Lancers' Despatch 7
Website of the Royal New South Wales Lancers Lancer Barracks and Museum
Editorial The Museum 50 Years Since Stockton Bight First to Die Anzac Day 2004 Anzac Day 2004 - Reserve Forces Reserve Forces Day 2004 Bombaderry Reunion My Journey with the Lancers Horse Training A Meeting with Lord Carrington A History of Our Association Medals for Some Departed Comrades Thanks RAACA
These past six months have been busy ones for the Museum and the Association. A great Anzac Day march and reunion. Participation of the Museum in a number of public activities. And Reserve Forces Day, this year a Cavalry extravaganza that members of the Regiment, Association and Museum were involved in at every level from commanding the horse training camp, commanding the parade and participating in it; a great effort.
I would like to thank those who contributed to this newsletter (David Craven, John Blackberry, David Brown, Terry Henessy, Bill Ryan, Brian Walters) and supplied me with photos (Paul Feilding, Bill Prosser, Joe Tabone). There was so much that I have about half of the next edition. already in the can (watch for an incredible article on driving to Singleton in Record time in the 1950s by Don Morris plus more from Terry Hennessey and David Craven). More contributions are always appreciated.
You will note that this time you will either receive Lancers' Despatch by eMail or in paper format. The eMail format has a .pdf download option for those who whilst cybernetically enabled still like to hold and read a piece of paper. The cost to send out a paper format Lancers' Despatch is about $2 per copy in Australia, by comparison an electronic copy goes out for nothing (not quite, the technology and technologist costs are volunteered by the editor). As you know, the funding of our newsletter comes out of donations to the Museum and the Association. So if you get this newsletter in paper format and could get it electronically, please let us know your email address, and keep it up to date. Simply eMail email@example.com and indicate your name so that we can cross reference the current master list.
Since the last Lancers' Despatch our Museum has participated in a number of public activities and a substantial amount of work has been done on the collection. Ernie Flint presented a copy of the instrument of surrender signed after World War II and this has been mounted ready for display when the WWII room is re-vamped, and a new exhibit commemorating the sacrifice of Corporal Kilpatric, the first Lancer to die in battle (see article later in this edition of Lancers' Despatch) has been prepared also we have published a video of the horse training and Reserve Forces Day Parade Click Here to order.
The Museum participated in the School of Military Engineering Open Day on 16 March where our Centurion was able to be put on display. The first time out of Lancer Barracks for about three years.
The Museum was featured on the Channel Seven Sunrise programme on Friday 25 June 2004 as part of Reserve forces day. This exposure has done a great deal for visitor numbers as has a new Museum member Charles Zarb who has been active in promoting us within to former National Servicemen.
Without your valued contributions, the Museum would cease to function. Please take the time to go to our online contribution page Click Here. or download the contribution form Click Here and help. All contributions over $2 are tax deductible in Australia.
On Saturday 6 March 2004, a service was held to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the Regiment’s worst training disaster at Stockton near Newcastle.
At 0200h on 8 March 1954 15th Northern Rivers Lancers, together with 16th Company Royal Australian Army Service Corps, conducted an amphibious exercise from Wave Trap Beach near Camp Shortland to Mungo Brush. The weather conditions at the time were questionable but the convoy of 21 vehicles took to the open sea in their DUKWs and LVT4s. The vehicles were originally used in World War Two to transport stores and personnel from ship to shore or for river crossings. Within 45 minutes the weather conditions changed dramatically and a number of vehicles were swamped and sank with the crews forced to bail out and swim to shore. Tragically, three soldiers never made it – Corporal Moran and Trooper Mournement of 15 NRL, and Private Blackie of 16 Coy, whose body was never found. On Wednesday, 10 March 1954 a funeral with full military honours for Corporal Moran and Trooper Mournement was held in Christ Church Cathedral, Newcastle. Both soldiers are buried in Sandgate Cemetery.
Due to inclement weather the location for the commemorative service was changed from the Stockton War Memorial to inside the nearby RSL Club. A large number of ex-members of the 15th Northern Rivers Lancers who were present on the night of the disaster attended the service.,
Myself and Second Lieutenant Warwick Schneller represented the Lancers. This was at relatively late notice as unfortunately no official invitation had been received prior to the event from the organisers.,
Over lunch we had the opportunity to speak to a number of the veterans. Brian and Warren Diemar, now well known oyster farmers, served in 15 NRL. They recalled the horrendous surf conditions and the unsuitability of their vehicles for the open sea. Ken Anstey, from 16th Coy RAASC, remarked that it was the most frightening experience of his life bringing his vehicle in to shore through 20 foot breakers. Des Burns, also from 16th Coy, remarked how he had worked with members of the Stockton Life Saving Club to resuscitate Private Blackie who was unconscious and had stopped breathing. Unfortunately it his efforts were to no avail.
Sergeant Don McHattie GM was also in attendance. The only member of the Regiment to have been awarded the George Medal (second only to the George Cross in the Imperial Honours system awarded for bravery), he is in his late seventies and still lives in Newcastle. He brought with him a large number of photographs from his time in the NRL. Sergeant McHattie’s citation is worth reading. It reads in part:
‘Sergeant McHattie displayed outstanding leadership and courage in , organising the rescue of his crew. Later, when the vehicle that had rescued his crew sank in the surf, he assisted four members of the troop ashore. Disregarding the high seas and knowing of the prevalence of sharks in the area, Sergeant McHattie returned through the heavy surf and remained in the water for thirty minutes assisting five other members of the troop to the beach. His complete disregard for his own safety and exemplary conduct was an inspiration to all, and an uplifting influence to the morale of the whole Regiment’.
At the conclusion of the service Commander 8th Brigade, Brigadier Mellick, presented a Group Commendation signed by the Chief of the Defence Force, General Peter Cosgrove, to the Stockton Surf Lifesaving Club for the work of its members on that fateful night.
In all it was a fitting tribute to the three soldiers who lost their lives and an important reminder that even in peacetime the risk of accidents in training is very real.
As a footnote, a Memorial at the Tank Museum at Puckapunyal lists the following members of the Regiment as having been killed in training:
N223769 TPR RH Powell - Killed, Greta NSW, 6 Sep 42. He is stated in the Regimental History as having died of illness whilst on active service.
Unfortunately the memorial does not list either of CPL Moran or TPR Mornement of A Sqn 15 NRL killed at Stockton Bight. Len Koles also notes the list leaves out Joe Karowana died when a ferret rolled over in the 1960s, he is also not included in the memorial list.
Walking past the Leichhardt Public School earlier this year I happened to glance up at a memorial tablet hanging above the main entrance. To my surprise it was to commemorate the death of a Corporal Kilpatrick, the first New South Wales Lancer to be killed in action. The tablet, surmounted by the Regimental cap badge, reads as follows:
‘In Memory of , Corporal Frederick Isaac Kilpatrick of the N.S.W.Lancers, For many years a scholar and teacher of this school He was killed at Rensburg, South Africa, on the 16th January 1900 At the age of 26, and was one of the first of the N.S.W. volunteers To fall in the defence of the empire This tablet was erected by the teachers, scholars, residents of Leichhardt and friends of the deceased’.
According to the official report on Kilpatrick’s death, written by Major Lee, was as follows:
" Slingersfontein, 17-1-1900.- In reference to the patrol of New South Wales and First Australian Horse that left camp at 3 a.m. yesterday under Lieutenant W.V. Dowling, of the First Australian Horse, the following is notified for record: The patrol after leaving camp was attended by Major Lee as far as Pleese's farm. After short halt Lieutenant Dowling moved on with patrol. At 3.30 p.m. Warrant Officer Duncan reported his return to camp, also that he had been with Lieutenant Dowling's patrol up till 1 p.m. The patrol had reconnoitred according to instructions, and was about returning to camp when Warrant Officer Duncan with two men, was detached to examine Mr. Foster's farm. After doing so, he went in search of Lieutenants Dowling's part, and failing to find them concluded they had returned to camp. At 4.30 p.m. Major Lee received a message from Colonel Porter to see him at once in reference to the patrol, and rode around immediately with Warrant Officer Duncan and Private Buchholtz, and was informed that a New South Wales Lancer patrol had been cut up. Colonel Porter proceeded to the top of the adjacent hill, where Warrant Office Duncan and Private Buchholtz explained all particulars. The Colonel considered the unfortunate occurrence could not be classed otherwise than as an accident, and that no one was to blame. It was decided after hearing the verbal evidence of the Rimington Scouts (Bennet and two others) that we would wait developments and see if any came in after dark. At 11.30 p.m,. Private Artlett, Parramatta Half-squadron, returned to camp in an exhausted condition.
The position of the occurrence was located by the Lancer scouts, some distance away on our left front. Upon examination it was found the T.S.M. Griffin, No. 367, First Australian Horse, had been killed from bullet wounds, one being through the head. Corporal F. Kilpatrick, No. 755, New South Wales Lancers, was found severely wounded - one bullet wound through the lungs, and the lower jaw smashed as if by an explosive bullet. Owing to the Boers appearing on our left flank in strength I withdrew all combatants from the front, and sent on the ambulance. On return the medical officer reported that he had buried T.S.M. Griffin on the spot where he had fallen, and that Corporal Kilpatrick was in the ambulance expiring. Corporal Kilpatrick died, at 5.10 p.m. was buried next to the two New Zealanders on the slope above Slingersfontein Farm.”
On a crisp sunny morning, veterans of the 1st Aust. Armoured Regiment assembled for the 59th time to participate in the Anzac Day march. As always , it was good to meet old mates - a few starting to look middle-aged - but not many. We were joined by a large number of serving and post-war members of the I/15th Regiment who looked a little younger. Our combined contingent numbered about 60. Len Koles made a valiant effort as Sar- major, in the absence of Sorlie O'Brien who couldn't make it this year. Ted Martin led us again, accompanied by David Donald and George Maclean. Then with the Lancer's band out front, banner party under the command of Sgt. Overton, away we went into Martin Place, remembering old mates passing the Cenotaph, and into George St, waving to the Legacy widows as usual. As the band struck up a stirring march, the heads lifted, backs straightened and old knees loosened and the years fell away. Then the masses of flag-waving children and smiling faces giving encouragement from the ever-increasing crowd, this year estimated at 250,000.
After the March The Balmain Club not being available, veterans gathered on the first floor of the N.S.W. Leagues Club in Phillip St, whilst many post-war and others gathered at the Civic Hotel bar with all the Armoured Corp Troops. At Phillip St, we were comfortable for a couple of hours until large numbers of marchers arrived and it became very noisy. However, we all enjoyed our get-together. The veterans Anzac Day sub-committee will try to arrange something better next year, but it is not easy. You will be advised in the next issue of Lancer Despatch. Those present on the day either on the march or later were:- Doug Beardmore, John Blackberry, Arthur Bulgin, Rod Button, Happy Clarke, Doug Clift, Ron Cable, David Donald, Geoff Francis, Bob Forrest, Chris Hall (grandson ofMick) Bill Halliday, Bob Iverach, Geoff James (Junior) Len Koles, Neville Kingcott, Jack Lamb, Ken Lowe and son John, Bill Lynch, Ted Martin, George Maclean, John McManus, Geoff Morris, Ron McKenzie, Carl Noble, Ernie Syratt, Dan Tesoriero, Bernie Temby, Col Watson, Brian Walters - and several others who I can't identify or recall - Apologies to all. Thanks to all who came - it's always good to see you.
The Reserve Forces again took part in the 2004 Sydney Anzac Day March. The crowds seemed to be a little smaller than last year but were still large and enthusiastic. The usual group of marchers turned up again this year and showed the benefit of their previous participation. With some pride we are able to say that yet again, the Honorary Colonel of the Regiment, Major General Warren Glenny, lead the whole reserve forces contingent.
Those present included the following: John Anderson, John Burlison, Helen Clarke, Denis Coomber, Dave Crisp, Chris Dawson, Don Deakin-Bell, Pat Donovan, Peter Farthing, Bob Gay, Tom Larkin, Mike Lewins, Mick McConnell, Brian O'Donovan, John Palmer and Joe Tabone. There is a group worthy of special mention and that is the past commanding officers - in order they were Lt Col John McPhee, Lt Col Bob Iverach, Col Lee Long and Col Philip Bridie. The contingent was lead by Major Len Koles and assisted by the Association Secretary, Brian Walters.
As in past years thanks go to the serving members of the Regiment who carried the banner and took part in the parade. These included Corporals Chris Jones and Tony Ang; Troopers Chris Butler, John Candrick, Andrew Davies, Matt Donaldson, Matt Hopkinson, Matt Jones, Stuart King, Ryan McCarthy, Trent Moses, Matt Novin and Serakadan Tharmarajah; Privates Ian Cunningham and Chris Kukla. A particular thank you to WO2 Peter Sly who has been organising the troops for the World War II and reserve contingents for the last nineteen years (at least)! The group stepped off around 12 noon and proceeded along the usual route down Martin Place and George Street. It's always a particular privilege to be able to march past the Cenotaph . The fine weather and low temperature made for an easy march. The dispersal point was in Elizabeth Street with people heading off to various meeting places including the Civic Hotel and the NSW Leagues Club. The numbers of participants has reached a good healthy number but more will be welcome.
As this report is being written after the event, it is with some pleasure to be able to report that the Lancers contingent were awarded the certificate for the best unit in the reserve forces by the organisers of this section of the march (the RFD Committee). The editor felt rather bad about being the one who was presented with the award, he was at home with gastric on the day of the march.
This year's Reserve Forces Day parade on 4 July 2004 was a gala occasion, and a celebration of the contribution made by cavalry and armoured units to the defence of our nation. It was led by over 90 horses with riders wearing light horse uniform and period costume. These riders and horses had been trained by the New South Wales Mounted Police (see article later in this edition of Lancers Despatch). Then came a selection of armoured vehicles including the two ferret scout cars from the Museum's collection and six M113s from the Regiment.
In keeping with the cavalry theme, our association was the first in line, and was led by a lance guard from the regiment, Then followed overseas contingents from New Zealand, Canada, the UK (Royal Yeomanry), Hong Kong, USA and France. The parade was reviewed by the Governor General, who spoke to members of the association during a pre-parade inspection.
We had a great attendance at the parade, including a number who had not marched before. After the parade, the NSW Leagues Club was the venue for a considerable amount of reminiscence.
As part of the participation by overseas visitors were two visits to Lancer Barracks. By the officers and soldiers of all contingents on the night of Tuesday 29 July, and Major General the Duke of Westminster, the principal overseas guest on Thursday 1 July. During his visit the CO Lieutenant Colonel Brett Barlow presented him with a Lancer plumed slouch hat, and John Howells presented him with a copy of the Regimental History on behalf of the Association.
Of interest members of the US cavalry contingent rode with the Light Horse Re-Enacters. Their National Guard unit carries the traditions of the Civil War 6th Pennsylvania Cavalry (Rush's Lancers) the only Lancer Regiment ever formed in the US Army.
There were 25 people all told at the reunion. Lancers were represented by: Peter Aldous (l/21 L.H.), Jack McDonald (1/21), John Blackberry, 1st Armoured, Bill Halliday, 1st Armoured, Terry Henniessy,1st Armoured, Ray Rutledge,1st Armoured (and 7LH). Other 7th LH were Peter Aldous, Jack McDonald, Len Seyffer, and Gordon Woods, 2/4 Armoured were Gordon Dowlig, Iance Elliott, Ray Grimston, Clem Williams, Ray Williams, Gordon Yabsley. Ross Daniell was from the 2/9 Armoured, Ted Smith, ex RAA who served in the Police Force with John Blackberry. Seven Ladies were present, they were the wives or widows of 2/4 personnel.
We all enjoyed a hearty meal, a few drinks and a lot of camaraderie. Some were to back up at the Reserve Day March in Sydney.
Reading the latest edition of Lancers Despatch I noted with sadness the death of Lt. Don Warham, and I extend my condolences to his family. Don was the first officer I had contact with when I joined in 1966, along with Sgt. Don Dickson, (the Rover man). Don was the recruiting officer at that time. This was at a time when there was a great influx of recruits opting for the alternative service to full time duty. Don not only guided around forty of us through the recruit camp at Wallgrove but continued to foster us in subsequent courses, in particular the “B” vehicle driving course I completed at my first camp in Pucka. I could not understand the “double shuffle” that was required to change gears in the Studebakers we were taught on until Don Dickson practically threw me out of the cab, took over the driving, then patiently showed me the knack (some unkind people would suggest that I never did learn). My first night at the Lancers in uniform is very firm in my memory. It was a Regimental parade night practicing for the Church Parade. I must have stood out like the old sore thumb, but I thought I was very smart. Along the verandah of the Admin Block, came a person who, I thought, had more braid than you can poke a stick at. Someone called “Stand Fast”, so following the adage that if it moves salute it, I did. The person following the braided one came by and growled, “you don’t salute the RSM lad”. I am sure that Ray Keene didn’t mind but I was thankful to the late WO2 Bill Shepherd for this timely advice. Speaking of Bill Shepherd, is there some memorial to him in the barracks? I haven’t been there in such a long time. If not, there should be. My understanding is that he started as a cadet with the Lancers, along with Maj Gen Glenny, rose through the ranks to WO2, moved to full time service and then subsequently transferred to the ARA. He also dropped ranks on this transfer put was quickly reinstated to Sgt and went to Vietnam as a troop Sgt with 3 Cav. His Vietnam service would fill a book by itself, but he returned to Lancers as one of the ARA cadre staff and was a popular member with the reservists.
At the time of Bill’s return to Lancers I was working with a well known Insurance Company, and Bill had purchased and insured with the company a brand new Mercedes Benz. A little later Bill attended a dinner at the 2 Cav barracks at Holsworthy. He assured me later that he had not been drinking (much!!) and on returning home he swerved to miss an oncoming vehicle, took to the scrub and landed the Merc straddled across a creek. On inspection Bill found that every panel except the drivers door had been damaged. I asked what did you do then, to which he replied “I kicked the @#$%^^ thing in”. I think that Bill was typical of all those members of the Regiment that joined at a young age and saw their service as being a part of an extended family.
My own journey continued with B Sqn in Admin Troop, lead initially by the late Ray Parr. I attended various courses to meet the requirements for promotion exams. One of my favourites was the Ferret scout car driving course. Instructors like Terry Boardman, Allan (Ocker) Keys, “Brim” Buddle, Ron Brettle etc. And who could forget the MBT gunnery course with the main instructor Sgt. John “Rusty” Gates. The naming of the gun parts was always the scary part of the process, but I can still remember the “screw retaining the intermediate firing needle withdrawal lever”. Maj. Tom Hall who had just joined the Regiment and was on the course was heard to say, “I just want to shoot it Rusty, not buy it”.
The CO’s were also an impressive lot. Lt. Col. John Arnott was CO when I joined. He was very famous for the “Bikky Tin” the Armoured Command Vehicle that landed on the Regiments doorstep. It was always rumoured that it was through his contacts that the vehicle was given to the Regiment as it was meant for one of regular units. I recall that there was initially no equipment for it and it was nearly impossible to operate British radios meant for the Centurions in the American ACV. He was followed by Lt. Col. Neil MacArthur-Onslow, then I think Lt. Col. Greg Smith, (a Tonngabbie lad), Lt.Col. Warren Glenny, another long serving Lancer (actually Greg Smith preceded General Glenny - Editor). Then I think Lt. Col. Bob Iverach and then Lt. Col. John McPhee (actually John McPhee preceded Bob Iverach - Editor). It was at this time that I left the Regiment due to business pressure.
The number of officers that rose through the ranks were impressive, Lee Long, Kel Warham, Tony Fryer, Ron Brettle to name a few. The Regiment was always good at growing it’s own. I also recall a Capt. John Howells as 2IC of B Sqn attempting to teach Admin Troop the art of tactical driving. We were driving in a diamond formation and the driver of one of the TLC’s was so intent in staying on station that he failed to notice the dam that appeared in front of his vehicle. Lucky that the vehicles knew how to swim (by the way the driver was not me). I think our 2IC gave up on Admin Troop at this stage.
Ah! Those were the days.
In February of this year I was approached by John Moore of the Reserve Forces Day council. He told me about the intention of the RFD council to celebrate the contribution of Armoured Corps Reservists in 2004 as in previous years the Engineers and Medical Corps contribution had been celebrated. He said that he wanted the parade to be led by 90 horses, and that they would need to be trained at the Anzac Rifle Range Malabar (formerly known as Long Bay Rifle Range). He asked me to nominate a suitable officer to be liaison officer, and eventually command the training camp. I put forward a number of names. I considered my volunteer effort as secretary of the Museum, and editor of this newsletter was quite enough, and recognised that I did not know one end of a horse from the other. I also considered the concept of getting 90 horses quite fanciful.
I underestimated John Moore's energy, the enthusiasm of the members of the Australian Light Horse Association under Phil Chalker, and the tireless effort of John Moore's Reserve Forces Day council volunteers, these included Lyn Scott who handled the paper (actually XL spreadsheet) work. The second call came in late May. None of my nominees were available to do the job, and 120 potential horses and riders had indicated they wanted to be part of what could prove to be a great commemoration. I agreed to command Fort Chauvel (the name to be applied to the Anzac Range for that weekend), and with the assistance of others and adjustments by John Moore put out a detailed instruction.
I must say I was a little daunted by what was to happen. Here I was, a retired officer with neither civil or military authority nominally in charge of volunteers from a number of diverse groups. I did not need to fear. Everyone was so committed, there was no need to exert authority, simply ensure everything went well.
The RFD Council admin staff arrived at mid-day Friday 2 July. Marlon Geurin had already put up signage, Lyn Scott, Ilona Birta, Angie Valentine-Flint quickly set up the orderly room. By 13:00 Barry Low and Tony Walker were directing arrivals to their camping locations as Lyn, Ilona and Angie signed them in, and made certain all of the insurance waivers were in place. Brian Walters (our Association Secretary) and Barry Follington were also there making certain the "troops" had everything they needed. Terry Maling the nominated camp RSM ensured that he and I then did a number of tours of the site looking important (as I did not wear my medals, I could never look anywhere near as important as Terry).
That evening all of us found there was a very real advantage in having Terry as RSM. Terry is a very successful businessman; he runs a building supplies business (www.terrystrading.com.au) and more importantly Waverly Estate Wines (www.wineloverslane.com.au); Terry had wine samples with him. His wines have to be experienced. They are all aged, and without preservatives; the taste superb and there is no hangover. The Friday evening was thus enjoyed, and we all rose clear headed for Saturday's training.
The participants were to be trained by Inspector Don Eyb APM of the New South Wales Mounted Police and a team of Police Sergeant volunteers. At 09:00 our volunteer Vet Dr Andrew Gough was present as was the volunteer Master Farrier Simon Roberts. Don briefed those present, you could tell by the relevance of the questions and the looks of determination on the faces of the volunteer riders that the training would be a success. Some of these riders were Light Horse Re-Enacters from the Australian Light Horse Association, these would eventually appear on parade in Light Horse uniform. Others were experienced equestrians who had taken part in the Olympics Opening Ceremony in 2000 and would appear on parade in period (1914) costume. Others were just keen riders who wanted to be part of a great event. The squadron was commanded by Major Dave Patterson a reservist from Canberra and keen horseman, the SSM was Andy Clarke. Overseas visitors were to take part in the mounted parade, Captain Johnny Lea of the Royal Yeomanry was to be 2IC of Chauvel Squadron, and three currently serving US soldiers were to ride. At 09:45 the riders and their horses assembled in horse-shoe formation. I counted, would my scepticism be validated. It was not, I counted 90 horses on parade and a few more riding up.
What I and all of those present were to witness over the next few hours was a demonstration of effective training that had to be seen to be believed. Don and his three sergeants took effective riders and made them formation riders. They took horses that would dance all over the paddock at the slightest provocation and made them docile enough to march through a crowded street with no danger. Don and his team had trained the horses and riders for the Olympics opening ceremony in 2000; it was a privilege to see how such training could be done.
For the first few hours the horses and riders were trained in formation riding, gradually you could see the groups coalesce; half sections of two, sections of four; then eventually troop abreast. After lunch the horses were exposed to military bands, which along with the bang-zing noises from the rifle club practising on the nearby butts got the horses used to the kind of noises they would experience when marching down Macquarie Street. The two bands were the SUR Pipes and Drums, and the Lancer Band. The Lancer Band played tunes that at least for me were nostalgic, Redetsky, El Abnico, Our Director (we're a pack of b-s) etc.
At 15:30 a full rehearsal was conducted. The roads of Malabar simulated the bitumen of Macquarie Street and the entrance to the Malabar Sewerage Treatment Plant Shakespeare Place in front of the State Library. The local kids were amazed. They ran from their beachside picnics full pelt to see a spectacle last seen by their great grandparents. Sir Laurence Street our former Honorary Colonel, and Major General the Duke of Westminster principal overseas visitor came to see the rehearsal and were suitably impressed.
As indicated above the parade on Sunday 4 July was a great spectacle; pity we only made a few seconds on the commercial TV news and only a few minutes behind the ABC TV news titles. I have put the video I took of the training and onto a DVD. If you want a copy, please Click Here and place an order (cost $20 - profits to the Museum).
We who rode mechanised steeds in our military service often thought about those who went before us on horseback, and recognised training must have been different. Just how different we did not know. Being involved with the Reserve Forces Day training gave me at least a small window to look through and see what it was like. Training mechanised soldiers is about populating a human brain with information and bending its will to a common cause; mechanised steeds are to date dumb machines needing diesel, grease and part replacement. Mechanised soldiers are often heard to use the odd profane expression, the machines with faces of steel, however; do not react. Training horsed soldiers means dealing with two brains, both needing to be populated with information and there are two wills to bend to a common cause. As our mechanised steeds become more (artificially) intelligent, perhaps the methods used to train horses may again gain relevance.
All of those who like me had small parts in the organisation of this event felt privileged to be involved.
Captain David Brown is currently in the UK working for a Swiss Insurance company and serving in the Royal Yeomanry. He took this opportunity to visit the grandson of the man who as Governor of NSW in 1889 gave his crest to the Regiment to incorporate in its Regimental Badge, and served as honorary colonel until his death in 1928. - Editor
On Wednesday 14 July I arranged to visit Lord Carrington for tea at his London home in Ovington Square a short walk from the famous Harrod's and the Victoria and Albert Museum. 32a Ovington Square is tucked away in the corner of two other imposing buildings. Walking down the laneway I got the front gate of a courtyard and rang the buzzer. To my surprise Lord Carrington walked out with one of his dogs barking at his heels to invite me in!
The current Lord Carrington is an 85 year old former diplomat. Educated at Eton, Lord Carrington went to Sandhurst and then joined the Grenadier Guards as a subaltern during World War 2, rising to the rank of Major and earning the Military Cross (MC) in 1945 whilst serving in the Guards Armoured Division. A career diplomat his list of achievements is impressive and includes: High Commissioner to Australia (1956-59); Secretary of State for Defence (1970); Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs (1979-1982) particularly as Chairman of the Lancaster House Conference which led to the resolution of problems in Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe), as well as during the Falklands War in 1982 (for which he was forced to resign); and finally, Secretary General of NATO (1984-1988).
I found him to be a very politically astute man and we talked at length about Australia and Australian politics. Lord Carrington has fond memories of being High Commissioner, particularly cycling to work in Canberra, the quality of the food (which was very British in the 1950s), and Governor Generals Viscount Slim and Lord Casey (who incidentally was a good friend of Lord Carrington's father!).
Lord Carrington last visited Australia 6 years ago and given his advancing years may probably never have the opportunity to return. It was a privilege to meet him'
The footnote to David Brown's article in last August's Lancers Despatch drew out some more information.
Kel Warham writes:
The reference to Joe Karowana relevant to Regimental soldiers killed in training should read 'Joe Caruana'. I was the Crew Commander of the ferret that rolled over on that tragic day and I vividly recall the extra-human effort to lift the vehicle and Ron Cable's desperate efforts to resuscitate Joe. A few years ago I became aware of the absence of Joe's name from the Puckapunyal Memorial and tried to correct the situation. Unfortunately, the emails sent to Puckapunyal remained unanswered. For a while the OR's Mess at Parramatta became known as the "Caruana Club" but I don't think that the name was ever 'formalised'.
I also remember Dad returning from the camp where Trooper Evans was accidentally killed. The incident occurred during Centurion Tank live firing. The turret mounted .30 Cal MG experienced a stoppage. Unnoticed by the crew Trooper Evans had moved forward of the turret whilst the stoppage was being cleared and was killed by a 'clearing burst'.
Hugh Clark writes:
A little more information on two of our members who died during training:
POWELL Tpr R H N 225769, Bob Powell died from a massive heart attack at Greta camp during one of the exercises the Regiment was having to get all members fit, there was a circuit around, the camp area where all members were to run with full gear including rifle. At the time Bob was the fittest member of the squadron. He had not long joined up and in civil life he was a champion bike rider.
FENN Aubrey NX114654, Cpl Fenn was attending an Army school concentrating on river crossing with all equipment when he drowned, Norman Bent took a small party consisting of myself. Max Newton and Neil McDonald to represent the regiment at a funeral service held in Aub Fenn's home town of Cesnock.
Our Association has, like our Regiment, had various titles, and has been going almost as long. Our History says "The NSW Lancer Association was formed in the 1890s, and was flourishing up to 1914. Each squadron formed its own branch, and every member of the regiment was expected to become a member. Activities included organising social functions, managing a benevolent fund for men injured during camps, and providing extra amenities". In the history are many interesting references through the years.
We have a copy of "The Revised Rules of the NSW Lancer Association, Sydney Squadron 1902". The objects - "to promote social intercourse among members and to conduce to the efficiency of the Squadron". Then we have "The Constitution and Rules of the NSW Lancer Association" of 1924. Obviously after the regiment re-formed after WW1. Open to former and serving members, with subs 2/6pa. Objectives ' ^ summarised as promotion of comradeship, co-operation and support for the regiment, commemoration of historic anniversaries, keeping and promotion of historical documents, military exhibits etc. The Annual Report of 1926 noted that the number of members had grown to 180 and funds were £15. Now, how's this for an imposing list of office bearers 1925-26? - Senior Patron the Marquis of Lincolnshire (Lord Carrington, Colonel-in-Chief of the Regiment). Other Patrons BrigGen T Fiaschi, MajGen C Cox, MajGen G Lee. President - LtCol Timothy, Past President LtCol McMahon. 8 Vice-Presidents (incl LtCol H V Vernon, father of Philip) and 12 Committee, plus Secretary, Treasurer and 2 Auditors. Some team.
The next Constitution was adopted in 1946, before the Regiment was re-formed post war. It suited the needs of the time, until changes became needed, with the amended and latest constitution being adopted in 1991. The objectives are much as in 1924, with extra emphasis on welfare and education. During WW2 the Association was dormant. It revived from 1946 and remains strong, thanks mainly to leadership and support through the years from wartime members. With numbers of these declining, we thankfully have in recent years a growing involvement, interest and leadership from our post war members. Continued growth will be needed from them if the Lancers Association is to remain strong into the future.
Our wartime regiment's participation in Anzac Day Marches began in 1946. Most were back in Australia, some still away, so we had a good roll-up. After the March, and for years following, groups gathered informally in hotels and clubs, including the Armoured Corps Club, which was crowded. Nothing was organised, and for many they were long days. By the late 50s the Maitland and Morpeth Hotel, down in Susssex St and away from the crowds, had become the venue for most of our members, and we had it pretty well to ourselves. Eventually, in 1966 Anzac Day again fell on a Sunday, and unlike to-day hotels were closed, so where to go this time? Came the bright idea of the drill hall at Lancer Barracks, Parramatta. It was publicised and was thus our first planned reunion, mainly organised by Sorlie O'Brien and Bob Simpson. A bit rough, but plenty of room. and beer, no rental cost, food catered for, and two-up organised by Murgy Hobbs. Some formalities, but minimal They were good days, for most anyway, and well attended. By 1974 the time came when many thought Parramatta too far out, and wanted a place more comfortable and organised, so with help from Stan Chivas, we moved that year to the 5th, then the 3rd floor of NSW Leagues Club. It suited us better, with good catering and planning. There began the practice of advance paying, and refunds for cancellations, so at last we knew pretty well who to expect. They were well planned and conducted, and happy times, although pretty crowded, with attendances always well over 100. In 1989 the Leagues Club made available the basement ballroom area, with more room and comfort, but sadly only for three years. After the reunion in 1991 they said the area was to become a gymnasium and sports centre, and we would have to move elsewhere. After 18 years at the Leagues Club it was disappointing. Now, where to go?
After a lot of inquiries in the city, with frustrating answers, and on the suggestion of John Blackberry and others, Balmain Bowling Club became the Anzac Day Reunion venue. It suited us well - very comfortable, plenty of space, good catering, low cost, and we were made very welcome by the bowlers during those 12 years 1992-2003. With wartime members all aged around 80 or more, the loss of many and age restrictions had caused numbers to fall. Thankfully, good support from post-war members and some family and friends helped. Of the attendance of 65, around half were of wartime vintage. For 2004 the usual arrangements there were planned, and as readers now know, at short notice they were cancelled. Unable to secure a venue in the short time available, we got together informally, back at the old Leagues Club, as reported.
So - what does the future hold? The committee is considering some options. Maybe back to Balmain after renovations make it even better, or possibly a new central city location. What is decided will be told in the next issue of Lancers Despatch. Input from members as to preference will be appreciated.
In early post-war years our banner was carried by Neil McDonald and Leo dark, When Leo died in 1976 his son Stephen took over. Perhaps others did too. Not long after, maybe around 1980, our post-war l/15th Lancers offered to provide volunteer banner bearers and escorts, not only for us but also for the 2nd AIF and the RAAC parties, and at times for our kindred 2/4th and 2/6th Armoured groups. The soldier commanding that first l/15th regimental party was Corporal Mark Gibson, who led them in most of the years since. He became Major Gibson, 2 i/c of the Regiment until re-posting last year, and has always been a strong supporter of the Lancers Association and Lancers Museum. Well done.
For around 30 years after WW2, our Anzac Day party marched bareheaded, with a few caps or hats, as did all the Armoured Corps groups. Around 1979 my mates Murgy Hobbs and Neil McDonald and I, over a few beers, reckoned it would be good to wear black berets in the March to identify us as Armour. At the 1980 Anzac Day Reunion I offered that my company Reliance Radio would donate 100 berets, then costing $5 from Disposals if there was sufficient interest in wearing them in 1981. We were surprised and disappointed to find very little. Maybe the idea wasn't well sold. With Reliance then sold,the offer lapsed. Not wanting to give up on it, we three decided to wear berets in 1982 and get in the centre of the front rank, to be seen by the public, TV and our members. We were the only ones, well noticed, and it worked wonders. At the Reunion following about 20 orders were received, paid for and duly posted. Order forms in two newsletters, and some sold at the start of the 1983 March saw another 60 berets supplied. A good result, (see photo of 1982 March).
Sales continued through the years, with prices going up from $5 (ex disposals) to $17, inci rising sun badge (ex Christies). Selling ceased in 1994 with our sales totalling 258. An interesting outcome is that the other three Armour groups (RAACA, 2/4th, 2/6th) followed suit and almost all now wear berets. Our late mate Max Watkins made and donated hundreds of colour patches for all - a great effort and much appreciated.
Regimental Ties are another interesting story. For a few years pre-1982, President Norman Bent brought ties to reunions, and sold some but not many. They were of red, blue and grey (silver) diagonal stripes. Interest in getting ties grew along with berets, and sales increased from 1982 on. Supplies were from the Officers Mess. Came the time when Mess Secretary Brian Brackenreg said that the silver stripe would be a gold one, having been discovered that red, blue and gold were the authentic colours of Lord Carrington's cummerbund. A lot of complaints, claims of planned obsolescence etc were heard at first, but the sales grew. Prices were $7 originally, increasing to $18 when sales ceased in 1994, with the total of 209 sold. Another good result. An amusing thing happened at a Gosford Reunion when John Bartlett wanted a tie but only with the silver stripe. Told there were none left, John said to me "I know where there's one" and to my surprise he swiftly and deftly removed the one I was wearing, with a huge grin, and paid me. It gave us many laughs later.
We were first shown the Lancers plaques early in 1982, having been supplied for some time previously to the l/15th Sergeants Mess. It comprised the Lancers badge of elephants head and crown with waratahs and scroll below and crossed lances behind, on a raised blue and white shield, mounted on a larger wooden shield, and bearing the motto "tenax in fide". They were made in Singapore. The Sergeants Mess offered to obtain any we might want for members, so to judge interest one was displayed at the 1982 Anzac Day Reunion, with paid orders for 25 @ $11.50 posted. A surprising response, more so since they weren't posted until Feb 83. More orders followed from subsequent reunions and newsletters, with cost becoming $13, then $15, then $18. The last one was to Tracey Hatch in Sept 92, bringing the total to 146. Some were made as presentations. All were sourced from the Sergeants Mess, who were most helpful throughout. The response was really quite amazing, and many readers have one in their home.
Please note that of the stock of 50 high quality Regimental ties the Museum acquired from the Officers' Mess, there are only 12 left. The silver/gold argument was won with a compromise, and correspondence with the present day Lord Carrington. If you want one of these, place your order now Click Here. The next ones we have in stock are unlikely to be of such quality. - Editor
As was reported in the previous newsletter, there has been some lobbying for the striking of a new defence force medal. On Saturday June 26, 2004, a media release from the office of the Honourable Mal Brough MP stated that there would be a new medal established to recognise volunteer service in the Australian Defence Force.
The new medal will be known as the Australian Defence Medal. While details are to be finalised it will be for those who have served a total of six years in the Australian Defence Force with both regular or reserve service to be recognised. The medal will be retrospective for service from the end of World War 2. This means about 400,000 potential recipients for the medal.
Issuing of the medal could begin by around mid 2005 but will take some years to complete. For those with current experience with the National Service Medal, the advice would be to have patience. For those who have received the National Service Medal, the new medal will only be available if they subsequently volunteered after their National Service and completed the requisite six years service.
This is fantastic news especially for those who will be potential recipients. There has been a lot of hard work by a lot of people. Particular mention should be made of John Moore and Fred Nile MLC who provided the impetus for the New Medal Group and were able to translate that into political influence. Thanks should also go to the Returned and Services League who made the initial proposal for the medal. Further information hopefully will be made available in the next newsletter.
David Craven (unless otherwise noted)
Since the deadline date for last newsletter of Feb 04, we have heard of the deaths of the following:
TED FORSYTH of Cootamundra- in late 03, aged 80. Was listed in RSL "Reveille" of Jan/Feb 04. Ted came from 3rd Tank Bn with the intake of Feb 43, becoming a Corpral Driver/Mech in HQ Squadron, with service in New Guinea and Borneo. He wasn't on our roll or in contact but Ted Fallowfield said he attended local reunions with other ex-3rd Tank Bn members. He was a farmer at Cootamundra for all of his postwar years, and also a butcher there for some of them.
NORMAN FAULL of Smiths Lake, on 6.9.03: - aged 88, also listed in RSL "Reveille" of Jan/Feb 04. Norm was a W02 in the Regular Army before transfer to our 1MG Regt in August 40. He became Squadron Sergeant Major of C Squadron during our wartime operations. He was respected and well liked throughout the Regiment, especially by his C Squadron members. It wasn't usual for a Squadron SSM to be a tank crew commander, but Norm was at Sattelberg, and especially in the actions following. Our History (page 256) records that his tank "Costello" sustained over 50 hits from Jap guns, causing extensive damage, with the crew leaving it under fire by the escape hatch and getting safely back to the infantry. They had inflicted heavy casualties to the enemy. Post war Norm spent years in Canberra, for some of the time with the Australian War Memorial, before moving to Smiths Lake. He was on our roll and in contact but didn't attend Sydney reunions. I met him a couple of times for a chat and a beer years ago.
FRED GROVER of Mount Colah, on 15.1.04, aged 81. Fred joined at Rutherford in Dec 41 and was posted to C Squadron. He became a Corporal in Squadron Headquarters Tank Troop as a Crew Commander. He was closely involved with the Officer Commanding, Major Sam Hordern, particularly in the New Guinea operations at Sattelberg and later in the Wareo Track area. Post war Fred was with Sam Hordern's family and stockbroking organisation for some years until Sam died in 1960. He then went into business for many years as a news agent in. Hornsby, taking one of the two operated by his C Squadron mate Sam Johnson. After retiring he travelled widely, and in fact one one occasion I met him by sheer chance in New Zealand. In the early post war years Fred was on the Lancers Association Committee. His wife Laurie died some years ago. Both during his war service and through the years since Fred was well known to many, and was certainly very well regarded by members. At his funeral on 21.01.04 at Hornsby we were represented by John McManus, John Blackberry, Arthur Bulgin and Ern Syratt. Farewell Fred - good mate.
WILLIAM BRITTEN of RSL Vets Homes, Collaroy, on 17.1.04, aged 87. The brother of our ex-A Squadron member Harry Britten, Bill was a veteran Lancer, having joined Gerringong Troop of our 1 MG Regt in 1937, until moving away later. In 1942 he joined the RAAF, was at Balikpapan at the same time as us, and spent VP night with Harry in our Sergeants Mess. Although his pre-war service was short. Harry said Bill was glad to be a member of the Lancers Association, and enjoyed getting and reading our newsletters.
AUSTIN HESSIAN of Schofield, on 21.12.03, aged 89 (just two weeks short of 90). Little is known of Austin, who was an early veteran of A3 Windsor Troop, known as the "bush apes". He joined before WW2, was at 1st Walgrove Camp in 1940, and possibly the 2nd of 41. He left the Regiment before it went on full time duty. Fellow bush ape Ted Martin said he hasn't seen him since Walgrove. He was on our roll so there was probably some early post war contact, but none since. His family said he enjoyed getting our newsletters. Austin was one of our veterans, like Ted Martin, who took part in the making of "40,000 Horsemen", acting the parts 'one of our WW1 Lighthorsemen in the Charge at Beersheba'.
GRAEME BOWEN of Armidale on 6 August 2003 at John Hunter Hospital, Newcastle after a short illness. Graham served as a cadre WO in the 1970s and later as RSM. We remember him well. (Our thanks to Jan Bowen, Graeme's wife for this information.)
TED BALLARD MBE died Saturday 19 June 2004. Ted served pre-war in the 1st MG Regt (Royal NSW Lancers), in the 2/2 MG Bn in WWII then post war with the Regiment. He reached the rank of WO2. Ted had been an active Museum volunteer. (Our thanks to Ted's Brother David, (another Lancer) for this information).
BILL MATTHEWS was buried on 27 April 2004 at Northern Suburbs Crematorium, Bill did not serve with the Regiment. Major General Glenny first meet Bill during 1964 when he and others sought the involvement of the Regiment in the Parramatta Foundation Week Celebrations. He was one of Parramatta's leading citizens and was instrumental in bringing the British Grenadiers to Parramatta. He also did much to arrange for Princes Charles' visit to Lancer Barracks and the BBQ Lunch that took place. John Howells remembers Bill well, in 1985 Bill asked John to organise the Parramatta Foundation Week procession; a task John performed under Bill's guidance until the early 1990s. Bill served until last year as an active member of our Museum Guide Corps. Bill as the proprietor of WH Matthews Engineering, a member of the Parramatta Chamber of Commerce and committee member of the Parramatta Foundation Week Council was a leading citizen of the City of Parramatta. In this role he took every step possible to foster the interests of the Regiment, and was friend and counsellor to many Commanding Officers. He was also a strong supporter of the Regiment and attended many Officers Mess Dinners, Lancer Association Reunions and Church Parades. (Our thanks to Bill's nephew Philip Bride, Major General Glenny and John Howells for this item.)
RSL "Reveille" issue March/April 04 listed:- ASHWOOD C G NX115620 Sig 1 Aust Tank Bn, and McMAHON J M NX1 14717 Cpl 1 Aust Armd Regt. We have no information on either - not on our roll, or in the Service Record file. Ashwood would have been attached, and left before Borneo, as probably did McMahon. The NX nos given are of our series. If any reader knew them, please let us know.
The following people contributed to the Lancers' Association in the six months to June 30, 2004. Many thanks to these people as we rely solely on their donations for the running expenses of the Association. The total was around $3,000 which is slightly more than the previous year. Apologies to those that may have been missed and any spelling errors. As ever, there were a few donations that could not be identified for various reasons: Armstong, Bill; Aynsley, Allan; Algie, Brian; Balchin, Bill; Bates, Morry; Bell, Geoff; Bigland, Bert; Blackberry, John; Bourke, Brian; Breakwell, James; Brown, David; Bulgin, Arthur; Burlison, John; Burton, Hilary; Butler, Stan; Button, Rod; Cable, Ron; Caradus, Jim; Castellari, Bert; Chanter, Allen; Chivas, Stan; Christenson, Chris; Clarke, Happy; Clift, Doug; Craven, David; Creswick, John; Cullen, Buc; Curran, Jack; Curtayne, Jack; Darby, Trevor; Donald, David; Downes, David; Drews, John; Fallowfield, Ted; Fitzsimmons, Cynthia; Floyd, Brendan; Fogden, Roy; Graham, Ruby; Halliday, Bill; Hamilton, Lindsay; Hartridge, Alyson; Howitt, Alan; Howlett, Hec; Hughes, Leslie; Irvine, Frank; Jamieson, Norma; Jessup, Roy; Kearney, John; Lamb, Jack; Lewis, Sid; Lowe, Ken; MacKay, Gordon; MacRae, Kieran; Martin, Albert; Martin, Ted; McDonald, Joan; McEwan, Snow; McLean, George; McManus, John; Mikel, Henry; Morris, Donald; Morris, Geoff; Mortimer, Ralph; Newton, Marcia; Noble, Carl; O'Sullivan, Val; Pentland, Norm; Philip, Bill; Pinnington, Doug; Pollard, Doug; Polley, Ed; Rhys-Jones, Brian; Rolfe, Jack; Sharpe, Joyce; Speary, Brian; Standring, Arthur; Stevenson, Jim; Stewart, Allan; Stone, Ray; Tesoriero, Dan; Troup, Grant; Walters, Brian; Watson, Colin; Wright, Phil; Young, Roy.
The following donated to the Museum (some donations are made anonymously): Allan Aynsley, Harry Bailey, Bill Balchin, David Ballard, Ted Ballard, Brian Bourke, Valerie Boyton, John Burlison, Jim Caradus, Bert Castellari, Alan Chapman, Ron Cullen, David Downes, Cynthia Fitzsimmons, Roy Fogden, Ian Frost, John Gates, Tracey Hatch, Lyn Heath, Kitty Hobbs, Les Hughes, Honorary Secretary Ingleburn RSL Sub-Branch, Norma Jamieson, John Kearney, Neville Kingcott, Jack Lamb, Geoff Lewis, Sid Lewis, Lee Long, Jean Macdonald, Joan McDonald, Alfred (Snow) McEwan, George B McLean, Sam Mifsud, Marcia Newton, John Palmer, George Pennicook, Les Perrett, Doug Pollard, Eddie Polley, David Power, Peter Quilty, Honorary Secretary RNSWL Association, Jack Rolfe, Ron Rope, June Simpson, Arthur Standring, Adrian Tatarinoff, Peter Teague, Dan Tesoriero, Stewart Thompson, John Upton, Don Watson, Raymond Williams, John Wilson, Phil Wright, Charles Zarb, Albert Zehetner,
Without your valued contributions, the Museum would cease to function. Please take the time to go to our online contribution page Click Here. or download the contribution form Click Here and help. All contributions over $2 TO THE MUSEUM ONLY are tax deductible in Australia. Do not forget to order your memorabilia, including one of the last 12 high quality Regimental Ties or the DVD of the Horse Training and Reserve Forces Day Parade (this item will be available for a short time only) Click Here.
Membership of the RAACA is free free to all applicants over 75, and only $10 per annum for those who are younger. The RAACA NSW newsletter complements Lancers' Despatch, providing news of events in the wider corps community. If you wish to join the RAACA and receive the newsletter, drop a line to the association at Building 96, Victoria Barracks, Paddington NSW 2071, or eMail firstname.lastname@example.org .
"A regiment is not solely the men who presently comprise its strength. It is an entity stretching back in time to its beginnings. It is all the men who have served in its ranks, with their traditions and achievements. The serving unit, like the tip of an iceberg, may be the only part you see, but underneath, supporting it, there is a great deal more." (These words, often quoted, were introduced by our Patron, Major General Warren Glenny, AO RFD ED, during his term as 2IC of 1st/15th Royal NSW Lancers in the 1960s)
Lancers' Despatch is Published in February and August each year by the New South Wales Lancers Memorial Museum Incorporated ABN 94 630 140 881 and the Royal New South Wales Lancers Association. All material is copyright. John Howells - Editor, New South Wales Lancers Memorial Museum Incorporated, Linden House, Lancer Barracks, 2 Smith Street, PARRAMATTA NSW 2150, AUSTRALIA, email@example.com Tel: +61 (0)414 886 461, Fax: +61 (0)2 4733 3951.
© New South Wales Lancers Memorial Museum Incorporated
ABN 94 630 140 881 - - - Site Updated July 2017
Lancer Barracks, 2 Smith Street, Parramatta NSW 2150, Australia
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