Alexander Peter (Alex) IMLAY DSO+Bar, MiD

IMLAY, Alexander Peter

Service Number: Officer
Enlisted: 14 September 1914, Adelaide, South Australia
Last Rank: Lieutenant Colonel
Last Unit: 47th Infantry Battalion
Born: Bulloo. Queensland, Australia, 1 February 1885
Home Town: Prospect, Prospect, South Australia
Schooling: Crown Street Superior Public School, Sydney
Occupation: Manager
Died: Natural causes, Skene, Aberdeen, Scotland, 23 April 1959, aged 74 years
Cemetery: Kaimhill Funeral Home (Kaimhill Crematorium), Scotland
Cremated remains were dispersed within the Gardens of Rest at Kaimhill Crematorium
Memorials: Adelaide Grand Masonic Lodge WW1 Honour Board, Prospect Roll of Honour G-Z WWI Board
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World War 1 Service

14 Sep 1914: Enlisted AIF WW1, Second Lieutenant, SN Officer, Adelaide, South Australia
22 Dec 1914: Involvement AIF WW1, Second Lieutenant, 16th Infantry Battalion, Enlistment/Embarkation WW1
22 Dec 1914: Embarked AIF WW1, Second Lieutenant, 16th Infantry Battalion, HMAT Ceramic, Melbourne
25 Mar 1915: Promoted AIF WW1, Lieutenant, 16th Infantry Battalion
25 Apr 1915: Involvement AIF WW1, Lieutenant, 16th Infantry Battalion, 'ANZAC' / Gallipoli
28 Apr 1915: Wounded AIF WW1, Lieutenant, 16th Infantry Battalion, 'ANZAC' / Gallipoli, GSW (wrist)
21 Jan 1916: Promoted AIF WW1, Captain, 16th Infantry Battalion
12 Mar 1916: Transferred AIF WW1, Major, 48th Infantry Battalion
1 Mar 1917: Transferred AIF WW1, Major, 47th Infantry Battalion
21 Apr 1917: Promoted AIF WW1, Lieutenant Colonel, 47th Infantry Battalion
12 Oct 1917: Wounded AIF WW1, Lieutenant Colonel, 47th Infantry Battalion, 1st Passchendaele, Shell wound (legs & thigh)
11 Aug 1919: Discharged AIF WW1

Help us honour Alexander Peter Imlay's service by contributing information, stories, and images so that they can be preserved for future generations.

Biography contributed by Paul Trevor

The three enlisted children of Alexander William Imlay and Emma Carbery (née Woodlands) Imlay of Glebe, Port Sydney, New South Wales:-

Sister Ellen Jean Imlay (/explore/people/126706) - returned to Australia;

Capt. Norman George Imlay MC (/explore/people/224303) - returned to Australia;

Lt. Col. Alexander Peter Imlay DSO & Bar - returned to Australia.


Awarded the Distinguished Service Order (

'For continuous conspicuous service, gallantry and devotion to duty. Since the Battalion was formed in March 1916, Major Imlay has served conspicuously. At Pozieres in August and September 1916 his energy, gallantry and coolness under exceptionally heavy enemy barrage had a marked effect on the men under him. At Diependaal, Fleurbaix and Gueudecourt his work has been conspicuous. The last two periods in the front line, Gueudecourt Sector January and February 1917, Major Imlay acted as Senior Major to the 47th. Battalion, his energy, example, resourcefulness and power of organization has been most marked. This officer is mainly responsible for advancing our line in the left subsector of the Right Brigade area, 400 yards N.W. of Gueudecourt, by personally reconnoitring the ground and establishing strong points.' SOURCE: 'Commonwealth Gazette' No. 169 Date: 4 October 1917.


Awarded a Bar to the Distinguished Service Order (

'For conspicious gallantry and devotion to duty when in command of his battalion. The attack, in atrocious weather conditions, was successful, but owing to the retirement of the troops on the left, his men were ordered to withdraw. He personally controlled the retiring troops, and skillfully overcame a critical situation, being wounded in the effort' SOURCE: 'Commonwealth Gazette' No. 150 Date: 24 September 1918.


'Both Alexander and his younger brother Norman showed an early interest in military affairs. They served in the New South Wales Scottish Rifles, Alexander in 1901-08 and Norman in 1904-06. In Adelaide on 1 July 1914 Alexander joined the 75th (Hindmarsh) Infantry, Australian Military Forces, as second lieutenant; he was commissioned second lieutenant, 16th Battalion, Australian Imperial Force, on 29 September 1914.

Alexander embarked for Egypt on 22 December 1914. Promoted lieutenant on 25 March next year, he landed at Gallipoli on 26 April, and was involved in heavy fighting. Seriously wounded on 2 May, he was evacuated to England, but rejoined his battalion on Gallipoli as company commander on 31 October. On 20 January 1916 in Egypt he was promoted captain and in March transferred to the 48th Battalion as second-in-command with promotion to major. Between March and June, as part of the Egyptian Expeditionary Force, he was involved in operations against the Turks in the Sinai Desert. Wounded on 13 May, he was hospitalized for two weeks before embarking for France on 2 June.

Between June and November in France and Belgium Imlay engaged in operations at Houplines, Fleurbaix, Pozières (where he was wounded but remained on duty), Mouquet Farm, Wytschaete, Flers and Gueudecourt. On 1 March 1917 he transferred to the 47th Battalion as second-in-command and after the 1st battle of Bullecourt on 11 April was awarded the Distinguished Service Order. He took command of the battalion on 20 April following the wounding of Lieutenant-Colonel Eric Lewis and was promoted temporary lieutenant-colonel. On 12 October at Passchendaele he was severely wounded by shell-fire and was evacuated to England; for his 'gallantry and conspicuous bravery' he was awarded a Bar to his D.S.O. Returning to France on 4 February 1918, he was again wounded on 5 April at Dernancourt but remained on duty. In May the 47th Battalion was disbanded and Imlay, who had been four times mentioned in dispatches, was given command of the 12th Training Battalion at Codford, Wiltshire, England. He remained with this unit until it was disbanded in February 1919. His A.I.F. appointment was terminated in August after his return to Australia.

Alexander Imlay was promoted major in the A.M.F. in August 1920 and transferred to the reserve of officers as lieutenant-colonel in October. Next year he joined the Gordon Highlanders, British Army, as captain and in 1930, after a period of secondment, transferred to the Royal Indian Army Service Corps. Promoted major in 1935, he retired in 1937 but was reappointed in 1940 as major (honorary lieutenant-colonel) for service during World War II. He died on 23 April 1959 at Skene, Aberdeen, Scotland, survived by his wife and children.' SOURCE (