In June 1915 he enlisted in the Australian Imperial Force and embarked to Egypt as part of the 6th reinforcements of the 7th Battalion. Once his initial training in Egypt was completed he embarked to Gallipoli. He took part in the battle of Lone Pine on Gallipoli and was awarded his Victoria Cross on 9th August 1915 for conspicuous bravery. During the battle he was temporarily blinded and was invalided back to Australia and discharged from the army in February 1916.
He was presented with his Victoria Cross by the Governor-General on June 10th 1916 on the steps of Parliament House, Melbourne. Being a very reserved man he found the whole thing a great ordeal.
On the 9th November 1916 he married Ballarat girl Marjorie Carnell at St Pauls Church of England, Ballarat East and moved to Melbourne to begin his business career. His strength of character led him to have a highly successful career in the newspaper industry with the Herald and Weekly Times. He was greatly respected in business, judicial and parliamentary circles. One of his sons, Keith became a highly known and respected journalist with the Herald and Weekly Times.
William Dunstan died suddenly of a heart attack on 2 March 1957. Such was his standing in the community that over 800 people attended his funeral including seven V.C. winners.
Citation for his V.C. (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 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.'
|Source: The Ballarat Courier Christmas supplement 1915|