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Dr Alexander Hammett MARKS CBE DSO

Rank Reg/Ser No DOB Enlisted Discharge/Death Board
Lieut Col 6 Aug 1880 34y 26 Aug 1914 4

Colonel Alexander Hammett Marks CBE DSO (1880 – 1954)


Family background 

Alexander Hammett Marks, medical practitioner and soldier, was born on 6 August 1880 in Brisbane, son of Dr Charles Ferdinand Marks, and his wife Elizabeth Gray, formerly Dods, née Stodart.  


He attended Brisbane Grammar School from 1894 to 1897 when he passed the Junior Examination conducted by the University of Sydney.  At Trinity College, Dublin University he obtained Bachelor of Arts, Bachelor of Medicine, Bachelor of Surgery and Bachelor of Obstetrics and was also awarded the Degree of Doctor of Medicine.  On returning to Brisbane in 1904, Dr Marks became a general practitioner with a special interest in obstetrics and gynaecology and established his practice at Wickham Terrace.  


On 6 April 1907 at St Philip's Anglican Church, Sydney, he married Annie Georgina Rhodes.  

Specialist practice and executive positions

At various periods between 1919 and 1930 he was an honorary radiologist, physician and senior gynaecologist at the Brisbane General Hospital and an honorary staff member of the Lady Bowen Hospital.  Dr Marks also held executive positions in local medical associations.  A foundation fellow of the (Royal) Australasian College of Surgeons, he served on the council of the Queensland branch of the British Medical Association from 1909 to 1927 and as its President in 1914.

 He was President of the Medical Defence Society of Queensland from 1931 to 1946 and of the Australasian Trained Nurses' Association from 1923 to 1934.  Although he retired from active practice in 1945, he continued his work as a senior medical officer to the Australian Mutual Provident Society until 1950.

 Military career

Dr Alec Marks had a distinguished military career, like his half brother, Dr Espie Dods.  On 20 March 1911 he was appointed to the honorary rank of Captain in the Australian Army Medical Corps and was attached as Medical Officer to the 2nd Brigade.  Before World War I he held appointments with the 1st Military District.  He enlisted in the Australian Imperial Force on 20 August 1914 and was posted as Regimental Medical Officer to the 3rd Field Artillery Brigade.

A month later he embarked for Egypt aboard HMAT Rangatira from Pinkenba Wharf, Brisbane and was at Gallipoli from the landing until the evacuation. He was promoted Major on 6 September 1915.

On 20 February 1916 Major Marks was appointed Deputy Assistant Director of Medical Services of the 4th Division.  The division moved to France in May and in December he was promoted Lieutenant Colonel commanding the 2nd Australian Field Ambulance.

He was invalided to England with bronchopneumonia in February 1917 and in March was appointed to form and command the 16th Australian Field Ambulance attached to the 16th Brigade in England.

In October 1917 Dr Marks returned to France to command the 1st Australian Casualty Clearing Station and served with this unit until September 1918 when he was appointed Colonel and Assistant Director of Medical Services of the 1st Division.  For his war service he was awarded the Distinguished Service Order in 1916 and the French Croix de Guerre in 1918, and was appointed Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE) in 1919.  He was also twice mentioned in dispatches.

Post war

Dr Marks returned to Australia in 1919 with his wife and four children.  He continued part-time service with the army as Deputy Director of Medical Services of the 1st Military District from 1921 to 1938 and during World War II was Chairman and Queensland Controller of the Voluntary Aid Detachment.  Dr Marks was known for his keen sense of humour and was a popular personality with both the Brisbane medical fraternity and the Australian Army Medical Corps.  His hobbies were collecting antique furniture and farming near Brisbane.


Dr Alexander Hammett Marks died on 18 January 1954 of hypertensive heart disease at his home at Auchenflower, Brisbane.  He was survived by his second wife, Charlotte, née Watson, whom he had married on 11 July 1945 at Toowong, and by one son and two daughters of his first marriage.  His son Charles Ferdinand was decorated for service with the Royal Australian Army Medical Corps in World War II.

Select Bibliography
• National Archives of Australia, military records
• A. .G Butler (ed), Official History of the Australian Army Medical Services in the War 1914-19, vol 1. Melbourne, 1930, vol 2 Canberra, 1940
• Darryl McIntyre, Australian Dictionary of Biography, Volume 10, Melbourne University Press, 1986
• Marks Family papers, John Oxley Library, Brisbane
• Brisbane and the Marks Family, Queensland University of Technology,  Brisbane
• Saint Andrew’s Uniting Church Archives, Brisbane
The Golden Book, Brisbane Grammar School Archives

Noel E. Adsett, Brisbane, March 2015 ©



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