPECIALLY THE FARMERS OF SASKATCHEWAN FOR WHOM HE DID SO MUCH."