Lancers' Despatch 4
Website of the Royal New South Wales Lancers Lancer Barracks and Museum
Editorial The Museum Collection Cambrai Day Serving Pre and Post WWII My Fourteen Years Puckapunyal My Time 1950-1953 Greetings from PNG Ron Pile's A Squadron Sattelberg Presentation Balikpapan Landings Presentation Balikpapan Remembered 2003 Can You Fill the Gaps Light Horse Memories Regimental Report Veterans Join the Internet Age Film Archive to Capture Stories Snippets Departed Comrades Celebration Weekend at Pucka Regimental Church Parade Regimental ANZAC Memorial Pde ANZAC Parade WWII ANZAC Parade Reserve ANZAC Day Reunion Bombaderry Reunion Reserve Forces Day Regimental Ties Available Acknowledgements RAACA Canberra Fires Regimental Journal
It has been an interesting six months. A six months that has seen our nation at war in Iraq, and now involved in law and order re-establishment missions in Iraq and the Solomon Islands. These are difficult tasks, no-one particularly likes being policed, even by their own people, when foreigners are involved, for any reason regardless of how altruistic, the situation is exacerbated. Our thoughts must be with our troops on these difficult assignments. Let us hope that they can hand over to the locals and return home as soon as possible.
It is with great pleasure that we can report that the museum was re-opened to the public on Sunday 9 November 2002. The barracks are still on Safe Base Bravo, and that means photo ID has to be checked, and visitors escorted. This puts quite a drain on volunteer manpower, thus it is only possible for us to open once a month. Opening is now co-ordinated with the monthly working bee. This means visitors can tour the vehicles, as well as the Barracks and the collection on show in Linden House. We can also report that during the last six months of 2002, the Museum website actually covered costs (web hosting - we do not pay for development/maintenance). This was due to trade profit from purchases made using the website. Regimental histories and caps are the best selling items.
We are lucky to have received a large number of contributions to this issue. Most were clearly typed or in electronic form, making my job as editor simple. Gordon Mackay's report last edition gave rise to four very interesting reports for this newsletter. Ray Birks tells of his pre and post war service including taking part in the Coronation contingent, Aubrey Wheeler (Captain AH Wheeler Retired, from Caloundra) tells us his story of fourteen years with the Regiment 1950 - 1964 and provides some very good contemporary photos; Kent Deal sent us a poem that all who spent time at Pucka will relate to, and Bruce McKnight tells stories of incidents the like of which we all remember. These stories help all of us to realise what it was like to serve in the Regiment in the shadow of WW2 and the Vietnam conflict. Many thanks to contributors Len Koles, Ray Birks, Aubrey Wheeler, Kent Deal, Bruce McKnight, Andrew Stocks, David Craven, David Brown, Mark Gibson, Hugh Clark, Wayne Higgins, Brian Walters and Peter Guides; and proof readers Rosemary Howells, Bill Prosser and David Brown. Also thanks to Tamara Johnston at the Department of Veterans' Affairs for the DVA contributions. Contributions make the newsletter, keep them coming, closing dates for copy are 1 January and 1 July.
Ross Brown and his valiant team of workers Carol Pearce and Paul Maile have now completed the re-arrangement of the South African War room, and the Empire Room / Commanding Officers' Stairs. The museum website has been adjusted to reflect the changes, and a new website navigation system installed. Eventually the entire website will be adjusted in accordance with these principles.
Carol Pearce has also completed the Museum's accession register. The register is now in electronic database form. Carol wrote the database in Microsoft Access 2000, data entered all entries on the previous paper register then updated the register with all new accession information. This has been a substantial task that Carol has completed accurately and in so doing has shown a high level of professional expertise. We owe her a great deal.
The database is 10MB in size, it is available at the Museum for research on days when the Museum is open. The Hon Secretary/Webmaster also has a copy that is used when answering mail and eMail inquiries.
To understand the type of information held in the accession register, a search of the data on the plaster cast from the Lismore Lancer mould above reveals:
Work is also proceeding on the vehicle exhibits. The staghound is progressing steadily. We made a contact with James Shopland in the UK over the internet and have found him to be a source of parts totally unobtainable in Australia.
The Matilda has had a coat of paint. Gordon Muddle organising to return it to the colour scheme of Matildas used in New Guinea and Borneo.
We also owe a great debit to David Crisp who organised to have the Museum register its road going vehicles in its own name (previously they were under the umbrella of the AMVCS (Australian Military Vehicle Collector's Society)). This delivers us a high level of flexibility when it comes to deploying vehicles for show, as when the vehicles were part of the display at the Sydney Swans Kokoda commemoration game this year. Thanks also to the word smith and administrative skills of Ross Brown who guided us through the bureaucratic minefield of changing the Museum's rules of association to accommodate this.
We also published some new material provided by Norman Bent on the Matilda on the Museum website. Norman had provided cutaway drawings. You can now click on an "Inside the Matilda" button on our website and see the detail of what was within. In expressing thanks to Norman for his valued gift, we also say get well; Norman always a great supporter of the Regiment and the Museum, has not been well over the past few months.
We were also thankful to receive a framed photo of 4 Tp A Sqn (Kangaroo Valley) commemorating the troop winning the Prince of Wales' trophy in 1931 and 1933, our thanks to Peter Aldous, Colin Condon, and Jan Buffin.
Mrs Lesley Burdon, widow of the Regiment's wartime quartermaster also donated a 1st ALH badge (1903-1912). Again many thanks.
As happens in November each year, the Royal Australian Armoured Corps Association, NSW Branch, arranges a Battle of Cambrai Commemorative Service at the Garrison Church at the Rocks in Sydney. This was the eighty fifth anniversary of the battle which was the first effective mass use of armoured vehicles in warfare. On this day we also commemorate all actions in which the Royal Australian Armoured Corps took part in World War 11 and later conflicts.
The Lancer Association and the Lancer Museum were represented Bernie Hill, Bill Cross, Dave Crisp, Vince Stromyer and Len Koles. The Regiment was represented by Major Mark Gibson Regiment 2IC. The Regimental Band under command of Sgt S Wood provided the musical during the service. Before the service commenced the different RAAC units and associations draped their banners around the walls inside of the church. The activity was also supported by a ferret scout car from the museum collection. This was parked outside of the church with pennants flying. The vehicle was drive from Parramatta that morning by Dave Crisp.
The service started with a lance guard of veterans who carried 8 lances up to the alter. Each lance carried a pennant representing the different units and associations. They were laid up around the alter for the duration of the service. The pennants represented the 1/15 Royal NSW Lancers, 1 st Armd Regt, 2/4 Armd Regt, 2/6 Armed Regt, 2/7 Armed Regt, 2/1 Recce Sqn, 1 Aust Armd Bde ASC and Vietnam Veterans.
The introduction was given by Col G McCormack (RL) in which he outlined the significance of the Battle of Cambrai. Lessons were read by Bernie Hill and Bill Cross. After the service a morning tea was held in the Garrison Church drill hall/museum.
It was a very pleasant day and it was good to see that so many veterans could attend. It is of concern that more post war members did not attend and support this significant activity. The date for the service in 2003 will be published in the next Dispatch. It is usually held in on the Sunday nearest the 20th November.
I first joined 1 Light Horse (M.G) Regiment in December 1938 and was posted to 1 Tp A Sqn which was commanded by Lt A.I.F. McKillop. The Squadron Commander was Capt. Max Wheatley and the commanding Officer was that great soldier, Lt Col D.A. Whitehead ("Torpy").
I attended an NCO's course at Studley Park, Narellan (the first one there, I think) following the annual camp on Campbelltown Showground. War had then started and together with many others I enlisted in the AIF, but was not called up until after the three month Brigade Camp at Wallgrove.
After war service with 7 Div Cav Regt in the Middle East and New Guinea I was demobbed at the end of '45, but in late1951 I met Fred Fitzsimmons, then a Major who enticed me back to the old fold, with my old rank of Sgt. Then followed an enjoyable period of service and in 1953 I was selected as a Mounted Escort in the Australian Coronation Contingent. Also selected from The Lancers was Sgt Bert Mansfield.
On resuming duty with the old Regiment I was posted SSM to B Sqn, but unfortunately in November 1954 an accident put an end to a happy period in my life, and my service was over.
The Coronation duty was a wonderful experience, and I kept a detailed diary of the entire adventure which was produced to raise funds for 7 Div Cav Regimental Association. Nowadays I have only one copy left, apart from the original typed manuscript.
There are few of the pre-war fellows left now but I do know Fred Wilkins still maintains contact with The Lancers Association.
I had been an instructor with the LHQ School of Mechanisation, first on the motor cycle wing and then on wheeled vehicles, producing unit instructors in driving and maintenance. The School of Mechanisation was a sort of teachers college dealing with automotive subjects and in 1950 I read in the newspaper an article about the Lancers and decided to join them, thinking that I could pass on some of the knowledge that I had gained during the war.
I was, at 32, a few years older than the average recruit in 1950, but there were a few others of my age or older, mostly officers. I had to downgrade from WO 2 to sergeant, which was a bit disappointing but I settled in quite happily under Major Bent at Merrylands drill hall. lt was B Squadron if my memory serves me right. After about a year at Merrylands we moved to Lancer Barracks. I think Lt Col Vernon was CO at the time.
The regiment had no tanks or any type of tracked vehicles at Parramatta during the early fifties, so it was quite useful training recruits in wheeled vehicle D&M. (I don't know why they changed the term to D&S - an Americanism I suspect.) We had our weekend bivouacs at Glenfield and I remember a new lieutenant I enlisted to organise a map reading driving exercise was Dick Nicholson who was CO of the regiment when I retired in 1964.
The first annual camp at Singleton was my introduction to tanks, a bunch of clapped out Matildas in almost every case they had no intercom, and the standard method of directing the driver was by strings tied to his epaulettes and pulled by the crew commander as in the old horse and buggy days. It was at that time I got caught up in the promotion rat race (my greatest mistake) Shortly before our second annual camp I became a one pipper and troop leader, leaving my specialty and reason for joining the Lancers. From that time on I was a square peg in a round hole.
The then Governor of NSW, Lt Gen Sir John Northcott was our Honorary Colonel at the time and it was his practice to spend a couple of days with us at Singleton. On his first day there I happened to be Orderly Officer, my first experience at the job. All the officers except me were warned to stay away from the officers latrine between 0800 and 0830 when His Excellency would be in residence. I don't know why I didn't get the message. I could have been inspecting the kitchens or some of the other things Orderly Officers do. Anyway, I decided to inspect the Officers latrine between 0800 and 0830. 0n entering, who should I see sitting on the throne but HE. In my confusion and embarrassment I bunged him a salute and he sat to attention. Sir John always remembered my name after that, for some reason or other. I met him at a Government House garden party some years later and he greeted me like an old friend.
The regiment acquired some Ferrets and one Saracen in the late fifties and I became Regimental Technical Adjutant for a short period, but with the phasing out of WW2 vehicles I became redundant as far as D&S training was concerned. Especially when some Regular Army instructors were transferred to the Lancers from Puckapunyal. Our annual camps were at Puckapunyal in the late fifties and early sixties and all training was conducted by the professionals. I did a course in Centurion gunnery and another in Centurion D&S but my appointment as 2IC HQ Squadron took me away from D&S training.
Several incidents stand out in my time with the Lancers. One was when a party under the command of (then) Captain John Arnott was sent to Singleton one weekend to pick up some Staghound armoured cars and bring them back to Parramatta. We arrived at the Ordnance Depot on the Saturday afternoon and the place was almost deserted. Somebody must have formally handed the Staghounds over to John Arnott, but to my knowledge no tools were issued and there was no compressor available to check the tyres. l warned everybody that just kicking the tyres to check the pressure achieved nothing. Their heavy construction made them look normal even with no air in them. We should have tried some service stations in Singleton but we didn't, and set off on the Sunday morning for Parramatta via the Putty Road. Of the four or five Staghounds which left Singleton, I don't think one got as far as the Colo River before it's tyres caught fire. I forget how we got back to Parramatta, probably in the truck which took us up to Singleton The Staghounds were abandoned and I still shudder when I think of the cost of those tyres ruined and the recovery operation. Another incident involving Staghounds was when I took several on a driver training exercise one weekend. We went through Windsor to the Colo River, turned left and followed the river to Upper Colo. A wooden bridge spanning the Upper Colo proved unable to take the weight of the first Staghound to cross and although it got to the other side, it left behind a trail of broken planks. l instructed the drivers of the other Staghounds to ford the river, which was about two feet deep. They did this successfully, gaining a round of applause from the picnic parties on the river banks, particularly those on the Windsor side, who had no impediment to getting home. On the following Parade night I was politely asked by (then) Capt Grey the Adjutant to give him an estimate of the cost of repairing the bridge. (My job in civilian life at the time was a real estate valuer.) There was no disciplinary action taken. I told Capt Grey quite truthfully that there was no sign on the bridge indicating that it was for light traffic only. Capt Grey was a real gentleman. I'm not surprised he finished up where he did, Chief of Army.
My final adventure with the Lancers was at Puckapunyal when I took a convoy of trucks on a jungle warfare training run in the middle of winter through the snow clad Donnabuang Range. One truck slid off the road and straddled a log and had to be recovered by a private contractor, it apparently being beyond the expertise of the Regular Army staff at Pucka. Again a costly exercise.
Contemporaries of mine in the Lancers included Neil Macarthur Onslow, John Bate, Simon Roberts, Warren Glenny, John Arnott, Sid James and Bill Peterson CO's during my period of service started with Lt Col Mulally and finished with Lt Col Nicholson. The Lancers engaged a large part of my life. I helped train a lot of young men and I hope some of them remember me.
I know these wind-swept hill-slopes,
Here some stunted ironbark trees,
Here a doubtful creek follows the valley,
This then is dirty old Pucka',
I, like your correspondent Gordon Mackay, joined the Regiment in 1950 (after I turned 18) A Sqn Merrylands, I also remember the static "Matilda" - the OC was Capt Winter (or was it Wynter?), SSM was W02 James?, Capt Schofields was 2IC (later OC of C Sqn, when formed, to receive the intake of National Servicemen on late 1951). Neil Macarthur-Onslow was a Sgt (later getting his Commission), also Sgt David Ballard (later Lt) (I knew him before, as we both played in the Campbelltown Band - he later became an Anglican Minister).
The Lancers had a team in the Local Rugby Union Competition, Sgt Dodds was one that I remember (I think his elder brother was RSM?). I don't remember actually winning a game but we did have some rather large losses; Lt Woodward was involved some how - coach I think, I had my nose flattened in the last game of the season.
I also went to Canberra with the contingent to act as "Governor General's Escort" (Staghounds & Scout Cars). I spent the time as a Steward in the Officer's Mess and didn't take part in the parade, much to my dismay. The Special Train to Canberra left from "Mortuary Station", now called "Regent Street" - old "dog box" carriages - quite a fun trip. It was cold and wet for the whole time. We were camped in tents in front of the War Memorial. On the Sunday we took the "Stags" out to the Aerodrome and some of the pilots rode up and down the runway in them but wouldn't let us ride in their Vampire Jets. The Parade for the "Jubilee Opening of Parliament" was very impressive, 3,600 Service Personnel taking part during the parade, one of the Scout Car drivers (Bill Simms I think) was horrified to look up and see that the Corporal was standing to attention with his pipe in his mouth - like General Macarthur!
I was discharged in January 1952 when I was "called up" for National Service and was lucky enough to return to A Sqn for the Second part of my National Service. Soon after this A & C Sqns were relocated to Lancer Barracks, when Merrylands Depot was reallocated to a Transport Unit (I think ??).
I attended a Tank Wireless" Course at Studley Park (near Camden) - a very pleasant time, as there was a Cooking School at the same time! - The OC was Lt Haynes (maybe the same person who is mentioned frequently in the "Despatch"?) The Instructor was W0 (Billy) Thomas.
I qualified Sgt in December 1952. I still remember the "Drill Squad", we were given a list of the "Commands" required, If you made the mistake of Reading the Orders straight off the list, the Squad would finish up in the flower garden (no high marks for this). Another trap was stripping the Austen Sub Machine Gun, the "unwary" could see the "telescopic spring" fly across the room (also "failure"- try again next year).
As brand new Sgts, we thought that we would look the part better if we carried "Swagger Sticks" so made them from dowel capped with 7.92mm Besa shell cases. We were "strutting" down the road at Singleton and ran into the OC (Capt Winter). His response to our "lancer salutes" (bent-wrists over the right eye and the usual 1 shake of the salute for every 1 year of service) was a remark about "how bad the dogs were that we had to carry sticks". We dispensed with the "sticks" and "came down from the clouds".
About this time, the Lancers had a group who took part in rifle club "shoots" at "Anzac Range", near Holsworthy on Saturdays. We used to travel to the range by special "shooters train". We also had to use "open sights" as standard on the "303", whereas the other rifle club members could use the "peep" sights (far more accurate).
Some of the other Lancers at that time were: - Sgt Jack Dowie and Sgt Jack Coates (from Camden), Sgt Wheeler, Len Loaker, "?" Agnew, Cpl (Sleepy) Slowman (later obtained his Commission from Corporal), Capt Jeff Bate M.P. and his son Sgt John Bate (I remember his nickname but won't mention it here in case he objects!!), Tpr Fred Whiteman (from Camden), & Tpr Keith Goodfellow. The CO was Lt Col Rhys-Jones and RSM W01 Toshack.
The weekend Bivouacs at Greenhills near Holsworthy were always an adventure, as were the Annual Camps at Singleton. The "Shoots" on the "Tank Range" at "Black Hills' with 2 Pounders & Besa MG (Don't forget to call "Firing Now!" or get a kick in the ribs from the Crew Commander). The Crew Commander's dismay at the call of "Misfire" and the thought of possibility of removing a "Cap Struck" round from the 2 Pounder.
The Grenade Range was also an adventure for the bay instructors ("please don't drop the grenades") who would occasionally throw a few stones at the range controlling officer's tower, to test his nerves.
On one occasion a large group of us were sitting near the Range, waiting our turn to "throw", when up the road comes a jeep with a brand new Second Lieutenant. He got out of the jeep and demanded - "Who is in charge of this body of men?". No one moved even though there is a Captain, some Lieutenants and Sergeants with no Badges of Rank visible. One poor L/Cpl is sighted and ordered to "give these troops some "Close Order Drill". The L/Cpl did his duty. The 2Lt was satisfied with this, and drove off; then the whole group broke up with shrieks of laughter.
My work transferred me to Albury in May 1953 and I then became a member of the 8/13 Victorian Mounted Rifles 2nd Armed BDE - with "General Grant" Tanks but that is another story. Serving in the Regimental LAD from 1995 to 1958 and then 1963 to 1980, this is just one of those things that I recall happened to me.
How is everything in Good Old Parra, or more importantly at Lancer Barracks. As you may have guessed from my email address I am currently working in PNG. I am the Operations Manager for a company called Securimax. We are the largest security provider in the country and I have been here since early November 2002. A long way from being RSM 1990 to 1992.
I recently received the issue of Lancers Despatch for August 2002 and as always enjoyed the catch up. I was saddened however to read of the passing of so many members of The Regiment, but especially Frank "TIGER" Colliss during my time as RSM I was honoured to "work" with Tiger and I remember "working" on quite a few beers with him. He was a credit to his family the Regiment and a friend and companion to all who knew him. Vale Tiger. I have been remiss in contacting the association and through it the past members of our regiment, a regiment I joined as a lad of 18 before going into the ARA. Which brings me to another sad point, when I was going to join the Regular Army my Troop Sgt at the time advised me strongly not to do it, I ignored his advice and the rest as they say is history. That man was one Albert "Brim" Buddle and I was truly and deeply saddened to learn of his passing. I learnt a lot from Brim, some probably better left unprinted, but he taught me to believe in yourself and along the way you will achieve what you want and, probably have some fun along the way. Well, I have done that and when I returned to the Lancers in the 90's we certainly had some fun. Albert will be greatly missed by all whose lives he touched and my heart is with his family and friends who must miss him every day.
Whilst here in PNG I plan on visiting as many WW2 sites as I can, especially those where members of the Regiment or their families served. I would also like to make a couple of offers:
If anyone is visiting PNG or planning to visit please get in touch and I will be glad to help in any way I can. (I am in Port Moresby by the way.)
If anyone would like me to photograph a memorial to any of their past relatives likewise get in touch and I will help where I can. The network of contacts builds quickly in this country.
Well that's about enough rambling from me for now. I hope a few out there remember me and get in touch and until next time Let me say "Tenax In Fide" and bye for now.
Should anyone wish to contact Andrew, write to the editor firstname.lastname@example.org and the message will be on-forwarded.
Lancers Association newsletters of 1998 and 99 told of the receipt from Ron's family of material which Ron had gathered and written, mainly taken from his diary, and other sources. Most had been word processed as a draft, in preparation for a publication he planned as a detailed report of A Squadron's operations. It would include some maps, photographs and listing of all known personnel, and tank names in the squadron. Ron died in October 1997 before completing his project. To see what interest there might be if published, at Ron's estimated cost of around $20, we sought indications, with about 90 replies. Enough to warrant proceeding with publication.
No progress was made until lately, and it is now almost ready for printing. It will be the same 48 page size and style as "Memories of A Squadron" published in May 2000. Production cost is higher for this one, and it will be available at a donation of $10 per copy posted. About half of what Ron estimated.
So we now invite orders per the response sheet, with payment of $10 each. When the required number is known it will be printed and posted in April 03. For those who have "Memories of A Squadron" it will be similar in appearance, and as well as for former members and others, it could be of interest to family.
On 19 November 2002 Captain David Brown, 2IC C Squadron, gave a presentation at Lancer Barracks to a large group from the Regiment on the actions at Sattelberg in November 1943. David did a lot of research in gathering information for the presentation, including talking to some of our members who took Part in the actions. It went very well, with his interesting talk, slides and a video being well received by the soldiers. There were four ex-C Squadron veterans present - John Downes, Jack Curtayne, Ray Stone and Ern Syratt, who contributed with comment and answers to questions. Also there were David Craven and Neville Kingcott, and post war members of the Museum Committee Len Koles and Dave Crisp, who with SGT Peter Halloran organised a good display of wartime Australian and Japanese weapons.
Captain David Brown
The Commanding Officer cordially invites wartime members of the Association to a presentation on the Landings at Balikpapan at Lancer Barracks, Parramatta on 25 February 2003. The presentation will commence at 1930 hours and be followed by drinks in the Other Ranks Mess.
Any members interested in attending are requested to contact CAPT David Brown on 0402 830 487.
Major Mark Gibson (Regimental 2IC)
1/15 RNSWL Professional Development Trip 2003 - Balikpapan an update.
We can now provide you with a full proposed itinerary and cost.
Day 1: Sunday 29 June, 2003
On arrival in Jakarta, you will be met and transferred to your hotel.
Day 2: Monday 30 June, 2003
On arrival, you will be met and transferred to the Dusit Balikpapan Hotel.
Day 3: Tuesday 01 July, 2003
Day 4: Wednesday 02 July, 2003
Day 5: Thursday 03 July, 2003
2:20pm Depart Balikpapan on Garuda Indonesia Flight GA515
Day 6: Friday 04 July, 2003
If you wish to be kept up to date please contact the editor (Click Here to send an e-Mail) association members and relatives are invited to be part of the tour.
Can you identify yourself in this photo?. It was taken on the USS Carter Hall, a liberty ship bound for Moratai after the Millen Griffith another liberty ship ran aground at Finschaffen.
Standing at the rear is Eric McGuire, next line down is ?, Bill Carey, Craig Wilson, ?, Pat O'Toole, John Hollis, Les Laverty, Hugh Clark, ?, Jack Mitchell, the two in front are Neil McDonald and Ben Bullen. All served as tank crews in B Squadron at Balikpapan, 1945. Fortunately all in the photograph returned home safely.
Tony Fryer, Barrie Hodgson and John Howells attended the launch by Her Excellency the Governor of John Cox's biography of his father Jack on 31 October 2002. Jack Cox grew up in England, fought with the Yeomanry in the South African War, then eventually drifted to Australia. There he joined the Light Horse, and eventually took part in the Charge at Beersheba as a warrant officer. The book is well researched and well written, selling for under $30, posted. It can be obtained direct from the publisher at www.limeleaf.com.au .
It is also sad to note that the last of the Light Horsemen who served in World War I, has died at 102. Albert Whitmore died on Friday 26 July 2002 in Barmera, South Australia. Mr Whitmore was 17 when he joined up in March 1917 exaggerating his age. He was sent among reinforcements to the Middle East for the 9th Light Horse. In an interview in 2001, he said the greatest thing he remembered from that campaign was the mateship.
"Everybody I served with was a mate, we were cobbers together in a place we knew might see some of us never return home. I lost too many friends during that war, true friends."
Albert Whitmore is shown with his medals in 2001.
Lieutenant Colonel Wayne Higgins RFD (Commanding Officer)
The Regiment is strong, the Regiment is capable, the Regiment is motivated.
In a year of exceptionally high tempo, there are many highlights. Some stand out to show that the Regiment is as active, successful and committed as ever:
Exercising the Freedom of the City of Parramatta
The Light Horse returning to Goulburn with the opening of Suvla Training Depot and the formal re-raising of B Squadron
Combat Support Squadron reforming into Forward Repair Teams and providing magnificent support during tactical operations
EX Cobweb Clear, EX Whirling Dervish and EX Flashing Sabre, nine day training activities where the Regiment trained hard and built individual and collective capability
The Lancer Band performing at their peak during the Officers' 'Swing if You're Winning' Dance
EX Western Warrior, the Annual Field Exercise, almost 1,000 km by road through the Barrington Tops - absolute credit to the crews who prepared, deployed and maintained our vehicles on an exercise of this magnitude and except for one vehicle receiving a damn good wash, without serious accident, injury or breakdown
The continued success of C Squadron in the production of proud, smart, well-trained new soldiers
Rifle Company Butterworth - our lads winning the Section Competition and beating the infantry at their own game before deploying overseas
Ready Troop Alpha deploying with 2/14 Queensland Mounted Infantry
2003 will see training continue under the successful nine-day block format. Main Effort will remain as Developing Operational Capability but with a focus on Developing Junior Leaders. The year will culminate with a celebration of the sixtieth anniversary of the Battle of Sattelberg on Saturday 23rd November when we plan to exercise our Freedom of the City of Sydney, to drive in Column of Route across the Sydney Harbour Bridge, to Beat the Retreat and then conduct the Regimental Ball at Lancer Barracks - this will truly be a memorable day in an already magnificent history.
The Regiment has been exceptionally well supported by dedicated Full-Time staff who have given superb service over the last two years. To this band of faithful, competent workers, thank you and best wishes in your new postings. You have added value to the soldiers and to the Regiment.
To the members of the Regiment - train hard, learn everything that you can about your job and yourself, look after your mates, be proud to be a Lancer.
A Notice from the Department of Veterans' Affairs
Tasmanian veterans are the first in Australia to be able to lodge Department of Veterans' Affairs forms online with the launch of a trial program in Tasmania.
Once registered, veterans will be able to fill in forms and send them electronically, saving precious time in processing their claims for entitlements. Recent Veterans' Satisfaction Surveys have found that more and more veterans and their representatives are using the internet so it is appropriate to make important government services for veterans available online.
The trial gives the more than 20,000 Tasmanian members of the veteran community access to these innovative services and gives them the opportunity to provide feedback and input into the final product before it is released nationally in 2003.
A Media Release from the Minister for of Veterans' Affairs
The Federal Government has announced plans to create the world's largest film archive of veteran interviews, recording the stories of hundreds of war veterans for future generations.
The Australians at War Film Archive will be an unmatched historical collection, an immense resource for researchers, film makers and all Australians interested in our wartime heritage.
The concept was developed by Michael Caulfield of Mullion Creek Productions, who co-produced the Federal Government's acclaimed Australians at War television series for the Centenary of Federation.
Work commenced in December 2002, with plans to record and transcribe 2000 interviews with Australians who have served in wars and conflicts, both overseas and on the home front. The project is expected to take some two-and-a-half years to complete. The final product will be an archive totalling about 20,000 hours of veteran interviews, a sophisticated and comprehensive database that will be the largest archive of its kind in the world.
Norman Bent led a group last October, which included Gordon Yabsley and some 2/4th Armoured men and ladies, to Bilpin, to see Peter Ray's restored and operating Matilda. Also his great collection of Armour, Artillery and other military memorabilia. From reports, a good day had by all.
Bert Castellari for many years worked at Parliament House, Canberra, as a journalist and parliamentary secretary, and is still a member of the Press Gallery. He took me on a tour of Parliament House, in the areas not available to the public or tourists. It was a real eye-opener, it is just so vast, with all of the offices, ministers areas, media complexes for TV, press, radio communications. Galleries, meeting areas, information and library centres, and so much space. A big contrast to Old Parliament House, which became cramped and overcrowded. Bert said that when in session there are over 3500 people working there.
Links with 6 Div Cav Regt. Derek and Gordon Glasgow, of 6 Div Cav became Commanding Officers of the Lancers, Derek in 1943 and Gordon in 1958. Our wartime 2IC Major Ted Ryrie and other officers of 6 Div Cav also joined us in 1943. The second CO of 6 Div Cav 1941-42 was Lt Col Denzil Macarthur-Onslow, who had served in the Lancers 1922-24. We became a unit of 4th Armoured Brigade under his command. Post war as Major General Sir Denzil he commanded 2nd Division which included our 1/15th Royal NSW Lancers.
National Servicemens Association. Post war member David Power, of Noraville said he is a member of Central Coast Sub-Branch of that Association, of which he says there are other ex-Lancers. David wonders how many there are who completed Nasho training and went on for service in the Lancers as he did. He is at (02) 43972002. Could make an interesting item in a future newsletter.
Peter Teague was probably our youngest member from early WW2 days. His date of birth was 16.11.24, joined 1st Light Horse Machine Gun Regt on 9.10.40 (aged 15 years 10 months), marched in for full time training at Rutherford 17.12.41 (at 17yrs 1 mth), joined A1F on 17.12.42 (17yrs 8 mths).
Reg Mead of our SA Workshops Group passes on news of their doings. Their members are a good group, and welcome visitors to SA. If going there, phone Reg for a chat (08) 8344 5217. He rejoices in the nickname "Dasher". Has had trouble with feet lately but battling on. Can't be a dasher with crook feet.
Long Service - Geoff Morris joined the foundation committee of Gosford RSL Club in 1946 (56 years) and on it ever since. A Director since 1960 (42 years ) and treasurer since 1978 (24 years). Hugh Miller was 26 years President of Grafton RSL Club. Died in 1996. Bill Halliday was 21 years President of Rockdale RSL Club & Sub Branch. Tom Montgomery is still President of Parramatta RSL Club after 16 years The Lancers Association and 1/15th RNSWL have had good events there. Bruce Worsley - Hon Auditor Lancers Assoc for 54 years (1946-2000) David Donald - Still Hon Treasurer since 1954 - so far 48 not out. (Maybe some records in that list).
David Craven (unless otherwise noted)
Since last issue of August 2002. we heard of the deaths of the following:-
DOUG BLOW - of Albion Park, on 4.6.02. A veteran of our pre-war Gerringong Troop of 1st Light Horse (Machine Gun) Regt, Doug was in C Squadron, 1st Tank Bn in New Guinea. After he returned to Australia he was discharged to return to his dairy farm at Gerringong. He didn't attend reunions or keep in touch, and wasn't on our roll. His brother Bob also served in C Sqn in New Guinea and Borneo, but we have no post war information on him.
NOEL MONTEITH - listed in RSL "Reveille" of Sept/Oct 02, as Cfn 1 Army Tank Bn. Terry Hennessy said he was LAD, probably with B Sqn. Came from Shoalhaven Heads, and remained in the motor trade post war. It seems he was in New Guinea, but not Borneo. We have no listing, nor any contact at reunions or from newsletters.
COL WEIR - of Kiama, on 28.8.02, aged 90. Col was in C Squadron in New Guinea, but left the Regiment before Borneo. A few years ago he came to some reunions and events, and was well known. Ray Rutledge attended his funeral to represent the Lancers. It was said that Col lived his entire life in the house he was born in, which was built in 1860. That's remarkable.
CHARLES BEASLEY - listed in RSL "Reveille" of Nov/Dec 02. Not on our roll, but the service record file shows he came from 3rd Tank Bn in Feb 45, transferred to AEME later, served in New Guinea but left before Borneo. We have had no post war contact.
CECIL JURD of Wollongong, on 11.11.02, aged 89. Cec was a tall, quiet natured member of A Squadron's Q Store under Eric Hicks in New Guinea and Borneo. He didn't attend reunions in Sydney or Bomaderry, but kept in touch through newsletters.
BOYD FARLOW of Coffs Harbour, on 11.9.02, aged 85. Boyd was in the 2/4th Armoured Regiment Workshops unit during WW2, with service in Bougainville. Post war he joined our 1/15th Lancers, as did some others of 2/4th Armoured. He kept good contact with his 2/4th mates, and also with us by phone at times over the years.
BOB LORD of Randwick, in early December, aged 80. Bob joined us at Rutherford in January 41" becoming a tank crew member of B Squadron, with service in New Guinea and Borneo. Through the years Bob has been a supportive member of our Lancers Association, regularly attending reunions and other events. He was well known to, and highly regarded by many members.
DICK LUSTY of Cowra. Lusty R.P. (Dick) 79 passed, away on 26. 9. 02 after a long and sometimes painful illness. Dick joined the regiment at Dungog during the dark year of 1942 when there was a possible invasion of Australia. He was posted to B Sqn where he was to remain for the duration of the war. At Balikpapan Dick served as loader/operator in FHQ Troop. In civilian life Dick joined Associated Press publishers of the Sun, he then joined the English Women's Weekly and for a period was sent to the USA to promote the sales of that publication, later Dick was to retire and resided with his wife Colleen at Cowra. Hugh Clark Reports.
JOHN BARTLETT of Terrigal, on 24.12.02, aged 80.
John joined our 1st Light Horse MG Regt at 18 on 10.9.40. Potential as a soldier and leader was recognised by promotions, being commissioned on 4.7.42, three weeks before his 20th birthday, with posting as OC of 4 Troop A Squadron of then 1st Aust Tank Bn AIF. It was successfully involved in A Squadron's New Guinea operations on Huon Peninsula in support of 9th Division. He got typhus and malaria there while in action, was evacuated to hospital, then to Australia, and rejoined the regiment later at Southport. He missed the Borneo campaign, being at the AFV School, Puckapunyal.
Post war John trained as a dentist at Sydney University, and was then in practice at Bathurst 1952-80. He was Vice President of the Western NSW Dental Association, and involved in some Bathurst community services. Moving in 1980 to a beach front home in Terrigal with Alison, who he had married in 1946, he opened a new dental practice there until retiring. John was a good supporter of the Lancers Association and also of the Lancers Museum. He was highly regarded during wartime and post war by many of the Regiment Members of his 4 Troop called him "The Boss".
At his funeral, eulogies told that John was involved with local RSL and Rotary, and was a perfectionist, a leader, an example to young people, a modest achiever, generous, loving husband and father and a loyal friend. In the RSL's part, about 40 ex-servicemen laid poppies on the casket. Included in the 200 or more present at Gosford were Lancers members Jack Curtayne, Ted Martin, David Craven, Ron McKenzie, Murray Kerle, and Doug Spinney of 2/6th Armoured. We have said farewell to a good mate and an extraordinary man.
JACK THOMPSON of Bowral, on 31.12,02, aged 89. One of our veterans who joined our then Militia 1st Light Horse Machine Gun regiment in 1936 (the year we lost horses and became mechanised). Jack was a dairy farmer with his family at Gerringong. On full time duty, later AIF, he eventually became a tank crew sergeant of C Squadron, with service in New Guinea and Borneo. He has been a good supportive member of the Lancers Association through the years, attending reunions and other events and keeping contact. With his wife Hazel, who died in 1997, Jack's post war years were at Bowral, engaged in dairy farming and also horticulture, notably at two local private schools, gaining several awards, including the BEM in 1977. A quiet natured man, well regarded by army mates as well as locally through his community involvements. He was keen on sport, especially cricket, and was President, later Patron, of Bowral Cricket Club. For many years he conducted a coaching clinic at Bowral's Bradman Oval, and in fact knew Sir Donald personally. Jack was much involved with the Bowral Uniting Church, where his funeral was held, with over 200 attending. It included an RSL Service, with many veterans laying poppies and forming an honour guard for the departure of the casket. We were represented by John Blackberry, and David and Helen Craven.
Other Passings (Non-members)
MRS ISABEL CHANTER of Canberra, on 14.7.02, aged 101. Mother of ex-A Sqn member Alan Chanter, she was known to some members as a special lady, widow of Albert "Lynn" Chanter, Alan's father. He was a Captain in 4th Light Horse at Beersheba in 1917,and in WW2 as a Major in 12/16 Light Horse and 14th Machine Gun Regt. Mrs Chanter was one of the big group of Veterans at Gallipoli in 1990 for the 75th Anzac Anniversary.
MRS MOLLY CAMERON on 8.8.02. Widow of late member Tom Cameron.
MRS JOYCE FERNS on 28.9.02. Widow of late member Adrian Ferns.
Around mid 2002 an invitation was given to wartime Armoured Corps members to attend, primarily to celebrate the 62nd birthday of the School of Armour. Organiser Major John Baines gave details of the interesting programme and sought indications of interest, with bookings required by 31 December 2002. Being unable to promote it in the last newsletter, or in this one as too late, last October we sent details and invitations to around 50 members. Now, anyone reading this who either did or didn't get a letter, and wants to attend, should phone John Baines (03) 5728 1287 after hours, without delay. He may be able to take a late booking and can give details. He said bookings are good. It promises to be a rewarding weekend for those able to go.
As at the time of printing, the details about this event are yet to be decided by the Regiment - several alternatives are being considered. The date is definitely the first Sunday in March. More details will be available in February, 2003.
The arrangements are the same as for previous years. The ceremony starts around 2000 hours at Lancer Barracks. Once again, the Association has been invited to take part in the parade - any past members who intend to take part should be at the barracks by 1930 hours. Dress should be jacket, tie, beret and decorations. The invitation to watch the ceremony extends to any guests. Once again, the various messes will be open after the ceremony. The attendance at this ceremony has been declining in past years for what is quite a moving event. Hopefully more will attend in 2003.
Usual arrangements. Assemble in Hunter St, up from Pitt St, by 0900. Post war members joining our party are asked to please march in the rear ranks and wear jacket and tie (preferably regimental) and beret (if possible) as our WW2 veterans do, and so help maintain a good standard of dress and march discipline.
Once again, this will be the same arrangements as for previous years. The forming up point will be the corner of Philip and Bridge Streets, Sydney - look for the Lancers' banner or the distinctive black berets. Try to be there by 1100 hours but the Reserve Contingent is well down the order of march and generally moves off around 1130 hours. Dress should be jacket, tie, beret and decorations. In any case, a very good standard of dress is expected on the day! Attendance in recent years has been steady but could be much better considering the numbers of post-war Lancers. Anybody attending is encouraged to attend the reunion luncheon after the march - details are shown below. In keeping with the requirements of the RSL, children are discouraged from marching unless they represent a departed comrade.
Again at Balmain Bowling Club. Bus 442 to Balmain leaves Queen Victoria Building York St half hourly, at 10.34, 11.04 etc with returns from the Bowling Club at 15,40, 16.10 etc, as usual. For ferry times, phone to inquire. Cost is again $23 covering good roast lunch and drinks in the dry till period, unchanged despite cost increases. The Association covers the deficiency. Exact numbers are needed, so please book in. There are problems in arriving unexpected. Advance payment preferred, and we refund cancellations if we are told. Plan to sit with mates as we don't now arrange squadron tables. Please book by returning the response sheet by 1 April 2003.
Timing We will join the bowlers in their wreathlaying at 12.30, with lunch at 1300. No delays. Post war members arriving late after the Reserve Army March Group will have lunch held. To know numbers for this please indicate on the response sheet. This is important.
Drinks The dry till will apply from first arrivals from the March until budget allocation is reached, usually well after lunch. It will cover beer, table wine, scotch or soft drinks by the glass, but not bottles or other drinks. Those ordering must be identifiable as of our reunion, by name labels, regimental ties etc. Please help bar staff and us in this, to avoid free supply to others.
Annual Meeting We are obliged to hold one, which will be brief and interesting. Your chance for questions or to raise matters. We have a Toast to the Regiment, response by the CO, Silence for Departed Comrades, finance report and election of committee.
Invitation Interested wartime and post war members are welcome, with sons and sons-in-law if desired, to our annual chance to get together with old mates to share comradeship and good memories, Please come if you can.
Will be on Friday 30 May 2003 at Bomaderry RSL Club. An informal lunch get-together, ladies and friends are welcome. Terry Hennessy ((02) 4421 0795) can advise re travel, timing etc for any new starters.
The forming up point will be Hyde Park, Sydney - look for the Lancers' banner. Try to be there by 1000 hours but the actual march generally moves off around 1130 hours. Dress should be jacket, tie, beret and decorations. Like Anzac Day, there has been a steady attendance at these events over the last three years (actually slightly better than Anzac Day) but the Lancers should be able to muster more people on the day. While planning is well advanced, more details will become available around March, 2003.
Should they need one for Anzac Day, Association members will be pleased to note that the new batch of Regimental Ties has not been sold out (at $65 each they were likely to be?). Ties can be obtained by using the response sheet attached, or by placing an order on the Museum website follow this hyperlink.
We would like to acknowledge:
Algie, Brian; Armstrong, Bill; Aussel, Kevin; Aynsley, Alan; Balchin, Bill; Ballard, Ted; Bartlett, John; Bates, Morry; Bath, Ron; Beardmore, Doug; Bell, Geoff; Bice, Norm; Bigland, Bert; Blackberry, John; Bourke, Brian; Boyton, Val; Brown, David; Bulgin, Arthur; Burlison, John; Butler, Stan; Cable, Ron; Caradus, Jim; Castellari, Bert; Chanter, Allen; Chipperfield, Les; Chivas, Stan; Clarke, Graham; Clift, Doug; Colless, Tiger; Craven, David; Creswick, John; Crisp, Dave; Cullen, Buc (Ron); Curran, Jack; Donald, David; Downes, David; Drews, John; Drolz, John; Edwards, Philip; Fallowfield, Ted; Ferns, Doug; Fitzsimmons, Cynthia; Fogden, Roy; Forsyth, Ted; Gendle, David; Glenny, Warren; Grover, Fred; Halliday, Bill; Hartridge, Alison; Hennessy, Terry; Hoad, Allan; Horsfall, George; Howells, John; Howitt, Alan; Howlett, Hec; Hughes, Les; Iverach, Bob; James, Geoff; Jamieson, Norma; Jasprizza, Doug; Jessup, Roy; Kearney, John; Lamb, Jack; Linnert, Keith; Lowe, Ken; Lynch, Bill; MacKay, Gordon; MacRae, Keiran; Martin, Ted; Martin, Albert; Matthews, Bill; McDonald, Joan; McEwan, Snow (Alf ); McKenna, Daniel; McLean, George; McManus, John; Mikel, Henry; Morris, Geoff; Noble, Carl; O'Brien, Noel; O'Reilly, Peter; Paul, Alister; Pearce, Ted; Pentland, Norm; Philip, Bill; Pinnington, Doug; Polley, Ed; Pollard, Doug; Rokes, Bill; Rope, Ron; Roseby, John; Roughley, Bert; Sandry, Dick; Smith, Greg; Speary, Brian; Standring, Arthur; Street, Sir Laurence; Stuart, A.; Syratt, Ernie; Teague, Peter; Tesoriero, Dan; Thompson, Jack; Thurbon, Jack; Troup, Grant; Walters, Brian; Watson, Don; Watson, Colin; Winter, Bruce; Wright, Phil.
Allan Aynsley, Bill Balchin, David Ballard, Ted Ballard, Ray Birks, John Booth, Valerie Boyton, John Burlison, Nalda Butler, Stan Butler, Jim Caradus, Bert Castellari, Jim Chidgey, Neil Colquhoun, Terry Couldwell, David Craven, Christopher Dawson, David Donald, Pat Donovan, Bob Gay, Mark Gibson, Fred Grover, Bruce Gurton, Lyn Heath, Bernie Hill, Alan Hitchell, Barrie Hodgson, Eric Holland, Therese Holles, John Howells, Roger Hyman, Norma Jamieson, Neville Kingcott, Peter Knowland , Jack Lamb, Fred Legg, Michael Lewins, Sid Lewis, Keith Linnert, Jim Loughry, Neil Macarthur-Onslow, Ted Martin, Colin McDonald, Joan McDonald, Alfred (Snow) McEwan, Bruce McKnight, John McManus, Sam Mifsud, Keith Mountain, Marcia Newton, Marcia Newton, Joyce Peterson, John David Plowman, Doug Pollard, Doug Pollard, David Power, Mike Ribot, Ron Rope, Bert Roughley, June Simpson, Arthur Standring, Bob Stenhouse, Ray Stone, Dan Tesoriero, Col Watson, Aubrey Wheeler, Fred Wilkins, Dennis Wilkinson, Col Williamson, Phil Wright.
We posted a note in the last three Lancers' Despatch editions about re-activation of the Royal Australian Armoured Corps Association (NSW) John Haynes as President and Bill Cross as Secretary. Should you wish to join or re-activate your membership drop a line to the association at Building 96, Victoria Barracks, Paddington NSW 2071, or contact Bill Cross email@example.com.
As this edition of the Despatch went to print, we heard of the terrible bushfire devastation of the National Capital. The Regiment has a squadron based in Canberra - Goulburn. Some past and currently serving soldiers have lost their homes. Our past newsletter editor and association committee member David Craven's own home in the Canberra suburb of Duffy is safe (not so his front garden); his daughter's home in a nearby street was completely destroyed. To all those who were injured (to date we have not heard if any soldiers or association members were amongst those who lost their lives) or lost property, our thoughts are with you
Captain Peter Guides
This year the Regiment has produced a full gloss high quality journal capturing the serious and amusing moments of the Regiment over the last year. If you'd like to secure your copy, please send $10 with your name and address to "Regimental Journal, 1/15 RNSWL, 2 Smith St, Parramatta, 2150". All proceeds will go to helping members of the Regiment.
"A regiment is not solely the men who presently comprise its strength. It is an entity stretching back in time to its beginnings. It is all the men who have served in its ranks, with their traditions and achievements. The serving unit, like the tip of an iceberg, may be the only part you see, but underneath, supporting it, there is a great deal more." (These words, often quoted, were introduced by our Patron, Major General Warren Glenny, AO RFD ED, during his term as 2IC of 1st/15th Royal NSW Lancers in the 1960s)
Lancers' Despatch is Published in February and August each year by the New South Wales Lancers Memorial Museum Incorporated ABN 94 630 140 881 and the Royal New South Wales Lancers Association. All material is copyright. John Howells - Editor, New South Wales Lancers Memorial Museum Incorporated, Linden House, Lancer Barracks, 2 Smith Street, PARRAMATTA NSW 2150, AUSTRALIA, firstname.lastname@example.org Tel: +61 (0)414 886 461, Fax: +61 (0)2 4733 3951.
© New South Wales Lancers Memorial Museum Incorporated
ABN 94 630 140 881 - - - Site Updated May 2018
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