Jack Allan was born 28 December 1886 at Wallsend, Northumberland. He was the third child and eldest son of five children born to James Allan, a ships plater, originally from Aberdeen, and Elizabeth, a native of Walker. After school he worked as a physical instructor at a school in Wallsend whilst he was studying at Bede College between 1906 and 1908. There he achieved merits in History, Education, and Mathematics, and after he qualified in 1908 he took up a post at the Higher Grade School in Stockton, teaching Physical Education.
Allan also played Football at this time in the First Division of the Football League for Sunderland and Newcastle United, before being sold to West Bromwich Albion for £150 in May 1911. A 5-foot 6-inch centre-forward, he scored 9 goals in 35 appearances at the top level. He left for Nottingham Forest in June 1912 for a transfer fee of £125, but was living in Handsworth, Birmingham, by the time he joined the R.A.M.C. on 11 December 1915. Jack had married Ruth Faulds back home in Wallsend on 22 May 1915, and soon after volunteering he and his new wife moved back home to 78 The Avenue, Wallsend. Twins Colin Faulds and Dorothy Hicks were born on 19 April 1917.
There is nothing much known of his military record in the First World War, apart from his temporary service as a Lance Corporal in August 1917, and a period of service in France from May 1918 to April 1919. He was still on military service when he died of a combination of influenza and pneumonia on 4 May 1919 whilst at home on demobilization leave. Allan was buried on 6 May in Church Bank Cemetery in Wallsend. He is also commemorated on the Bede College 1914-1918 cross, plaque, and roll of honour.