Service dress tunic : Lieutenant G L Dolan, 53 Battalion, AIF

Place Europe: Western Front
Accession Number REL32936
Collection type Heraldry
Object type Uniform
Physical description Brass, Cotton sateen, Oxidised brass, Wool twill
Maker David Jones (Australia) Pty Ltd
Place made Australia: New South Wales, Sydney
Date made c 1914-1918
Conflict First World War, 1914-1918

Privately-made khaki lightweight wool twill tunic with open lapel collar. There are holes where collar badges were fitted on the top lapels. The tunic is secured by four buttons, all missing. The shoulders straps are missing the fastening top button and title, but have two oxidised brass ranks stars remaining, indicating the rank of lieutenant. These are held on by brass spilt pins.

Two medal ribbons are on the left breast: Distinguished Conduct Medal and British War Medal 1914-1920. The front of the tunic has four patch pockets. The two on the breast have scalloped and lined buttoned flaps with a central box pleat, and small metal press studs in the corners of the flap to hold them in position. The larger lower pockets are attached to the waistband and have expanding sides and a deep straight and lined buttoned flap. Three of the original four buttons on the pockets have AUSTRALIAN MILITARY FORCES embossed on the front and were made by STOKES & SONS.

The attached self-fabric waistband has two brass belt hooks on either side of the waist to support a Sam Brown belt. At the top of each sleeve is a vertically positioned rectangle wool flannel patch in green and black representing 53 Battalion, 5 Division AIF, divided down the centre. Sleeves have pointed cuffs. The rear of the tunic has a single vent extending from the lower edge of the waistband to the hem. The sleeves are lined with cream-coloured striped cotton sateen. Reinforcing panels have been added down the inside centre, and side made from green polished cotton twill. An embroidered makers label doubles as a hanging loop and reads 'DAVID JONES LIMITED SYDNEY N.S.W.'.

History / Summary

Worn by Lieutenant G L Dolan DCM, 53 Battalion AIF. Born at Surrey Hills, Sydney in June 1894, George Leslie 'Les' Dolan was working as a shop assistant and serving in the militia with the 24th Infantry Regiment, when he enlisted in the AIF on 8 July 1915. 4905 Private Dolan embarked aboard HMAT A15 Star of England with 1 Battalion, 15th Reinforcements on 8 March 1916. After arriving in Egypt, he was transferred to the 53rd Battalion.

After a period of further training, Dolan embarked for France, arriving at the end of June 1916. He moved north with the 53rd Battalion, and entered the line near Fleurbaix in time to participate in the disastrous Battle of Fromelles on 19 July 1916. He was promoted to lance corporal a week later. Dolan was then promoted to temporary corporal in September, corporal in October, temporary sergeant in May 1917 and sergeant in July.

On 25 September 1917, the 53rd Battalion took part in the attack at Glencorse Wood, east of Ypres in Belgium. Dolan was awarded the Distinguished Conduct Medal for his actions during the fighting. He was selected for officer training and attended No. 5 Officer's Cadet Training Battalion at Cambridge, England.

Dolan rejoined his unit in June 1918 and a month later was Mentioned in Despatches for his actions during the attack on Morlancourt on 29 July 1918. Dolan was promoted to lieutenant on 1 September. After the war, Dolan married Ethel Dillon O'Brien Porter from Cambridge on 12 May 1919. On 8 August 1919 he embarked aboard HT Katoomba for his return to Australia. Dolan was discharged from the AIF on 17 November 1919. During the inter-war years, Dolan served with the 53rd Battalion (West Sydney Regiment ), Citizens Military Force (CMF).