In a new light

John Wells in front of the treasured Lighthorseman uniform 130104 Picture: GARY SISSONS


DANDENONG RSL wants dormant war artefacts.
President John Wells said the club was making an effort to find lost treasures, such as silverware and sporting trophies, which were thrown out when it moved from a spacious mansion to its current site in Clow Street, Dandenong.
“Many of these things don’t have a lot of commercial value. We just can’t work out where they are,” he said.
Any other artefacts would also be respectfully displayed, adding to an eclectic collection of model ships, weaponry and, of course, the US Vietnam War helicopter that is mounted in the car park.
On the way are also a donated howitzers and a helicopter gun.
One of the club’s prize exhibits – a near-immaculate Lighthorseman brigade uniform worn by Sergeant Victor Kingston Smith in World War I – was retrieved after spending years in a trunk under a Berwick bed.
It stands prominently – complete with original garters, slouch hat and a replica ammunition belt – clothing a mannequin sealed in a ultraviolet-proof glass display case.
Mr Wells said it is an artefact of one of the great military cavalry charges at Beersheeba in 1917.
Rather than sell it for a princely sum, descendants William and Marjorie Smith donated it to Legacy which gave it to the RSL for preservation.
“We don’t have a lot of wall space but we’d want to display them,” Mr Wells said, “treat them with the proper respect.”