Walter Ernest Dexter

Chaplain Walter Dexter standing in front of his tent in Egypt

Rank

Chaplain

Roll title

5th Battalion, AIF

Convoy ship

HMAT Orvieto

Dexter served in the Boer War as a trooper in Lumsden’s Horse, a unit of mounted volunteers recruited in India.

Courtesy of the Australian War Memorial P00796.001

Walter Ernest Dexter was born in Birkenhead, England, on 31 August 1873.  At age 14, he was indentured on the barque Buckingam, and though he left to work in New York after the first voyage, he returned to the high seas a few years later.  He became a master mariner in March 1899 and for a time was master of Afghan, which carried Muslim pilgrims to Mecca.  He voyaged to thirty-seven world ports, tales of which are documented in his 1938 book Rope-Yarns, Marline-Spikes and Tar. 

From February 1900 to January 1901, Dexter served as a mounted trooper in the Boer War.  He was awarded the Distinguished Conduct Medal for courageous actions.

Dexter married Frances Louisa Carroll (née Rohan) in Mauritius on 16 September 1902.  Her death one year later greatly affected him, and he dedicated himself to becoming an Anglican Minister.  After studying at sea, he enrolled at Durham University in 1906.  Two years later, he was ordained and appointed Curate at Walbone, Newcastle upon Tyne. He migrated to Australia in 1910, and worked from a tent in the small coal-mining town of Wonthaggi, Victoria, before transferring to South Melbourne in 1912. He married Dora Stirling Roadknight the following year.

On 1 September 1914, Dexter enlisted with the AIF in Melbourne. He was one of 12 chaplains appointed that month.

A page from Dexter’s service record detailing his service with Lumsden’s Horse.

Courtesy of the National Archives of Australia: B2455, DEXTER, WE

A sketch of Dexter by J. S. Coiren, depicting him cutting the telegraph wires at Elandsfontein.

Taken from Pearse, H (ed.) 1903, The history of Lumsden's Horse; a complete record of the corps from its formation to its disbandment, Longmans, Green, and Co., London, New York and Bombay

Dexter married Dora Stirling Roadknight on 8 April 1913 at Christ Church, Ormond.

Courtesy of the Dexter family

Walter Dexter’s application for a commission. He enlisted in Melbourne on 1 September 1914, one of 12 chaplains appointed that month.

Courtesy of the National Archives of Australia: B2455, DEXTER, WE

HMAT Orvieto.

Courtesy of the Western Australian Museum MHK D1 765

On 20 October 1914, Dexter left Melbourne for Albany aboard HMAT Orvieto. Having only married Dora in April the previous year, parting was difficult: 

I thank God for the animated scene on the pier when the crowds rushed the barricades.  It saved many of us from breaking.  I watched Dorrie as far as I could & then turned away & threw myself amongst the men & endeavoured to still my mind.  ‘Mizpah’.

Arriving in Albany six days later, Dexter commented:

Albany is a pretty place from the harbour. Red roofed houses nestling amongst green trees lend a picturesqueness to the scene. All around the harbour high hills block out the view, but these hills are intensely pretty with the different coloured shrubs.

Orvieto departed King George Sound on 1 November, leading the First Convoy.  Aboard the ship, Dexter held communion and services and kept a detailed diary, which he maintained throughout the war.  

Though the trip feels like a pleasure trip … at any moment it may turn to tragedy and one knows that ours would be one of the first ships to go for the demoralisation of the convoy would be complete if the brains of the expedition perished. For on board the ‘Orvieto’ are all the heads of various departments. 

At Colombo, Orvieto acquired the prisoners from SMS Emden, defeated by HMAS Sydney on 9 November.

As they journeyed to Suez, Dexter was afforded special opportunities to speak with the prisoners, including Captain von Müller, who spoke fluent English. 

I grew to like von Müller very much.  As an old Skipper we yarned away and I had more opportunity than anyone else of getting things out of him.  He is the kind of man I would like for a chief officer … I hope to meet him later on in England or Germany.

The Orvieto passed through the Suez Canal on 1 December before docking in Alexandria on the morning of 3 December.

Egypt

During training in Egypt, Dexter was a popular minister and led regular church parades where hymns including ‘Onward Christian Soldiers’, ‘Lead, Kindly Light’, and ‘Jesus, Lover of My Soul’ resounded across the desert.  In early February, following the defense of the Suez Canal, Dexter visited the hospital wards.  He observed as training intensified throughout March and April and wrote a passage in his diary in defense of the Australian ‘slouch’.

It is exhilarating to march behind good men and as one marches behind these boys the pride of race swells up and one feels it is good to be there.  Every step beats at the same moment, every hand swings to the same time and every body sways as if it were one whole.  Head up, eyes straight, shoulders square.  The rhythm of the movement entrances one.  … It is grand to be alive and have part and lot with such men as these … I guess they will find we are soldiers all right, when the time comes to try us.  The men are as hard as nails, and keen as a knife to get to the front.

HMAT Orvieto leaving Port Melbourne. The crowd watching the ship depart had rushed the pier. The photograph was taken by Charles Bean.

Courtesy of the Australian War Memorial G01539

Dexter conducting a church service aboard HMAT Orvieto.

Courtesy of the Australian War Memorial PS0124

At sea, November 1914. Dexter (left) with Captain Gordon Smith RN, the Convoy commander (right), and an Australian officer. The photograph was taken by Charles Bean, Australia’s official war correspondent.

Courtesy of the Australian War Memorial G01558

Captain Karl von Müller, commander of the SMS Emden. Dexter was able to speak with von Müller at length while the latter was detained aboard Orvieto between Colombo and Suez.

Courtesy of the Australian War Memorial 305444

Dexter on the wharf in Cairo, shortly before disembarking in Alexandria.

Courtesy of the Australian War Memorial PS0372

Australian troops disembarking from HMAT Orvieto at Alexandria, Egypt.

Courtesy of the Australian War Memorial H02030

Dexter (sitting on the ground in the front row, second from left) with officers of the 5th Battalion in front of the Sphinx at the foot of the pyramids.

Courtesy of the Australian War Memorial A03182

Dexter outside his tent at Mena Camp. The photograph was taken by Phillip Schuler, correspondent for The Age newspaper.

Courtesy of the Australian War Memorial PS0635

Dexter explores the pyramids near Mena Camp.

Courtesy of the Australian War Memorial J04116

A barge transports wounded soldiers from Anzac Cove to the hospital ship Gascon.

Courtesy of the Australian War Memorial A02740

At the start of the Gallipoli campaign, Dexter was stationed aboard the hospital ships and provided emotional and medical support to hundreds of wounded.  His fellow officers held him in high regard. Captain Benjafield, a medical officer, wrote:

Captain Dexter, chaplain to the 2nd Brigade … came aboard, and, throwing off his coat, waded in, and has helped us with our work with never a murmur or a complaint of any kind. He has been quite as good as a third doctor to us, and I feel more than grateful to him. There's no question he is one of the very best, and proves his Christianity by deeds - as well as words.

Dexter’s support remained steadfast through long hours and grim circumstances, and the courage and camaraderie he witnessed among the men greatly moved him.

One’s heart had to be very stout ... Shattered limbs, bullets in head, through the body and in every conceivable place, and yet with a smile they will say to me, ‘All right, doctor, tend this poor fellow first,’ and all the time they are in pain, with their bandages solid with stale blood … I wanted to bubble and cry and take them in my arms and soothe them, for their nerves were all racked, as well as their actual wounds. Instead, I joked with them, and made them laugh, and gave them cigarettes to smoke while I pulled the hard bandages from the wounds.

On 17 May, Dexter went ashore and was initially attached to the 5th Battalion (later the entire 2nd Brigade).  He held services as opportunity allowed, ‘in trenches, on elbows of roads sheltered from the enemies’ sight, in little gullies … on the edge of cliffs, often within 100 yards of the enemy’s firing line’.  Often, bullets whistled overhead. He shared the hardships and the risks of life on Gallipoli and was frequently in the danger zone.  On being hit for the sixth time, he wrote:

I got a shrapnel bullet on my left elbow. I sat … to get over the pain and then went to my own camp and dressed it there. I don’t want my name to go down as wounded.

On 24 May, Dexter described the burial armistice conducted during a nine-hour ceasefire:

Raining and things generally miserable. At 7.30 am armistice began for the purpose of burying the dead. The smell is something awful. Some of the bodies have been there lying in the heat of the sun for 4 weeks … The ground was simply covered with dead … Hundreds of men were engaged in moving them and the work continued without intermission all day … The armistice continued till 4.00 pm and the first shot was fired about 4.30 pm. It seems so strange, the quietness in the valley, no explosions and the men getting on the skyline and looking at the Turks through their glasses.

As the Gallipoli campaign progressed, Dexter sought to redress the rather haphazard nature of early burials and recording of graves.  In June, he noted in his diary, 'many of our graves are nameless and hundreds of those posted as missing are dead and buried by the Turks'. Understanding the importance of this work, Dexter supervised surveyors and work parties in the cemeteries as they cleaned, straightened and recorded. He sent maps and documentation to the War Office to guide future custodians.  In later months, he searched for isolated graves in the gullies and took their bearings, reflecting:

Now isolated burials are forbidden. … Burial is done by day, where three months ago the grave was not started till dusk. My mind runs over those buried in the early days.  Dark nights, and a small group gathered around an open grave, with heads bowed in sorrow for a comrade taken away.  … We know the burial service by heart, and all the time the service goes on bullets are thudding into the ground.  They whistle close by my ear, and through the group, but the boys are very brave, and not one moves from the reverential attitude he had taken up.

One of the last to leave the peninsula, Dexter spent his final days walking through the gullies and cemeteries scattering silver wattle seed. He wrote:

If we have to leave here I intend that a bit of Australia shall be here. I soaked the seed for about 20 hours and they seem to be well and thriving. 

He departed for Egypt on Saturday 18 December. 

Dexter was dedicated to the troops, who he often referred to as ‘his boys’. Aside from a week tending the wounded on Mudros, he never left the peninsula, even electing to remain when the 5th Battalion was withdrawn for a short rest in September.  During his time on Gallipoli he distinguished himself through his bravery and practicality, as well as his spirituality, and on 11 January 1916 was awarded the Distinguished Service Order.

Dexter (left) with Lieutenant Colonel Walter Cass, November 1915.

Courtesy of the Australian War Memorial J02530

This view of Anzac Cove was taken by Dexter in 1915 and hand-tinted by Colarts Studio, Sydney, c. 1925.

Courtesy of the Dexter family

Dexter took this photograph surreptitiously from a trench. Under the terms of the armistice, photography was not permitted.

Courtesy of the Australian War Memorial J04970

An Australian party burying both Australian and Ottoman dead during the nine-hour armistice observed on 24 May 1915.

Courtesy of the Australian War Memorial P02648.025

A section of Anzac cemetery. Dug-outs are on the hill in the background.

Courtesy Australian War Memorial A00892

Photograph taken by Dexter of dead soldiers in a trench. Dexter worked hard to ensure burial records were as accurate as possible.

Courtesy Australian War Memorial J04734

Dexter (far right) conducting a church parade in a rest area shortly after his arrival on the Western Front, 4 June 1916.

Courtesy of the Australian War Memorial EZ0038

After several months in Egypt, Dexter departed for France where, as Senior Anglican Chaplain, he divided his time between AIF headquarters and service in the field.  The Western Front was quite different from Gallipoli and officers no longer lived in such close proximity to the front line. Upon arriving at headquarters in La Motte on 30 April, Dexter was reunited with some of his old comrades, including Bean, and wrote: 

My room is on the top floor and the place is lit by electric light generated by a portable dynamo on a motor lorry.  The firing line is 12 or 15 miles from here but one can occasionally hear the sound of the guns.

The increased role of artillery was also a notable change, and formed one of Dexter’s earliest impressions:

We stood in the road with the guns firing over us, when all of a sudden the real bombardment started on our right from 9 to 9.30 pm.  It is incredible.  The guns were going off like half a dozen machine guns.  Even where we were a certain feeling of horror and awe came upon us when we realised that all this was falling upon soldiers, even though they were enemies.  It was terrific and monstrous.

Dexter spent the subsequent months around Bécourt, supporting the troops through difficult battles including Pozières and Mouquet Farm.  In addition to administrative duties, church parades and burial services, Dexter organised entertainments such as cinema and music, and his way of acquiring and distributing items earned him the affectionate nickname, ‘the Pinching Parson’. This reputation made its way back to Australia, where the Evening News reported:

The major has a ‘taking way’ of his own. When the soldiers are in need of comforts this brave padre does not spend his time in discussing etiquette, but simply, as the soldiers say, ‘pinches’ what is required … Letters from scores of soldiers testify that Major Dexter is held in the highest esteem by them, as he is in his turn never tired of relating the heroism of Australians on the battle-field.

Dexter worked hard to soften the harsh reality of war and maintained an outwardly jovial rapport with the men.  

In July, Dexter established the first coffee stall at Bécourt Wood with the support of the Australian Comforts Fund.  These became a much loved institution across the Australian lines, where exhausted troops received biscuits and soup as well as hot coffee and cocoa served in jam tins with the lids bent back for handles.  Lieutenant D. N. Rentoul wrote,

The surroundings are indescribably horrible.  The human debris, partly from the dressing station, the torn and battered earth, the noise and confusion, the dust and danger could not be imagined, but in the midst of all this the A.C.F. coffee-stalls and their enthusiastic supporter, Chaplain Dexter, pushed their way.  As many as 1,000 men were served in one night.  The boys will never forget this provision for their needs by the Australian Comforts Fund.

In November, Dexter transferred to AIF Headquarters in London, where he spent several months before returning to France in February 1917.  There, he was attached to the 1st Division and continued his work through the persistent cold weather.  On a visit to the 3rd Brigade he wrote,

I measured the ice in one of the shell holes and found it about 12 inches thick.  The [10th and 12th] Div. Baths were not working, everything was frozen. ... We decided upon forming a Div. Canteen ... and also a Div. Cinema Hall. No coal for 4 days yet.  The cold is bitter but the men are healthy.  Those who work up near the front line have their helmets painted white to render themselves less conspicuous.  The well-known woods here are a curious sight. There are no trees left and the whole ground is pitted with shell holes.

After moving north to Belgium, he worked tirelessly throughout the third battle of Ypres.

Listen to Dexter’s account of serving coffee under shell fire at the Comforts Fund stall at Westhoek Ridge, Ypres.

At Westhoek Ridge Fritz had the range to a yard, and our shelters were only for keeping the rain and splinters out. Men were as precious as gold there, and nobody but those who had business were around. I could not get a man for love nor money, so the A.P.M. of the 1st Division gave me two men to boil water and make coffee, soup and food. It was rotten weather, raining and cold, and the wounded were perishing from the wet, so I did the best I could and ‘collared’ about four prisoners and two of our own men slightly wounded to issue the warm stuff. The men were served and I have no hesitation in stating that hundreds of lives were saved by that coffee stall. Fritz rather appreciated the job, for he got occasional hot drinks. It was not a place one would…go for a summer holiday, but it was the best place, and caught the fatigues and the wounded from practically the whole time. This coffee stall came to an untimely end. Shells dropped very close and one burst just outside but only got one of the boys in the leg. We did not mind so long as Fritz was on to his mark. He would drop them from 50 to 100 yards away, and we would stand and watch them quite unconcerned, but we dreaded the time when he would get careless with his shooting or his gun would be a bit worn, and what we dreaded happened. My egg shell (cupola) adjoined the coffee stall. Luckily for me I stayed with the artillery in a pill box that night. About half an hour before I returned in the morning Fritz made a mistake. My two chums, Dr. Davey A.M.C., and the dresser were both killed, and that was an end to the coffee stall. It would have done your heart good to see me chasing German prisoners around and preventing them devoting too much coffee to their ‘cobbers’ who were stretcher bearing. One does not tell a man, when he is at such a low ebb, who provides this means of life saving, but there are multitudes of our boys who will remember that Westhoek coffee stall with love and gratitude. There has been no coffee stall erected there since, but in all parts of the line are Comforts Fund coffee stalls, doing what is necessary, and no ‘song’ being made about it.

Dexter’s energy, resourcefulness and dedication to the troops persisted through trying conditions.  At times he tended the wounded, and the following excerpt of 20 September records his efforts during the battle of Menin Road:

We had no sleep. Cases were coming through continually … [t]here were guns all around us.  The nearest was about 50 yards away, shooting straight over our head.  The Aid Post is right in front of all the guns and our outlook is very dreary.  Just a scene of desolation.  Shell holes and stumps of trees.  … I was expecting a terrific Barrage far surpassing Pozières, but I did not think it did this.  Anyhow it was fearful.  We had little time to watch it, for the wounded were coming in very rapidly, but every time the gun facing our dugout fired, it nearly blew in our back teeth. … The number of wounded gradually gained upon us, until we had 50 or 60 stretcher cases lying on the road.  We managed to get the use of the light railway and the motor wagons just ferried the wounded from us to the … Adv. Dressing Station.  Only those who were seriously wounded, or bleeding, we dressed, and about 11 pm we were at last cleared of stretcher cases.

Three days later he wrote:

I had a bath and a shave.  The caked blood was very hard to get off.  I had a couple of hours’ sleep, but my eyes felt as if I had cinders in them.

Dexter’s actions on the battlefields and devotion to the troops’ welfare were recognised and he was awarded the Military Cross, making him the most decorated chaplain in the AIF.  The citation read:

For zeal and devotion to duty during the operations east of Ypres between 22nd September and 12th October, 1917. Regardless of personal risk he visited the front line troops, ministered to the wounded, attended burial parties and helped to collect wounded – also for his general good service and consistently good influence with the troops.

In 1918, after time in England on duty, Dexter returned to France and was based at 1st Division Headquarters.  On 8 September, he was promoted to honorary chaplain 2nd class.  His diary reveals that in August and September he was sitting for a portrait with official war artist James Quinn and beginning to index his photographs. He remained in the field in France until the war ended. 

Practical joker Dexter pretends to extract a tooth at a dressing station behind the trenches.

Courtesy of the Australian War Memorial EZ0062

Australian officers wheel Dexter in a French farmer’s wheelbarrow.

Courtesy of the Australian War Memorial J03775

Australian infantry coming out of the frontline at Longueval in December 1916 drinking coffee at an Australian Comforts Fund stall. These were well supported by patriotic fund raising campaigns back in Australia during the war.

Courtesy of the Australian War Memorial E00051

Three unidentified Australian soldiers view battered wagons and trees along the road from Chateau Wood to Westhoek Ridge in the Ypres salient, 29 October 1917.

Courtesy of the Australian War Memorial E01188

A letter sent to Dexter’s wife, Dora, regarding the award of the Military Cross.

Courtesy of the National Archives of Australia: B2455, DEXTER WE

Partial document. An excerpt from Dexter’s service record showing his promotion to Chaplain 2nd class.

Courtesy of the National Archives of Australia: B2455, DEXTER WE

Photograph taken by Dexter in France, c 1918. Dexter documented his time during the war through his diary and photographs, capturing elements of daily life such as this sign with its warning that visitors could draw enemy artillery fire.

Courtesy of the Australian War Memorial J03772

Walter and Dora Dexter, West Footscray, c. 1944–45.

Courtesy of the Dexter family

After serving as a member of the demobilisation staff in London, Dexter left for Australia on 6 March 1920. 

In Egypt, he had written, ‘How can I go back to Parish work after all this amongst men?’ Upon returning home, the sentiment remained.  He took a soldier-settler’s block at Kilsyth with his wife, Dora, and four sons. 1921 was a disastrous year for the family: though blessed with the arrival of Barrie, the farm failed to thrive and their son, John, almost three, died. Twin Stephen was regarded as a carrier for diphtheria and sent to live with Dora’s sister.  Dexter abandoned the farm and returned to the church in 1924, successively serving the Victorian parishes of Romsey, Lara and West Footscray before retiring in 1947. He and Dora expanded their family with another son Paul in 1924 and daughter Geraldine in 1927. 

In the years shortly after his return to Australia, Dexter lectured for the National War Memorials Fund and partnered with William Joynt to arrange an exhibition of war photographs. His love of photography had endured throughout the war and continued in his later years.  After returning to parish work, he remained highly involved in pastoral duties and civic affairs and was the vicar at Geelong Grammar, where his sons attended school. 

Dexter retained his affinity with the sea, publishing a book in 1938 of his adventures as a young man.  He was also involved with the Shiplovers Society of Victoria, as president of the Geelong branch. 

Dexter died at home on 31 August 1950, his 77th birthday, suffering from pulmonary oedema as a result of gas exposure during the war. 

References

Australian Dictionary of Biography, Dexter, Walter Ernest (1873–1950)

Australian War Memorial, First World War Embarkation Rolls – Walter Ernest Dexter

Australian War Memorial, Honours and Awards – Walter Ernest Dexter

Australian War Memorial, Dexter, Walter Ernest DSO, MC, DCM (Senior Chaplain, b. 1873 d. 1950), Private Record, Item PR00248

Bean, CEW 1941, Official History of Australia in the War of 1914 -18. Vol. I: The Story of ANZAC from the outbreak of war to the end of the first phase of the Gallipoli Campaign, May 4, 1915, 11th Edn, Angus and Robertson, Sydney

Bean, CEW 1941, Official History of Australia in the War of 1914 -18 Vol. II: The Story of ANZAC from 4 May, 1915 to the Evacuation, 11th Edn, Angus and Robertson, Sydney

Bean, CEW 1941, Official History of Australia in the War of 1914 -18 Vol. III: The Australian Imperial Force in France, 1916, 12th Edn, Angus and Robertson, Sydney

Daily Herald, Adelaide, ‘Serving Coffee Under Shell Fire Hundreds of Lives Saved’, p 2, 13 May 1918; accessed via National Library of Australia, Trove

Evening News, Sydney, ‘The “Pinching” Parson: Brave Soldier and Soldiers’ Friend’, p 6, 20 February 1918; accessed via National Library of Australia, Trove

National Archives of Australia: Australian Imperial Force, Base Records Office; B2455, Walter Ernest Dexter’s First Australian Imperial Force personnel dossier, 1914-1920; DEXTER W E, 1914-1920

Rochester Express, Melbourne, ’Dealing With Wounded Rush on Hospital Ship Chaplain Takes off his Coat’, p 9, 9 July 1915; accessed via National Library of Australia, Trove

The Daily News, Perth, ‘Within Shell-Fire: Australian Coffee-Stalls’, p 9, 2 December 1916; accessed via National Library of Australia, Trove

 

Holy Trinity Church, Lara, with Walter Dexter’s shadow visible in the foreground.

Courtesy of the Dexter family

Lara, c. 1930. From left to right: Walter Dexter, David ‘Dade’ Dexter, Stephen ‘Torp’ Dexter, Barrie ‘Bunt’ Dexter, Paul ‘Mick’ Dexter, Geraldine ‘Geb’ Dexter.

Courtesy of the Dexter family

Dexter family outside Lara Church on Christmas Day, c. 1930s.

Courtesy of the Dexter family

Camping outfit c. 1938–1939. From left to right: Paul ‘Mick’ Dexter, Geraldine ‘Geb’ Dexter, Dora Dexter.

Courtesy of the Dexter family

Walter Dexter at his home in East Malvern, c. 1948.

Courtesy of the Dexter family

Portrait of Dexter with his military ribbons. The photograph was taken shortly before his death on 31 August 1950.

Courtesy of the Dexter family

Anonymous

Thank you for your service. Lest we forget.

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kylie

I think you did a great job at keeping the soldier's spirits up.

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hugh

You did a great thing for the country. I think you're awesome.

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shaun

Thank you for your enormous sacrifice and courage for Australia.

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Russell

Well done in your legendary efforts.

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Anonymous

You must be very proud. Thank you.

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rebecca

An amazing man who undertook an incredible journey and selfless in his service to others.

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capryce

Your bravery is well done. I appreciate your work is well done. I feel sorry. Thank you so much for defending our country.

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capryce

You're the best. Thank you for your courage.

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capryce

Dear Walter, Thank you. With your courage and strength, our country is safe thanks to you.

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Anonymous

Dear Walter, It must be hard fighting and not having family there for you. Thank you for fighting for us.

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Anonymous

Such a brave and godly man.

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eunice

You are such a wonderful soldier for protecting our country. Rest in peace.

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Anonymous

Thank you for your service to this country.

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kade

Thank you for saving our country.

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Anonymous

You were a brave and courageous man, who lived a long and useful life. Please GOD it doesn't happen again, but we are too close.

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Anonymous

Thanks for helping our troops. It takes a lot of effort to do what you did. From N. TOMLINSON.

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Anonymous

Your selflessness, cheek & heartfelt care truly made you "God's Gift" in the heart of darkness. Long will you be remembered, a reminder to us all.

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Macy

Thanks for letting me know about you. Age 7.

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Anonymous

Hello, I am so so happy that you came back safely, From Macy, age 7.

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Tully

Thank you for saving thousands of soldiers. Your bravery was completely appreciated. Thank you.

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Jessica Stewart

You seem like an amazing man and I admire your work greatly. I thank you for your service. I am very appreciative of your work for this country. THANK YOU. FROM Jessica.

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Megan

I am glad to hear that you survived the war. You helped our country become what it is today. Thank you.

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Keeley

Thank you so much, you are a true hero. Our country is forever grateful for your service.

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Anonymous

Well done on your great efforts. Rest in peace.

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melissa

I have heard your sad stories.

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tim

Did you know William John Symons?

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tim

Thanks for fighting.

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Anonymous

Thanks for helping us in the war.

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Eleanor

I love Walter's story and he was clearly a very brave man. I can't thank the ANZACs enough for losing their lives to save ours.

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Anonymous

I don't know what to say. Just thank you, as only you and God know the sacrifices you went through.

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Anonymous

Well done good and faithful servant. Continue to rejoice in your Lord's heavenly reward.

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Anonymous

All those that had the pleasure to meet you had their lives made richer for it.

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luke

Hi. Thanks for fighting for us. From Luke.

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Gabrielle

Thank you for going to war for us . R.I.P.

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MATTHEW

Thank you for helping give peace.

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Anonymous

Great story / great history.

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Anonymous

I thank God for you Chaplain Dexter for ministering to our troops in the most difficult of circumstances. I pray you are all in God's safekeeping. Amen.

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Anonymous

May you rest in peace.

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Lorraine GREEN

You are a true hero, your bravery is justly rewarded. We will be forever in your debt.

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Anonymous

A brave man and a true hero. We are forever in your debt.

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Anonymous

The world will little note nor long remember what we say here today, while your acts of compassion to those in greatest need are still remembered.

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Anonymous

I'm not religious but admire your bravery.

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Anonymous

My greatest thanks to such a remarkable man. Such support and dedication provided to those in the greatest fight of their lives. Words cannot portray our eternal gratitude.

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Kay Middleton

Well done, good and faithful servant. Now receiving his rewards in heaven.

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Anonymous

No one could serve coffee like you!

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Anonymous

Thank you for going to war for Australia. Hope it wasn't too bad.

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Tiffany Lockyer

This man reported and documented the death of my great great uncle, George Howard Lockyer killed in action in the Battle of Pozieres. I am moved to find information of his actions during his service and am grateful to know his face. Thank you sir for your time served.

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Anonymous

I couldn't imagine what it was like in the war, but I just wanted you to know that I was inspired by you and your actions. It's a shame you passed away before I was born.

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Anonymous

VERY MOVING. WHAT INCREDIBLE SACRIFICES.

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