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Biographical entry Derham, Alfred Plumley (1891 - 1962)


12 September 1891
Camberwell, Victoria, Australia
26 June 1962
Heidelberg, Victoria, Australia


Alfred Derham joined the 5th Battalion of Australian Imperial Force in 1914 and was appointed assistant director of medical services during the second world war (1941). On the day he landed in Gallipoli (25 April 1915) Derham was wounded, but continued to work tirelessly refusing to be evacuated until five days later. He was awarded the Military Cross (MC) for this gallant effort. Derham returned to Australia in 1917 to complete his medical training. During the 1920s he started up a private practice in Melbourne and specialised in treating children's diseases. He was also appointed honorary physician at the Children's Hospital and commanded field-ambulances in the Militia during the 1930s. When war broke out again, Alfred Derham was sent to Malaysia, then Singapore. In 1942 he was imprisoned in the Changi prisoner-of-war camp for six months and this lead to a major decline in his health. He returned to Australia in 1945 and was appointed Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE).



26 August 1914
Career position - Enlisted and posted to 5th Battalion of the Australian Imperial Force (AIF)
25 April 1915
Career position - Platoon Commander with the AIF in Gallipoli
August 1915
Career position - Transferred to the 2nd Brigade of the AIF
Education - Bachelor of Medicine (MB) and Bachelor of Surgery (BS) completed at the University of Melbourne
Career position - Private practice established in Melbourne
Education - Doctor of Medicine (MD) received from the University of Melbourne
c. 1930 - c
Career position - Field-Ambulance Commander in the Militia with the Australian Army Medical Corps
Career position - Colonel and Assistant Director of Medical Services at the 8th Division
Career position - Assistant Director of Medical Services for the AIF
Career position - Served in Malaysia and Singapore
Life event - Imprisoned (six months) in Changi prisoner-of-war camp in Singapore
Life event - Returned to Melbourne
Career position - AIF appointment terminated

Archival resources

The University of Melbourne Archives

  • Alfred Plumley Derham - Records, 1915 - 1979; The University of Melbourne Archives. Details

Published resources

Book Sections

Journal Articles

  • Anderson, Fay, 'Alfred Derham: a Tale of Two Wars', Australasian Science, 21 (2) (2000), 46. Details


Annette Alafaci