Colin Imray was born 21 September 1933, the son of Henry Gibbon Imray and Frances Olive Imray; he was educated at Highgate School, Hotchkiss School, Connecticut, and Balliol College, Oxford (2nd class Hons PPE). In 1957 he married Shirley Margaret Matthews.
After serving in the Seaforth Highlanders and RWAFF, Sierra Leone, 1952-54, Imray joined the CRO in 1957. His diplomatic postings included: Canberra [Australia], 1958-61; CRO, 1961-63; Nairobi [Kenya], 1963-66; FCO, 1966-70; British Trade Commissioner, Montreal [Canada], 1970-73; Counsellor, Head of Chancery and Consul-General, Islamabad [Pakistan], 1973-77; RCDS, 1977; Commercial Counsellor, Tel Aviv [Israel], 1977-80; Rayner Project Officer, 1980; Deputy High Commissioner, Bombay [India], 1980-84; Assistant Under-Secretary of State (Deputy Chief Clerk and Chief Inspector), FCO, 1984-85; High Commissioner at Tanzania, 1986-89; High Commissioner at Bangladesh, 1989-93.
He was awarded the KBE in 1992 and the CMG in 1983.