The Australian Boer War Memorial
Anzac Parade Canberra

Trooper (Later Lieutenant Colonel) Walter Dexter DSO, MC, DCM, MID

Ancestor Details

Ancestor's Name: Walter Ernest Dexter

Ancestor's date of birth: 31/08/1873

Ancestor's date of death: 31/08/1950

Cause of Death: Pulmonary oedema resulting from Gas in WW1

Service Number: Cannot be found

Colony or State of enlistment: Not applicable, Place of Enlistment: Calcutta India

Unit: Lumsden's Horse B Company #4 Section

Rank attained in Boer War: TPR, Date Effective: On enlistment

Highest Rank attained (if served after war): LTCOL (Chaplain), Date Effective: 08/09/1918

Murray Page: Not applicable did not serve in an Australian unit.

Contingent: Not applicable

Ship: Ujina, to East London ex Calcutta India, Date of Sailing: 03/03/1900

Memorial details: Springvale Crematorium Wall of Remembrance

Decorations: QSA with three clasps, DCM - Boer War. 1914-1915 Star, British War Medal, Victory Medal. DSO and MID Gallipoli, MC France.

Personal Characteristics: A very brave man and very well liked as a Chaplain.

Reasons to go and fight: Probably adventure, as he was in Calcutta when the AD appeared.

Details of service in Boer war: Lumsden's Horse, consisting of two squadrons and a maxim gun detachment, represented India in the South African War. It was commanded by Lieutenant Colonel D M Lumsden, of the Assam Valley Volunteers; while Lieutenant Colonel Eden C Showers, Commandant of the Surma Valley Light Horse, as second in command with the rank of Major. B Company sailed from Calcutta on 3 March 1900. B Company landed at East London, and joined the army of Lord Roberts at Bloemfontein in April. On the 21 April Lumsden's Horse marched out of camp to join General Tucker's Division, which had been holding the hills won at the battle of Karee Siding, 29 March. They were attached to a mounted infantry corps commanded by Colonel Ross. On 29 April Ross received orders to make a demonstration against the Boer right, to draw them out, if possible, and allow Maxwell's Brigade to seize their position. Henry's Mounted Infantry were to co-operate. Lumsden's Horse occupied various spurs about 1500 metres from the Boer position; but the enemy moved out and took the offensive with vigour. So strong and determined was the enemy that Lumsden's men were ordered to retire. The casualties of the two squadrons in this their first engagement were most severe. One officer and 5 men were killed, and one officer and 5 non-commissioned officers and men were wounded. After the engagement, General Tucker complimented Lumsden's Horse, but 'rebuked' them for an exhibition of bravery which, he thought, bordered on rashness and the unnecessary courting of danger. On 3 May Lord Roberts commenced his advance to Pretoria. During this movement Lumsden's Horse scouted and skirmished in front of the right centre of the great army. At the Zand River on the 10 May, at Viljoen's Drift on the Vaal on the 26 May, and near Elandsfontein on the 29 May, Ross' Mounted Infantry, including Lumsden's, did well, and their work was much praised by various correspondents. During the advance, and particularly after the Vaal was crossed, Lumsden's men had several casualties. After the occupation of Pretoria, Lumsden's Horse were employed about Irene and at Springs, where they had the usual hard outpost work and some skirmishing. On 22 July they marched into Pretoria and joined a force under Colonel Hickman, with whom they did some patrol work. About this time Lumsden's Horse left Colonel Ross, who issued an order in which he bestowed on them the highest possible compliments. About the beginning of August the corps, now under Brigadier-General Mahon and General lan Hamilton, started on a march to Rustenburg, thence to the country north of Pretoria, and back to the capital, which was reached about the end of August. At Zilikat's Nek there was stiff fighting, in which the Berkshire Regiment did very well. Mahon was now ordered to make a forced march to Carolina. He arrived there on 6 September in order to co-operate with French in the march to Barberton - a splendid effort on the part of all ranks. Lumsden's Horse next took part in the march from Machododorp to Heidelberg along with the other troops of Generals French and Mahon. After some very severe fighting Heidelberg was reached on 26 October, and the corps then marched to Pretoria. On 23 November Lumsden's Horse left Pretoria for India. Lord Roberts telegraphed to the Viceroy expressing his 'appreciation of their excellent services', and said: 'It has been a pride and a pleasure to me to have under my command a volunteer contingent which has so well upheld the honour of the Indian Empire'.

Service and life after the Boer War: Migrated to Australia, in 1914 was Vicar of St Barnabas, South Melbourne, Victoria and married to Mrs D S Dexter. Joined the AIF 8 September 1914. Chaplain (4th Class) [CAPT] at Gallipoli Chaplain [LTCOL] (2nd Class) and in France. Awarded the Distinguished Service Order (DSO) 14 January 1916, Mentioned in Despatches (MID) for the same action. Awarded the Military Cross (MC) 24 October 1918.

Descendant Details

Name of Descendant: Paul (aka Mick) Merrick Dexter, Heathmont VIC
Relationship to Ancestor: Son

Name of Descendant: Barrie Graham Dexter CBE, Hughes ACT
Relationship to Ancestor: Son

Name of Descendant: Lady Geraldine Currie, Denhams Beach NSW
Relationship to Ancestor: Daughter

Name of Descendant: Susan Wilson, Mt Helena VIC
Relationship to Ancestor: Grand Daughter

Name of Descendant: Jennifer Dexter, The Patch WA
Relationship to Ancestor: Grand Daughter

Name of Descendant: Robin Dexter, Brunswick VIC
Relationship to Ancestor: Grandson

Name of Descendant: Jeremy Dexter, Balwyn VIC
Relationship to Ancestor: Grandson

Name of Descendant: Ben Wilson, Gidgeannup WA
Relationship to Ancestor: Great Grandson


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RUSI of NSW Boer War Battlefields