Lancers' Despatch 19
Website of the Royal New South Wales Lancers Lancer Barracks and Museum
New Steed Project
of the Queen
Squadron Returns - October 2010
On Saturday, 9 October 2010 there will be a celebration to mark the return of the members of the Regiment who have been on the first operational deployment since 1945. Visitors need to arrive by 12:00, the parade will commence at 13:00. Association members should wear suit/sports coat, tie, beret and medals; they will march on to the side of the parade.
A Regimental Ball will be held at Parramatta RSL in the evening; contact the Regiment for details.
A Regimental reunion is planned for the first Sunday in November 2010, 7 November 2010 - 11:00 to 14:00.
It has been a very interesting six months for the Regiment, the Association and the Museum. The Regiment changed commander, and has had a sub-unit on operational deployment for the first time since World War II. The association participated in ANZAC and Reserve Forces Day, sad to see our World War II veterans on parade get fewer as the years pass, gladdening to note that more of those who served post war take part ensuring the shadow the service given by members of the Regiment to our nation will not fade as time goes by.
This edition there are no tales of travel. Watch out for the next one, your editor will be in Turkey late August covering the training of Turkish surfboat crews who will take part in the Gallipoli 100 surfboat race against Australian and New Zealand crews in 2015 for the gallipoli100 website; and guiding a tour group at ANZAC cove prior to their participation in a swim across the Dardanelles.
The article on the Regimental deployment was prepared by the editor from secondary mostly publicly available sources. Images are from the Army website, and the map courtesy Google. Information on how the deployment operates came from Brigadier Max Willis (Retd) who recently visited our troops as a private citizen, the symbol usage from an approach to the webmaster for defined images. Please blame the editor for any inaccuracies.
Many thanks to contributors David Craven, Ian Hawthorn and Alan Hitchell.
The Regiment saw a change of command on 1 January 2010, Lieutenant Colonel Chris Monsour took over from Lieutenant Colonel Eric Stevenson. Colonel Monsour has seen long service in the Regiment and the Corps. In civil life, he is a corporate counsellor (in-house lawyer) for Hewlett Packard Corporation. In July 2010, the Regiment was in camp in Singleton; a 5 Brigade exercise. Many of us will have fond memories of waking up with ice on our engine covers at Singleton at this time of the year. Freezing winters and hot summers with many flies and mosquitos. Strange that with their new mobility, the Regiment cannot move further a field. The new commanding officer was asked to do a live radio interview from the field. Those of you who are reading Lancers' Despatch on the internet can use the button below to hear what he had to say. Thanks very much to the Regimental 2IC, Major Rob Lording for providing the audio clip.
For the past six months, the Regiment has had a sub-unit on operations since Balikpappan in 1945. This sub unit has been part of Operation Anode, the Regional Assistance Mission to the Solomon Islands (RAMSI). The mission is one of peace keeping. The situation in the Solomons follows a period commonly referred to as the tensions or the ethnic tension, the initial civil unrest was mainly characterised by fighting between the Isatabu Freedom Movement (also known as the Guadalcanal Revolutionary Army) and the Malaita Eagle Force (as well as the Marau Eagle Force). The islands of Guadalcanal and Maliata can be seen on the map below. In late 1998, militants on the island of Guadalcanal commenced and had a campaign of intimidation and violence towards Malaitan settlers. During the next year, thousands of Malaitans fled back to Malaita or to the capital, Honiara (which, although situated on Guadalcanal, is predominantly populated by Malaitans and Solomon Islanders from other provinces). In 1999, the Malaita Eagle Force (MEF) was established in response. An awful bloody civil war followed. The prevailing atmosphere of lawlessness, widespread extortion and ineffective police prompted a formal request by the Solomon Islands Government for outside help. With the country bankrupt and the capital in chaos, the request was unanimously supported in Parliament. In July 2003, Australian and Pacific Island police and troops arrived in the Solomon Islands under the auspices of the Australian-led Regional Assistance Mission to Solomon Islands (RAMSI). A sizable international security contingent of 2,200 police and troops, led by Australia and New Zealand, and with representatives from about 20 other Pacific nations began arriving the next month under Operation Helpem Fren.
Starting in February 2010, the Lancers chosen for deployment spent eight weeks intensive training in the skills required for the mission.
Our soldiers are based at the capital Honiara on the island of Guadalcanal of World War II infamy. There the base is comfortable, soldiers have access to the internet and telephone, thus are able to stay in touch with families in a way not possible in past conflicts. In the capital RAMSI soldiers are involved with programmes of physical and social reconstruction. Being reservists with a broad range of civil skills, they are well suited to the tasks which include anything from teaching school, teaching and playing football to construction projects. The main task is armed patrolling and ensuring order in what was recently a war torn failed state, one that still has ethnic tensions simmering not that far from the surface. Training is also a major part of the daily routine, ensuring the military skills required should civil war return to this erstwhile paradise are honed to perfection.
On a rotational basis, patrols are sent outside the capital. The patrols consist of what we would recognise as an assault trooper section supported by members of the intelligence corps, medical corps, local and Australian Federal Police. On the island of Guadalcanal deployment is by Landrover then foot patrols through settlements and sensitive areas. The patrols show a peacekeeping presence that is armed but friendly and helpful. Deployment to other islands is by Naval landing craft, then Landrover and foot. These patrols are each of 2-3 weeks duration, with our troops small in number, the initiative of the individual is key to their success.
When the Lancer deployment returns they will be displaying the symbol of the 4th Armoured Brigade of World War II, the symbol they have adopted along with the icon used on our website as theirs. The 4th Armoured Brigade of which the Regiment was a part was formed to provide armoured support to the South West Pacific campaign, the crocodile represented a creature of the area with the strength and protection associated with armour. Our website icon shows the Carrington crest in red representing the earliest days of the Regiment over the shoulder flash of the 1st Light Horse, representing the Regiment's light horse traditions; a website icon has to be able to be recognised in a 16 x 16 pixel display.
Our Lancer contingent will return late September, and welcomed by a parade in early October
Yes, we’re now listed on the New South Wales State Heritage Register. I don’t mean the mob of wrinkled old Lancers who run the Regimental Museum, but the ENTIRE MUSEUM COLLECTION.
I think I hear some of you mumbling quietly, “Great……but so what? What does that mean?” It actually means a very great deal for the reputation and standing of the Museum in the Australian and NSW communities, maybe internationally as well, and for the Museum’s future.
Being listed on the State Heritage Register means that the government and the army of heritage professionals and advisers involved in listings, have accepted that the Museum collection, and the stories of the Regiment and its members down the years that the collection tells, are sufficiently important to NSW and Australia that they should be protected and preserved for future generations. It is a tribute to the Regiment, to all Lancers who have served and to the founders of the Museum who had the foresight to start the collection, as well as all the volunteers who have donated their time and energy to preserve and develop it over the last half century.
The NSW Heritage Register is full of locations, buildings and individual items of “movable” heritage. However there are very few complete collections listed, particularly ones as large and diverse as ours. The Lancers Museum collection now numbers over 6,000 items, growing almost daily. From a collection and preservation point of view it’s about as diverse as a museum collection gets, with items made from metal, wood, leather, fabrics, paper, more photographs than we can effectively count, film, audio and video tape and complete working military vehicles. To have the complete collection listed is a rare feat!
What are some of the practical implications? We will now have to redouble our efforts to look after the collection - to preserve to the very best of our resources all the items in the collection in their original forms and to protect them from avoidable deterioration. This will involve ensuring that the vehicles, wherever possible, are restored and maintained using original parts and presented in authentic colours and unit designations. This won’t be too much of a drama, as this is what the vehicle crews have always tried to do. However the very best, “It just fell off the back of a truck, Sir” Quarter Masters would be challenged sourcing (or “knocking off”) a spare part for a 65 year old Covenanter Bridge Layer Tank, particularly given that there are only about three of them left in the world today.
All photographs eventually fade, paper and fabric based items eventually fall apart. However there are techniques, in the way these items are stored and handled which delay this inevitable deterioration. We must now redouble our previous efforts and discipline to apply the correct procedures and avoid time saving or thoughtless short cuts. Sometimes it’s as simple and mundane as taking the trouble to walk outside to bin drink containers and food wrappers, rather than leaving them inside the Museum annex or archives workshop – old food wrappers attract a range of vermin which enjoy munching on old uniforms and papers every bit as much as the remains of a hamburger! We’ll also have to redouble our efforts to raise the funds to store and display the collection in cabinets and containers that are specifically designed to include the best preservation features and technology currently available.
Most of all, to be able to claim “State Heritage Listing” with the kudos that carries, should open up new avenues for promoting the Museum, both to the general public and to specialists interested in historical and military research. In future, anyone going to the NSW Heritage Website will find the Lancers Museum listed, along with places like the Opera House, Old Government House, the Mint Building and the like. We should progressively see an increase in visitors to the Museum, important not just for income but also because of the old adage that, whatever is not known about is not valued. We will also have access to potential heritage grants not previously open to us.
Last, but certainly not least, we will have added protection against any possible attempts down the track to either break the collection up or to relocate it away from Lancer Barracks. The professionally conducted significance assessment in 2009 stated that the collection had added heritage significance because of its current location and that, in turn, the collection gave added significance and meaning to Commonwealth Heritage listed Lancer Barracks, mainland Australia’s oldest military barracks. The Museum is a part of the Regiment and both call Lancer Barracks and the Parramatta community home. For the Regiment, that has been the case for over 110 years; for the Museum, since its inception over 50 years ago. That’s the way we are determined it should remain.
We are all aware that the Regiment has recently been training soldiers to use albeit mechanised mobility to move to a point of battle then scout or fight on foot as they did in the 1930s as Light Horse and mechanised machine-gunners. A minor problem has been the Landover vehicles offer no more protection than the horses or privately owned trucks did. The new steed may help.
Hawkei is a lightweight protected vehicle designed and developed to meet the requirements of the Australian Defence Force (ADF). The vehicle is manufactured by Thales Australia for the Department of Defence's Land 121 phase 4 programme that aims to replace the Australian Army's Land Rovers. The vehicle is named after a stealthy species of death adder Acanthophis Hawkei, a native of Australia. The Hawkei is a prototype vehicle and can accommodate six soldiers. It is designed to be protected from blasting and ballistic missiles.
The vehicle weighs approximately 7,000 kg and is developed as a next-generation light mobility vehicle. It was officially launched on 29 September 2009 and will replace unarmoured Land Rovers. The Hawkei can be airlifted by a C-130 Hercules transport or other standard cargo aircraft. It can travel at a maximum speed of 100km/h over a range of more than 1,000km.
Hawkei has been tested against improvised explosive devices (IED) to ensure that its design allows maximum protection. Tests were conducted to gather the data and modernise the blast management system equipped in the vehicle. The first series of mine blast test on the Hawkei vehicle's passenger compartment were completed on 26 November 2009.
The total cost of the project is estimated at $1bn. The Hawkei was showcased at the Armoured Vehicles Australia event held at the Hyatt Hotel, Canberra, on 4 November 2009.
"The Hawkei design encompasses high levels of blast and ballistic protection."
The forecast report of the ADF stated that orders for the Hawkei would not exceed more than 1,300 vehicles.
The first prototype of the vehicle will be delivered to ADF at the end of 2010 with trials scheduled for 2011. The contract will be awarded in 2012, followed by production.
The Hawkei design encompasses high levels of blast and ballistic protection. The vehicle is designed to incorporate the future system requirements of adaptive campaigning with C4I (command, control, communications, computers and intelligence) capabilities. It can be upgraded for specific missions. The integral V-shaped monocoque hull and blast absorption system provide objective level blast protection.
Hawkei's hull is designed to protect the vehicle from blasts while incorporating high levels of tactical and operational mobility, and allow easy conversion between variants. The vehicle's adaptable ballistic protection technology is designed for air transportation, and is reconfigurable by a two-person crew in under half an hour without using specialised devices or equipment.
A remotely controlled weapon station (RCWS) is installed in the Hawkei vehicle. It is an automated control weapon station principally used for light and medium-calibre weapons. The RCWS can accommodate remote control weapons encompassing 5.56mm, 7.62mm, and 12.7mm machine guns, 40mm automatic grenade launchers, anti-tank missiles and observation pods.
The RCWS can accommodate weapons up to 12.7mm machine guns and is manufactured by Samson Technologies Corporation, US.
Thales Australia is the prime contractor in the design and development of Australia's Hawkei lightweight mobility vehicle. Boeing, Plasan Sasa and PAC Group are partners of Thales, supporting the Hawkei project.
"The Hawkei is a prototype vehicle and can accommodate six soldiers." Boeing Defence Australia provides integrated logistic support (ILS) to Thales during the design and development of the Hawkei vehicle. In August 2009, Boeing Defence Australia was awarded a contract by Thales Australia to offer ILS for its Hawkei protected mobility vehicle. The contract encompasses supporting Thales during the design and development phase of the Hawkei vehicle to ensure the vehicle lasts longer while saving costs.
Armour solution provider Plasan Sasa is supporting Thales Australia to achieve the highest levels of protection in the Hawkei lightweight vehicle.
PAC Group has worked closely with Thales Australia to provide a flexible production capability.
The Hawkei vehicle is powered by a Steyr V6 diesel engine and is manufactured by Steyr Motors GmbH, Austria. The inline starter or generator offers sufficient level of electrical power to drive the C4I and mission equipment.
Back in 1998 one of our at that time Museum volunteers, Phil Hastings, told Dave Crisp about a Matilda that was at Moss Vale. He had known about it for twenty years and was going to restore it himself; but lacked the time. A group led by Dave drove to Mittagong to have a look. They found the hull though covered with moss, full of water and leaves was complete with engines. It was surrounded by trees and had not moved for over forty years. After draining out the water and cleaning foliage off the hull Dave looked for a number or name. After much work, he found the number "T29923" and some other faded letters.
A few months later, Dave spoke to Les Betts about the old tank and mentioned the number. Les was dumbfounded. It was the same number as his old tilly "Ace" that he trained in at Greta and crewed in action overseas. Les thought "Ace" had been dumped in the sea like so many of our tanks after hostilities ceased.
Further visits to Moss Vale confirmed there was an ace of spades on the hull. Since this is the only vehicle we have ever found that served with the Regiment in action, the Museum decided to restore it to its former glory as a fitting memorial to our comrades who paid the supreme sacrifice.
“Ace” was the name applied to the troop leader 1 Troop A Squadron’s tank. The tradition of naming tanks and other armoured vehicles is followed in many armies where as part of the mobile combat succession, the traditions of the cavalry were applied to the armoured corps. Horses always had names, some quite famous, Cromlech was one of the Duke of Wellington’s chargers as was Bucephalus Alexander the Great’s. Bucephalus is the traditional name of the OC B Squadron Royal New South Wales Lancers’ vehicle. By local tradition, the first letter of the vehicle names should be that of the squadron, “Ace” thus being an A Squadron vehicle.
A squadron served in two campaigns during World War 2. New Guinea in 1943-44, where in support of the 9th Division, it took over from C Squadron after Sattelberg at Wareo and continued ‘till Gusica Fortification Point. Kalimantan (Borneo) 1945, where it landed with B Squadron at Balikpappan; with C Squadron on the water reserve, this was the largest single deployment of Australian armour to date. In New Guinea the tank crew was: Commander – David Craven; Crew - Alex Walshe; John Stephenson; Alec McPherson; at Balikpappan: Commander – Harry Britten; Crew: Les Betts and others. The Regiment was re-equipped between campaigns.
The restoration has proven a tad more difficult than making the decision to restore. The now rather ancient mechanics have been subjected to many years of decay. The Museum’s vehicle troop, recognising that the task would be difficult and costly; have over the past eleven years only devoted limited resources to the task, while concentrating on other restoration and maintenance projects, where a faster and more visible result was possible.
The photos below convey an understanding of the work to be done.
Recognising that many of the tasks associated with the restoration were beyond the capacity of our volunteers and required access to expensive equipment, Ian Hawthorn ably assisted by Mick McGraw have engaged in a fundraising campaign. Ian sent a notice to every RSL club in the state, and other volunteers, particularly Jeff Darke approached generous philanthropists. The Museum’s patron Major General Glenny was also instrumental in obtaining donations. Those organisations and individuals who made a contribution are included in the “thank you” list below (unless I made an error – as editor of Lancers’ Despatch, and not a stickler for detail, I am accustomed to being harassed for making mistakes – so don’t hold back, let me know if I have made a blue and left the acknowledgement of your generous donation from the list – I try not to take my failings personally and ask that others do not regard it as an insult if an error has been made).
This means we have a fund that can help with the work, note I said “help” not fund the completion, more money is still needed.
The clock is ticking, there are few still alive who crewed Ace in World War 2, and restoration is not a speedy process. Nonetheless with the Staghound soon to be complete, Ace becomes our only restoration project every effort is being made to have the vehicle in close to pristine condition as soon as possible.
Did you know that members of the Regiment were the first "Soldiers of the Queen". The squadron that went to the United Kingdom to train in 1899, was the first "colonial" military unit that had gone to the "motherland" for training, as opposed to visits to take part in tournaments and ceremonies. The music to "Soldiers of the Queen" had been written to celebrate the opening of the Manchester Canal in 1894, but was not set to words. On the evening of the 9 November 1899 Lord Carrington, the Regiment's Honorary Colonel hired the Empire Theatre in London to farewell the now trained Lancers ('twas the night before they departed for South Africa), and honour the Australian Cricket team. Words were written to the Manchester Canal march commemorating the Lancers visit as "Soldiers of the Queen", and an "actor" hired and dressed in Lancer uniform to give the song its first public performance.
Sadly the original words have been lost, the stirring performance inspired others to adjust them for more general appeal.
Lord Carrington (Charles Robert Wynn-Carrington, 1st Marquess of Lincolnshire KG, GCMG, PC, DL, JP (16 May 1843 – 13 June 1928), known as the Lord Carrington from 1868 to 1895 and as the Earl Carrington from 1895 to 1912) was Governor of New South Wales from 12 December 1885 – 3 November 1890. His brother Rupert Clement George Carrington, 4th Baron Carrington CVO DSO DL (18 December 1852 – 11 November 1929), fought in the Anglo-Zulu War of 1879 as a Lieutenant in the Grenadier Guards, and was awarded the Distinguished Service Order, and in the Second Boer War as a commanding officer in the 3rd New South Wales Imperial Bushmen.
When he took over from Lord Loftus, the Regiment was not a year old. He had a military, and in particular cavalry background, he had served in the Royal Horse Guards and became a captain in 1869 and was aide-de-camp to the Prince of Wales on a visit to India in 1875-76. In 1881 he became lieutenant-colonel of the Royal Buckinghamshire Infantry, the His wife of 10 years, the Hon Celia Margaret accompanied him.
Lord Carrington's appointment as governor of New South Wales was to span much change and trouble. He arrived to find the colony in the grip of drought, economic recession and political crisis; he left in 1890 after the maritime strike had opened a phase of new industrial conflict. Throughout, he proved an able and tactful governor. He had a clear sense of the conventions which limited the role of the Queen's representative. Though somewhat impatient about attitudes to Chinese immigration and naval defence he refrained from interference and faithfully conveyed local opinion to England. But he firmly exercised those powers which he indisputably held: the granting of dissolutions of parliament and the approval of appointments to the Legislative Council. He could act subtly in more ambiguous areas: he quietly convinced Sir Henry Parkes in 1887 of the folly of seeking to change the colony's name to Australia; in 1890 after the Riot Act was read during the maritime strike, he nipped a serious political crisis in the bud by firmly persuading quarrelsome ministers to compose their differences. He developed an affectionate regard for Parkes, whose determination in 1889 to promote Federation arose largely from their conversations. Carrington's diplomatic work through the governors in Victoria and South Australia was crucial in paving the way for the Federation Conference of 1890. Lord Carrington's official position of governor in those pre-federation days carried the title of "Commander-in-Chief of the New South Wales Defence Forces"; in the early orders of the Regiment he is termed "Honorary Colonel"; it was a position he held with great interest, munificence and practical assistance until his passing in 1928. At his farewell dinner on 11 September 1890, his Lordship granted permission for his family crest. an elephant's head with coronet and three fleur-de-lys to be incorporated into a Regimental Badge to be worn by the New South Wales Cavalry (of which the Sydney Lancers were a part - in 1894, the Regiment became the New South Wales Lancers (granted "Royal" patent in 1935)).
The Carringtons fulfilled their social role with warmth and generosity. Government House "at homes" became noted for their size, frequency and "representative character", and for the "polite and unaffected reception" with which the vice-regal couple charmed their guests. In the 1887 celebrations of Queen Victoria's jubilee, they banqueted a thousand poor boys of Sydney, who received medals struck for the occasion and were modestly told by Carrington of his own family's humble origins in eighteenth-century trade. Lady Carrington also established the Jubilee Fund to relieve distressed women and her management of it surprised contemporaries by 'a business capacity with which women are rarely credited". For the 1888 centennial celebrations the governors of Fiji, New Zealand and all the Australian colonies were guests at Government House; Carrington dedicated Centennial Park, laid the foundation stones of the Trades Hall and of projected new Houses of Parliament, led a thanksgiving rally in the Exhibition Building and presided at a lavish state banquet. His wife also attended an entertainment for "2000 sailors of all nations". In 1890 he declined the customary farewell gifts in terms so tactful that the Colonial Office confidentially sent copies of the relevant correspondence to all colonial governors as an object lesson. Sydney gave the couple an unprecedented farewell, with thousands lining the streets and showering flowers on their carriage. In a parting speech Lord Carrington declared they were "guests who found their welcome at once an adoption, and whose farewell leaves half their hearts behind".
In England Lord Carrington's first speeches caused a sensation by his espousal of Australian nationalism rather than imperial federation, and his indictment of the "old ball and cartridge blunders" by which Tory secretaries of state had offended colonial sensibilities. The attacks had the obvious bias of a Liberal returning to party activity but made good sense, countered the shallow anti-gubernatorial witticisms of the Bulletin, won wide approval and vindicated Carrington's intelligent attachment to New South Wales.
In recognition of the service the Carringtons, and Lady Carrington in particular following her magnificent gift of two banners (a photo of one hanging in the Museum can be seen above, right) to adorn the drums carried by the Regimental Band's drum horse, the officers of the Regiment presented Lady Carrington with a magnificent silver horse. The solid silver object is 25 cm in height and stands on a 10 cm black painted wooden plinth. It depicts a Lancer officer (thus carrying sword, not lance) on horseback and in full dress uniform. The object is almost priceless; and certainly would sell for many tens of thousands of dollars. Now starts the legend. Those who served as officers of the Regiment in the 1930s recalled (all have now passed away) seeing the horse on the table during Regimental dinners. After World War 2, however, there was no sign of it. Then in the early 1960s, the Regiment was contacted by the Reserve Bank of Australia. The Bank had in their vaults a deposit with no paperwork to detail ownership. The Reserve Bank had been formed on 14 January 1960 taking on the central banking functions that up until that time had been held by the Commonwealth Bank of Australia. The legend is that after Lady Carrington (at that time Marchioness of Lincolnshire) passed away in 1929, the family organised for the priceless item to be returned to the Regimental Officers' Mess. When the Regiment joined the AIF in World War Two, and saw active service overseas, the mess silver was placed into storage. The government storehouses where the silver was sent for safekeeping, were sadly very leaky, very few items of the priceless collection the mess had gathered from 1885 - 1939 were able to be found when the Regiment was re-formed as a peacetime unit in 1948. Legend has it that given the value of the silver horse, senior officers of the Regiment organised a handshake deal whereby it was safely locked away in the vaults of the Commonwealth Bank. The handshake ensuring there would be no charge for the service. When the item was found in the Reserve Bank, however, there was no proof of ownership, with the plinth inscription clearly indicating the item was a gift from and not to the Officers of the Regiment. As there is no paperwork, the Reserve Bank will not accept that the item is owned by the Regiment. The Bank has been willing to allow the Officer's Mess to borrow the horse for display at table on formal occasions provided the Officers' Mess provides adequate insurance. Thus the horse appeared on the table during the Annual Regimental (Officers') Dinner during the 1960s and 70s. In the 80s, however the insurance premiums became prohibitive. In the past 25 years, it has appeared at the 100th (1985) and 125th (2010) dinners only, with a fair amount of the $95 per head for the 125th dinner going to cover the insurance cost.
The Horse is a magnificent artefact, the story that goes with it intriguing. Few who have lived all of their lives in Australia can say they have done as much for their country as Lord and Lady Carrington did in five short years. We can only hope that it will continue to be able to remind us of the work of our first Honorary Colonel and his wife.
Bibliography: Australian Dictionary of Biography, Wikipaedia, PV Vernon (Ed) Regimental History, MJ Buckley Sword and Lance
The national Boer War Memorial design competition has reached its final stage. There were 193 submissions registering interest in the competition, with 63 entries ultimately being received. Submissions included 4 late entries and 1 non-compliant entry.
All that remains to do is to raise the necessary funds to build it, so is anyone has any small change, the website is www.bwm.org.au.
To commemorate the signing of the treaty of Vereeniging marking the end of the South Africa war on 31 May 1902, the Museum ran a special exhibition. Visitor numbers were high.
This year with our squadron away in the Solomon Islands the Regimental Officers' Dinner was the only 110th Birthday celebration. A great occasion to gather with old friends. Little did your editor know that he was taking the last photo in uniform of the late Greg Smith.
David Craven (from information received)
Attendance in the March and/or the Leagues Club later by our World War II veterans was unfortunately well down this year. Those at either or both were - Rod Button and Arthur Bulgin (leaders), Doug Beardmore, Graham Clark, Geoff Francis, Neville Kingcott, Ernie Syratt and Alan Stewart. Most were from C Squadron. Also Len Koles, President of our Lancers Association, and Bob Gay - both of the post-war Regiment. Good to have them each year. Several others joining us were relatives of Departed Comrades, including the daughter and granddaughter of late Bob Forrest, who died just before Anzac Day. It was good to again have members of 1st/15th Lancers carry our banner. The Lancers Band was just in front of our group, and that was good too. Despite a slight drizzle there were again good crowds lining the barriers along the way. At the Leagues Club later we were also joined by regular attenders Margurite Francis, John Lowe (son of our late member Ken), Chris Hall (grandson of late Mick Wilson) and granddaughters of Graham Clark and Ernie Syratt. It was a nice friendly small group, and the Club was not crowded or noisy. While disappointing that our numbers were down at both the March and get-together later, it is known that some regulars were not able to make it this year (like your reporter) and no doubt other units had a similar situation. We will certainly keep going as long as we can.
The post World War II attendance is rising gradually. The gallery below shows the smiling happy faces of those who made the effort and marched. Interesting to note that for those of us who served in the 1960s - 1990s hair gets less and more grey and faces more lined as the years condemn. 'Twas of course great to be supported by members of the Regiment in uniform carrying our banner the Regimental Band and to have many portaloos available. The banner will need amendment next year. The "Solomon Islands" peacekeeping contingent have asked that the notation "Solomon Islands" (not yet an awarded battle honour) added; it will be.
Reserve Forces Day 2010 was a great event. A little sad that our Regimental Band was not there to support us, and that most of those on parade were getting on in years. By contrast the ground holding vehicles thanks to the efforts of our Museum's vehicle troop, look better than they did when they were serving with the Regiment. The highlight was the inspection by her excellency the Governor General. No zip past in a car albeit a vintage Alpha, Her Excellency walked, and made certain she spoke to a number of people in each unit, in our case she spoke to Ross Baker and Terry Boardman expressing quite some knowledge of the Regimental History. Her speech was inspirational. We are of course lucky to have the president of the The Federation of Camera Clubs NSW, Alan Hitchell as our photographer.
David Craven unless otherwise noted
HERBERT ALLPORT Listed in RSL Reveille of May/June 2010. We have no record of him, either on our roll for newsletters or in the service file. Internet record shows he was born on 7 March 1923 and enlisted in Militia on NSW Central Coast, so possibly was in the intake of December 19 41 at Rutherford. He enlisted in AIF on 7 August 1942 and was discharged as Trooper, 1st Armoured Regt AIF on 28 October 1946. We don't recall any attendance at reunions. If any reader remembers him we would like to know more.
BILL CUNYNGHAME of Mittagong, aged probably 86. Army records per the internet gives dates of birth 27 November 1923, enlistment 22 June 1942, discharge 5 June 1946. John Blackberry passed on word of Bill's death, date not known, but probably fairly recent. Bill came to us with intake from 2nd Tank Bn in February 19 43, and was posted to 3 Troop A Squadron as a tank crew loader/operator. He didn't see action in New Guinea, as 1 and 3 Troops of A Squadron were held in reserve for the advance on the New Guinea coast in support of 9 Division. In Borneo his 3 Troop copped the surprise attack at Manggar airstrip by the concealed Jap 120 mm naval gun which knocked out the first two tanks and damaged the third. Bill was in Sgt Murgy Hobbs tank "Apache" and was one of the six of the troop who were wounded. They were fortunate to have survived. We had no contact with Bill post war. He didn't attend reunions or events, but occasionally had a visit from a mate from A Squadron.
ROBERT (BOB) FORREST of Hurstville died early or mid April 2010 aged 88 Bob joined our Militia Regiment in Camp at Rutherford with the intake of December 1941, becoming AIF in July 1942. He served as a tank driver of C Squadron in New Guinea and Borneo, and was discharged in July 1946. Post war he was in the printing industry. Bob regularly attended our reunions and Anzac Day Marches, as late as 2009. He will be remembered well by mates of C Squadron.
KEITH FREDERICK SEARLE. RSL Reveille of Mar/Apr 10 10 lists him as N224058, Sergeant, 1 Machine Gun Battalion. He is not on our roll and we have no record of him. He was apparently one who remained in our Militia unit during WW2. His Army record confirms that, and shows he was discharged on 20 March 1946.
DAVID GENDLE of Sussex Inlet on 27 August 2009. David served with the Regiment from 1948 'till 1954. He did not keep in contact but was on our mailing list. (Ross Baker)
JOHN KEARNEY of Mosman, on 6 February 2010, aged 88. Word came from his son James, a barrister. John was on our roll of members and received newsletters, but was not on our service file, indicating he left the regiment after returning from New Guinea, and so did not go with us to Borneo. A check on army records per the internet shows on discharge on 4 March 46 he was a Lieutenant with 2/9th Armoured regiment. It therefore shows that after New Guinea he left and joined 2/9th Armoured Regiment, and would have served with them at Tarakan, Labuan or Brunei in north of Borneo. David Donald did this, and maybe others, having been in B Squadron and had no action in New Guinea, and unlikely to have any more with us. I have been unable to get confirmation, but it does appear likely. It is also most likely that he was a sergeant with us and got his commission in the 2/9th. We do know that post-war he went into law, and eventually became a Judge of the Supreme Court - a very successful career. No doubt he had other community involvements. A tall and very likeable man, John frequently came to the Anzac Day March and reunions. His last attendance was in 2007, with an-apology in 2008, being on the sick list. Readers who knew John will agree that he was a fine member and good friend.
BILL MANYWEATHERS aged 69, of no fixed address passed away on 22 April 2010 at Liverpool Hospital after a battle with cancer. Bill was a great contributor to the community, he served in the Army and the SES for many years including time in the Regiment in the 1970s and 1980s. After he retired from the Army he continued to work as a Museum volunteer even after taking up the grey nomad lifestyle, whenever he and his wife Desma were near Sydney, you would find Bill working at Lancer Barracks on a Sunday.
Bill started his service as a National Serviceman on 8 January 1959, he served with 41 and 1/19 battalions of the Royal New South Wales Regiment and as an instructor with the Australian Army Cadets as well as serving with the Regiment. In parallel he had a 25 year career with the State Emergency Service (National Medal with two clasps). Avery busy member of the community.
I have many fond memories of Bill at Bourke during the 1977 exercise when as a sergeant he was part of my SHQ vehicle crew. (John Howells.)
I don’t quite know what to say, I am devastated with the news, Bill was my SQMS for my three years with B SQN. A more decent, professional wonderful soldier would be hard to find. He, Buc Cullen and I met all too infrequently after we served together for lunch. He rang me from time to time, especially when he was around Sydney. Please give my best to his family. It has been a privilege to have known him. He always seemed indestructible, I suppose none of us are. (Frank Holles)
Sorry to hear this news. I will offer Mass tomorrow afternoon for Bill and for his family. May he rest in peace. My deep sympathy to Desma and family. (Peter Quilty.)
Very sad news indeed. As a member of B Sqn in the mid-late 80s I had the pleasure of serving with Bill. I remember Bill as your typical SQMS. He was a great guy, very helpful to young subbies and a real B Sqn character. (Wayne Clark)
I'm very saddened by the news. Bill and I served together many times. As my Troop Sergeant for a while in B Sqn; as my Sergeant when I was posted to the A Echelon; and he volunteered to be my Sergeant on several temporary external postings. A good Sergeant and a good friend, he taught me a lot, keeping me out of trouble numerous times; God knows how much I needed that! He always set an excellent standard for himself and his subordinates; a loyal and excellent 2IC he could be relied upon to give you the facts as he knew them and tell you how things were; doing his best to keep me on the straight and narrow in spite of myself. His advice and experience I could always rely upon. I have very good memories of my times with him; I think he contributed much to make me a better person. (Rick Vincenti)
Bill’s memorial service was held in the Uniting Church, South Grafton on Monday 7 June 2010. Many Lancers made the trek to honour his memory. (John Howells with the help of others)
RON McKENZIE of The Entrance NSW, on 2 January 2010, aged 88. Pre-war Ron had been a joiner in a timber/hardware business operated by his father. He and good mate Geoff Morris together joined our Militia 1st Light Horse Machine Gun Regiment in 1940, getting adjoining regimental numbers. On becoming AIF in :August 42 , they again had adjoining NX numbers. Ron became a tank crew member of RHQ Troop, as loader/operator, with service in New Guinea and Borneo. He was given compassionate leave while at Balikpapan in 1945 to return home ~hen his father was seriously injured in a work accident and was there when war ended, being discharged in November 1945. He rejoined the family business, becoming manager for some years until it was taken over by Bunnings.
Ron sadly became blind about 10-15 years ago. Despite this disability e attended our reunions and other events, and marched on ANZAC Days, escorted by good mate Geoff and helped by others, and was highly regarded and admired for his determination and loyalty. He sadly lost his wife Jean some years ago. At his funeral at Palmdale Gardens, Ourimbah, we were represented by Geoff Morris and good mate Doug Spinney, of 2/6th Armoured Regt. Ron will certainly be well remembered by many members.
ROSS RUNGE of Robin Hill (near Bathurst) NSW aged 75 on 19 December 2009 at Cowra hospital from prostate cancer. Ross commenced his military service as a national serviceman in the 1950s, he then as his civil employment moved him from place to place saw service in the 4th/19th Prince of Wales Light Horse in Victoria, and the 3rd/9th South Australian Mounted Rifles before joining the Regiment in the mid 1960s. Ross rose to the rank of captain, his service concluding just before the Regiment lost its Centurions. A funeral service was held for him at the Orange Crematorium, Orange NSW Tuesday 29 December 2009. Ross had been on our association list, thus a recipient of Lancers' Despatch. Many thanks to Ross' son Davis and David Mercer of the SAMRA for this information.
CLARENCE GREGORY SMITH aged 71 of Toongabbie NSW on 29 June 2010 of a heart attack whilst playing Hockey. Lieutenant Colonel Clarence Gregory (Greg) Smith, RFD, ED commanded the Regiment from 1 Jul 1975 - 30 Jun 1978. After full-time National Service training in 1957 he served in 12th/16th HRL for ten months; he was then transferred to the RAAOC. On completing his National Service obligation on 4 April 1960 he joined the 1st/15th in which he was commissioned on 8 February 1963; captain, 8 February 1966; major, 2 April 1971; 2nd-in-command, 1 July 1972. In October 1967 he had a two weeks attachment to an APC squadron on active service in Vietnam.
On 1 July 1975 he succeeded to command of the Regiment, with promotion to lieutenant colonel on the same day. After completing his term of command he was posted on 2 September 1978 as Chief Instructor, Other Ranks Wing, 2nd Training Group, and became SO1 (Training), Reserve Command and Staff College, 2nd Training Group, 1 January 1982. On 17 June 1983 he was transferred to 2nd Division as SO1 (Operations and Plans). He was awarded the RFD in 1984.
In civil life he was for many years a school teacher, a career cut short by hearing difficulties most likely caused by tank gunnery. More recently he worked for the RSL, becoming a highly respected welfare officer. Greg was also president of the Castle Hill RSL sub-branch. He played hockey for most of his adult life. He passed away on 29 June 2010 as the result of a heart attack during a game of veterans' hockey. A valued man, taken far too soon.
Greg's funeral at the Uniting Church in Castle Hill was very well attended by family members, the hockey fraternity, the RSL and many Lancers who served with him. (John Howells with the assistance of the Regimental History.)
The Museum has some new items in stock. Bow ties that will let you make that special colourful expression at the next Cambrai or Regimental Dinner even if you are not a Dr Who fan. And, old-style Regimental plaques. Just visit the Museum Shop the online shop has facilities for payment by cheque credit card and PayPal.
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:
John Anderson; Denis Avery; Bill Balchin; Norman Bice; John Booth; Brian Bourke; David Brown; Arthur Bulgin; John Burlison; Ray Butterfield; Rod Button; Ron Cable; Lisa Cameron; Joseph Camilleri; Bert Castellari; Alan Chanter; John Cook; David Craven; Jack Curran; Jack Curtayne; Trevor Darby; Jeffrey Darke; John Emmott; Ted Fallowfield; William Falzon; Ian Frost; Guy Graham; Eric Holland; William Ireland; Norma Jamieson; Jack Lamb; Chris Lawley; Geoff Lewis; Sid Lewis; Keiran Macrae; Albert Martin; Joan McDonald; Alfred (Snow) McEwan; John McPhee; Sam Mifsud; George Pennicook; Bill Philip; Doug Pinnington; Jack Rolfe; John Roseby; Bill Ryan; Joyce Sharpe; Alan Stewart; Peter Teague; Russell Townsend; Gloria Warham; Don Watson; Wilma Wilson; Betty Wright.
and the following the Museum:
Bill Armstrong; Auburn RSL Sub Bch; Denis Avery; Ross Baker; Bill Balchin; Gwyn Bent; Norman Bice; Tony Blissett; John Booth; Botany RSL Sub Branch; Brian Bourke; Bowral RSL Sub-Branch; Victor Brain; Arthur Bulgin; John Burlison; Burwood RSL Sub-Branch; Ray Butterfield; Rod Button; Ron Cable; Callala Beach RSL Sub-Branch; Lisa Cameron; Joseph Camillrei; Cantebury Hurlstone Pk RSL Sub-Bch; Bert Castellari; Catherine Hill Bay RSL Sub-Branch; Alan Chanter; Les Chipperfield; Clovelly RSL Sub-Branch; John Cook; David Craven; Geoff Cuthbert; Trevor Darby; Jeffrey Darke; James Dick; Eastwood RSL Sub-Branch; John Emmott; Ted Fallowfield; William Falzon; Ian Frost; Gilgandra RSL Sub-Branch; Peter Giudes; Warren Glenny; Gosford RSL Sub-Branch; Guy Graham; Bruce Gurton; Guyra RSL Sub-Branch; Eric Holland; Therese Holles; Alan Howitt; Ingleburn RSL Sub-Branch; William Ireland; Norma Jamieson; Jaycar Electronics; Kempsey Mcleay RSL Sub Branch; Kirribilli RSL Sub-Branch; Jack Lamb; Chris Lawley; Geoff Lewis; Sid Lewis; Lidcombe RSL Sub-Branch; Lightning Ridge RSL Sub Branch; Dorothy MacArthur-Onslow; Keiran Macrae; Albert Martin; Joan McDonald; Alfred (Snow) McEwan; Danny McKenna; John McPhee; Merewether RSL Sub-Branch; Sam Mifsud; Don Morris; Gordon Muddle; Ron Muddle; Murrunburran-Harden RSL Sub-Branch; Oatley RSL Sub-Branch; Valerie O'Sullivan; Parramatta Heritage Centre; Parramatta RSL Sub Branch; Pelican Flat RSL Sub-Branch; George Pennicook; Penshurst RSL Sub-Branch; Bill Philip; Doug Pinnington; Doug Pollard; Eddie Polley; Margaret Reid; Mike Ribot de Bressac; Jack Rolfe; Rooty Hill RSL Sub-Branch; Rose Bay RSL Sub-Branch; John Roseby; RSL Metro West District Council; Bill Ryan; Joyce Sharpe; Judy Spadaro; Alan Stewart; Sydney Veterans' and Defence Expo; Peter Teague; Russell Townsend; Grant Troup; John Upton; Don Watson; Wellington Flat RSL Sub-Branch; Wilma Wilson; Woy Woy RSL sub-Branch; Betty Wright.
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.
Donations to the Museum and association are now possible securely using PayPal from your credit card or PayPal account:
Click Here to activate the donation form. Donations to the Museum are tax deductible.
Don't forget your memorabilia, the online shop also has secure payment facilities using PayPal.
Click Here for the Museum Shop.
Membership of the RAACA is free to all applicants over 75, and only $20 per annum or $50 for THREE years 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.
© New South Wales Lancers Memorial Museum Incorporated
ABN 94 630 140 881 - - - Site Updated December 2018
Lancer Barracks, 2 Smith Street, Parramatta NSW 2150, Australia
Telephone +61 (0)405 482 814, E-mail: email@example.com
For Regimental enquiries call: +61 (0)2 9635 7822