The Royal New South Wales Lancers
|Lancers' Despatch 17|
Bi Annual Journal of the
Royal New South Wales Lancers Association
The New South Wales Lancers Memorial Museum Incorporated ABN 94 630 140 881
No 17 - August 2009
Coming Events From the CO's Desk Lancer Story James Green Lancer Story George McLean Lancer Story Sam Hordern When we Rode Horses Your Museum Boer War Memorial Regimental Birthday ANZAC Eve ANZAC Day Sick Parade Departed Comrades Reserve Forces Day Thank You HELP! RAACA Electronic Response Sheet .pdf Version
Regimental Reunion - 2009
Sunday 1 November 2009 at Lancer Barracks Parramatta 11:00 - 15:00. A great get together for all those who served with the Regiment. An opportunity to look over the Museum and reminisce with old friends. Please let us know if you are attending when giving your donation to the Association or museum. If you are receiving Lancers' Despatch in paper form use the response sheet, or follow this link.
Remember that if you receive Lancers' Despatch in paper form, it costs us around $5.00 to get it to you so please either give a donation, or let us know your current email address.
Cambrai Dinner 2009
Late November 2009 at the Drill Hall, Lancer Barracks Parramatta. Exact details are to be advised. Join the RAACA below, and you will get an invitation.
Battle of Belmont Exhibition
In November 1899, the Regiment fought in the Battle of Belmont - Modder River, it was the first combat engagement by Australian troops. To commemorate this the Museum is organising an exhibition in November 2009 at the Castle Hill RSL Club. Exact details are to be advised.
Lieutenant Colonel Eric Stevenson
Life is good. I am often asked by Lancers’ Dispatch readers what the Lancers’ actually do, and has it changed since many of them were in the Unit. They best way to describe what the Unit does, is to highlight some of the activities in the last six months.
We are now midway through the Regiment’s 124th year. Early in the year, the new Regimental Sergeant major, Warrant Officer Class One Colin Geoghegan, put in an expert effort in preparing the Regiment for the Unit’s annual Sunday Church Parade. Based on the success of that parade, all bodes well for the 125th year parade—and preparations are well under way.
We commenced the training year with some weekends at Holsworthy, where in addition to the usual tests in fitness and competency with the Steyr rifle, we also received a barrage of briefings and lessons. These were related to issues ranging from roles and tasks, to ‘actions-on’ in the case of a security incident. Of some interest will be the additional task for the Lancers, to provide integral patrol support to 51 Far North Queensland Regiment operations in their primary Areas of Responsibility.
Individual squadron training commenced apace and the efforts of the Operations and Training Cell, working with the Squadron Headquarters staff, have continued to provide a great deal of practical training in light cavalry tactics, techniques and procedures. This training set up an excellent attendance at the first ‘High Explosive’ weapons live firing activity for the year at Singleton in mid-June. In addition to 5.56mm ball and link ammunition and claymore mines, personnel threw grenades on the assault grenade courses, fired 40mm grenades from rifle-mounted launchers, and fired anti-armour 66mm and 84mm rockets. The activity culminated in patrol-level, night live-fire encounter battles, employing the range of weapons available to each light cav troop, using various forms of illumination. Warrant Officer Class Two Aaron Callister and his team have taken the lead in ensuring our Cavalry Scout training has been effective and highly challenging.
A number of our members returned from operations at the beginning of 2009. CPL King and CPL Schack-Evans had deployed to OP ANODE during the Christmas period and returned to the Regiment in February. Both soldiers provided excellent operational service during their four months deployment in the Solomon Islands. CAPT James Brown, posted against the Unit’s Adjutant position, deployed to OP SLIPPER in 2008 for six months, and worked as part of Multinational Coalition Headquarters; returning to Australia in May 2009. Furthermore, the Regiment provided a section led by CPL Watson, drawn from the Unit’s personnel who had signed up as part of the Brigade’s Reserve Response Force, to assist in the Government’s response to Victorian bushfires in February. The team worked tirelessly alongside State Police and Emergency Service Volunteers during the two weeks.
There has also been a Brigade level Tactical Exercise Without Troops conducted in the Bathurst region. The scenario saw a United Nations Coalition Force of four Brigades deployed against a (fictitious) Musorian Mechanised Infantry Division. The 5 Brigade officers and senior non-commissioned officers considered and participated in planning operations for a Battle Group containing a High Readiness Reserve Combat Team.
Recently, five of our Officers and Senior Non-Commissioned Officers had the opportunity to participate in Exercise Talisman Sabre 09 at Shoalwater Bay as umpires. This Exercise involved 22,000 troops in Australia, Hawaii and Virginia, up to 21 Ships in the Shoalwater Bay area and up to 205 military aircraft. They provided critical support to this major biennial United States/Australian coalition force exercise. A picture of the Umpire Organisation is attached. In true ‘Where’s Wally’ style, see how many current and ex-Lancers, RAAC members or colleagues you recognise. The nature and range of equipment on each person, gives you some idea of the nature and variety of their roles.
Our Q Store has re-vitalised under the leadership of our new acting RQMS, SGT Peter Arthur. With the imminent move of A Squadron back to Lancer Barracks from Holsworthy, a great deal of additional administrative work has been undertaken.
The Light Cavalry Patrol Vehicles are now in the process of upgrading to higher structural safety standards and this will enable the rear seat to be used by a third soldier in each vehicle. This is likely to assist the Regiment to do its job more effectively and shape both Light Cavalry and Regional Force Surveillance Unit tactics, techniques, procedures and training.
The 1/15 RNSWL Band has again been very busy this year. The band continues to demonstrate impressive flexibility in meeting the changing requirements of the Australian Army and the Sydney community. They have provided a highly regarded marching band for a number of major activities. These activities have included their skilful performance at the Regiment’s Church Parade, the ANZAC Day parade, the Battle of Crete Memorial Service in May, and the Reserve Forces Day in July. They have deployed as a rock band in support of charity events such as the Telstra Child Flight Charity Ball and the Sydney Chinese Lyons Club dinner. The Regiment’s band has also responded to the requests of several units for buglers for Remembrance Day Services and have supported several Mess Dinners, including the 2 Div Birthday Dinner. Two members from the band, PTE Peter Sampson and PTE Alison Bowie, who have signed up in the Brigade’s Reserve Response Force, also deployed on OP VIC FIRES ASSIST.
Warrant Officers David Adams and Guy Musgrove, and Major Greg Smith joined the unit at the beginning of the year with the new RSM and all are now well settled in their key staff positions.
The Regiment has another live firing exercise to look forward to in August and many individual training courses are still to be conducted. Additionally, an officer and a Senior Non-Commissioned Officer will be the first personnel from the Regiment to attend a 51 Far North Queensland Regiment Patrol Commanders Course in Northern Queensland. The members of the Unit have had a full program (again) and are looking forward to the rest of the year.
I am sure that the nature and complexity of the the Lancers’ current and proposed activities outlined above above is similar to your time in the Lancers—only the faces have changed. My thanks to many of the readers for their continued support during the year.
As I conclude my remarks for this Issues of the Lancers’, I have just been advised that the Lancers’ Commanding Officer for the period 2010-2013 will be Major Chris Monsour, who will be promoted to Lieutenant Colonel on 1 Jan 10. Chris is currently Officer Commanding C Squadron and has had a long association with the Unit. I believe he will continue to bring to the position a high level of experience, skill and most importantly the light cavalry spirit. May I congratulate him on his appointment and I will keep you posted of other changes in the next issue.
James Green was born on 24 January 1876 in Middlesex, England. He died on 7 August 1914 at the "Chessboard" near Pope's Post Gallipoli whilst serving with B Squadron 1st Light Horse.
James Green's family migrated to Australia, where he joined the Royal Australian Artillery in 1894 he served as a gunner until 1903. He was "seconded" as a Lance-Bombardier to the New South Wales Army Medical Corps in 1899 for service in South Africa; leaving with the first New South Wales contingent on the SS Kent, 28 October 1899 (with NSW Lancer Squadron reinforcements). On 8 January 1901 he returned as part of the New South Wales Imperial Contingent. He was promoted Lance-Sergeant on 31 July 1901, then Sergeant 18 September 1901. His medal clasps attest to his participation in the Relief of Kimberley, Wittenberg, Diamond Hill, Johannesburg, Driefontein, Paardeberg.
He must have been impressed with the cavalry, leaving the Artillery in 1903 he joined the 1st Australian Light Horse (New South Wales Lancers) and remained with the Regiment when it became the 7th Australian Light Horse (New South Wales Lancers) in 1912; he held the rank of Kings Sergeant in 1914.
With many of his colleagues (the militia Regiment supplied HQ, A and B Squadrons) he joined the 1st Light Horse Regiment AIF on 19 August 1914 as a Corporal, promoted Sergeant on 1 September 1914. He landed with the Regiment on Gallipoli in March 1915. In August he was part of the B Squadron attack on 7 August 1915 from Pope's post across 10 metre of open ground and into a chessboard of Turkish trenches. The squadron was then engaged in a 3 hour inconclusive bomb (grenade) fight with the Turkish defenders. When the squadron withdrew, it had suffered 147 casualties. Sergeant Green died that day. His body was never recovered, his name is on the memorial at Lone Pine.
2010 marks 95 years since the Gallipoli landings. Why not join me in April 2010 on a tour of the area where James met his fate so long ago. Click Here for details.
When I served in and finally commanded B Squadron in the late 1970s I was not fully aware of what happened in that fateful day in August 1915. It was only later when working with the Museum and putting together our website that I realised the fateful tradition that the squadron was preserving. The squadron suffered 147 casualties on 7 August 1915, the worst day in the Regiment’s history. Allied forces were attempting to overcome the stalemate that had developed on the Gallipoli Peninsular, a British Corps under Lieutenant General Sopford was landing to the north of our position at Pope’s Post (about 2 km east of ANZAC Cove). Australian forces were ordered to attack the Turks to our front so they would be held in place and allow the Brits to envelop the Turkish positions. The 8th and 10th Light Horse attacked at the Nek to our left; they were decimated, most making it but a few metres from their trenches. B Squadron were required to attack from their trench line across 10 metres of open ground (now a roadway) into a “chessboard” of criss-crossed Turkish trenches, drive out the defenders, then cause havoc in the Turkish echelon situated in a cup shaped feature beyond the chessboard. Machine-gun fire from our Light Horse colleagues in Quinn’s Post 100 metres to the right suppressed the Turkish fire and the trenches were reached. A “bomb” (grenade) fight then took place in the Turkish trenches. After three hours those few survivors withdrew the toll was 15 killed, 98 wounded, 34 missing (mostly killed). The next day our infantry successfully attacked at Lone Pine to our right.
Next April you can walk with me through our trenches at Popes, cross over “no man’s land” and traverse the chessboard (the trench lines are still there) to the cup feature never reached. Walk up the beach where the Regiment landed cross the ground they passed over as they moved to the front line and experience the moving ceremony as Turkey, Australia and New Zealand commemorate the losses 95 years ago that will forever bind our nations together. Just Click Here or click on the moving image for details of the tour offered by Military History Tours.
Colonel George McLean (Retired)
Training in Queensland to be ready for overseas service we had a field firing range at Caloundra, a fishing and holiday resort just North of Brisbane. The range faced out to sea so warnings were given to shipping and local when firing was to take place.
One day my troop was first up and we found a fisherman in a rowing boat sitting right in the danger area. The fisherman ignored all attempts at communication and time for out shoot was getting very short. In desperation I consulted my gunner, Bert Roughley, about firing a shot to warn the fisherman and persuade him to move. Bert agreed that, at the relatively long range involved, most shooting could be dangerous. However he did suggest that a 3 inch Howitzer shell at that range would descend almost vertically and an HE round with cap on would not burst until about 3 feet under water. The depth of water would stop the shell splinters from spreading and make noise without much danger. Bert’s shot was brilliant, exactly level with the boat and 150 yards to the right. No Olympic sculler could have caught that fisherman before his home port and, perhaps surprisingly, no complaint was ever made.
Also at Caloundra we tried a night firing exercise. The idea was to form a laager and set the funs of fixed lines so they could be fired defensively in the dark. Naturally, only those guns aimed toward the danger area could be fired. Jim Hartridge and I had met two WAAF girls whom we invited to see the fireworks which were spectacular. The only problem was that one gunner had set his 3 inch howitzer sights as if it were a 2 pounder so the HE shells landed very short indeed. Two officers and two WAAF spent a very scary few minutes flat in a shallow ditch listening to shell splinters whistling by.
At long last the order arrived for our move to New Guinea. Personnel, except a tank loading party, embarked at Townsville nearly 1000 miles north while the tanks were to load at Brisbane. A and C squadron tanks loaded happily but B Squadron met disaster. The crew of the B Squadron ship had left the drain cocks open so as the ship settled with the load and listed with the weight of the last tanks swinging out on the cranes the water gushed in and the ship sank. The delay getting them loaded effectively kept B Squadron out of New Guinea operations.
At Milne Bay, in New Guinea, we came under command of 9th Australian Division, defenders of Tobruk, victors at El Alamein, and witnesses of the disaster to Matilda tanks at Halfaya Pass. They were therefore sceptical of the value of Matildas and were sure, as were many others, that heavy infantry tanks would merely bog in tropical jungle mud. It was up to us to change their views if we were to see action.
The Japanese had a reputation, well earned, for dogged defence in solidly made bunkers of heavy logs which were virtually shell-proof. To convince the infantry of our worth as we persuaded them to build the strongest bunker they possibly could and let us attack it. They made one in the jungle which they claimed was as good as the best the Japs could produce. We took two Matildas to attack the bunker. One used 2 pounder AP to open holes in the wall, the other 3 inch howitzer HE with cap on, to explode inside. Within minutes the bunker was reduced to matchwood. We were now accepted by 9th Division, still with some reservations. C Squadron was warned for possible operations and the regiment moved by sea to Morobe.
We spent quite some time at Morobe, a relatively pleasant sandy area with a beach suitable for swimming. There had been an air raid during our landing there with no damage but next day an LST was hit and 21 crew killed. A nearby radar station attracted several hit and run raids. Latrines in the sand were deep trench style and burnt out periodically with petrol to keep flies down. One of my spare crew, Len Mansell, lit a cigarette while seated and forgetfully tossed the match down the hole. The resulting explosion injured his dignity more than his body but did make him temporarily airborne.
Still at Morobe our Church of England padre was concerned at the small numbers attending his services. In helpful spirit Neyle Cameron and I rounded up all non-Catholics and marched them to next Sunday’s service. Still in helpful mode we sat in the front row and sang lustily. To our chagrin after the second hymn Chaplin Gilhespy leaned across and in a stage whisper said: ‘Would you two mind not singing. You are putting the others out of tune.’ Needless to say at a subsequent squadron concert we brought the house down with our duet rendering of ‘One Day When We Were Young’.
Experts at home in Australia decided that tanks in the tropics must have extra cooling for the crew to survive. It fell to my Troop Corporal, Bill Lynch, to try out a cumbersome petrol driven refrigerator unit stuck on the side of the turret. After twelve hours closed down with cold air piped into their tank suits the crew voted solidly to do without it even though medical staff said measurements showed they were better with it.
Early one morning, a month after arrival at Morobe, Commander Scruggs USN appeared in the bay with his LST which had been part of the lift from Milne Bay. He announced cheerfully that he had arrived to take part of the regiment to Langemark Bay to join 9th Division. As we had left 9th Division command when we moved to Morobe this caused some frantic telephoning by RHQ. It was eventually established that one squadron was to be detached to support 9th Division so C Squadron were told to get loaded and go. Two hours after Commander Scruggs’ news they were loaded and gone.
C Squadron supported 9th Division at the Finschhafen landing and capture of the heights at Sattelberg. The quickly earned the appreciation of the infantry by knocking out bunkers and other strong points indicated to the tanks by infantry walkie-talkies (US C547 portable wireless). They also used prophylactic fire into suspicious areas along the track. The presence of heavy tanks seemed to be a complete surprise for the Japanese whose 37 and 75 mm guns were ineffective against them. Their explosive charges with magnetic attachment did little damage and anti-tank mines broke tracks but only slowed things a bit. They improvised with bundles of anti-tank mines augmented with large picric acid charges buried on and near tracks. One of these caught ‘Calamity Jane’ near Gusika; after track repair she was being moved by Tpr Crane, her driver, to pick up the rest of the crew. There was a mighty explosion and ‘Calamity Jane’ was blown feet into the air, the floor of the compartment was blown off and engines and gear box through the covering louvres. The tank was a write-off but Tpr Crane only badly shaken.
North of Finschhafen A Squadron took over from C Squadron to continue along the coast. During preparation for an attack against Lakona plantation we came across a creek with a high vertical bank of rock coral on the enemy side. Matildas can climb very steeply but not vertically and even our RAE bulldozer could not do much. The engineers produced some explosive but had no means of preparing a bore hole for a charge. A 2 pounder APHE fired into the cliff produced a suitable hole and the charge angled the bank somewhat. The bulldozer then managed to get near the top and with shots ringing off his blade the driver eased the slope some more. Sapling were cut to make a corduroy track but it was still too slippery until Tpr McDade suggested removing alternate saplings to let the tank tracks spuds fit between. This done one tank managed the climb with a judicious bump from behind at the right moment. One tank up used its tow-rope to help others until five were up in time to go in with the infantry. A claimed first for jungle warfare here was five tanks in line for the assault with engine smoke giving cover for the final charge by the infantry.
Further north we crossed the Masaweng River to be confronted by Fortification Hill, steep, rough, and jungle-clad, rising to 250 metres. Running down to the East was Fortification Ridge, still rough and jungly, and ending in a cliff at Fortification Point. We continued the advance with one tank each side of the narrow track climbing up to the point. Thick undergrowth still necessitated direction by wireless from Squadron Leader Bob Watson using a walkie-talkie with the following infantry. Trevor Darby, 5 Troop Leader, was on the left and I on the right, or sea side. Unknown to me the walkie-talkie broke down and both track and cliff veered sharp left. A startled call from Darby in the other tank stopped me with about three feet of tank track poking over the cliff edge sixty feet above the rocky shore.
Now forced to use hand signals we continued on to find a small clearing with a ten metre rock on the far side narrowing space to a one tank front. We had been using a lot of ammunition so my Troop Sergeant, Bill Halliday, now took over the lead. As he edged past the big rock a loud explosion signalled that a Jap 37mm had let fly at ten feet range with an APHE round. Penetrating the left front sponson the shot broke a precious bottle of brandy, being saved for Christmas the following week, and fragments went under Bill’s tank to wound Bob Watson in the chest and our Reconnaissance Officer, Ben Hall, in the ankle. Halliday’s gunner, Pancho Faunt, disposed of the Jap gun and crew before they could fire a second shot.
After Fortification Point the Japs retreated quickly and our advance continued without unusual incident except for two American planes landing close to RHQ. One a Catalina, landed off-shore and sent a boat in, the other a Thunderbolt, landed on a cleared flat and the pilot walked into the HQ. Both merely asked directions to get back to their bases.
By February out tanks were no longer needed and we returned to Bonga to rest and refit. While we were there we tried some interesting experiments.
Vision in the jungle was always a problem and someone sent us an ‘all-round vision cupola’ to try in place of the Matilda Cupola which had only a periscope when closed down. The new one was of cast steel about three inches thick and had eight vision slits backed by very heavy glass. Unfortunately, small arms fire entered the slits and broke the glass enough to made it opaque and every AP shot from 37mm up was able to defeat the armour.
Japanese ammunition, and ours, was also tested against the turret of ‘Calamity Jane’ the tank knocked out by an enhanced anti-tank mine some time earlier. The Jap ammunition, besides the common 37mm AP, APHE, and 75mm HE, included a 75mm shell of quite different type which, although found stacked beside captured guns, had never been fired against us. Our regimental gunnery officer suspected they might be a hollow charge type which, at this time, was known to us only by rumour.
To the chagrin of the artillerymen 25 pounder did no real harm with HE and the AP managed only to warp a corner of the turret roof. Japanese 37mm AP and APHE made some dents and 75mm HE did nothing. At this stage our Commanding Officer, Lt. Col. Derek Glasgow, dismissed all except those needed for the trial and said to L/Cpl Pancho Faunt, my sergeant’s gunner: “Try the 2 pounder AP. Put it that sort of hollow just right of the mantlet.” Pancho fired. Looking through binoculars Glasgow called out: “My god its gone through. Better try another.” “Same place, sir?” asked Pancho, “Yes”. He fired again. “Hell you’ve missed” called the CO. “No Sir. You said same place, sir,” said Pancho. Close examination revealed a slight burr on the top of the original hole and an exit hole on the far side of the turret. A result which chastened all of us.
Even so, the real shock was yet to come. Using a captured gun we fired the suspected hollow charge round. There was a quite different sort of explosion as it hit the turret and to utter horror there appeared a neat round hole through the armour wit nasty damage inside. We thanked our stars that the Japs had not used this round against us but never found out why. This un-nerving result caused Lt.Col. Glasgow to swear us all to secrecy and we were happy to agree; it must have been effective too because I have never seen or heard any reference to this test. Further, the Japanese never did use this round against us or other Matildas in New Guinea, Bougainvlle or Borneo.
Also at Bonga an American anti-aircraft unit occupied a plateau just above our camp. They were new to New Guinea and inclined to be trigger happy. We didn’t mind the occasional false air alarm but did feel hardly done by when a series of hole appeared in the wall of our squadron officer’s mess. Trevor Darby poked the nose of his tank over the edge of the plateau and assured then the activity down-slope was not Japanese. Things were much quieter after that.
The Americans really were quite friendly and had more cigarettes than we had ever seen. A brisk trade in souvenirs developed as we stocked up on cigarettes for the expected return to Australia. Actual carriage of these large quantities, as well as fear of customs checks, produced some ingenious stowage arrangements in our tanks, which we naturally expected to accompany us home. In due course our personnel embarked leaving a small party of drivers for the expected tank loading. Then utter dismay, a last minute change in orders had our rear party take the tanks to Madang to hand them over to 2/4 Armoured Regiment for use there and later in Bougainville. 2/4th members have since told me all sorts of horror stories; 50 gallon jettison tanks that would take only 4 gallons, the rest of the space taken up by cartons of cigarettes, guns that would not elevate, cartons behind the mantlet, ammunition bins foreshortened with cartons behind, and more. All admit however that despite the cigarette problems we had given them tanks in good order.
Rested, re-equipped, and refreshed we were off nearly a year later to Morotai for the assault on Balikpapan. The main body sailed on the USS Millen Griffith from Brisbane. The ship was a liberty ship, hastily converted from a cargo carrier, and not overly comfortable. Meals were provided by two Wiles Cookers, a trailer type steam cooker, lashed to the upper deck near the forward hatch. The crew were new chums, rather hastily trained, and the weather was foul with sea-sickness rife. Our men were helping with ship’s lookout and at first light one morning my troop corporal, Bill Lynch, called to the Officer of the watch; “I think I see land ahead’ the officer replied “No, that’s only low cloud we’ll sail straight through it.” The shuddering crash ten minutes later demonstrated that Bill’s eyesight was better than the seaman’s.
My troop sergeant, Bill Halliday, with others raced out of the forward hatch to see tree branches around the starboard Wiles Cooker. As daylight strengthened it became evident that the ship had struck exactly where we had been camped a year before a Bonga. To prove the point Ron Rummans, of the squadron LAD, climbed down the over hanging tree and collected a tool box he had left under a log on his departure the previous year.
The assault landing at Balikpapan, in Borneo, on 1st July 1945 was successful and spectacular with very heavy naval and air support. For the first three days tank operations were only minor because the Japs had mostly left the area to escape the heavy bombardment. By the fourth day infantry had reach Manggar airstrip about ten miles East and met heavy opposition. Tanks were called for but were unable to get there because of the Manggar Besar River so two troops were sent by LCM and LCT, on 5th July, to join the infantry at the airstrip. Dick Steele’s 3 Tp landed on the beach with John Bartlett’s 4 Tp on call out to sea. Dick moved his tanks off the beach and started removing waterproofing to get ready of action. They came under fire from naval coastal guns whose heavy shells hit the tops of the turrets. Two tanks brewed up and the third was recoverable. Six crew members were wounded by the situation would have been much worse if the crews had not been outside working on the waterproofing and if the guns firing at them had not been sited so that their maximum depression only allowed them to hit the very tops of the tanks.
Some six weeks later the war ended and we moved into a comfortable tented camp near Balikpapan. I managed to resurrect an old Dutch car engine which had been in use to drive a circular saw. The engine, a Stoewer, I hooked up to a welding generator and with some bits from Japanese search lights organised a lighting system for the tents of our A Squadron area. So that the orderly corporal could control the lights by starting and stopping the engine from the orderly room I had arranged a switch and about two hundred yards of wire connected to the ignition and starting system.
Some time later our CO, Lt.Col Derek Glasgow, became the proud owner of a magnificent Phillips wireless which could receive Australian programs. He installed the wireless in the RHQ Officers mess and promised all the latest news from home. His only problem was that, as soon as it got dark, interference drowned out all frequencies on his wireless. By this time I had transferred to 65 Aust Inf Bn at Morotai to go to British Occupation Force in Japan so was not available to explain that a long aerial connected to an ignition system on a petrol engine makes a very effective radio jammer.
When I was producing the annual Lancers newsletter, in 1988 I received a letter from our member Frank Pedersen. He said he grew up in Bowral, and at age 17 worked for a local produce store. He had to take a load of cattle feed each week to Sam Hordern’s property nearby at Retford Park, and got to know Sam. In 1997 he went to Bowral to help his mother pack up to move, and found a box of cuttings, including a page of local news from the local paper, The Southern Mail, of February 1943, which included the report which follows. Frank thought it would interest our members, but it got mislaid and I discovered it only recently.
The report reads:- “A TRUE AUSSIE”
“There were many heroes of Sanananda, and according to a story given the papers by WO2 Burgess, Lieutenant Sam Hordern, son of Sir Samuel and Lady Hordern, was the chief or them. Here is how the Sydney Sun tells the story” —
“The real hero of the Sanananda campaign was Lieutenant Sam Hordern, said W02 Burgess, of Lee Valley near West Maitland, who has returned to Australia with a leave party from New Cuinea. Lieut Hordern was with a cavalry unit (7 Div Cay Regt) who were turned into infantry at their own request at Sanananda. They infiltrated behind the enemy lines and spent a day wading through mud waist deep.”
“They reached a party of cut-off Americans who were so weak they could hardly stand. The cavalry unit attacked next morning. They inflicted heavy casualties but were forced to take cover through heavy machine gun fire. Some of us were without food for six days, said Sergeant— Major Bugess. Then Lieutenant Hordern and 60 men forced a trail through the Japanese perimeter with food and ammunition for the cut-off parties, and next day carried out 30 badly wounded under heavy fire..”
“For 17 days and nights the unit was attacked said Sergeant-Major Burgess, but in the end the Jap was beaten and began to retreat. Although the cavalrymen were very weak they followed on with the bayonet. When Lieutenant Hordern and his party first broke through the Japanese lines, Hordern had his pack shot off his back.”
End of report.
The Sananda action was in January 1943. In June 43 Sam Hordern came to our regiment as a Captain, becoming a Major and OC of C Squadron. He had the leading role in the actions providing tank support to the Ninth Division in the capture of Sattelberg and other positions. It is well reported in our history, from page 233.
Courtesy Mrs Jean McDonald
Your Museum has been a hive of activity over the past six months. Day-by-day, the Staghound restoration proceeds and the day approaches when we will be able to take it on the road. We have been able to secure some small tied grants, however, these only allow us to expand what we do (for example preserve our uniforms) not cover our administrative costs, and they are quite extensive or do our vehicle restoration work. It costs us over $2,000 a year for the key insurances: fire, workers compensation, public liability and vehicle required for the Museum to operate. Every Lancers' Despatch sent out in paper form costs $5. So please respond to this edition of Lancers' Despatch with a donation, no amount is too small, and just in case someone has won the lottery, no amount is too large.
You have probably heard that Ian Hawthorn found original poems in AB Patterson's hand in General Lee's Boer War Diary. Here is an example:
Members of the Lancers' Association have been helping the National, New South Wales and Queensland committees raising funds to build a memorial to commemorate the fallen in the Boer War 100 years ago.
Ross Brown serves on the National Committee, Brian Walters New South Wales, Bill Cross Queensland, and John Howells is the webmaster.
Every year on or near 31 May the anniversary of the treaty signing to end the conflict, committees hold a function to focus public attention on the war. Click Here to see what happened in 2009, make certain you check out the video and see that Brian Walters and Chris Dawson have not lost any of their public speaking prowess.
If you have an ancestor who served in the War, make certain you register them, and your family as ancestors on the website: Click Here.
The Regiment's 124th Birthday was held again in March this year. A good roll-up of Association members on parade, and an excellent representation at the Regimental Dinner. Of particular note was the attendance of our local member of Federal Parliament The Hon Ms Julie Owens MP, always a great supporter of the Parramatta community and the Regiment.
Parade Photos - Mark Luke
This annual ceremony is part of the traditions of the Lancers Regiment and was held at Lancer Barracks on Tuesday, 21st April, commencing around 1930 hours. The main part of the evening was a short wreath laying ceremony. Due to the extra demands on the Lancers Regiment this year, it was a working night and the only soldier in attendance was the bugler from the band.
Past members who attended included Ross Baker, Dave Crisp, Phil Culbert, Jeff Darke, Brian Dudley, Bill Falzon, Bob Gay, John Howells, Peter Knolan, Len Koles, Mike McGraw, Gordon Muddle,John Palmer, Mark Swadling, Joe Tabone and Brian Walters. Most of these people have regularly attended this ceremony in recent years so thanks again for their presence. As has been the case recently, there were no World War 2 members in attendance.
The formal part of the evening was brief given the drizzling rain. The names of some of the fallen from the Regiment’s long and distinguished history were read out by John Palmer. The following wreaths were laid on the memorial in the Parade Ground:
Lancers' Association: Brian Walters,
Widows of the Association: Len Koles
The wreath laying was followed by a moving bugle rendition of “The Last Post”, followed by a silence, a recitation of “The Ode” by John Palmer and “Reveille”.
Special thanks go to the CO, Lieutenant Colonel Eric Stevenson and the RSM, WO1 Col Geoghegan, for allowing the ceremony to go ahead without the Regiment being involved.
The Sergeants’ Mess was open for the rest of the evening for people to have a drink and socialise. In summary – a pleasant evening despite the rain
World War 2 Contingent
David Craven — for John Blackberry
Another good march, fine weather and attendance about the same as last year, and again no dropouts. Terry Hennessy was leader, with Neville Kingcott. Jack Curtayne and self met the group at Hunter Street forming up point, but didn’t march. We watched for a time, and joined the group at NSW Leagues Club later. Our Association President Len Koles helped get the marchers ready in Pitt Street before moving off, and along with other ex 1/l5th members John Palmer and Bob Gay formed the rear rank. Others who used to join us marched this year only with the post-war contingent, as required by the RSL. While waiting to move off it was good to have Major General Warren Genny AO RFD ED, former CO of 1/15th and later GOC 2nd Div come and join us and chat briefly with members. He was very welcome. Our banner bearers were cadets from the Lancer Barracks unit, and it was good to have them too.
The group at the NSW Leagues Club were all seated around one table, and mixed well with plenty of conversation and good memories. We thought it didn’t get as noisy or crowded by around 1pm as in past years, and was pleasant and comfortable, and enjoyed by all. As well as members we were joined by Margarite Francis, wife of Geoff, Chris and David Castellari, sons of Bert, Alan Chanter’s daughter, and 2 or 3 younger family members. Doug “Keeneye” Beardmore and Doug Clift had the honour of being last to depart, still at table talking when we left.
Those present on the day at the march and/or the club were:— Doug Beardmore, Arthur Bulgin, Rod Button, Bert Castellari, Alan Chanter, Graham Clark, David Craven, Jack Curtayne, Doug Clift, Bob Forrest, Geoff Francis, Terry Hennessy, Neville Kingcott, John McManus, Ernie Syratt, Bern Temby, Dan Tesoriero - 17 in all, with 7 from out of Sydney. Well done travellers.
Apologies were from John Blackberry, Harry Britten, Bill Halliday, Geoff Morris - all not up to making it this year. Lets hope we’ll see them next time, and all the attendees too. Another good day.
Post War Contingent
Another good roll-up for the post war Lancers. Not as many as those who make to Reserve Forces day. Perhaps it is simply that those who served in the Reserve at a time when we were excluded from ANZAC Day marches still smart, and consider Reserve Forces Day to be a more special day for us, a day when we have pride of place and are not relegated to the tail of the parade behind just about any other group. The Regimental banner party was great to have. The photos below give you an idea of who made it on the day.
This year's Reserve Forces Day parade was a truly great success. A different format to previous years, and much better, as comrades had a chance to gather in a quiet environment away from public streets and witness a spectacular ceremony. The after parade gathering in the NSW Leagues club was also highly successful.
There was a great turn-out: Brian Algie, John Andersen, Denis Avery, Ross Baker, Jack Best, David Blackman, Terry Boardman, Lester Bootes, Terry Caldwell, Joe Camilleri, Arthur Carrodus, Harry Crampton, Dave Crisp, Phil Culbert, Jeff Darke, Chris Dawson, Ross Denny, Percy Denton, Jim Dick, Bob Dickson, Eric Drew, Bill Falzon, Jim Forde, Bob Gay, Jim Gellett, Geoffrey Gill, Warren Glenny, John Haines, Colin Hamilton, Bernie Hill, Alan Hitchell, John Howells, Bob Johns, Darren Jones, Ray Jones, Bruce Kilgour, Len Koles, Tom Larkin, Chris Lawley, Dennis Lees, Peter Leslie, Steve Leslie, Mick Lewins, Lee Long, Mark Luke, Gary Martin, Mike McGraw, Don Morris, Gordon Muddle, John Palmer, Peter Philipson, John Piggott, John Plowman, Doug Pollard, Bill Prosser, Jeff Randell, Mick Ribot de Bressac, Ron Roberts, Athol Sanson, Greg Smith, Wal Smith, Arthur Standring, Joe Tabone, Don Tait, John Vincent, Brian Walters, David Wood, Charlie Zarb. The Association also providing Harry Crampton as parade RSM, Brian Algae and Jack Best as Lance Guards, Ian Hawthorn as Banner and Standard Commander, Major General Warren Glenny as Divisional Commander, Lee Long as his deputy, Mike McGraw as 2 Div Standard Bearer, John Howells as deputy commander 5 Brigade, and Brian Walters as 5 Brigade Standard Barer. The Museum also provided two Fetter Scout Cars to hold ground.
Alan Hitchell as well as taking the photo above also provided a large number of photos I have incorporated into a slide show of the event, use the link below to access it.
More about the 2009 Reserve Forces Day Parade can be found at The RFD Website
PAT DONOVAN Pat has recently had surgery to remove a brain tumour. Pat's wife Gillian reports (on 20 July 2009) that although the doctors are very pleased with Pat's progress, she is finding it very slow going and difficult. He is still very confused although Pat's family have been assured that is due to trauma from the operation and is usual and will settle down. He is not up to visitors or phone calls and will be in hospital for at least the rest of this week. We then start the chemo and radiology treatment, which can be done at the San which is close to Pat's home.
Those who served in the Regiment will remember Major Patrick Donovan AM, RFD as Regimental 2IC. Since leaving the Army, Pat has worked tireless for the Museum, the RAAC Association and the Reserve Forces Day Council.
Our thoughts are with Gillian, hopring for a swift recovery.
David Craven unless otherwise noted
DAVID BROWN of Mosman aged 68, on 22 February 2009. David served with the Regiment in the 1960s as a Ferret Scout Car crew commander in Recce Troop. When he left the Regiment, he satisfied his passion for armoured vehicles by buying and restoring his own Mk2 Ferret. David used this vehicle to support the Regiment on parade on many occasions. He was also a tireless Museum volunteer. As his health waned over the last few years David passed his beloved Ferret over to the Museum to maintain, eventually leaving it to the Museum in his will. David was made a life member of the Museum a few weeks before he passed away. David's funeral service at St Clement's Mosman on 27 February was well attended by Lancer Association members, his ashes will be scattered in the grounds of Lancer Barracks in September.
John Howells Reports
THE BARONESS CARRINGTON, who died 7 June, 2009, was the wife of the 6th Baron Carrington, KG, GCMG, CH, MC, PC, grandson of the Regiment's first Honorary Colonel. The man who when Governor of New South Wales allowed his crest to be incorporated into the Regimental Badge, and his colours for the Regimental Tie. Born Iona Maclean – Lady Carrington married Lord Carrington in 1941 before he became Parliamentary Secretary in Winston Churchill's government and later, Foreign Secretary under Margaret Thatcher. She was involved in charity work for Disabled Gardeners, Age Concern and the British Red Cross.
Frank Holles Reports.
NORMAN GRINYER of Narrabeen on 16 June 2009 of a stroke. Norm was a member of 7 Div Cav, and one of the founding fathers of our Museum.
Ross Brown Reports.
LESLIE LIONEL KERZ aged 85 years at Sutherland NSW Hospital on 13 October 2008. - NX 101445, Tpr, born 25.8.23. Enlisted in 2nd Army Tank Bn, also at Greta in July 42. Like Ted Hardie, he came to the 1st Tank Bn in Feb 43, and was also a tank driver. Les was a tank crew member of No. 5 Troop B Squadron 1 Armoured Regiment (AIF) (RNSWL) in the assault of the Japanese at Balikpapan, Borneo in July 1945.
B Squadron (OC. Major John Ford) suffered the most casualties of the Regiment in this action. Four members, Troopers Keith Broome, Wilfred Burton, Raymond Richardson and Corporal Athol Playford. (all of Administration Troop paid the supreme sacrifice. Wounded were Troopers les Kerz, Tom Edwards, Corporal Charles Mauger and myself. After treatment at a Field Hospital for shrapnel wounds and shell-shock we returned to our Squadron. Six weeks later Japan surrendered. Sadly Trooper John Tinsley, a tank crew member of No. I Troop while waiting for transport home almost four months after peace was declared suffered a a sudden illness and died May on 10 December 1945, aged 22 years 11 months.
Reg Gunn (Ex Admin Troop B Squadron 1 Armoured Regiment (AIF) (RNSWL)) Reports
In January 2009, Ted Fallowfield of Wagga reported the deaths of two southern area members, who had come to our C Squadron with the intake from 3rd Tank Bn. Thanks Ted. They are:
JOHN LITTLE of Dubbo, died on 12 August 2008, aged 89. John was in tank crew and served in New Guinea and Borneo. His post war years were as a farmer near Dubbo before selling and retiring to live in Dubbo. Ted Fallowfield and Bern Temby represented us at the funeral.
DOUG GILCHRIST, of Temora, on 17 Jan 09, aged 84. One of our younger members, Doug served as a jeep and truck driver, in New Guinea and Borneo. Post war he worked for years with the local council as a roadworks equipment driver. Ted also attended Doug’s funeral.
LEONARD THOMAS WILLIAMS - listed in RSL Reveille of Jan/Feb 09. Date and place of death not known. He was not on our roll, but our service file shows he was born on 20.11.20, so he was probably 88. He was a Lance Corporal in HQ Squadron, and served in New Guinea and Borneo. It seems unlikely he had any contact with us post war. Bert Castellari remembers him at Southport, and other readers may have known him. ,
RON ROPE of Killara, around 25th November 08, aged 87. His funeral notice was in Sydney Herald of 29th November. Ron was a corporal tank driver of B Squadron, with service in New Guinea and Borneo, and was discharged in July 46. He had previously been in our Militia Regiment, and was known to some as “Tugga”. We can’t recall if he attended any reunions — at least in the last 20 or so years. Former mates of B B Squadron will no doubt remember Ron. F
RON HEATH of Daw Park, SA, in March 09. Ron was a member of 1st Aust Armoured Regt Workshops, attached to our 1st Aust Tank Bn as part of our regimental group when 4th Armoured Brigade was formed in March 43 at Singleton, under command of Brig Denzil Macarthur Onslow DSO. They served with, us in New Guinea and Borneo. Reg Mead, our Workshop contact, said Ron was a good tank craftsman, and post war was a refrigeration mechanic. For 25 years he was a part time volunteer with the radio sea rescue service in Adelaide. He always attended the Workshops group Anzac Day March and reunion., and was glad to receive our newsletters.
JOHN “SNOWY” STOKES, of Omimba NSW, in March 09, aged 85. John was also a craftsman in 1st Aust Armoured Regt Workshops,’ having enlisted at? Moorebank in June 43, just before leaving for New Guinea. He also served in Borneo in 45, and was discharged in Nov 46. Reg Mead said “snowy” was not in good contact, but travelled to Adelaide for a reunion once. His post war activity is not known. RSL “Reveille” of March/April 09 lists two more departed comrades,’’ Some information came from: our service file and the internet.
TED HARDIE — NX135335, Tpr, born 23.9.22 at Narrandera. Enlisted in 3rd Army Tank En at Greta in July 42, transferred to our 1st Tank Bn: with the intake in Feb 43. He was a tank driver, squadron not known. He served in New Guinea and Borneo, with discharge in Feb 46.
Some readers may remember one or more of these comrades, of whom we have little information.
TED MARTIN, of Gosford, N6532 and NX 123598, on 4.3.09 aged 92. His first name was Howard, but he was known to all as Ted. He joined our 1st Light Horse Regt, NSW Lancers in 1935, the year when on 3rd June the title Royal was granted. It was then still horse mounted, cavalry, becoming motorised as 1st Light Horse Machine Gun Regt, Royal NSW Lancers in November 1936. Ted was the last of our surviving veteran members from that time, and also one of the last two on our roll erving with us pre—war, the other being Don Watson, who is mentioned in our history. It is interesting to note that Ted was one of our early group of Lancers to act in the film “Forty Thousand Horsemen”.
In our wartime service Ted was first in Windsor Troop of A Squadron, jocularly known as the “Bush Apes”. Having gained promotions, he was commissioned in early 1941. He was at 2nd Walgrove camp until it ended in June 41, and along with fellow lieutenants Norman Bent and Col Southwell and 20 NCOs volunteered for further three months in camp to help train the newly formed 14th Machine Gun Regiment. He then rejoined our regiment when it began full time wartime duty at Cowra. Some time later he suffered severe injury to his knee in a truck accident. This made him B Class. He was posted to a training unit as instructor in gunnery, so did not serve in New Guinea as a result.
When he heard our regiment was going overseas again, he pulled strings to get back to our unit, and rejoined in time to take part in the Borneo campaign, as Reconnaissance Officer of B Squadron at Balikpapan. He did good work directing navy fire on to enemy targets in the first.. few days of operations. He was later in a leading role in other actions. There is a good photo of him in action on page 290 of our history.
He married Kathleen in 1943, and post war they had a farm, until floods made it unworkable, and with their young family moved to Sydney, where he joined Qantas, then Sydney Steel until he retired. They then moved to Davistown for some years, finally to RSL retirement village Gosford. Ted showed his skill as a carpenter by building first a fishing boat, then a cabin cruiser and finally a larger one, spending enjoyable times with family and friends on the Hawkesbury and other waterways. He also loved car touring, and with Kath made many long trips around Australia, right up to the last couple of years or so. He was a very good family man, both as husband of Kath, and father of their four children.
Ted was a very supportive member of our Lancers Association, regularly coming to reunions and events over the years. Until recently he was leader of our wartime veterans group at Anzac Day Marches after Norman Bent retired. He was well known to members, respected and liked by all. as a good mate with a keen sense of humour. At his funeral at Palmdale Ourimbah, we were represented by his good friend Geoff Morris, with another mate Doug Spinney of 2/6th Armoured Regt. Ted will certainly be well remembered and missed by many. (Thanks to son Alan Martin, and John Blackberry, for information.)
Thank you all very much for your assistance in supporting the Museum and Association in the past year. Our records (and they may not be perfect, human data entry has been involved) show the following supported by donation, the Association:
Brian Algie, Bill Armstrong, Ross Baker, Bill Balchin, Max Bell, Brian Bourke, Jim Breakwell, Harry Britten, David Brown, Arthur Bulgin, John Burlison, Rod Button, Bert Castellari, Alan Chapman, Les Chipperfield, Chris Christenson, John Cook, Harry Crampton, David Craven, Phil Culbert, Ron Cullen, Jack Curran, Jack Curtayne, Trevor Darby, Jeffrey Darke, Pat Donovan, Ted Fallowfield, Ian Frost, Bob Gay, Jim Gellett, John Haynes, Terry Hennessy, Hector Howlett, Roger Hyman, Frank (Snow) Irvine, Bob Iverach, Norma Jamieson, Roy Jessup, John Kearney, Neville Kingcott, Jack Lamb, Chris Lawley, Keith Linnert, Ken Lowe, Jean Macdonald, Gordon Mackay, Kierran MacRae, Albert Martin, Joan McDonald, Alfred (Snow) McEwan, Danny McKenna, John McManus, Sam Mifsud, Don Morris, George Pennicook, Doug Pinnington, Jack Rolfe, Ron Rope, Jim Squires, Arthur Standring, Bob Stenhouse, Alan Stewart, Vincent Strohmayer, Peter Teague, Dan Tesoriero, Grant Troup, Col Watson, Col Williamson, Wilma Wilson, Mrs E Wright, Roy Young.
and the following the Museum:
Brian Algie, Bill Balchin, Patricia Barnes, Gwyn Bent, John Booth, Brian Bourke, Ilma Bowden, Valerie Boyton, Arthur Bulgin, John Burlison, Joseph CAMILLERI, Bert Castellari, Alan Chanter, Alan Chapman, Les Chipperfield, Margaret Clark, David Craven, John Creswick, Horrie Cross, Phil Culbert, Trevor Darby, Jeffrey Darke, James Dick, Robert Dickson, Steve Dietmann, William Falzon, June Faunt, Anthony Fish, Tony Fryer, Bob Gay, Guy Graham, Lindsay Hamilton, Ian Hawthorn, Jim Heine, Eric Holland, John Howells, Alan Howitt, Ingleburn RSL, Frank (Snow) Irvine, Norma Jamieson, John Kearney, Jack Lamb, Sammy Lind, Keith Linnert, Lee Long, Gordon Mackay, Keiran Macrae, Albert Martin, Joan McDonald, Alfred (Snow) McEwan, Danny McKenna, John McPhee, Marcia Newton, Reginald Niddrie, Parramatta RSL Sub Branch, Geoff Pascoe, John Paton, George Pennicook, Doug Pinnington, Doug Pollard, Eddie Polley, Margaret Reid, Mike Ribot de Bressac, John Rodwell, Jack Rolfe, Jenny Southwell, Bob Stenhouse, Alan Stewart, Norma Swadling, Dan Tesoriero, Stewart Thompson, William Wallington, Dot Watkins, Col Williamson, Wilma Wilson, Wright, Albert Zehetner.
Yes we really do need your financial assistance. In particular the Museum, where running costs are biting heavily into our pockets. No amount too large, no amount too small.
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Membership of the RAACA is free to all applicants over 75, and only $25 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)405 482 814, Fax: +61 (0)2 4733 3951.
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