Major Percy Lay

Service Numbers 137,V85723
Birth Date 08 February 1892
Birth Place Australia: Victoria, Ballan
Death Date 28 August 1955
Death Place Australia: Victoria, Melbourne, Heidelberg
Final Rank Major
Units
Commonwealth of Australia Gazette 8 November 1917 on page 2943 at position 66
London Gazette 18 July 1917 on page 7288 at position 91

Percy Lay was 22 years old when he signed his attestation papers at Ballarat to enlist in the Australian Imperial Force just weeks after the outbreak of war in August 1914. He served with the 8th Battalion on Gallipoli and the Western Front, and by the beginning of 1918 he had been promoted four times and awarded the Military Medal, the Military Cross, the Distinguished Conduct Medal, and the French Croix de Guerre. One of his superior officers described him as "always a volunteer for any work which entails danger and his coolness and courage under fire are noticeable". In January 1918 Lay was offered a posting with Dunsterforce in the Middle East. In his diary he expressed his sadness at leaving his battalion, but subsequent entries soon focused on his activities in Persia, including learning Persian, Russian, and sword-fighting. On one occasion, he had to determine whether a local headman, Sheik Ali, was hiding among a group of 40 women at Hamadan. Lay arrived back in Australia during May 1919 and continued military work at the Domain camp in Melbourne. He left again in September with the Special Service Unit to escort deportees overseas.For the next twenty years, Lay lived and worked on his farm 'Lucerne Farm' near Alphington, Victoria. He enlisted in the Army again on 24 June 1940. Rising to the rank of major, he was posted to several training and garrison units before being transferred to the 1st Australian Works Company.Following his return to civilian life again in 1945, Lay returned to Alphington. Percy Lay died at Heidleberg, Victoria on 28 August 1955.

Rolls

  • First World War Embarkation Roll

    Rank
    Private
    Place of Embarkation
    Melbourne
    Embarkation Ship
    HMAT Benalla A24
    Date of Embarkation
    19 October 1914
    Conflict
    First World War, 1914-1918

Honours & Awards

  • Honours and Awards:

    Award/Honour
    Military Cross
    Classification
    British/Australian gallantry awards
    Unit
    8th Australian Infantry Battalion
    Conflict
    First World War, 1914-1918
    Rank
    Second Lieutenant
    London Gazette
    6 April 1918 on page 4237 at position 6
    Commonwealth Gazette
    30 August 1918 on page 1780 at position 3
  • Honours and Awards:

    Award/Honour
    Distinguished Conduct Medal
    Classification
    British/Australian gallantry awards
    Unit
    8th Australian Infantry Battalion
    Conflict
    First World War, 1914-1918
    Rank
    Sergeant
    London Gazette
    6 February 1918 on page 1750 at position 11
    Commonwealth Gazette
    27 June 1918 on page 1397 at position 2
  • Honours and Awards:

    Award/Honour
    French Croix de Guerre
    Classification
    French awards and medals
    Unit
    8th Australian Infantry Battalion
    Conflict
    First World War, 1914-1918
    Rank
    Sergeant
    London Gazette
    1 May 1917 on page 4159 at position 3
    Commonwealth Gazette
    4 October 1917 on page 2622 at position 10
  • Honours and Awards:

    Award/Honour
    Military Medal
    Classification
    British/Australian gallantry awards
    Unit
    8th Australian Infantry Battalion
    Conflict
    First World War, 1914-1918
    Rank
    Sergeant
    London Gazette
    18 July 1917 on page 7288 at position 91
    Commonwealth Gazette
    8 November 1917 on page 2943 at position 66
  • Honours and Awards (Recommendation):

    Award/Honour
    French Croix de Guerre
    Classification
    French awards and medals
    Date of Recommendation
    20 January 1917
    Unit
    8th Australian Infantry Battalion
    Conflict
    First World War, 1914-1918
    Rank
    Sergeant
  • Honours and Awards (Recommendation):

    Award/Honour
    Mention in despatches
    Classification
    British/Australian gallantry awards
    Date of Recommendation
    09 September 1916
    Unit
    8th Australian Infantry Battalion
    Conflict
    First World War, 1914-1918
    Rank
    Sergeant
  • Honours and Awards (Recommendation):

    Award/Honour
    Distinguished Conduct Medal
    Classification
    British/Australian gallantry awards
    Date of Recommendation
    27 September 1917
    Unit
    8th Australian Infantry Battalion
    Conflict
    First World War, 1914-1918
    Rank
    Sergeant
  • Honours and Awards (Recommendation):

    Award/Honour
    Military Cross
    Classification
    British/Australian gallantry awards
    Date of Recommendation
    01 October 1917
    Unit
    8th Australian Infantry Battalion
    Conflict
    First World War, 1914-1918
    Rank
    Second Lieutenant
  • Honours and Awards (Recommendation):

    Award/Honour
    Distinguished Conduct Medal
    Classification
    British/Australian gallantry awards
    Date of Recommendation
    17 May 1917
    Unit
    8th Australian Infantry Battalion
    Conflict
    First World War, 1914-1918
    Rank
    Sergeant

Timeline

Date of birth 1892-02-08
Date of embarkation 1914-10-19
Date of recommendation honour or award 1916-09-09
Date of recommendation honour or award 1917-01-20
Date of recommendation honour or award 1917-05-17
Date of recommendation honour or award 1917-09-27
Date of recommendation honour or award 1917-10
Date of death 1955-08-28

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