Lieutenant Alfred Henry Dufrayer

During the Boer War, her Majesty  Queen Victoria, aged 82, decided to personally decorate her heroes so she  crocheted four scarves to be presented to private soldiers of her Colonial Forces serving in South Africa who displayed great  acts  of gallantry. The scarves were  of thick brown wool, crocheted in a block pattern, five inches wide and  long enough to be worn as a sash similar to a Colour Sergeant’s sash of the period,  the same manner in which it was  worn by Dufrayer,  but whether intended by Queen Victoria to be worn as a sash or a scarf  is not known. It was  proposed that one  scarf  was  to go to one  soldier from each of the  Colonial  Contingents – (Canadian, Australian, New Zealand and  South African). The Australian selected to receive this unique honour was Old Brighton Grammarian, Alfred Dufrayer. The act of bravery which resulted in Alfred’s  honour occurred when  Trooper Dufrayer  ignored heavy Boer gunfire to rescue a comrade who had  been knocked unconscious after his horse was  shot. Unfortunately Queen Victoria died before being  able  to present the scarves herself. Instead, in May 1901,  their Royal Highnesses the Duke and  Duchess of York and Cornwall  (later King George V and  Queen Mary) visited Australia  on their world tour and  for the opening of Federal Parliament. During the visit to Sydney, a Royal Review  was  held at Centennial Park  on 28 May 1901,  and  after an inspection of the troops  on parade, the Duke presented Alfred Dufrayer  (now a second Lieutenant in the first Infantry Regiment) with the scarf. Although  popular mythology  has  suggested that this award was  the equivalent of the Victoria Cross, this is not supported by evidence.

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