Tunic of Trooper Walter Dexter

Boer War

Predominantly comprised of British soldiers stationed in India, Lumsden’s Horse was raised in India for service in the Boer War. Among its recruits was 27-year-old merchant seaman officer Walter Dexter, who served in South Africa for a year and was awarded the Distinguished Conduct Medal for bravery.

After the war, Dexter was ordained as an Anglican Minister and in 1910 he was sent to Victoria to be the vicar of Wonthaggi. Offering his services as a chaplain during the First World War, Dexter was awarded the Distinguished Service Order for his considerable service at Gallipoli, which included surveying the cemeteries on the peninsula before the evacuation.

Dexter continued to support the welfare of the men of the Australian Imperial Force on the Western Front, providing everything from warm coffee to spiritual comfort. For his work on the Western Front, he was awarded the Military Cross, making him the most decorated chaplain of the Australian Imperial Force. Dexter was also a keen photographer, taking over 2,000 photographs during the First World War.

This wool serge tunic was worn by Trooper Dexter during his time with the Lumsden’s Horse in South Africa. It was preserved by his family for decades before being donated to the Memorial.