Lancers' Despatch 14
Website of the Royal New South Wales Lancers Lancer Barracks and Museum
Editorial From the CO's Desk Regimental Reunion Museum Matters 90th Anniversary of Beersheba The Light Horse in France 1916 - 1918 Federation Star John Plowman Boer War Memorial Departed Comrades Coming Events Thanks Please Help Regimental Bullion Badges RAACA Response Sheet .pdf Version
The past six months has marked a number of achievements and left a tinge of sadness. We had a great Regimental reunion, took part in the 90th Beersheba anniversary celebrations, and saw great strides taken in the look of the Museums exhibits. We also lost more of our remaining World War II veterans, and two members of the legendary Recce Troop of the 1960s.
Thanks very much for contributors John Blackberry, David Craven, Alan Hitchell, John Plowman, Eric Stevenson and Brian Walters.
Please note the RSL has announced that this year strict new rules will apply to the Anzac Day March:
Post War members must either march with their service contingent (Vietnam, Timor etc) or with the Reserve contingent. The Regiment will be represented with a banner party in the World War II and Reserve contingents. The RAACA will be represented by a banner party in the Vietnam contingent. There are relatives contingents in the march, so if you are representing a relative, then you must march with a relatives' contingent Children are not allowed to march.
For details, check-out Coming Events.
Lieutenant Colonel Eric Stevenson
Len Koles has had the genus of an idea in his head for some time. Anzac Day is a difficult time for reunions, it is all but impossible to find a venue, and Reserve Forces Day, while better, has over the past few years involved such an effort, that many of the participants who are now getting on a bit feel the need to struggle home after the march rather than pack out the Royal Automobile Club. So why not organise a reunion at Lancer Barracks. This year it happened. We all gathered on the last Sunday in October. Lancers from World War II, and almost all the years since; nearly 100, including past COs, COL Arnott, MAJGEN Glenny, LTCOL McPhee, LTCOL Iverach and COL Long. All accompanied by their families including many grandchildren. There were reminiscences, and a great time had by the kids, with grandmothers taken back to when they had to get grease from their husband's tank suits; the same skill now had to be applied to some small clothes. It was such a success that Len is again thinking; look forward to another one.
As a full report on this event will no doubt be found elsewhere in this edition of Lancers' Despatch, I would just like to relate my experience of this day.
On arrival, the first person I saw was a smiling John Howells, editor of this journal and Secretary of the Lancers Memorial Museum C'tee, who greeted me warmly while taking my photograph and probably wasting a film on a poor subject.
Len Koles then came from nowhere and extended another warm welcome - I was starting to realise I had made a good decision by making the effort to come along. I walked across the parade ground (punishable by death in the forties) inspected the restored historic vehicles and exhibits, tried again to mount the Matilda - and failed again. So I adjourned to the museum to see the new W.W.2 display of very interesting items which brought back mixed memories of younger days.
Then I ran into Geoff Morris who had kindly brought Ron Mackenzie down with him from Gosford. Ron lost his sight many years ago but always has a smile and enjoys company. Then John Drews and Blanche arrived followed by Grant Troup who was impeccably dressed - definitely the "Stick Man" of the day! Grant has had his share of health problems but is thinking positively.
Our group of Vets had by this time taken up a strategic position halfway between the free grog in the men's mess and the free tucker dispenser - so our brains appear to be working O.K. even if little else is.
Whilst holding this position, hatches closed and hull down we were approached by Bob Iverach, (Colonel of the Regiment 1982 -85) a very popular and supportive C.O. with the committee veterans who enjoyed a great weekend with the Regiment in Singleton camp during his command. Bob also wasted a film taking my photograph - must be interested in antiques?
Then I was very pleased to see Ron Cable - Post-war R.M.O. with 20 years in the Regiment and Vice President of the R.N.S.W Lancers Association. It was good to see Ron after his long fight back from some serious health problems.
So! At the end of an enjoyable day I think the veterans at least were glad we made the effort to go, and once again meet old, and not so old friends.
Thank you to those who organised the day and made us welcome.
A heart problem has not deterred Ross Brown on his quest to re-arrange and update the museum exhibitions. Ross with his small band have been beavering away Thursdays, and the second Sunday of each month, and the work is bearing fruit. Every day you visit, there is something new to see or an old exhibit has been made to look new. Congratulations to Ross and his team Ross Barker, Paul Maile, Ray Williams, Ian Hawthorn, Mick McGrath, Bob Iverach, Matthew Micleff and the others, the result looks great.
We should also mention the Museum Christmas Party and the contribution of Dianne Barnes. Dianne is a tireless worker, keeping us all in-line on our working weekends; the Christmas Party, held on the second Sunday in December to thank the volunteers for their work, however, is organised by her. This year as always, it was a great event.
A significant historical event was celebrated on Wednesday, 31st October, 2007 with the unveiling of a plaque commemorating the 90th Anniversary of the Charge at Beersheba. The unveiling took place at the Australian Light Horse Memorial in Shakespeare Place, Sydney, and was performed by Her Excellency the Governor of NSW, Professor Marie Bashir, AC, CVO. The ceremony was held at the actual hour of the original charge at 1630 hours with the moment celebrated by the sound of the cavalry charge being played by the bugler from the Regimental Band.
There was an excellent crowd in attendance for the ceremony with all the ranks being represented including at least one general a couple of brigadiers and a number of Lancers. Lots of black berets were evident! Of particular note was the presence of several past members of the 12/16th Hunter River Lancers, the current descendants of the 12th Light Horse Regiment who, with the 4th Light Horse Regiment, actually took part in the famous cavalry charge. There were many other guests and VIPs in attendance including the High Commissioner to New Zealand and the Turkish Consul.
The Prayer to the Fallen including the brave Turkish soldiers who laid down their lives defending what was once an outpost of the grand Ottoman empire, was read out by Reverend the Honourable Fred Nile ED, MLC - the ED is not a mistake as he was a commissioned reserve officer in the infantry. Anybody who has an Australian Defence Medal (ADM) should also thank Fred as he was one of the convenors of the New Medal Group who lobbied the Federal Government very successfully for the striking of the medal. Judging by the number of ADMs that were worn on the day, there has been quite a few issued!
The ceremony was followed by an official reception hosted by Tanya Gadiel MLA (state member for Parramatta), on behalf of the NSW Government and held on Level 41, Governor Macquarie Tower. The venue and the view were five star quality! This was also very well attended and enjoyed by all those present. The celebration went on well past the advertised closing time.
Special thanks go to the organisers of the day, the president, COL John Haynes OAM, and committee members of the NSW Branch of the RAAC Association.
The Museum also sent its vehicles to take part in the Beersheba 90th celebrations of the 12/16 HRL in Armidale, the parade was also attended by association members including former CO Lieutenant Colonel WD Higgins RFD who also served with 12/16.
In April 2008, until I had my small heart problem, I was to be a guide on a tour of the Battlefields of France. The tour turned out to be a big one, 700 participants; fully booked-out. As the only Armoured Corps member of the organising team, I was charged with finding out what the Light Horse did during the campaign. The Regiment had not been involved, the 1st was in Palestine so I had not previously had an incentive to research the topic.
What I found was interesting, after the last troops left Gallipoli in December 1915, most of the light horse were ordered to stay and defend Egypt from the forces of the Turkish Empire victorious at Gallipoli, and now sweeping down from Palestine. Open plains warfare was seen as suiting the light horse. The infantry, by contrast after a short stint in defence of the Suez Canal, was to be sent to France to help break the line of trenches that now stretched from Switzerland to the Sea in Belgium. The Light Horse divisional cavalry squadrons went with their divisions.
Thus June 1916 saw 2 squadrons of the 4 LH and all 3 squadrons of the 13 LH in France. On arrival, the squadrons were brigaded into corps mounted regiments. The two 4LH squadrons with a squadron of the Otago Mounted Rifles formed the 2nd Anzac Corps Mounted Regiment (later called the 22 Corps Mounted Regiment, when it served 22 Corps), the 13 LH became the mounted regiment for the 1st Anzac Corps and later the Australian Corps.
The light horse were employed in traffic control, to provide anti aircraft machine gun fire, despatch carrying, and when permitting the traditional tasks of patrolling ahead of an advancing force. They played a very key role in the battle of Villers-Brettoneux on 25 April 1918, when the tide of the German advance in was turned by Australian forces.
You can read the fruits of my research by clicking here, or come on the next tour in November 2008, and spend Armistice Day at Villers-Brettoneux. My doctor says that if I take all my drugs, and otherwise behave as directed, my heart will be strong enough by then; so you can have a cavalry guide.
For tour details contact Military History Tours (02) 9319 3007 or visit www.militaryhistorytours.com.au.
When most of us served, an officer had to retire at 47 (Major and below) and an OR at 55, not much time to run-up four or five bars to a long service medal. Now with the retirement age extended to 65, five bars are possible. What happens, however, is that when the time for the fifth bar is reached, the bars disappear and are replaced with a "Federation Star" (a representation of the crest of the National Coat of Arms). The only Lancer we know to reach the goal is Warrant Officer Class 1 Michael McConnell. At the age of Sixty One, Michael is still serving with Defence Force Recruiting. In September 2007, Michael received his Federation Star for the Reserve Forces Medal, quite some achievement for another (as a very young man) member of Recce Troop.
John Plowman, now living in Tasmania and soon to return to the mainland, sent us a memory. The photo shows the 1st guidon on parade during an inspection of the Regiment by the Governor General, Field Marshall the Viscount Slim KG, GCB, GCMG, GCVO, GBE, DSO, MC. John recalls that he was the driver of the ferret in the background and that Warrant Officer Howe was carrying the guidon. The late Alan Lawford (left of the guidon) was part of the Guidon party.
John also sent us a photo of him being presented with his Australian Service Medal. This stands as a reminder to anyone who served 4 years or more after 1948, or their service obligation if shorter. All you have to do is fill in the form and send it away. John chose to have his medal presented, you do not have to; you can have it posted to you. It shows that you served.
David Craven and John Howells
FRANK NORMAN CLIFTON Listed in RSL Reveille of July/August 07. He was not on our roll or service file, or known by committee, but Bert Castellari obtained advice from the internet, which showed that he was born in March 1922, so was aged 84 or 85. The date of death is not known. Frank enlisted in our regiment at Greta in August 1942, and was discharged at Southport in November 1944 as a corporal. It is doubtful if we had any post war contact. He would have served in New Guinea, but was not at Balikpapan. If any reader remembers him and can tell us more we would like to know. (David Craven)
PHILIP EDWARDS of Condobolin, formerly Orange and Baulkham Hills, on 2nd August 2007, aged 85. Our advice came from Sydney Morning Herald, Philip enlisted in June 1940 and was at 2nd Walgrove Camp of 1941. He finally served in 5 Troop A Squadron as loader/operator in New Guinea and Borneo, and was known to many. Any reader who has read the booklet "Memories of A Squadron", which was published in 2000, will recall the first and largest contribution to it which came from Phil, and he had a rather unique and amusing style.
Philip's younger brother Max also served in 4 Troop A Squadron, having enlisted in February 1942, and he died in 2000 aged 76, as reported in our old newsletter 25 of March 2001. It noted that Phil, Max and Bill Armstrong, also of our A Squadron, were all students and good mates at Trinity Grammar School. Post war Phil and Max both became solicitors. Philip's wife Margaret died some years ago. As said he was well known and liked, and will be well remembered by some of our readers. (David Craven)
HENRY MIKEL of Rooty Hill on 16 December 2007, aged 86. Henry was born in Poland, son of a pilot in the Polish Air Force. When he finished his schooling Henry followed his dad into the Air Force. When Germany conquered Poland in 1939, he was a cadet in the Air Academy. After capitulation, the Polish Air Force, including the Academy cadets fled to England to continue the fight. The trained pilots were drafted into the Polish squadrons of the RAF. The Academy cadets, were considered too young and untrained. As a group, they volunteered to join Free Polish units fighting with the British army. Henry saw service in North Africa and Italy with a mechanised unit. Captured at Monte Casino, he became a Prisoner of War in Germany. When the prison camp was taken by the Americans in 1945, Henry and his comrades volunteered to re-join their units in the hope of taking part in the liberation of Poland. That did not happen.
After demobilisation, he sought a a new life, migrated to Australia and anglicised his name. He worked with the New South Wales Railways, as a fireman and then driver; later becoming a technical officer at the Munitions Filling Factory, St Marys. It was his wife, Dorothy who suggested he could satisfy his interest in things military by joining the Australian Army. Henry enlisted in the Regiment in 1960. His vehicle and combat knowledge ensured he rose quickly through the ranks. Soon he was a corporal, then sergeant in the somewhat legendary recce troop commanded by the then Captain Glenny.
I met Henry in 1974, he had stayed on when others departed as the unit converted from Centurions and Ferrets to M113s. He was the chief instructor on my M113 Driving and Servicing course. He was to me, and many other young officers, the kind of mentor that you must have. My next memory was 1983 at Bourke. I was on the exercise headquarters under the now Colonel Glenny, Henry had risen to the rank of Warrant Officer Class Two, and was SSM HQ Sqn; we found each other on a side road, just North of Louth (one of us, I recall was geographically confused). By 1983, Henry was well over the retirement age of a WO2, at that time 55; with few Polish records surviving World War II, however, the Army did not know his real age; he had ceased to wear his wartime medals.
Henry eventually retired from the Army in 1984, he was a special guest of honour at the church parade in 1985, the Regiment's centenary year. He was resplendent in his uniform, all his medals on display, and a silver "R" on his shoulders. His boots were so shiny that you could see your face in them. The day was hot, so Dorothy had to forgo the shade of her umbrella, it had to be positioned to shade the boots should the sun take off the gleam.
Henry stayed in contact during his retirement; the last time we saw him was at the Regimental reunion in October 2007
Henry's funeral was held at Minchinbury on 21 December, the chapel overflowed, with Henry's family were some 30 Lancers including Association President Len Koles and three past Commanding Officers, Major General Glenny, Colonel Long, and Lieutenant Colonel McPhee; all of whom had served with and taken counsel from Henry.
Henry will be remembered as someone who contributed a great deal, serving his native Poland, and his adopted Australia to the very best of his ability. (John Howells)
GORDON AYRE of Toongabbie on 2 January 2008, aged 74. Gordon (Skunge) served in the Regiment in the 1950s and 1960s, in C squadron, RHQ as the control operator and Recce Troop. He was a noted Ferret D&S instructor. Of recent date, Gordon has been a Museum volunteer one of the small band at Lancer Barracks every Sunday working on the vehicle collection. He will be sorely missed.
His funeral service was held at Blacktown on 9 January 2007; it and the proper wake at the Blacktown RSL was well attended by his former Lancer comrades, and fellow Museum volunteers. (John Howells from information provided by Terry Boardman and Bill Prosser)
Anzac Day 2008
John Blackberry and Brian Walters
There will be some major changes to the Anzac Day March as a result of a change in policy by the NSW Branch of the RSL who control the march. These changes are designed to give World War 2 veterans more recognition than has been evident in recent marches.
There will be little change for the World War 2 veterans. They will assemble for the 62nd time this year at the usual Pitt & Hunter St corner - be there at 09:00 ready to move off at about 09.30. Last year, there were 17 veterans even though 7 regular attendees were missing. So, if you all make the effort, there should be at least 24 this year! Veterans can have a carer if they feel that they need one to take part in the march.
Other people will NOT be able to join this contingent. This includes relatives or descendants of veterans and the post war members of the Regiment – both of these groups have designated places later in the march. The exclusion of non-veterans for this contingent will be enforced by the march marshals and the committee of the Lancers’ Association.
The veterans will get together after the march on the first floor of the NSW Leagues Club in Phillip St. To those who have asked about returning to the Balmain Bowling Club the answer again is as follows. The bowling club, being small, does not operate a bistro on Sundays or public holidays and will only do so for a guaranteed minimum of 60 - a number the Lancers’ Association cannot hope to achieve. As previously advised, wide inquiries have been made about many venues without success. A total of 32 pubs have vanished from the CBD over the last 11 years and that has no doubt contributed to the problem. If anyone has a suggestion, the committee would be happy to investigate it further.
Post war members of the Regiment will be able to join the Reserve contingent that has taken part in the march over recent years. The forming up point will be the same time and place as last year, that is, the corner of Philip and Bridge Streets at around 11am – this group moves off around 11:30am. The contingent has its own distinctive blue banner or just look for the black berets! Dress should be to a high standard including jacket, tie, beret and decorations. Descendants or relatives of veterans or other members of the Regiment will not be allowed to join this contingent. The reunion will be with the veterans at the NSW Leagues Club or the Civic Hotel – the latter is official venue for the NSW branch of the RAAC and has been very popular over the last three years.
Descendants or relatives of World War 2 veterans will be able to join a contingent that will be participating for the first time under their own banner. This contingent is at the rear of the march. Details of the forming up point and times have not been officially advised but it is expected to be around 11:00 and will move off around 12:00. There are a number of directives to follow:
For all three contingents, one of the rules of the RSL is that NO children are allowed to take part in the march. Also, people should avoid taking part in the march more than once as has happened in recent years – the organisers are trying to keep the march as short as possible.
Please indicate in the response sheet if you will be there to let us know to look out for you - do not forget a donation for the Association and/or the Museum (Click Here for online submission Click Here for .pdf download to fax or post).
Lancers Association AGM 2008
The Annual General Meeting of the Royal New South Wales Lancers’ Association will be held at Lancer Barracks, Parramatta, on Sunday, 9 March 2008 commencing at 10:00 hours. At the conclusion of the meeting, the regular Committee Meeting will be held.
Reserve Forces Day 2008
The Sydney parade and others throughout Australia will take place on Sunday 6 July 2008 or the weekend before will acknowledge serving and former members from the three services.
This year celebrates the 60th year since the re-raising of the CMF after World War II in 1948, and 10 years of Reserve Forces Day parades.
We will be part of the Sydney march, assembling in College Street adjacent The Australian Museum at around 11:00 on 6 July. A reunion will take place afterwards in the Royal Automobile Club in Macquarie Street. A notice will be sent to post war members a few weeks before the event. For more information visit the Reserve Forces Day web site (www.rfd.org.au).
2 Training Group Reunion 2008
Those who either served in or trained at 2 Training Group, Bardia Barracks, Ingleburn in the 1970s, 80s and 90s might be interested in the Bardia Reunion on 15 March 2008. The function will be in the evening at Ingleburn RSL. For more information email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Thanks to the Following who gave donations to the Lancers Museum in the six months 1 July 2007 to 31 December 2007. Official receipts were posted out with this newsletter. Please note that the Museum is a tax exempt gift recipient; thus your donations are tax deductible.
John Blackberry, John Booth, Brian Bourke, Robert BROOKS, Christopher Brown, Alan Chapman, Les Chipperfield, Harry Crampton, David Craven, Horrie Cross, Phil Culbert, Ron Cullen, Jeffrey Darke, James Dick, Pat Donovan, John Drews, Ian Frost, Tony Fryer, Jim Gellett, Bruce Gurton, John Haynes, Alan Howitt, Roger Hyman, Bob Iverach, Norma Jamieson, John Kearney, Neville Kingcott, Jack Lamb, Joan McDonald, Alfred (Snow) McEwan, Danny McKenna, Sam Mifsud, George Pennicook, Les Perrett, Eddie Polley, John Rodwell, Jack Rolfe, William Wallington, Col Williamson, Wilma Wilson, E Wright, Roy Young.
Thank you all very much. Without this assistance, the Museum cannot continue to preserve and display the history of the Regiment and the Corps.
Thanks to the Following who gave donations to the Lancers Association in the six months 1 July 2007 to 31 December 2007.
Brian Algie, Ross Baker, Bill Balchin, Tony Blissett, Brian Bourke, Bert Castellari, Alan Chapman, Les Chipperfield, Chris Christenson, John Cook, Harry Crampton, David Craven, Phil Culbert, Ron Cullen, Jack Curtayne, Trevor Darby, Jeffrey Darke, Pat Donovan, Ian Frost, Jim Gellett, Warren Glenny, John Haynes, Roger Hyman, Bob Iverach, Norma Jamieson, JA Johnson, John Kearney, Neville Kingcott, Jack Lamb, Ken Lowe, Gordon Mackay, Kerian MacRae, Joan McDonald, Alfred (Snow) McEwan, Danny McKenna, Sam Mifsud, Brian O'Donovan, George Pennicook, Jack Rolfe, Col Williamson, Wilma Wilson, E Wright, Roy Young.
The Royal NSW Lancers Association and the NSW Lancers Museum operate because of your generosity. Please take the time to make a donation (Click Here for online submission Click Here for .pdf download to fax or post) and make a donation to the Association and/or Museum. Payment can be made by credit card, single cheque or money order. Donations to the Museum are tax deductible. Filling in and sending the response sheet also keeps your details current in our records.
We also need volunteers, in particular tour guides. There are working bees every Thursday, and the second Sunday of each month. Simply turn up, join up and you will be put to work.
Membership of the RAACA is free to all applicants over 75, and only $10 per annum for those who are younger. The RAACA NSW newsletter complements Lancers' Despatch, providing news of events in the wider corps community. If you wish to join the RAACA and receive the newsletter, drop a line to the association at Building 96, Victoria Barracks, Paddington NSW 2071, or eMail email@example.com.
"A regiment is not solely the men who presently comprise its strength. It is an entity stretching back in time to its beginnings. It is all the men who have served in its ranks, with their traditions and achievements. The serving unit, like the tip of an iceberg, may be the only part you see, but underneath, supporting it, there is a great deal more." (These words, often quoted, were introduced by our Patron, Major General Warren Glenny, AO RFD ED, during his term as 2IC of 1st/15th Royal NSW Lancers in the 1960s)
Lancers' Despatch is Published in February and August each year by the New South Wales Lancers Memorial Museum Incorporated ABN 94 630 140 881 and the Royal New South Wales Lancers Association. All material is copyright. John Howells - Editor, New South Wales Lancers Memorial Museum Incorporated, Linden House, Lancer Barracks, 2 Smith Street, PARRAMATTA NSW 2150, AUSTRALIA, firstname.lastname@example.org Tel: +61 (0)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