The Royal New South Wales Lancers
|Lancers' Despatch 30|
Bi Annual Journal of the
Royal New South Wales Lancers Association ABN 50 361 228 724
The New South Wales Lancers Memorial Museum Incorporated ABN 94 630 140 881
No 30 - February 2016
A Lancer in Afghanistan
Lancers at Pope's 100 Years on
Project ACE Our M113 2/2 MG Bn Flag The Elands River Flag Cigarette Cards The Regiment 1916 New Guinea Tank Driving
Surfing at Morotai Officers at Balikpappan Departed Comrades Thank You Help RAACA NSW Online Response Sheet
Download Printable Newsletter
Photos and text by the editor unless otherwise noted. Thanks very much to all contributers
Regimental Dinner (Officers and Senior NCOs) - Saturday 27 February 2016
Annual General Meeting - 1930 Wednesday 6 April 2016, Lancer Barracks
ANZAC Day - Monday 25 April 2015, Sydney, CLICK HERE for details
National Trust Exhibition - 16 April to 29 May at the Museum, Lancer Barracks
Boer War Day - Sunday 29 May 2016, Sydney, St Marys, Pretoria. CLICK HERE for details
Reserve Forces Day - 1000 Sunday 3 July 2015, Sydney
Postage Price Rise
As you will all be aware, postage costs have risen to $1 per standard article within Australia. This puts a strain on our resources, the printing and posting of Lancersí Despatch is the largest single administrative expense for the Lancersí Museum and Association. The postage is not covered by any concession. By a judicious pre price rise purchase of post-paid envelopes, this edition is not affected, however, in future it will be necessary for the snail mail address list to be closely reviewed. We will ensure surviving WW2 members, older Association members, widows and key decision makers will continue to receive paper copies; however, others who do not take the trouble to make a donation, may have to be removed from the list. This raises the point that some are receiving a paper copy and could rely on email advice. The online version has more features (colour, video etc), so it is important that IF YOU HAVE AN EMAIL ADDRESS Ė LET US KNOW!
Regimental Band Information Needed
We have been indexing all our photos. We came across a good number of the band and we would like the following information in order to date them and identify some of the players.
Names of Band Masters since 1986 and the period of their appointment. We have been able to find all the names up until then.
When did the Band wear the blue coats? A Band Master had their white ceremonial jackets dyed light blue and this caused a reaction from on high. We have found a number of photos of the Band wearing the coats and cannot date them. A previous article in Lancers' Despatch would indicate Colonel Arnott was CO at the time, if anyone has more info, please let us know.
Lieutenant Colonel Rob Lording
The Regiment began 2015 with a focus on the second half of the 'readying' cycle and the generation of a protected lift capability for Battle Group Waratah as well as light cavalry scout dismounts for employment with 2/14 LH (QMI). In what promised to be a very busy and challenging training program, the Regiment was to provide these capability bricks and support the reinforcing battle group force generation activities while maintaining the underlying raise, train and sustain functions as well as our engagement with the local community.
The Regiment was also required to continue PMV support to a range of different units and activities. In early January a small number of PMV and crews were tasked to assist 2 Commando Regiment in the conduct of a mission rehearsal exercise prior to deployment to the MEAO. This provided the crews with an opportunity to more closely observe Special Forces tactics, techniques and procedures and to train the assigned RACT members in vehicle skills with a mounted combat focus. The assistance greatly contributed to the readiness of the deploying force and crews were commended for their tactical proficiency.
In February, the Regiment welcomed the return of Major Marshall Kim to take command of A Sqn together with Captain Colin Bigger (21C) and the recently promoted W02 Andrew Moore (SSM). Captain Clinton NgChok arrived as the new Adjutant and W01 Dale Wallace returned to Lancer Barracks as the Regimental Sergeant Major.
Polygon Wood 15-1 was the first major training activity for members of Battle Group Waratah and took place at Singleton Training Area in late March. The training block provided an opportunity for PMV crews to commence the integration with 12/16 HRL, with all participants involved in small arms practices.
In April the Regiment was involved in a large number of community support tasks to commemorate the centenary of the landings at Anzac, including an extensive week long series of events conducted by Castle Hill RSL. The Anzac Day Dawn Service at Parramatta and the march through Sydney saw the largest contingent of current and past unit members in many years. For the second year, B Sqn has supported the Murrembateman and Crookwell communities. Unfortunately, one of the Bushmaster PMV's returning from Crookwell was involved in a serious accident. Although there was extensive damage to the vehicle the crew received only minor cuts and bruises which is a testament to the protection afforded to occupants.
Battle Group Waratah continued preparations for certification during Exercise Polygon Wood 15-2. PMV crews together with the Light Cavalry Scout sections returned to Singleton for a further 9 day block where the focus was on live fire and movement culminating in a Combat Team attack.
This was closely followed by the unit's annual field firing activity, Ex Lancer Thrust, which concentrated on individual weapons qualification and competency, including F3 Grenades, 84mm MRAAW and .50cal. The earlier work done in qualifying Battle Group Waratah personnel on LF6 was evident in the effectiveness of weapons handling and the application of general marksmanship principles. Junior leaders used the opportunity to practice target indications, fire orders and the application of fire while Officers revised engagement area (EA) development and synchronisation of weapons effects. Valuable lessons were re-learned about the relative effectiveness of smoke obscuration when employed by Light Cavalry scout sections, as well as the siting and employment of 84mm MRAAW. The range practice culminated in a section security position practice which demonstrated significant improvements in the way in which Troops applied weapon systems in a synchronised manner aligned to the EA and plan for battle.
After extensive preparation, the members of Battle Group Waratah headed north to Shoalwater Bay to participate in 7 Brigade's Ex Diamond Strike with two light Cavalry Scout sections attached to 2/14 LH (QMI). At the conclusion, a composite Light Cavalry Scout section remained for Exercise Talisman Sabre, where Corporal Holies* distinguished himself by securing vital intelligence from Commander 3 Brigade's 'baggage train'.
In mid-July the CO, RSM and Guidon party travelled to Canberra to participate in the 2nd Division Centenary Parade at the Australian War Memorial. Despite the wet and cold weather, the parade was a memorable event with all the guidons, colours and banners of the Division paraded and reviewed by the Governor General.
The Regiment resumed unit training activities over a series of weekends at Majura Training Area during the period between June and August. Attention was given to close target reconnaissance (Exercise Beersheba), surveillance (Exercise Gaza), and operating within urban terrain (Exercise Unicorn).
On the evening of 6th August 2015, a contingent of B Squadron members were present at the Australian War Memorial in Canberra to commemorate the centenary of the August offensive at ANZAC. To mark the occasion, Captain Ian Goodwin undertook the reader task during the Last Post ceremony and a wreath laid to acknowledge all the members of the Regiment who served at Gallipoli, including 147 members killed or wounded in the attack on the Chessboard. Corporal Dean Scott was selected to represent the unit as part of the Gallipoli 2015 August Offensive and travelled to Gallipoli for commemorative events at Lone Pine and The Nek.
The final training activity for the year saw the Regiment concentrate at Holsworthy Barracks in mid-October. An extensive and elaborate deception plan had been implemented which shaped unit members into believing they would be conducting Air Mobile Operations. OPSEC was achieved and generated considerable surprise when personnel were captured by an enemy party from 4/3 RNSWR and put through an escape and evasion exercise. The free play activity afforded a good opportunity for junior leaders to use their initiative and also to apply skills practiced during previous training activities.
For some years, the Regiment has experienced vacancies in the senior NCO ranks as a result of the increased training obligations and difficulty in having personnel panelled. In October, Dean Scott and David Damary were promoted to Sergeant and will fill crucial positions in A Sqn and RHQ.
Now that the unit is in the Ready cycle, opportunities have arisen for personnel to be deployed. SGT Glenn Tingle will be the CSM for Transit Security Element 79 as part of Operation Resolute together with 11 NCO's and soldiers from the regiment. We wish them a successful and safe deployment and look forward to their return in mid-2016.
The Band has had another very busy year supporting Regimental and other unit activities while continuing the important work of maintaining links with the Parramatta and local community. The band completed their annual Exercise Hornblower at Holsworthy in mid April to qualify individual musicians and performance skills prior to their extensive Anzac Day support tasks. This year Band support included Op Slipper Welcome Home Parade, 2nd Division Centenary Parade, Battle of Crete and Vietnam Veterans Day. In addition, the Band has done workshops with The King's School and a variety of other community events. Parramatta City Council recognised the Band during the Front Line Services Dinner with an Award for Commitment. The Band now has an active facebook page CLICK HERE lots of music and details about Band activities, well worth a visit and a "like".
The Regiment has also been able to renew the affiliation with 1st The Queens Dragoon Guards (QDG) over the course of the last year. In late 2014 a former Commanding Officer, Colonel Alan Richmond, visited Lancer Barracks and later joined Officers for an impromptu dinner at the Hero of Waterloo. It proved to be an excellent opportunity to understand broad changes affecting the British Army, the Royal Armoured Corps and the Territorials. Subsequent visits by Captain Bryn Williams (Adjutant) and Captain Ross McKellar (Troop Leader) provided suitable excuse for further social engagement. In September the CO and RSM paid a reciprocal visit and joined the QDG for the Waterloo Dinner at Cardiff City Hall to celebrate the bicentenary of that famous victory.
Congratulations to Musician Chris Hand who in late November was presented with a Regimental Association award for being the Regiment's Soldier of the Year for 2015. Apart from playing marching bass drum and jazz guitar, Chris sorts much of the band's paperwork and looks after the Band's pay. Congratulations Chris.
On 1 January 2016 the Regiment saw a change in command with the promotion and appointment of Lieutenant Colonel Scott Francis. CLICK HERE for Colonel Francis' biography. A reserve officer with service in WAUR, 10 LH, UNSWR, HQ 8 Bde, and the Regiment where he served as Sqn TO, Sqn 2IC, Sqn OC, and Regtl 2IC; Colonel Francis has seen operational service in the Middle East.
In 2016 the next force generation cycle will have its share of new challenges and there are opportunities for closer and more integrated training with 12/16 HRL and 2/14 LH (QMI). The Regiment is well placed to take advantage of them and I would like to extend my appreciation for the significant contributions made by all members.
* Son of Frank, past CO, and grandson of Reg who served with the Regiment in WW2.
Tenax in Fide
Brigadier Philip Bridie, AMís early military service was with the ARA; an RMC graduate, he was a troop commander with 2 Cav and 1AR, then RTA and RLO with 1AR before transferring to the Army Reserve. Brigadier Bridieís first posting at the Regiment was as Commanding Officer where he served with distinction from 1998 to 2000. At that time he had been in the Reserve for 11 years, initially with the ARES squadron 1AR then 4/19 PWLH in Victoria; moving to Sydney in 1996 for work, he was by then a Major, and was made a staff officer at HQ 5 Bde. In civil life he has worked for Fujitsu, Chubb and in other business ventures; a key skill he developed was managing contracts delivering goods and services to the Department of Defence.
Promoted Brigadier in 2007, he commanded 8 Brigade, and filled a number of staff postings. In late 2013, he received the Ďphone call all soldiers are waiting to receive; "would he like to deploy to Afghanistan?". In the video below Philip tells his story, the story of a Reserve soldier with the civil and military skills his country and the world needed on operations.
Your Association has been very active in the past six months. We joined the Battle for Australia Association, in part recognising the Regimentís participation in the defence of Australia in New Guinea and Borneo 1943 Ė 1945, and in part to support past Honorary Colonel, Major General Warren Glenny AO, RFD, ED, now president of the association. Joining fees were covered by an anonymous benefactor; we did not waste your money.
We also ran the annual reunion at Lancer Barracks on 1 November 2015. Many old friends reunited.
In August 1914, the First Light Horse Regiment was formed, it trained at Rosebery Racecourse in Sydney's East before departing for Egypt, Gallipoli then Palestine.
The old racecourse is long gone, but for many years there was a small memorial to the Light Horse at the site. In the centenary year, the Botany Bay Council and the local historical society took advantage of an ANZAC Centenary grant to re-build the memorial and re-name the small green space surrounding it "Light Horse Park".
The rededication ceremony was attended by Lancers association members and Light Horse re-enactors; a link to the present day from those who trained on the site 100 years ago.
Association members are also very active in ensuring Reserve Forces Day is a memorable event, a look around the room at the 2016 launch on 15 November 2015 had Colonel Arnott remarking just how many of the people in key positions he could recognise by their black berets and Lancer badges. Association members are also very active in local RSL Sub-Branches, General Glenny, Brett Kenworthy, Mick McConnell, Tony Fryer Ross Brown and Ray Williams all hold executive positions at Castle Hill, Bathurst, Penrith, St Marys, Padstow and Ingleburn respectively.
Mick McConnell received an Australia Day award from the Penrith City Council for services to the community.
And his item from the "Nepean News" attests furtherer to the work of Association members:
Mulgoa MP Tanya Davies said she was pleased to present Tony Fryer of the St Marys RSL Sub-Branch with a NSW Government Community Service Award.
Tony is a dedicated member of the St Marys Vietnam Veterans' Outpost "the train" near St Marys RSL.
Although primarily an association of Vietnam Veterans the train also provides assistance to Australian veterans of other conflicts, serving members of Australia's armed forces and veterans of allied forces.
Support provided ranges from basic entitlement advice, claims assistance and advocacy services.
"In typical Tony-style, he had ro be called away from serving the BBQ to receive his award," Tanya Davies said.
"Tony is an absolute gentleman and champion. He is incredibly dedicated to his work and I am thrilled that his efforts have been recognised."
Our Association treasurer Brian Walters is quick to sniff out an old soldier who has fallen on hard times. He makes certain we help where we can.
Most people have seen the film Gallipoli, it depicts the loss of 80 members of the 10th Light Horse at the Nek on the morning of 7 August 1915. The 10th went over the top soon after 0430, they had been preceded by two waves of the 8 LH, 154 dead. The 10thís casualties had been lower as they recognised the suicidal nature of the attack and were able to take cover behind the bodies of their dead Victorian comrades.
Due to go in with the attack by the 8 LH was an attack by the Regiment (1 LH AIF) but a few hundred metres to the south west; from Popeís Post onto a chessboard of Turkish trenches on the next ridge. It went in earlier, 0330; the deaths at 86 (147 killed and wounded), not that much different to those of the 10th, just no Peter Wier film to etch the action into the minds of our countrymen (not helped by Wikipaedia's garbled account attributing the action to 2LH).
On the morning of 7 August 2015, a little after 0300, a small group of four Lancers (David Hooper, John Howells, John Palmer and Bob Stenhouse) pushed their way through the scrub onto Popeís Hill, Gallipoli, the 1915 start line, to commemorate the action. The most memorable part of the commemoration was a reading by David Hooper (currently SSM B Squadron) of the service record of Sergeant Russell who died on that fateful day 100 years ago.
The Honorary Colonel, Colonel Lee Long RFD, and the Regimentís official representative at the August Offensive commemoration, Corporal Dean Scott were both in the area but did not make it to Popeís that morning.
Colonel Long did us a great service during his time at Gallipoli, photographing every 1st Light Horseman's grave he could find; most sadly are only mentioned on the wall at Lone Pine, please take the time to scroll through the names below.
Colonel Long also provided us with a series of slides that cover the official ceremony at Lone Pine.
2016 was quite a landmark occasion for the Museum. Many thanks to Ian Hawthorn whose fund-raising and publicity work keep us afloat, Ross Brown for curating the non-vehicle collection, Paul Martyn-Jones and Bill Prosser the vehicle collection, Steve Lesley, Chris Dawson, and Tony Fryer our intrepid Sunday guides; and Jack Best, Dave Crisp, Michael McGraw, Gordon Muddle and many others who turn their hands to just about anything. Then comes the executive Len Koles, our hands-on president and Joe Tabone, Treasurer and vehicle specific projects manager. The Museum is blessed with a team of committed volunteers each with special skills that they generously apply.
Sunday visitor numbers have been good, and the range of special non-Sunday visits expanded to include groups of less than 10 provided 10 are paid for.
The upgrade of Museum facilities is now all but complete with almost all of the new Masonite-free cabinets installed and lighting now using low-energy LED technology.
Following a sterling effort my Michael McGraw, the Museum now has an active facebook page CLICK HERE showing articles and news on the Museum activities, well worth a visit and a "like".
Read on to find out where we are with key Museum projects.
Following a lead from Phil Hastings, a group led by Dave Crisp drove to Moss Vale to have a look at a reported Matilda hull to see what spare parts they could buy.
They found the hull was complete with engines. It was covered with moss, full of water and leaves. 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 the some other faded letters.
A few months later, Dave spoke to the late 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. This would be a fitting memorial to our comrades who paid the supreme sacrifice.
Since then we have been working to restore ACE. Ian Hawthorn set up a formal project with Joe Tabone as project manager, and himself as the fundraiser. The funding requirement was substantial, over $80,000 in cash and kind has been spent. All of the Museumís volunteers have been involved with the project in one way or another over the past 17 years. The core group of skilled tradesmen spending almost every Monday, Tuesday and Thursday at the School of Military Engineering then Cecil Park. Dave Crisp, George Glass, Paul Martyn-Jones, David McEwan-Fergusson, Ray Jones, Len Koles, Steve Lesley, Michael McGraw, Gordon Muddle, Dave Murray, Joe Tabone, Chris Pidcock, Bill Prosser, Rick Vincenti, and others will soon have to find something else to do on a Tuesday (like restore a Staghound?), as the project is now all but finished.
In December 2015, the Matilda moved again after 60 years. Yes it only drove 10 metres forward and 10 back from its makeshift hangar, but, it moved under its own power.
The elation of the hard working team can be felt, even our Museum President Len Koles smelly pipe appeared to puff by itself in celebration as he crew commanded the old girl. There is still quite a bit to do, in fine tuning the steering, attaching the turret and painting it in period colours. We are, however, nearly there, congratulations to all involved.
A very sincere "thank you" to those who responded to our online request for financial assistance to cover the costs in obtaining and refurbishing one of the M113s currently being disposed of by the Defence Australian Military Sales Office. The generosity was remarkable. And thanks to the efforts of the RSM, WO1 Dale Wallace, we will be able to spend this on getting the item ready for display rather than defraying sale cost. The Museumís treasurer Joe Tabone has the money in a special account for the M113. We are now advised M113 should appear at Lancer Barracks in February 2016; here's hoping! Donít forget that the donate button is readily accessible on our website should you too (if you haven't already) wish to help (you can even now use your AMEX card).
In great news for veterans and families of the 2nd/2nd Machine Gun Battalion as well as lovers of Australian military heritage, the Museum has been successful in applying for a prestigious Community Heritage Grant from the Commonwealth Government that will see the Battalionís WW2 flag professionally conserved and framed for future display in Linden House.
On the outbreak of WW2 in September 1939, the Lancers were a motorised Machine Gun Regiment designated the 1st Light Horse (Machine Gun) Regiment (Royal New South Wales Lancers). The same conditions applied as in WW1, in that Australian Military Force units (permanent and militia) were not allowed to be deployed outside of Australia Ė hence the raising of the 2nd AIF. Again, as in WW1, the first ranks of the new AIF units were extensively filled from the ranks of AMF volunteers. So it was that the Commanding Officer of the 1st Light Horse (Machine Gun) Regiment, Lieutenant Colonel DA Whitehead, MC and approximately 100 members of the Regiment helped form the 2nd/2nd Machine Gun Battalion.
The Battalion sailed with the 2nd AIF in February 1941, bound for the Middle East. Initially deployed at Mersa Matruh in Egypt, it moved to Syria and became attached to the Australian 9th Division, the famous Rats of Tobruk. It was here that the Battalion was issued a new flag, incorporating the 9th Divisionís Rats of Tobruk "T" insignia in Battalion colours, yellow and black. This famous flag subsequently flew at Battalion HQ at the battle of El Alamein, one of the turning points of WW2. Following the Battalionís return to Australia with the AIF, the flag also flew in action at Lae, Finschafen, Sattelburg and Sio and, as part of the OBOE operations in 1945, at Tarakan and Labuan.
As you can now see, the Battalion has a rich and proud military history and, along with it, its Battalion flag. Now ageing and becoming fragile (as you can see from the photo) the flagís condition will be stabilised and it will be framed to the highest conservation standards. Once the treatment has been completed early in the New Year, it will be returned to the Museum where it will be placed on display in the section of the Linden House display devoted to the 2nd/2nd Machine Gun Battalion, where it will be available to descendants of the Battalionís members and members of the public for generations to come.
[Editor's Note] Followers of the Regimental History will note that the Royal New South Wales Lancers as a unit was allowed to join the AIF in 1942 to be deployed with tanks to New Guinea and Borneo. The Statute of Westminster Adoption Act in 1942 gave Australia authority over its forces when overseas removing the need for an "AIF" separate from the "AMF" now referred to as the Australian Army. The Australia Act 1986 ultimately removed the right of the British Parliament to control our nation. Eventually we may be able to overcome the cringe that keeps that foreign symbol in the corner of our national flag. [Note: The flag comment reflects the strongly held Australian apolitical conviction of the editor John Howells; not the opinion of the Lancers Association or Museum.]
For several years Museum Volunteers have struggled to discover the origins of a battered Union Flag in the collection, with the following embroidered words:
"Siege of Elands River August 4th 1900; Surrounded by Boers, relieved by Lord Kitchener August 17th"; and at the bottom left corner, "Presented to (indecipherable title) E Cochrane".
At the time, the Siege of Elands River, although a modest action with limited strategic importance, was given great significance because a small garrison entirely of Colonial Volunteers had successfully defied General Koos de la Rey, arguably the most successful Boer commander in the war, when British Generals wrote the garrison off as a lost cause. The garrison was approximately 200 strong, made up of roughly equal numbers of Rhodesian and Australian volunteers, pitted against estimates of several thousand Boers armed with artillery and pompom guns. It was the first time Colonial Volunteers had engaged in a significant action without British Army support.
Research of contemporary and later accounts of the siege revealed that the Union Flag flown by the garrison was continually shot down by the Boers and it, or replacements quickly run up again. Could the Museumís flag have been one of those that actually flew at the siege? If so, the Museum had an item of international heritage significance. If not, it might simply be an interesting item of period memorabilia, made by or sold to a patriotic family of the time. The key was probably the identity of the mystery E Cochrane.
Study of the rolls of every Australian unit which was present in South Africa at the time of the siege revealed several Cochranes, but none with the initial E. Through the internet we made contact with Gerry van Tonder, a Rhodesian historian with a special interest in Rhodesians in the Boer War. He was fascinated by the flag, but advised there were no Cochranes among the Rhodesians at Elands River. However, he did connect us with Peter Wilmot back in Australia, who is writing a book on the siege.
How Peter connected with archival copies of the Touch Bearer, the Sydney Church of England Grammar School magazine remains a mystery, and a secret of an experienced historical researcher. However, he discovered that a pupil at the College in 1900 was named E Cochrane. At the GPSAAA combined sports meeting at the Sydney Cricket Ground on 21 September 1900, Cochrane won his heat of the 100 yards (92 metres) sprint and came third in the final. At this same meeting, for the first time a flag team of 1600 yards (4x400 yards relay?) (1463 m) was run. It was so successful that it would probably be run again but, tantalisingly, there is no record of the names of the winning team.
The conclusion is therefore that E Cochrane was either captain or a member of the winning flag relay team, and was presented with the Museumís flag as a prize. If so, we do not have an item of international heritage significance, but probably one of state or even national significance, with a fascinating story illustrating Australian concepts of patriotism in 1900. But Ė is this indeed the answer to the mystery? Some, including Gerry van Tonder, are not convinced.
Can any reader add any further light to this particular Museum mystery?
Cigarette Cards were quite popular in Victorian times and well into the 1930s; they originated from America in the 1870s. At the time, cigarettes were sold in paper packaging and a piece of cardboard was inserted into the packaging in order to stiffen it. It was realised by the Allen and Ginter tobacco company that they could be used as a form of advertising and the trading card was born.
Beginning as an advertising gimmick, Cigarette Trading Cards soon progressed to collectable numbered series on particular themes, including sports and the military. The New South Wales Lancers were depicted by a number of different cigarette manufacturers following their service in the Boer War, some examples appear below.
Trooper Morris - Taddy's Premier Navy Cut (note the gold buttons, balanced badge and un-awarded VC)
Captain Cox - Gallaher Limited - The South African Series
New South Wales Lancers Private - Coronel Conquerer Cigars (obverse and reverse)
An example of Trooper Morris' cigarette card is held by the Museum.
In the August 2015 edition of Lancersí Despatch we left-off with the Regiment leaving Gallipoli for Egypt. We pick up the serialisation of the Regimentís History in January 1916. (Text from the Regimental History, map courtesy Google, photos from Wikipaedia commons, and the Museum collection, including Hurley's historic Paget colour photo.)
On 14 January 1916 the Regiment, less first line transport with the quartermaster and 20 men who were entrained for Wardan, marched out of Heliopolis and bivouacked that night at the Barrage. Wardan was reached on the next day and camp pitched on the desert side. On the 19th A Troop of A Squadron under Lieutenant Mack was detached to guard the freshwater canal at a spot between Xer Teiria and Alquam.
A refresher course of mounted training similar to that undergone a year earlier was carried out, but there were many gaps in the ranks at Gallipoli, mostly on 8 August 1915 when half the casualties of WW1 occurred. The days were bright and the nights icy cold, as is usual in Egypt. The want of fuel was keenly felt and the officers gave their issue to the men, buying kerosene and Primus stoves for the necessary cooking in their mess. The unit was reinforced by Lieutenant Snow and 51 other ranks, and Lieutenant Mack's troop rejoined on 8 February 1916. Details had been left at the Aerodrome Camp under Major Vernon and the Regiment was kept up to strength by drafts from there.
Orders were received on 12 February to take up a line at short notice on the edge of the desert and the agricultural lands of the Nile Valley several kilometres south of Wardan. HQ Section and C Squadron entrained for Benibazar; A Squadron's destination was Semalut, B Squadron's was Fashn, all on the main Upper Egypt railway line. A Squadron camped in the market square and was the centre of much interest to the inhabitants who evidently had not seen Australian Light Horse before. On the 13th RHQ and C Squadron moved to Bahnasa and on the next day the disposition was as follows: A Squadron, two troops at Shusra on the Yusef Canal and two at Semalut; B Squadron, HQ and two troops at Ezsert Bushra Bey, one troop at Fashn, one at Mazura Bridge; one troop of C Squadron with one machine gun was posted to watch Saqula Bridge, under Lieutenant Garbett; the remainder of the unit at Bahnasa.
Orders were to stop all communication between the Senussi, on the desert side, and the Egyptian population of the Nile Valley. There was a danger of the Senussi making raids, and the Regiment covered a front of nearly 80 kilometres by patrols day and night. There were also political reasons for the presence of Allied troops in these parts, nationalism being very strong among the wealthy Pashas. On the 22nd A Squadron moved to Ezbit Sidouan and the machine gun crew was moved from Saqula Bridge to Mazura Bridge, relieving the 2nd LH machine gun detachment which returned to Minia.
Because of the many dead dogs and donkeys in the Yusef Canal, the water was not very appetising; each native village was drained into the canal, yet the health of the men remained good. No one was allowed to bathe as the bilharzia worm was a constant source of danger. The horses did well on patches of grazing and the green berseem which was issued with Indian corn and maize.
B Squadron concentrated at Ez Bushra, marched 24 kilometres to Sandafa and bivouacked on the eastern bank of Bahr Yusef Canal on the night of 8-9 March. The troop under Lieutenant Garbett at Saqula was relieved by the Lincolnshire Yeomanry and relieved C Squadron at Bahnasa. At this time Lieutenant GN Mills became quartermaster, vice Lieutenant Lindsell (the original Regimental No. 1 of 1st LH) who returned to details at the Aerodrome. On 9 March the Regiment, less A Squadron, marched toEzbet Road, Pasha Sherei, and bivouacked there on that night. Next day the unit moved on south and took up a line with the main body at Tukh el Kheil and detachments at Bassan Pasha and Nazeet el Abid. On the 19th 56 reinforcements arrived, and for the remainder of March the 1st LH continued to blockade the agricultural lands and patrolled well out into the desert, the rumours being that Turkish officers were crossing the Red Sea and thence the Canal getting into communication with the Senussi. None, however, were captured by the light horse, although the armoured cars were more successful. During April, the 1st LH continued hold what was known as the Minia section, doing day and night patrols. The men played the game and no damage to crops or inhabitants was reported, and when the unit entrained for the Sinai front early in May, one influential Arab in saying farewell remarked: "All the people of my village speak well of your men and the children will remember them in their prayers." During the month of April Captain Weir was attached to the Highland Mounted Brigade (with headquarters at Sohag) as staff captain and commandant of Sohag, rejoining the 1LH at Hill 70 during the second week in May. On 3 May, A Squadron less one troop, under Major Lawry, marched out from Ezbit Sidouan to El Wany leaving B Troop at Ezbit Sidouan. El Wany Essa is a small village just on the edge of the desert; a big camp had been formed there as the advanced base for operations against the Senussi.
It had been decided to push across the barren, waterless desert to an oasis occupied by the Senussi, and for this purpose block houses, much after the style of those used in the Boer War, were being erected. Thousands of camels were in use, the work of erecting the blockhouses being carried out by the Egyptian Labour Corps. The light horse, however, did not participate in this operation as they were required for another task, word having been received of the Turkish attack on the outposts on the Sinai Peninsula.
Lieutenant Colonel JB Meredith, DS0, took over command of the 1st Light Horse Brigade on 10 May 1916 in place of Brigadier General CF Cox, C., DSO, VD, who was evacuated sick, and Major CH Granville, DS0, took over command of the 1st Regiment. The brigade was moved from the Upper Nile across the Canal into Sinai. The move of the 1st Regiment commenced on the 11th, A Squadron carrying on outposts and patrols until relieved by British yeomanry on 12 May. The regiment's concentration east of the Canal was completed on 14 May at Hill 70.
Patrols were sent out each morning for about five kilometres towards Romani, but no enemy were seen. On 16 May the Regiment was ordered to march to Romani, camels being substituted for wheeled transport. All general service wagons remained at Kantara for 10 months, until the firmer land near el Arish, beyond the Sinai desert, was reached, only a few limbered wagons were taken into the desert.
The Regiment reached Romani at 1100 on 18 May and was attached to the 2nd Australian Light Horse Brigade, one squadron being detached immediately for night outpost. Romani was a high range of sand dunes with scattered oases of palm hods. The heat was intense, and the dunes shifted constantly in the khamsin winds. The railway and pipelines conveying fresh water had not then passed Hill 70. The Egyptian Labour Corps was, however, pushing rapidly on, and for many months the light horse was to reconnoitre ahead and protect the corps and its vitally important work. Water for the men was carried in 24 litre metal tins, known as fantasses. Drinking water for the horses was, as a rule, found in soakage wells near the palm hods, at a depth of about two metres. One troop was constantly employed escorting 160 camels to and from railhead for rations, horsefeed and water, while another troop improved the wells for the horses.
It was soon found that a single bell tent was not sufficient covering, and double bell tents were issued in lieu, the issue being completed on 9 June.
On 20 May, Lieutenant Wright patrolled to Hill 100 and reported all clear. On the same day A Squadron was sent to reconnoitre Katia and Bir el Hamisar, to burn Bedouin dwellings and bring in any locals as these were hostile in the sense of helping the enemy in espionage and intelligence gathering; two men, seven women, 17 goats and three sheep were brought back to camp. Other regiments of the 2nd Light Horse Brigade by this time had helped to bury the Yeomanry dead at Katia and reported that the Turks had retired, being only a raiding party in strength and with artillery.
Squadrons took turn about in outpost and reconnaissance. On 23 May C Squadron reconnoitred as far as Hill 102, leaving one troop at Hill 110, reporting all clear in front and bringing in six sheep. The going was very heavy over the sand and the hours were long, most of the marching being done at night, by compass bearings. In spite of the intensity of the heat, men and horses were becoming acclimatised. On 24 May, Lieutenant Wordsworth was evacuated sick.
On 1 June a German 'plane dropped several bombs near the camp of the 1st Light Horse Regiment. It was our first experience of being bombed in this theatre of war. The bombs sank in the soft desert sand and did comparatively little harm; one horse was wounded and many broke away to be recovered several days later. Two days after this incident, Captain AA White, MC, was evacuated sick and Captain Weir was appointed acting adjutant. Five other ranks had been evacuated sick during the last few days.
On 5 June, A Squadron was sent to Hod el Sagia to dig and timber a fresh water soak and try to make sufficient water for a brigade. On the following day, C Squadron less three troops patrolled to Hill 110 and B Squadron continued the work at Sagia, good fresh water in small quantities being found.
The line held by 1LH was known as No. 1 Outpost, and on 7 June 7 permanent defences were commenced at Katib Gannit Hill, about two kilometres south east of the 1 LH camp. To make trenches in the loose sand many sandbags were required, and, even with the bags, the work of 100 men for one day would be obliterated the next by sand blowing over the excavations. The squadrons took it in turn to carry on this strenuous work, along with their other duty of patrolling and manning outposts at night.
At 0400 on 10 June the Regiment marched out with the 1st Light Horse Brigade on a reconnaissance in force to Bayoud. Hod el Sagia was reached via Katia at 1000 and a halt was called for the rest of the day. Sufficient water had been made good for a regiment but not for a brigade. Portable pumps were carried on Camels with the ordinary service water trough to water the horses. At 2100 the brigade left for Hod el Bayoud, C Squadron 1LH forming the advance guard. An all night march up and down sand dunes on a compass bearing ended at dawn as a heavy fog settled over the desert.
At 0730 the fog lifted, and the wells of Bayoud were found to be nearby. Unfortunately, while waiting for the fog to lift, a man accidentally fired his rifle. Alarmed, the enemy's patrols fired on the regiment, some 1,200 metres north east of the wells. Forewarned by the Bedouin (not long after leaving Romani, the Regiment had seen a rocket fired) and mounted on fresh camels, the enemy had the advantage. An attempt to outflank them was made; it failed, the horses were tired from marching over loose sand. C Squadron with one troop from A and another from B did follow up chasing the enemy from hill to hill, however, the pursuit was abandoned at noon as it could be of no military value. The brigade withdrew to Hod el Debabis. The enemy did not follow, and the brigade returned to Romani via Ogrtina without off-saddling, arriving at 2400 on 11 June. Better facilities at the different hods had to be found before a mounted brigade could operate from Romani. Seventy kilometres without off-saddling over good country is nothing, but over desert sand and in tropical heat is a good performance. Sixteen wells in use by the enemy at Bayoud were destroyed, while some new wells, timbered with split palm trunks were found near Debabis, the pioneer work of the advancing Turkish Army. All Bedouin dwellings were burned at Bayoud, and though tracks of over 100 sheep and many camels were seen, none were brought back to camp. During the absence of the Regiment on reconnaissance two enemy 'planes visited Romani and used their machine guns, but dropped no bombs.
On the next day work was continued by A and C Squadrons under Captain Harris, in entrenching Katib Gannit. Hurdles and reed mats were used in conjunction with sandbags to keep the sand back; barbed wire entanglements were commenced and a signal hut built as a command post. (This hut was subsequently blown up by high explosive shells in the attack by the Turks two months later.) At this time the approaching Turks were estimated at 19,000. The date crop was ripe, and some were thinking the Turks were holding the us back so that dates might be gathered. An immediate attack was not anticipated.
On 14 June, three officers and six other ranks were taken on strength from Tel el Kebir, where the camp took the place of the old base at Heliopolis. Usual army rations were supplemented by 63 cases of comforts from the War Chest and the Regimental Comforts Fund, containing tinned fruits, sweets, biscuits and other supplies, all of which were appreciated by the men.
About midnight on the 15th, the 1st Light Horse Brigade, on another reconnaissance in force, set out for Sineland along the main Sinai caravan route by Ogratina and Debabis. The advance guard, provided by the 2nd Light Horse Regiment, reached the hod by 0400, where the force bivouacked during the heat, moving on to Debabis at 2230. At 0200 on the 16th, the 1st Light Horse Regiment moved out to reconnoitre Bir el Abd, with A and B Squadrons leading. A Squadron moved round the flank of Bir el Abd at 0400, reporting all clear, and patrols were sent out for another three kilometres east along the caravan route, returning at 1745 without having seen any of the enemy. An aeroplane flew over, but left no message. Subsequently we were informed by divisional headquarters that air reconnaissance reported 400 Turks at Bir el Abd, having mistaken the regiment for the enemy. After this incident care was taken to form a ring by riding in a circle whenever a 'plane approached, as a signal of identity. The return march to Romani was carried out by stages, without off-saddling, Romani being reached by 2130.
During the next few daysí patrols were sent to Hill 110, night outposts were held by alternate squadrons, and entrenching work at Katib Gannit proceeded. Lieutenant Stewart and six other ranks from Tel el Kebir were taken on strength on 18 June. Volunteers were called for non-commissioned officers to join the Camel Corps which was being formed, but very few of the men cared to go. During this period the enemy had superiority in the air, having faster and better machines.
On 21 June the Regiment left Romani at 0300 and marched to Ogratina, forming flank and rear guards for the brigade, which was accompanied by camel transport with water and horsefeed. Ogratina was reached at 0715 and at 0900 the brigade moved again to Debabis which the Regiment, after acting as covering troops, reached at 1130 on 22 June.
Information was received at midday that a British 'plane had come to grief north of Bir el Abd, so, with empty water bottles and the temperature about 46 degrees in the shade, the Regiment counter marched back to Bir el Abd, got a little brackish water out of the well there and located the 'plane at 2000, taking prisoner two Bedouins who were guarding it for the Turks. The pilot and observer had walked along the beach towards Romani. One troop of C Squadron returned to Debabis with the information obtained from the prisoners, the main body following and reaching Ogratina at 0200 on 23 June. Horses and men were parched with thirst and spent the day resting under the palms, marching out at sundown for Romani which was reached at 2200. Two enemy camel patrols were seen near Bir el Abd, but offered no resistance, and retired east towards el Arish.
The next few days were spent in digging and entrenching at Katib Gannit, patrolling to Hill 110 and finding outposts in turn; the days were hot, but a heavy dew fell every night. On 28 June an enemy aeroplane flew over early in the morning, no doubt photographing the defences. A British fighter 'plane gave chase and both were apparently hit, the latter being slightly damaged. At this time, the nearest British aerodrome was at Port Said. Major TEW Irwin returned from Australia, and took charge of A and C Squadrons on an outpost line on the night of 29-30 June. The horses were standing the work well; their shoes being unnecessary in the sand were returned to Kantara where they were reconditioned by the farriers in readiness for the stony country ahead.
TO BE CONTINUED ...
New Guinea was a constant obstacle course for tanks especially negotiating steep hills. The RHQ tank troop of the 1st Australian Tank Battalion had only two instead of its four establishment Matildas. Crews had to be shuffled and I was moved from wireless operator to driver. Then we had to move up to Bonga. I was driving "Crusader" and four or five of the troop were riding on the back, a couple leaning on the turret, because it was more comfortable. We reached the top of a very steep hill (name forgotten).
I hesitated for a moment and looked down. It was a jeep track. No bends just a straight drop but it looked all right. The tank was in extra low gear and that should hold it. As we went over the edge the tank took control Ė 25 tons of armour plate, armament and machinery took off. The passengers all jumped off and left me with it. "Crusader" seemed to be racing away. The engines were roaring and heavy pressure was on them because they were now acting as brakes. The tracks were clattering loudly possibly in protest. Iím still not sure whether it was bouncing every now and then but it seemed so. Were the engines and gear box about to be ripped apart? Would the tracks break followed by a sudden stop which would throw me forward and crack my skull open against the edge of the hatch?
I had to do something. I released the steering levers disconnecting the Rackham clutches and the final drives to the tracks. "Crusader" was madly free wheeling down the rest of the hill. Where was it going? As it turned out, nowhere.
We reached the bottom and it slowed to a stop. I cut the engines and got out to check for damage. Nothing. The others arrived having made a fast run down the hill. Nobody said a word. I got in, started the engines. Everyone climbed back on and we drove off. A few minutes later we reported in at Bonga. This is the first time Iíve ever said anything about this.
[Editor's note] Bert has not lost his interest in Tanks, even after all these years. On 29 October 2015, he wrote:
"My son thinks youíll be interested in this picture taken at the AWM yesterday. Itís the 1930s Italian two man tank on loan to the museum.
I thought it might have been designed by Ferrari but Chris says it was actually Fiat. They must have had some very short men in Italian tank crews. Or midgets. The old chap on the left is known to you and would prefer to be airbrushed out."
We would never airbrush you out Bert, you are our history.
Seventy years on, the tiny island of Morotai at the tip of the Halmahera group, is now just about forgotten. In 1945 it was the launching base for the great invasions of Borneoís east coast which defeated the Japanese forces occupying them. The 1st Australian Armoured Regiment, the 2/4th Armoured Regiment and the 2/1st Armoured Reconnaissance Squadron played an important part in supporting the 7th and 9th Australian Divisions in these actions. Morotai was full scale base for the operation.
In the first weekend of January, 2016, the Fairfax Press Indonesia correspondent, Jewel Topsfield, wrote at length of "the conundrum of surf exploration which almost invariably leads to surf tourism." Itís a well written story and concludes: "In 2013, surfer and photographer Jason Childs stumbled on one of the most unique surfing cultures in the world. On remote Morotai, one of Indonesiaís northernmost islands, the locals were originally taught to surf by a US soldier stationed there in World War 11. Isolated from the rest of the world, the children developed their method of riding the waves using a wooden plank ripped off a boat or cut from a tree."
Childs said he had never seen anything like it in his 20 years in Indonesia. He added: "It takes enormous skill to ride (the wooden boards). Itís dangerous Ė some of them have nails in them and most kids are riding in the nude."
He returned last year with surfer and writer Matt George. They made "a conscious decision not to disrupt the local surfing culture by leaving behind fiberglass boards for the children."
"I wondered if we had made a mistake bringing our modern boards and surfing to a place where surf culture was essentially locked in a time warp," George wrote later. To his surprise none of the boys showed any interest anyway.
"To them my foam and fiberglass board might just be some artificial intrusion into an otherwise organic act."
Really! Maybe they just didnít care. Canít remember any good surf at Morotai. It wouldnít have been welcome travelling in a landing craft.
Reg Gunn sent us this photo of officers of the Regiment taken at Balikpappan Borneo soon after peace was declared on 15 August 1945. They are left to right:
Reg is now aged 92 years and 11 months; he sent us his best wishes; and we send ours to Reg and the other few of the Regimentís WW2 veterans who are very alive and still with us.
MARGARET BEST Margaret wife of Jack who served in the Regiment from the 1960s 'till the 1980s, now one of our most loyal and energetic Museum Volunteers passed away on 17 January 2016. Margaret and Jack have been separated for some time. (Terry Boardman)
CHRIS GARDINER of Epping 9 September 2015. Chris was the crew commander of the ACV in my SHQ for several years and did a great job in the communications operations of the squadron. He was bright person who had many interests and a photographic memory. Like John Nash, a beautiful mind.
The following lancers attended Chrisí funeral: Dave Crisp, John Anderson, John Bartlett, Tony Beechey, Brian Dudley, Tony Fryer, Paul Heginbotham, Kevin Hobbs, Len Koles, Steve Lesley, and Brad Sepping. There were also many members from the Executive of the Epping RSL Club where Chris was on the board. They had a wonderful wake for Chris at the club.
Chris was also a founding member of the National Boer War Memorial Association. He passed away before this memorial to our Boer War brethren could come to pass. The Memorial in ANZAC Parade Canberra will happen in 2017, so Chris, if you are in a place to look down (or up), take a peek. (Len Koles)
COLIN GOODYEAR (NX114655) of Woongarrah. Colin died on 21 January 2015. In an interview, his wife, Pamela, said "Colin never pushed himself but he was likable and had a way with people." This probably explains to some degree why his surviving comrades from A Squadron of the 1st Armoured Regiment remembered him as "a quiet bloke" and they couldnít really recall much about him. He was the lead driver in FHQ troop of the squadron and a highly skilled mechanic which was a distinct advantage in tropical conditions.
One of those who was close to him, Geoff James, also of FHQ troop, wrote in "Memories of A Squadron" about an incident in New Guinea in 1943 when they were "chasing up the coast past Finschhafen Ö FHQ tanks came to a stop beyond Blucher Point confronted by a steep drop which appeared vertical from the driverís seat.
"The lead tank hitched to the second tank and it slithered down safely. The next also OK with the aid of the third which was then left like a shag on a rock to do its best. Colin Goodyear drew the short straw and drove his tank over the top with three Hail Marys, the tank came down like a rocket, dug its nose in and righted itself with only one damaged idler. Two Hail Marys would have been sufficient."
Colin joined the unit when it was still the 1st Machine Gun Regiment and transferred with it to the AIF in 1942 when it became the 1st Australian Tank Battalion. He did the driving and maintenance course at Puckapunyal which he passed with distinction.
His skills as a mechanic were often called on especially when workshop crews were fully engaged.
He was left in the rearguard at Balikpapan when the war ended and finally escaped this stranding when he scored the only seat remaining in a visiting aircraft and came home.
Back in Australia at the LTD (Leave and Transit Depot) expecting discharge he was told he was being transferred to a transport company in South Australia. The quiet bloke hit the roof and said he was just back from Borneo and had done his time and was going out. LTDís discharge officer backed down and Colin was free.
Colin was born in Waverly in 1923. He went to St Maryís Cathedral college for his high school education but left in 1938 before reaching Leaving Certificate level, as many adolescents did in the depression years, to get a job. His father had served in the 3rd Division in France and Belgium in the first world war. He had lost his job as a shoe store manager as times turned bad but managed to join the NSW Transport Department as a tram conductor. Colin got a job as a junior roster clerk in the department. He went back to the department after the war and eventually became senior roster clerk.
Colin and Pamela married in 1955 and it was long and happy. Pamela said that when they were first married Colin bought "an elderly car". He took the engine out and rebuilt it and they had good service from it.
Colin was a dedicated sportsman. "He went sailing, played golf and basket ball", Pamela said. "His great love was bowls." He was always a man of quiet demeanour and won many friends. (Bert Castellari)
LINDSAY HAMILTON AM. Late of Sanctuary Cove, Qld passed away peacefully 9 June 2015. Aged 83 years.
Captain Hamilton was in the Regiment during its Centurion and Puckapunyal days. Served in C Sqadron with members such as Captains Hodge, Drolz and Mitchell. I considered him a friend as well a "comrade at arms" and we kept in erratic communication after he left Lancers and I think last spoke or emailed only a short time ago.
My memories, if correct, go back to the middle or late 1950s and I think we were sergeants at the same time prior to him being commissioned
Some years later I spent a Puckapunyal camp as his driver when he was a Squadron Tech Officer.
Lindsay Hamilton was the loving Husband of Joan, beloved Father and Father-in-law of Ian, Jeanine, Stuart and Fraser. Adored Grandfather of Melissa, Tayla and Jack and cherished Brother of Fay, Ian, Max and Douglas (dec'd). (Terry Boardman)
RC SLOANE (NZ156518) The January 2016 edition of "Reveille" notes his passing. His unit is listed as 2/2 MG Bn.
FRANK (Snow) IRVINE (NX95688) of Kyogle: died 1 October, 2015, at Kyogle Memorial Hospital, aged 95, following a series of heart attacks.
Known to his comrades as Frank, or by his nickname "Snow," he was a little older than other recruits in the 1st Tank Battalion and had knocked about a bit before becoming wireless operator in a C Squadron tank. Frank was born on 31 August, 1920, at Bangalow on the far north coast of NSW. He had been share farming at Horseshoe Creek (near Kyogle) when he first tried to enlist in April, 1942. The army was reluctant to take him because of his flat feet. Frank didnít waste any more time arguing with local recruiters. He and his cousin, Alf Martin, travelled from Kyogle to get on a train at Tamworth to take them south. Frank finished up at Greta training camp which he described (quite accurately) as the coldest place on earth.
We donít know just how he came to be in the 1st Tank Battalion which came into being there shortly after he arrived. At 21, going on 22, he had been a worker since he was about 10. He had started school at Tweed Heads in 1928 moving to Gradyís Creek school from 1928 to 1930.
"At that time Dad used to work at the bakery at Gradyís Creek to deliver bread to workers who were building the railway line from there to the Border Loop," Frankís daughter, Helen Goebel, tells us. "Dad moved back to Tweed Heads and left school in 1934 at the age of 13 years and 9 months to work at the post office delivering telegrams for 10 shillings a week until the family left there to go share farming at Homeleigh in 1938, then moved to Horseshoe Creek to do share farming.
Dad never talked about the war very much. He never mentioned his squadron at all. I think the war affected him a lot. It was hard for us to find what happened to him during that time. All I know was he hated baked beans and he always said to Mum 'donít ever give them to me'. They were sent off to PNG where Dad was wireless operator. Dad said they ran over a mine and it blew the track off the tank. They had to look to see if there was a sniper hiding in the trees and had to shoot him before they could get out to repair the track." (A check with the unit history does not record the incident. As happens with much in war it was probably not noted at the time and forgotten.).
Frank was discharged on 21 June 1946. He returned to his family to resume share farming with his parents. In the early 1950s another Horseshoe Creek resident, Max Newton (not the Max Newton who was a member of the regiment), persuaded a group of locals to form a band. It was a different band unlike the usual country band of those years. No trumpet, trombone, sax or drums. Instead the South Sea Seven comprised Max Newton (guitar), George Ellem (guitar and singer), Jack Brown (guitar and ukulele), Vic Armstrong (piano accordion), Kevin Price (ukulele and singer), Russell Hammond (electric steel guitar), Frank and Vic Irvine (his younger brother) were singers. These multitalented entertainers played and sang country/western, Hawaiian and hill billy. Frank was a tenor. George could yodel.
At a country dance in 1954 Frank met Daphne. They were married six months later. In the years that followed they raised two sons and two daughters. In time the family expanded with 10 grandchildren and 9 great grandchildren. Frank found a job with a Kyogle timber mill and Daphne was able to join him there. They were able to save and establish a home in Kyogle. Frank retired in the 1980s. "After he retired Dad was always in his vegetable garden," Helen said. "We never bought any vegetables. Dad grew them all. If you couldnít find Dad in the vegetable garden he was under the house in his tool shed doing something or building things or chopping wood for the stove. Even when he was in hospital and didnít have long to live Dad was concerned about the plants he bought to put in his vegetable garden."
A man who understood living. He never gave up. (Bert Castellari)
PETER TEAGUE (NX123607): The November/December issue of "Reveille" lists Peter in its "Last Post" column. We do not have any information about his death but we can tell you something of his interesting life. A story in David Cravenís Newsletter No.20 of March, 1966, says: "Peter was maybe, if not the youngest member of the regiment to enter Rutherford camp in December 1941, aged 17 yrs 1 mth having put his age up. He had joined at Randwick in 1940, aged 15. Jibes over his "baby face" ended when they found out how good he was with his fists. He proved to be one of the regimentís best boxers, a useful skill taught to him by his father, a horseman in the Boer War and also in WW1, who was one of the first 500 foundation members of the RSL in Australia." The story also mentions that Peter was a director of Harbord Diggers RSL club and was a member of the Rugby League Australia Remembers party to NZ in March, 1995.
From there are occasional mentions of Peter in the Newsletter series as donor and participant in the Lancers Association. He shows up prominently in Lancersí Despatch No.3 of August, 2002. The two pictures of Peter held by the Australian War Museum appear below. The caption reads: "Balikpapan 2 July 1945. Corporal Peter Teague, 1 Armoured Regiment, showing the Japanese sword he captured after shooting a Japanese soldier in a tunnel on Vasey Highway during the Oboe 2 operation" to members of A Squadron. The sword is now on display in the Lancers Museum.
Former A Squadron members, Geoff Francis and Doug Beardmore, have provided more information:
When he joined Peter was posted to Headquarters Squadron where he worked in intelligence with Hugh Miller. It was not long before his experience in Morse Code was recognised. He was appointed instructor in this skill teaching men all of whom were older than himself. His nickname was "Olaf" because his blond hair stood out in a crowd. Any Scandinavian ancestors were presumed but never proved.
While in Balikpapan Peter was involved in gathering intelligence from Japanese bodies after an engagement. He had to note any distinguishing features which might indicate what units they had belonged to, their state of nutrition, clothing, weaponry, etc. The infantry officer in charge of this procedure regarded his work as outstanding. (Bert Castellari)
BOB WHITTAKER of Caboolture passed away on 7 November 2015. Terry Boardman recalls:
"If my memory serves me correctly Bob was RAAC before he was RAEME. I think he was CMF on FTD when I was posted to 1 RNSWL, as it then was, in April 1953. We both lived at Blacktown and sometimes travelled to Parramatta together Bob would have been involved in vehicle recoveries while FTD and these would have included Matildas, Staghounds, Whites and Canadian Scout Cars (Doodlebugs). When we got Centurions he was, together with John Whitehorn, Graham Thomas, myself, and a few others, part of the tank transporter (Special Equipment) crew. By then I think he had switched to RAEME and I recall him also doing Cent recoveries at Pucka. He was highly skilled in recoveries and his offsider was often Neville Hillman who was also very skilled. The passing of a Lancer Legend."
I worked closely with Bob when I was a member of THE Regiment. A great guy, so very calm under all conditions, never flustered. When we first got the Tank Transporter we went down to Bandianna and drove the Beast back to Parramatta. Bob, Terry Boardman and I with Tom Mullens then trained the crews for this vehicle. I used to visit Bob in the nursing home where he spent his final years, also Arthur Standring used to visit also, and Bob Dickson (whom I have advised). I also got in touch with Tom Larkin . While I was running the B Vehicle courses at the barracks, and later as Acting Regimental Transport Officer, Bob always tagged along in Heckle and Jeckle (recovery vehicle). I do believe that if a few of us got together we could really just write a book on the exploits of the things that Bob got up to. One of the old timers that will be VERY sadly missed. (John Whitehorn)
The celebration of Bobís life took place at Traditional Funerals Chapel, Burpengary at 1545 hrs.
There were many of Bobís family and friends in attendance to say goodbye to a good and well loved man. Staff from the Nursing Home where Bob had been for over the last 6 years were also in attendance to farewell a much loved resident.
The service was carried out by Celebrant Mrs Dianne Webb in a very moving and competent manner. She also read the account of some of Bobís Army Reserve career which had been supplied by Terry Boardman.
The President Of the Caboolture RSL Sub-Branch carried out a Poppy Service which was great tribute to Bob.
The former Lancers present to pay their respects to their comrade were, Bob Dickson, John Whitehorn, Arthur Standring and Andrew Stocks.
Apologies were received from Terry Boardman, Tom Larkin, Perce Denton, Eve Shepherd and Ray Jones, and they were conveyed to Jean.
After the service an enjoyable Afternoon Tea took place and where more stories and Army exploits of Bobís life took place. (Arthur Standring)
Thank you all very much for your assistance in supporting the Museum and Association financially in the 2015/16 financial year. Our records (and they may not be perfect, human data entry has been involved) show the following supported by donation, the Association:
Michael Alexander, Rod Button, Joseph Camilleri, John Carruthers, Jeffrey Darke, Paul Degiorgio, Ian Frost, Bob Gay, Jon Laird, Chris Lawley, Danny Marriott, B McEvilly, Todd Miklich, Don Morris, William Wallington, Gloria Warham.
and the following the Museum:
Auburn RSL Sub-Branch, John Bartlett, Terry Boardman, Ray Butterfield, Rod Button, Joseph Camilleri, John Carruthers, Jeffrey Darke, Paul Degiorgio, John Duncan, Graham Fleeton, Ian Frost, Bob Gay, Peter Giudes, John Gooch, Jonathan Herps, Barrie Hodgson, Therese Holles, Anthony Huntley, Neil Jefferys, Kirribilli RSL Sub-Branch, Jonathan Laird, Chris Lawley, Neil Mangels, Danny Marriott, B McEvilly, Todd Miklich, Don Morris, Museum Appreciation Society, Doug Pollard, REAEME Association NSW Inc, St Marys RSL Sub-Branch, Thomas Urquhart, Gloria Warham, Kel Warham.
Yes we really do need your financial assistance. No amount too large, no amount too small.
Donations to the Museum and Association are now possible securely using PayPal from your credit card (Visa, Mastercard, AMEX) or PayPal account:
Click Here to go to the donation page. Donations to the Museum are tax deductible.
Don't forget your memorabilia, the online shop now includes stickers and 1 LH Centenary Mugs to show your support for the Regiment we have secure payment facilities using your credit card (now including AMEX) or PayPal account. Note that with the 1 LH Centenary Mugs, we have a limited supply and they will only be stocked until sold out.
Click Here for the Museum Shop.
Membership of the RAACA NSW is free to all applicants over 75. 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 visit the website: www.raacansw.org.au.
Quite a gathering at the Royal Automobile Club on the night of Saturday 21 November 2015 - Cambrai Dinner. Many old and some new black hats met and the Chief of Army spoke on how he sees the role of Associations such as the Lancer and RAACA in supporting those still in service.
"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 under≠neath, 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;
Linden House, Lancer Barracks, 2 Smith Street, PARRAMATTA, AUSTRALIA