Lieutenant Allen was born in Pekin , North Dakota, 2 March 1908. He attended high school in Grand Forks, North Dakota, and the University of North Dakota for two years before entering the Naval Academy in 1927. He was graduated and commissioned Ensign in June 1931, and was promoted to Lieutenant to date from 1 July 1939.
Lieutenant Allen's first duty was in USS Lexington from August 1931 to April 1932, and he served subsequently in the USS Arkansas, USS Argonne, and again in USS Arkansas. He had flight training at Naval Air Station, Pensacola from June 1934 to September 1935, when he was assigned duty with Scouting Squadron 6B, attached to USS Omaha. From May 1938 until May 1940, he had duty in the Naval Aircraft Factory, Philadelphia, returning at that time to sea duty in USS Enterprise with Scouting Squadron 6. In August, 1941 he transferred to duty with Scouting Squadron 2, attached to the carrier Lexington.
With the sinking of the Lexington in the Battle of the Coral Sea on 7 May 1942, Lieutenant Allen was reported Missing in Action when his plane was shot down by enemy aircraft in the vicinity of the Louisade Archipelago. In accordance with Public Law 490, his death is presumed to have occurred on 8 May 1943.
He has received the Navy Cross and the Gold Star in lieu of the second Navy Cross, and cited as follows:
"For extraordinary heroism as a Pilot of Scouting Squadron TWO during an attack upon his carrier by enemy. Japanese planes, February 20, 1942. Boldly maneuvering into attack position, Lieutenant Allen, by his expert airmanship, enabled his rear seat observer to shoot down a Japanese bomber with one burst of his .30 caliber free machine gun. His skill and cool determination in a critical situation were in keeping with the highest traditions of the United States Naval Service."
GOLD STAR in lieu of 2nd Navy Cross
"For extraordinary heroism and outstanding devotion to duty as Executive Officer and pilot of a scouting plane in action against enemy Japanese forces in the Coral Sea on May 7, 1942. In the face of heavy anti-aircraft fire and fighter opposition, Lieutenant Allen led his division in a bold and persistent dive-bombing attack upon an enemy aircraft carrier, which contributed materially to the destruction of that vessel. His courageous conduct throughout this engagement was in keeping with the highest traditions of the United States Naval Service"
He was also entitled to the Purple Heart, the American Defense Service Medal with Fleet Clasp, Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Medal, and Victory Medal, World War II.
A destroyer escort Edward H. Allen (DE 531) has been named in honor of Lieutenant Allen.