The Batemans Bay Anglican Church hall was overflowing on Thursday, January 12 for the launch of The Pinching Padre – the complete First World War diary of Padre Walter Dexter – Lady Geraldine Currie's father.
Padre Dexter made a diary entry every day, writing of his experiences at Gallipoli and in the Western Front trenches and also took many photographs.
He served in Egypt and on the Suez Canal;then tended the Anzac wounded on a hospital ship and joined the troops on Gallipoli.
First with the 5th Battalion, then the 2nd Brigade, and finally as an acting senior chaplain, he shared the lives and dangers of the men, helping them practically and spiritually.
He went to France in April 1916.
He was awarded the Distinguished Service Order (DSO) and Military Cross (MC) for his work.
Anzacs nicknamed him “the pinching padre” because of his ability to “liberate” supplies and equipment unofficially to make the troops' lives more comfortable.
It took Lady Currie two years to transcribe the diary and it was edited and published by Averyl Lindgren of Pelican Crest Publications.
Lieutenant Colonel Ian Lindgren (retired) spoke of the value of the diary to historians and it was launched by Bishop to the Defence Forces Ian Lambert.
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