Lancers' Despatch 9
Website of the Royal New South Wales Lancers Lancer Barracks and Museum
Editorial Victory in the Pacific A Plaque in History The Museum 120th Birthday Celebrations Lancer Barracks Anzac Celebration Anzac Day Reserve Forces Day Bombaderry Cavalry Reunion New Medal Early Newsletters The Royal Yeomanry Increased Bereavement Payment Departed Comrades Thanks Please Help RAACA Stop Press WWII Medallions PDF Version
This is a big year for the Regiment, its Association and Museum. The Regiment turned 120, it is 90 years since the landing at Gallipoli, and 60 years since the Regiment took part in the largest Australian tank battle in World War II at Balikpapan. There was a mounted parade to celebrate the 120 years, a very special Regimental Anzac service to remember Gallipoli, and the 60 years since Balikpapan and the end of World War II will be celebrated at commemorations in Parramatta and Canberra. Our newsletter has details of the celebrations conducted, and invitations to those that are yet to occur.
There has also been a lot of work on the Museum's collection and a lot of other activities. Many thanks to those who contributed to this edition of Lancers' Despatch, you will find your "By Lines" as you devour every line of the publication. I trust you will enjoy the despatch from David Brown our Antipodal correspondent.
Don't forget we are always in need of articles. Write up what you remember of your service, and send us some photos.
This year marks 60 years since the end of World War II.
On 15 July 1945, Ben Chiffley, the Prime Minister made the following short speech, broadcast by every radio station in the nation:
“Fellow citizens, the war is over.
The Japanese Government has accepted the terms of surrender imposed by the Allied Nations and hostilities will now cease. The reply by the Japanese Government to the Note sent by Britain, the United Nations, the USSR and China, has been received and accepted by the Allied Nations.
At this moment let us offer thanks to God.
Let us remember those whose lives were given that we may enjoy this glorious moment and may look forward to a peace which they have won for us.”
On that day, the Regiment was deployed fighting the Japanese in Kalimantan, Indonssia then Dutch Borneo.
To quote the Regimental History:
"On 19 July 1945, 2 Troop B Squadron with, two Matilda frog tanks and the Covenanter bridgelayer, moved forward to support the 2nd/31st Battalion in clearing Hill 60, and fired concentrations on the forward slope. At midday two tanks were used to take Brigadier Eather and Lieut-Colonel Robson forward to the foot of Hill 60 to observe the enemy positions. At 14:00 the composite troop under Lieutenant Aynsley moved forward with the bridgelayer leading in order to bridge the crater which had been blown in the road on 11 July, so that the tanks could pass over and give support to the infantry advance towards the Pope's Track junction. The bridgelayer spanned the crater in six minutes and the tanks advanced. A short distance further on the second tank ran over a contact mine which blew off the left track and damaged the front idler assembly. Next day LAD and workshop personnel under Warrant Officer M. Robinson and Sergeant J. Miller came forward with spare parts and carried out repairs under protection of the infantry.
The B Squadron tanks returned to the squadron area at Biyth's Junction on 25 July, and by the end of the month the entire group had congregated in the area at Petersham Junction.
This was the end of tank operations at Balikpapan. Three days later the enemy broke contact; this marked the end of organised resistance in the area and the successful conclusion of the Oboe Two operation, to be followed on August 15 by the end of hostilities with Japan."
Celebrations In Parramatta
The Regiment, Museum and Association will host two special celebrations in Parramatta. The events are free, funded by the Department of Veteran's Affairs and open to the community.
Sunday 14 August, there will be a special Museum open day with a Pacific War Exhibition, vehicles will be open for inspection, and guided tours will be conducted of Lancer Barracks, the Museum and the Vehicle collection. The Regimental Band will give a concert at mid-day, and tea and scones will be served. Invitations have been issued to the local schools, and advertisements placed in local newspapers. Veterans are invited to be present. The Barracks and Museum will be open 10:00 - 16:00.
On the evening of VP Day Monday 15 August, the 60th anniversary of the day Japan accepted surrender terms, there will be a wreath laying ceremony at Lancer Barracks followed by drinks in the Officers' and Sergeants' messes. All local veterans are invited, those who saw service in the Pacific Campaign will be presented with 60th Anniversary Medallions (those to receive a medal will have received a letter from the local member's office). The service will commence at 18:00 and should take about an hour. If you can get there, be there.
We would like to thank the member for Parramatta The Hon Julie Owens MHR and her staff (in particular Matthew Ferguson) for their initiative and assistance in helping to obtain funding for these events.
Celebrations in Canberra
Sixty years after Prime Minister Chifley's declaration of Victory in the Pacific, Canberra will host the Salute to Veterans, the centrepiece event of commemorations across the country to mark the 60th anniversary of VP Day.
Salute to Veterans will run from 13-15 August 2005 and will feature an Australian Defence Force spectacular centred around Lake Burley Griffin. This will include ground displays of military vehicles, helicopters and current Defence equipment, audio-visual presentations, military service bands and other performers as well as aerial exhibitions throughout the weekend.
A special area will be reserved for WWII veterans to give them a prime view of the displays.
On Saturday 13 August, invited veterans will attend a reception at Parliament House. An ecumenical church service will be held on the morning of Sunday 14 August. On VP Day itself, Monday 15 August, a commemorative ceremony will be held at the Australian War Memorial to close the weekend's tribute.
For more information about the Salute to Veterans, call 1300 360 635 or visit www.dva.gov.au.
To mark the 60th anniversary of WWII and the Regiment's participation in the Pacific campaigns, it is proposed to place a bronze plaque in the forecourt of the Australian War Museum (AWM) at Canberra.
AWM officials will organise a dedication ceremony for us at 11.30am on Friday, 26th August 2005. The ceremony will include items such as; "an address by the Master of Ceremonies, a Welcome Address. Introduction and Opening Remarks, Plaque Unveiling, Dedication, Ode. Last Post, Rouse, National Anthem and Farewell, There will be seating for all guests, sound equipment and heating if necessary.
This should be a memorable day and it is hoped that veterans and friends will come along to join us. catch up with old friends and enjoy a tour of the magnificent Australian War Memorial, There will be a commemorative program issued by the AWM as a lasting reminder of this event.
Accommodation is available nearby at Olims Hotel (Flag) (02) 6248 5511 or the Novotel (02)6245 5000 on Northborne avenue, a little further away.
For numbers, please give John Blackberry a ring if coming on (02) 9534 2353. Veterans should be in Anzac Day rig with medals - see you there. The ceremony which will take about 1/2 hour will be held indoors.
Try to get there about 11:15am to be seated by 11:30am
Joe Tabone and Ross Brown
In the past few years a great deal of work has been done on our vehicle collection. The pictures below tell the story of 3 years (2003 - 2005) of sweat and tears by Gordon Muddle on the engine of our Mk II Ferret, the pistons, rings, bearings had to be replaced, while this was happening other volunteers were cleaning and painting out the interior, remaking seats, repairing seat frames.
In recent times the Museum collection of artefacts and memorabilia has grown to a stage where the few workers are struggling to keep up with the recording, restoration, maintenance and display of the items.
The restoration and maintenance of the vehicle collection is well supported but help is desperately needed with the restoration, maintenance and display of weapons, uniforms and other artefacts.
In discussion with Maj Pat Donovan (Rtd) and a few other past members the proposal that the Museum Committee make alternate arrangements for people to assist other than a Sunday emerged. The Committee has decided to conduct working days on a Tuesday each week for those who are willing to assist and are not able to attend on Sundays.
Capt Ross Brown (Rtd) the Museum Vice President, will be organising working days on Tuesdays between the hours of 10:00 and 15:30 each week commencing on 2 Aug. Anyone who can assist in any of the following will be welcome; inventory management, photography, computing, weapons, carpentry, building maintenance, radio equipment, preservation of leather, display management, research or just pushing a broom.
In order to provide accident insurance coverage all volunteers are required to join the Museum Association Incorporated. That involves a joining fee of $2 and an annual membership of $1.
We also need to expand our guide corps. At present we have 10 dedicated souls that open the Museum every month. If we could get another 10 interested bodies we could consider opening every week. If you are interested contact John.Howells@lancers.org.au.
On Sunday 6 March at the 5th Brigade Parade Ground, Holsworthy Barracks, NSW, the Regiment held a parade to mark 120 years since its first parade in 1885. The parade was mounted and truly magnificent. The Regiment was led on to the parade ground by a Light Horse Re-enactment Troop followed by Regimental association members in berets, jackets and wearing their medals. Then came the whirring of engines, the Regiment, fully mounted with guidons flying and accompanied by the Regimental Band. All of the familiar cavalry tunes were played, Redetsky, El Abnico, and the first rendition since the early 1900s of the New South Wales Lancers March.
The following lists those who had key parade roles:
Reviewing Officer: BRIG K.H Jobson AM
The parade was inspected, marched past and did a mounted advance in Review order. If you were not there, you can see it; if you were there you can relive it by ordering a copy of the video from the Museum Shop, online or by using the attached order form.
Brian Walters and Murray Stewart
This year the Regimental Anzac Day celebration at Lancer Barracks was a special celebration of the 90 years since the 1st Light Horse landed at Gallipoli. The ceremony was held at Lancer Barracks on Tuesday, 19 April. Commencing around 2000 hours, it was very well attended by both members and friends of the Regiment.
There was only one WWII member from the Association, David Donald. Others who attended included Brian Algy, Joe Briffa, Ron Cable, Dave Crisp, Jeff Darke, Bob Gay, John Howells, Peter Knowland, Len Koles, Tom Larkin, Mick Lewins, Gordon Muddle, Mark Swadling, Reg Swadling, Greg Smith, Joe Tabone, Brian Walters and Dennis Wilkinson, It was pleasing to have a few new faces in this group. Unfortunately, there were no representatives from the 21st Brigade Association.
The formal part of the ceremony was impressive and well coordinated. As part of the ceremony, there were several wreaths laid by various people including the following:
World War 2: David Donald,
Special thanks go to the CO, Lieutenant Colonel Brett Barlow and the RSM, WO1 Bill Baxter, for organising the ceremony.
As in recent years, the Sergeants' and the OR’s Messes were open for the rest of the evening. A special thanks to whoever ordered the late night delivery of pizzas - very much appreciated by those who were still enjoying the hospitality of the Regiment.
Mick Lewins and Ron Cable at the Regimental Anzac Day Celebration, Lancer Barracks David Donald, Marcia Newton and Brian Walters
The special part of the evening was an address by Captain Murray Stewart, OC A Squadron. He gave his permission to publish it in full, it follows:
"When the RSM did me the honour of asking me to give this oration, one of the things he suggested was for me to talk about what ANZAC day meant to me personally, and that, rather than a recounting of the mighty deeds, is what I will focus on tonight.
References the seminal 1978 work ANZACs by Patsy Adam Smith, Bill Gamage The Broken Years, Gallipoli One Long Grave by Kit Denton and the more recent Gallipoli by Les Carlyon
When ever I consider the story of ANZAC and all the Australian feats of arms that came after, the question uppermost in my mind is could I have done it. Thinking about the event depicted in the movie “Gallipoli”. If I was in the 10th Light Horse trenches of the Nek in 1915, about lead the 3rd charge into an area the size of a tennis court covered by 5 mgs. Having seen the previous 2 waves cut down. Could I have gone, could I have ordered A Sqn to go and lead them out over the top?
To try and answer the question for myself I have tried to get to know the men, the men who did the deeds. Were they the products of a different era, tall, lean, bronzed Aussies, natural soldiers straight off the station, crack shots half trained by their bush life, knock about but somehow more innocent and noble, or where they just like us? Ordinary Australians in extraordinary circumstances who did extraordinary deeds.
The more I look the more I find they are like us, closer than we think.
I believe it is wrong to hold up previous generations as harder, brighter, keener, more noble than those of today. I believe that denigrates the achievements of the original ANZACs, as if they didn’t feel the same fears, wants, needs as us and did what they did anyway. As if they were so unlike us that their actions can be explained as the deeds of saints and legends rather than men like us.
C.W Bean, the official historian of Australia in WW1, whilst a legend in his field, is somewhat guilty of this where he describes the ANZACS as mostly country breed, natural soldiers, already half trained by their country life. Even as a country boy bred myself I don’t believe that, it’s the qualities of the man and the training he receives rather than where he grew up determines what sort of soldier he becomes. And as for most of them walking in of the station, being given a rifle and going to war, the reality is that Australia has always been a very urbanised nation, then as now and like us, most of them, over 80% in fact, were city boys or at least townies.
Tall and lean? Sure some of them, like some of us but the minimum hight to join the AIF was 5’2 or 155 cm. Most Aussies were taller than the Brits, due to the diet and lifestyle enjoyed here rather then the grime and muck of industrial revolution England
Australian. Yes, Australian born? Well at least 30% were born overseas, Australian by emigration. These people included the iconic man with the donkey, Simpson who was an English born merchant seamen. They proved being Australian is something you can learn, or rather something this nation teaches. It worked on them like it works on us, and makes us Australian if you let it. Being Australian meant something, even to them, even with the Australia only 14 years old. They felt then what I believe we feel even more strongly now. Never a classless society non the less we don’t care for the notion of Englands class distinctions, that when it came to classifying human beings, the past and pedigree determined the future.
Competitive, egalitarian, cheeky, with an understated pride. Traits we see so strongly today, forged and reinforced by those who have gone before us.
As to their innocence, their nobility their purity of spirit, now that always rang hollow. I did a tour of Gallipoli with a Turkish guide, and he was going on about the noble youth of 1915 and how the younger generation with their music and sex parties weren’t a patch on them. I took exception to that then as I did now. I found it insulting to the ANZACS and to us, the current Australian Army, sons of ANZAC. As if we would not be able to do our duty due to some innate weakness or thast the ANZACS of 1915 didn’t like beer and women. Young Australians have always been young Australians, whether we end up in Cairo or some other foreign chime on pre embarkation training going to Gallipoli, or on a Contiki tour.
One of the best examples of this was the battle, not on 25 April 1915, but on 2 April back in Cairo, prembarkation, in an area called the Wazzir. Patsy Adam Smith had to fight her way through what we call now tour rules “what happened on tour stays on tour”.
The Wazzir is a street actually called Haret el Wasser, and in 1915 it was Cairo’s Pat Phon road, or Kings Cross Red light district, brothel town.
Yes the battle of the Wazzir is probably the biggest fight in a brothel Aust soldiers have ever had. The soldiers, some 2,000 in all enraged by a rise in the price due to an increase in demand as more soldiers arrived in Egypt, bad drink as the alcohol you could buy was mostly home brew and the treatment some of their mates got who contracted VD, stormed the brothels, some 8 stories high, threw the bedding and the girls dresses down into the street, set fire to both the houses and the gear. The Brit MPs were called and failed to quell the riot and the Egyptian Fire brigade got their hoses cut up.
Strangely, no witnesses at the subsequent investigation could recall the names of who was there. Perhaps it was the New Zealanders? Patsy Adam Smith was told, by one old digger, whilst his 80 year old wife made scones in the kitchen, possibly unaware her husband once rioted and trashed a section of Cairo in the name of sex and alcohol, that the night they fired the Wazzir was the best fun any of them had until the war ended 4 years later. Now that’s a legend.
Would such men care if young Aussies of today crack a tinnie whilst sitting on their grave at Gallipoli to commune with them, or in their memory at an RSL on 25th. No I think they would smile with pride and wish they could join us for a coldie. Indeed I’ve never been told by an old digger, a returned vet that he felt we aren’t as good. They may talk about the younger generation as a group as all old people do, but never including the modern Australian Army in their criticism. You mostly encounter pride, pride in themselves and pride in us, a brotherhood. So as I look before me, I see men who are just like the ANZACS who stormed ashore in 1915. True sons of ANZAC, you and I, and I am confident that if necessary we would do what they have done and forge our own legend. As each generation has done since that day in 1915, Our grandfathers in WW2 places like Tobruk, Kakoda, Korea and the battle of Kapyong, Malaysia, Borneo, perhaps fathers in Vietnam fighting in Long Tan and Bihn Bah. Colleagues and contemporise and even some of us now Rawanda, Somalia, Timor, Iraq. Or perhaps we are the first in our families to serve in the Army and yet heir to the legacy all the same.
Ultimately I believe we are the same as the diggers of ANZAC, they are us and we are them.
Have I answered my question, have I said if I could have lead A Sqn into the guns at the Nek? No, because unless I am in the situation I will never know, but I can be heartened by the knowledge that although there deeds were mighty, they were done by men remarkably like me, like us.
So to end, they have set a high standard for us, but one I’m sure they would be confident we could achieve.
The ANZACS of 1915 may say to us “To you from falling hands we throw the torch, be yours to hold it high, if ye break faith with us who die, we shall not sleep … keep the spirit of the ANZACS alive”
"Those heroes that shed their blood and lost their lives you are now lying in the soil of a friendly country. Therefore rest in peace. There is no difference between the Johnnies and the Mehmets to us where they lie side by side here in this country of ours. You the mothers who sent there sons from far away countries wipe away your tears. Your sons are now lying in our boson and are in peace. After having lost their lives on this land they have become our sons as well." Atatürk 1934
John Blackberry and Brian Walters
For the 59th time veterans of the 1st Aust Armoured Regt. took part in the Anzac Day march in Sydney. Once again we were fortunate to enjoy a fine sunny day with increasing crowds lining the route.
David Donald led our contingent, our usual march leader Ted Martin being unable to make it this year. We were again joined by the very smartly turned out soldiers of the I/15th Regiment as banner party and the Lancers band dishing it out in fine style - thank you all. Our numbers on parade were again bolstered by a fair number of post-war members with approximately 14 veterans marching. Some others joined the get-together at the Leagues Club later including David & Helen Craven - all the way from their new home in Tasmania, and Kitty Hobbs, another lovely lady, Ron McKenzie's granddaughter Brooke Harrison spent much time talking to veterans and Chris Hall, Mick Wilson's grandson was again a welcome visitor. Veterans present on the day were ;- Doug Beardmore, John Blackberry, Arthur Bulgin, Rod Button, Doug Clift, David Donald, Geoff Francis, Bill Haliiday, Ken Lowe, Bill Lynch, Geoff Morris, Ron McKenzie and Dan Tesoriero. Apologies if I have missed anyone.
Veterans take note:- There are 103 veterans still living in the area as far south as Nowra, as far west as Katoomba and north to Newcastle, that is, within two to two and a half hours travel to Sydney. Many may not be fit or able to attend Anzac Day in Sydney and some may attend locally - but they are still kicking!
The Reserve Forces have become an accepted part of the Sydney Anzac Day March. As usual, the crowds were large and appreciative.
It has also become accepted that the Honorary Colonel of the Regiment, Major General Warren Glenny, leads the whole reserve forces contingent.
Those present in the Lancers’ contingent included: John Anderson, John Burlison, Dave Crisp, Chris Dawson, Don Deakin-Bell, Pat Donovan, Bob Gay, Bruce Kilgour, Marina Laverty, John Palmer, Joe Tabone and Mark Walsh and Charlie Zarb. Once again, a special mention for some of the past commanding officers - in historical order these were Colonel John Arnott (Retd) and Lieutenant Colonel John McPhee (Retd). Helen Clarke did not attend and sent her apology. The contingent was lead by Major Len Koles (Retd) 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 or marched in the ranks. These included Troopers Mark Comedoy, Robert Gough, Anthony Helsby, Leighton Heywood-Smith, Trent Moses and Matt Navin. Particular thanks go to the RSM Bill Baxter for ensuring that these troops were available on the day.
The numbers were further boosted by members of the 203rd Cadet Unit that has been part of the Lancer Barracks for about fifteen years. This very well attired group comprised Sergeant Robert Cirillo, Corporals David Bui and Luke Jones, and Privates Yvette Cochrane, Aaron Iau and David Ngo Thanh.
Step off was a little earlier this year at 11:30 hours and the contingent proceeded along the usual route down Martin Place, past the Cenotaph and left wheeled into George Street. The fine weather made for an easy march. The dispersal point was in Elizabeth Street with people heading off to various watering holes.
The Civic Hotel has become the accepted meeting place for the armoured corps. As expected it was crowded on the day but retained a convivial atmosphere. Special thanks go to the RAACA who provided a range of finger food for the hungry soldiers. Others went to the NSW Leagues Club but this gets very crowded and noisy on Anzac Day.
The issue of a formal reunion venue remains a vexed one as there are a declining number of licensed clubs in the central business district with the remaining ones being booked from year to year by the same associations. It would perhaps be expected that with a number of veteran associations calling it a day, there would be some more venues becoming available. This is not the case with the expected venues and a few more that are not so obvious all giving the same negative response. The committee is still working on the problem and will keep the members informed via the newsletter.
In conclusion, while there is a good number of marchers turning out for this part of the march, more will always be welcome.
Major General Warren Glenny marched at the head of the 2nd Division with the other generals.
Those present in the Lancers’ contingent included: Brian Algie, Dave Blackman, Terry Boardman, Ross Brown, Terry Caldwell, Dave Crisp, Merv Cummings, Jeff Darke, Chris Dawson, Don Deakin-Bell, Ross Denny, Brian Dudley, Chris Gardner, Bob Gay, Jim Gellett, Carl Gruber, John Haines, Ken Hickey, Bernie Hill, Alan Hitchell, Greg Hixon, Bruce Kilgour, Peter Knowland, Jack Lamb, Tom Larkin, Mike Lewins, Terry McKenna, Gordon Muddle, Brian O’Donovan, Jeff Randell, Ron Roberts, Athol Samson, Wal Smith, Arthur Standring, Joe Tabone and Robert White.
There were two ex COs in Lieutenant Colonels John McPhee and Greg Smith (both retired).
Others from associated units included Col Hamilton (7/21 ALH), Robert Kirkwood (4/19 PWLH)
The contingent was lead by Major Len Koles (Retd) and assisted by the Association Secretary, Brian Walters.
The Regiment was represented by the band lead by bandmaster Sergeant Steve Dawson. Peter Sly, now RSM UNSWR was the parade RSM.
The 90th anniversary of the 2nd Division was commemorated by the production of a lapel pin with the distinctive red background and crossed bayonets. Thanks to all those who purchased one of these items as they contributed to the funds of the RFD Council.
John Howells served on the Reserve Forces Day Council that planned the event, and established their website www.rfd.org.au.
There were 22 at the Bombaderry Cavalry Reunion this year. Five Lancers, Peter Aldous, Jack McDonald (1st/21st Light Horse) Bill Halliday, Terry Hennessey and Ray Rutledge (1st Armoured Regiment). Gordon Yabsley and Ray Grimson from 2nd/4th Armoured Regiment. Ross Daniell from 2nd/9th Armoured Regiment. And Peter Aldous, Bruce Guppy, Jack McDonald, Bill Monieth, Ray Rutledge, Len Seyffer, Gordon Woods and Jack Young from the 7th Light Horse.
There were nine ladies present including Raynor Rutledge, widow of Sergeant Arthur Rutledge of C Squadron 1 Armoured Regiment.
Those present enjoyed the camaraderie and hope to be present again next year.
Still no news beyond what was published in February's Lancers Despatch. The latest information is that contained on the Reserve Forces Day website and is reprinted here with permission:
The terms for award of he new Australian Defence Medal are likely to be as follows:
- Service after 1946 only can be claimed for the issue of the medal.
*Award for a period of less than six years may be possible under certain circumstances (as yet these circumstances are not published (1 August 2005)).
The Director Honours and Awards has advised that the Department of Defence is not calling for applications for the ADM, and will not be doing so until the Minister Assisting the Minister for Defence has made an announcement about the medal. This is unlikely to occur until after the regulations for the medal have been formally approved by the Queen.
The medal design which as shown is an approximation, it is not the approved medal design.
Further information about the medal will be publicised when all formal processes have been completed.
If you need any further information, please call Defence Honours and Awards 1800 111 321.
As soon as we here anything more we will let you know.
In 1982 and earlier, a one page notice was issued by Norman Bent to advise of Anzac Day Reunion arrangements at NSW Leagues Club, with a few other items mentioned. That year it went to 230 members - the only ones with known addresses. It promoted Associated Electrics, in return for their sponsoring the cost of the notice, postage and the donation of raffle prizes. There was then a subscription to the Lancers Association of $1 per annum. The committee then decided to commence issuing a half yearly newsletter, with more news and items of interest, and to use it to gain more names and addresses. Also to discontinue subscriptions and in lieu seek donations, hoping thereby to cover the higher cost (which it did). Issue No 1 was in September 82, of 4 foolscap pages, and was well received. Issue No 2 was in April 83, of 7 pages. Here then are very briefly some of the items in them.
Issue no. 1 - Sept 82. (4 pages)
Issue no 2 - April 83 (7 pages)
Feed back indicated both original newsletters were well received.
BACK ISSUES OF NEWSLETTER
If there seems to be some interest in the back issues following nos 1&2, similar reports can be made in future issues of Lancers Despatch. I have some spare copies of past issues up to my last, no 25 of March 2001.
If any reader has a collection of newsletters with some missing, and would like one or more, please phone me on (03) 6249 3579, and I'll post them. If I don't have a spare, I'll copy one. No charge. After say end of 2005, any copies left will be re-cycled, or given to the Museum if they want them. David Craven.
2005 has been an interesting year for C Squadron of the Royal Yeomanry. I started the year with a new role, that of Squadron Training Officer, responsible for recruiting and recruit training.
Unlike Australia, where recruiting and training is centralised, in the TA recruiting and some recruit training is a unit responsibility. Recruits must be between 17 and 32 years of age, medically fit and from the UK, Ireland or the British Commonwealth. After passing a psychometric test and medical examination, recruits are 'attested' and then complete 3 weekends of training before attending a 2 week 'Common Military Syllabus (Recruit)' (or CMS(R)) course run at one of the Army Training Regiments (ATRs). On completion of CMS(R) a recruit passes to a Sabre Tp and commences their trade training.
Recruit training in the Royal Yeomanry is delivered through a series of centralised weekends conducted at ATR Pirbright or in the field. All of the different Squadrons recruiting teams (called ‘Regimental Recruit Training Teams’ or ‘RRTT’) attend and provide instructors. In C Sqn I am very lucky to have a designated RRTT in place as many of the other Squadrons have people ‘double-hating’ as Troop Leaders or Troop Sergeants. At the moment I have a Training Sergeant, 3 Lance Corporals and a senior Trooper, one of which is a PTI.
Despite the controversy over the Iraq war C Squadron has not had any problems attracting new recruits. The strange thing has been that we have been doing well from off the street enquiries rather than from conducting Open Days or attending public displays.
Recruiting is a critical task for the Squadron this year following on from the deployment to Iraq of 30 Squadron members last year and we have already lost a number of soldiers after the payment of their annual bounty (a tax free payment of up to £1,400). This is sad, but was expected, as life in the TA would be very different for anyone following an operational deployment.
The issues currently facing the RAC and the TA are similar to those facing the RAAC and Army Reserve. Future role and a viable trade structure are two pertinent issues. At the moment C Sqn are a Challenger 2 (CR2) replacement Squadron, tasked with producing Loaders and Gunners for the Regular Army. This creates a significant training burden on soldiers and is not viewed as sustainable. For example, in order to be promoted to LCpl a soldier must have both a Loader and Gunner qualification (6 weeks of courses), have instructor and map reading qualifications, as well as pass the Junior NCO Cadre (a weekend course). In the near future it is likely that the TA RAC units will re-role as NBC Recce, or more correctly ‘Recce with an NBC’ slant. Due to ‘Whole Fleet Management’ the RY and most TA Yeomanry regiments will continue to be equipped with Scout Land Rovers.
Social events have also played an important part in the first half of the year. In May I attended Cavalry Memorial Parade in Hyde Park reviewed by HRH Prince Charles. ‘Cav Mem’ essentially is a cavalry version of Anzac Day with all of the British Army cavalry regiments represented (less the Royal Tank Regiment who are not viewed as Cavalry). Officers traditionally carry an umbrella and wear a bowler hat with all ranks wearing their regimental ties. Forming up in Hyde Park all of the contingents march past the Cavalry Memorial erected in the 1920 to commemorate the service of British and Commonwealth mounted regiments. The names of all of the Indian, Canadian, Australian and New Zealand regiments are inscribed on it together with their British counterparts. The memorial itself depicts St George about the dispatch the dragon. Representatives from India, New Zealand, Australia and Canada, together with the reviewing officer, typically a minor royal stand near the memorial as the regiments march past to the bandstand where a church service is held. Once completed we attended drinks with Prince Charles and the Duchess of Cornwall.
In June the Kent and Sharpshooter’s Yeomanry Officer's Dining Club held a dinner at the Royal Ocean Racing Club. It was a great opportunity for a dozen current and ex serving Sharpshooter Officers to have dinner together in a relaxed setting.
My attachment has been tremendously rewarding. I am thoroughly enjoying the role of Training Officer and get great satisfaction from preparing our recruits for the course. I have had little problem assimilating to the TA and the people and issues are the same. Before joining the Squadron I had also never thought about how I would deploy a GRES Sqn on operations. The welfare issues alone are significant ones and you soon realise that you cannot deploy everyone on operations, as someone needs to be left to run the Squadron at home.
I very much look forward to returning to the Regiment in 2006.
Captain David Brown, 1/15 RNSWL, giving orders to soldiers from C Squadron, The Royal Yeomanry, on Ex Hawley Warrior 04 Soldiers from the Royal Yeomanry conducting Public Order training at the excellent Copehill Down OBUA facilities.
Susannah Bartlett Department of Veterans' Affairs
The Australian Government has increased the bereavement payment made to the partners of some of Australia's more disabled veterans, in the event of the veteran's death. The payment provides additional financial help to the widow or widower of eligible veterans during a difficult time.
From 1 January 2005 partners of veterans who receive an Above General Rate disability pension will now receive an increased bereavement payment following the death of their veteran partner.
Above General Rate pensions include the Totally and Permanently Incapacitated pension, the Extreme Disablement Adjustment and the Intermediate rate.
Previously, upon the death of a veteran in receipt of an Above General Rate pension, the widow or widower would receive the equivalent of six payments of disability pension, capped at 100 per cent of the general rate.
Now, widows and widowers will receive a bereavement payment equivalent to six payments of their partner's actual rate of disability pension.
This means that the widow or widower will be paid according to the full amount of disability pension that the veteran was receiving at the time of their death.
The Australian Government recognises the significant sacrifices that these veterans made in the service of their nation and has committed $12.8 million over four years to ensure their families receive the increased bereavement payment.
For more information on the bereavement payment and whether you may be eligible please phone DVA on 133 254 (for metropolitan callers), or 1800 555 254 (for non-metropolitan callers).
David Craven (unless otherwise noted)
Since the deadline date for last newsletter of February 2005, we have heard of the deaths of the following:
GORDON BRIGHT Gordon joined the Regiment in the early 1940s, serving in Admin Troop B Squadron. He saw service in both New Guinea and Borneo. Gordon's brother Jim was also a member of the Regiment. His passing was noted in the February 2005 edition of Lancers' Despatch. Gordon was a keen bowler, 'twas on a green he met his second wife Doris; another keen bowler. The family lived for many years at Dumeric Street Gordin before moving to the Central Coast. (Hugh Clark Reports)
LEN BOWDEN of Cronulla, on 27 Jun 04, aged 83. Len joined No 1 Troop A Squadron of our 1st Light Horse Machine Gun Regt at Randwick around mid-1940. Like many of us at that time, he was at Wallgrove Camp of 1941, and those following, became AIF and served in New Guinea and Borneo. Post war he was with the .Taxation Dept as an inspector for payroll and sales tax. In the course of duty he visited my company Reliance Radio, and called in at times for a chat. We lost contact after some years of friendship, but he was on our roll and received newsletters. In a letter his wife lima said he had years of ill health before he passed away. They had been married for 62 years.
C E CRANE - J D McRae - R K WILLIAMS were all listed in RSL Reveille Last Post. None are on our roll or in the Service Record file (which has only names of those in the Regiment at war's end). None attended reunions, otherwise names would be on our roll. None are known to the committee. The NX nos for Crane and Williams are in our group, and McRae was not AIF. Maybe some readers may know of them - if so we'd like to hear.
MILLIE SOUTHWELL - in April 2005, widow of late Col Southwell, former OC 1 Tp A Sqn, who died in 2000, aged 93. Millie made the century was 101.
JOHN DROLZ - May 2005, John was described by the Honorary Colonel, General Glenny as Regimental identity and contributor. His service was from the early 1950s 'till the late 1970s. When the editor met him during the latter part of his service his reputation was that of a legend, a little larger than life. His funeral at Northern Suburbs Crematorium was well attended by those who served with him. Major General Glenny gave an oration. When John's death was announced a number of his contemporaries took the time to put into words what it was like to serve with the legend.
Terry Boardman recalled:
"JD led Recce Troop at one stage when it had ferrets.
He was his usual innovative self and when the Army had no pyros he overcame the problem by producing his amazing French Letter smoke grenades that fitted in the smoke dischargers of a Ferret.
He was famous for all sorts of things including accidentally relieving himself in the hood of his oversuit one night.
He used to tell the story about sleeping on the back of a tank in a harbour after a very messy refuelling when petrol had been spilt everywhere. Up went some pyros including para flares and one is coming down towards him and the zipper on the sleeping bag jams and he sees himself being incinerated when the flare hits the spilt petrol.
Whenever passing the sewer works at Puck we always saluted the "Fuhrer" and the pond was always Lake John Drolz to many of us.
What about his response to a certain British CI at the school who was giving him a hard time in a plummy accent during an exercise. "Mumble that again" says our OC. Deathly silence from the CI. Or the time when the Ls shot up his Adm Tp to slow down his advance so he towed jeep trailers full of fuel with other tanks to replenish the forward troops and ran the enemy off the map a day before the exercise was due to end."
John Plowman recalled:
"I am very sad to hear of JD's demise, another Lancer Character has bitten the dust. I was in "Recce" Troop when JD was OC as a Captain I think, in the fifties. I did my "Nasho's" in 1/54 in the infantry at Ingleburn. Since I did a lot of walking in the infantry, I decided that wheels were the way to go, and since I lived at Pendle Hill, I decided to transfer from the University Regiment of walkers to the Lancers who had wheels. I also reasoned you would know less about it if hit by an anti tank gun than being potted at by some bugger up a tree.
Recce troop was a natural choice and it consisted of White APCs with a dirty big roller on the front. The late Donny Warham (Sgt.) taught me to drive at the back of Rosehill Racecourse at night and Drolzy was OC.
We thought it was great when we received some clapped out Ford "Doodlebugs", at least they looked something like a scout car. I remember driving JD up to Singleton and as we went up Pennant Hills Road by TKS he shouted "Faster Plowman, make this thing go faster!". The poor old Doodlebugs had a propensity for getting "tired" and would get slower and slower so that you had to drop down a few cogs and rev her up to get her going again, a fact which I think JD had some difficulty in getting his mind around. He thought if it had a motor it should go and flat out at that!
After JD we received Ferrets, which were state of the art. We did a lot of painting wheel nuts white for Governor's escorts etc. Our OC's after JD were Warren Glenny, MacArthur - Onslow and Graham Hodge. I left I think about 1959/60 to complete my legal studies. I used to bump into JD from time to time at Royal Sydney Yacht Squadron where we were both members and usually had a "cool drink".
I have fond memories of those days. Please convey my condolences to his family, the world is a poorer place for his passing. As you know I am now a Tasmanian, but If I had been near Sydney I would have attended and paid my last respects to a unique human being."
Geoff Moran wrote:
"We were away last week, so I was unable to attend John's funeral. JOHN and I were contemporaries and at one stage he was OC C SQN, Warren Glenny was OC A SQN and I was OC B SQN. He was a one off Character and a good friend. I guess we, of that vintage are all candidates for the last parade."
Kevin Bennet sent this message:
"Very sorry to receive your email of John's passing and deeply regret our inability to attend his funeral. Had served with him as a fellow Captain and have fond memories of him during that period. Please give our condolences to the family and friends who will be in attendance."
The following people contributed to the Lancers' Museum in the six months to 31 December 2004 (some donations are made anonymously): Historic Houses Trust , Peter Aldous, Brian Algie, Bill Balchin, Geoff Bell, Keith Bennett, John Booth, Brian Bourke, John Burlison, Stan Butler, Jim Caradus, Bert Castellari, Alan Chanter, Denis Comber, David Craven, David Craven, John Creswick, Horrie Cross, Jeffrey Darke, Pat Donovan, John Emmott, Cynthia Fitzsimmons, David Gendle, Barrie Hodgson, Therese Holles, John Howells, Honorary Secretary Ingleburn RSL Sub-Branch, Norma Jamieson, John Kearney, Jack Lamb, Chris Lawley, Sid Lewis, Keith Linnert, Joan McDonald, Alfred (Snow) McEwan, Geoff Morris, Valerie O'Sullivan, Bill Philip, Eddie Polley, Jack Rolfe, Vera Rowley, Ross Runge, Arthur Standring, Peter Teague, Dan Tesoriero, Grant Troup, John Warner, Col Williamson, E Wright,
Official receipts were posted in June 2005.
Without your valued contributions, the Museum and association 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 are tax deductible in Australia. Do not forget to order your memorabilia, Click Here.
Whilst many have been very generous to the Museum, and this is greatly appreciated. Brian Walters the Association secretary advises that responses to the Association following last newsletter are well down on the corresponding period from last year. As a result the total of donations is also well down. The Association relies on donations to cover the expenses of items such as the newsletter and various awards. Inevitably, there was going to be a decline in replies from the WWII veterans but this is a call to the post WWII fellows to take up the slack and dig deep. So if you have forgotten to return the reply page from the last page, could you do so as soon as possible? Alternatively, any donations can be sent to PO Box 4171, Parramatta NSW 2124 (cheques only please).
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 email@example.com .
"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, firstname.lastname@example.org 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 January 2017
Lancer Barracks, 2 Smith Street, Parramatta NSW 2150, Australia
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