Corporal William Dunstan

Service number 2130
Ranks Held Corporal, Private
Birth Date 1895-03-08
Birth Place Australia: Victoria, Ballarat
Death Date 1957-03-02
Death Place Australia: Victoria, Melbourne, Caulfield
Final Rank Corporal
Service Australian Imperial Force
  • B Company
  • 7th Australian Infantry Battalion
Conflict/Operation First World War, 1914-1918
Gazettes Biographical information They dared mightily. in 1963
Published in London Gazette in 1916-01-28
Published in London Gazette in 1915-10-15
Published in Commonwealth Gazette in 1916-02-24
Published in Commonwealth Gazette in 1916-04-06

William Dunstan was born in Ballarat, Victoria, in March 1895 and employed as a drapery story clerk when the First World War broke out. In June 1915 he enlisted in the AIF, joining the 7th Battalion as a reinforcement. He was Mentioned in Despatches before taking part in the battle at Lone Pine, where he was to win the Victoria Cross.

On 9 August Dunstan was part of a group of soldiers defending a newly captured trench when the Turks made a determined counter-attack. Dunstan, together with Lieutenant Frederick Tubb, Corporal Burton, and six others, kept firing over the parapet. When a large explosion blew down the barricade, Dunstan and Burton began to rebuild it, while Tubb kept the enemy at bay. Before the work was complete a bomb burst between the men, killing Burton and temporarily blinding Dunstan. Dunstan was invalided to Australia and discharged in February 1916. He promptly rejoined the militia, serving in various ranks until he retired as a lieutenant in 1928.

He was presented with his Victoria Cross by the Governor-General on the steps of Parliament House, Melbourne; being a very reserved man, however, he found it a great ordeal. Dunstan's strength of character led him to a highly successful civilian career, particularly in the newspaper industry, and he was greatly respected in business, judicial, and parliamentary circles. Dunstan died suddenly of a heart attack in 1957.

Citation (abridged):

In the early morning of 9th August the enemy made a determined counter-attack on a newly-captured trench held by Lieutenant Tubb, Corporals Burton, Dunstan and a few men. They advanced up a sap and blew in a sandbag barricade, but Tubb and the two corporals repulsed the enemy and rebuilt the barricade. Strong enemy bombing parties twice again succeeded in blowing in the barricade, but on each occasion the enemy were repulsed and the barricade rebuilt, though Tubb was wounded and Corporal Burton killed while most gallantly building up the parapet under a hail of bombs.



Date of birth 08 March 1895
Date and unit at enlistment (ORs) 01 June 1915 7 Battalion.
Date of enlistment 02 June 1915
Date of embarkation 17 June 1915
Date promoted 06 August 1915 Appointed Corporal.
Date of recommendation honour or award 08 August 1915
Date of honour or award 09 August 1915 Awarded Victoria Cross for action at Lone Pine, Gallipoli, Turkey whilst serving with 7 Battalion, 2 Brigade, 1 Division as a Corporal
Date wounded 09 August 1915 Wounded in the head and temporarily blinded in action for which he received a Victoria Cross.
Date of recommendation honour or award 22 August 1915
Date returned to Australia 04 September 1915
Date of discharge 01 February 1916
Date of death 02 March 1957