Museum Report Jul 2000
Website of the Royal New South Wales Lancers Lancer Barracks and Museum
Published by the New South Wales Lancers Memorial Museum Incorporated
The Museum Report is published January and July of each year to appraise past serving members of the 1st/15th Royal New South Wales Lancers and pre-cursor organisations, friends and associates about the activities of the Museum dedicated to the history of the Regiment, the Australian Cavalry and Armoured Corps.
The Museum needs money to carry on the valuable work. This newsletter offers the opportunity for interested parties to become Associates of the museum. Contributing $20.00 per year this ensures you will continue to receive this newsletter. You will find a form enclosed for new associates to join up. All donations are tax deductible, a receipt will be provided with your next newsletter. You will also note that this year we have included a facility whereby credit card payments can be made.
We also need workers and guides. Working bees are conducted every second Sunday of the month commencing at 10:00 at Lancer Barracks; if you are interested, please turn up, or drop a note or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org .
Due to his commitments as secretary of the Lancers Association, Brian Walters has found it increasingly difficult to be secretary of the Museum as well. Brian was therefore replaced as secretary at the AGM in April by John Howells. The committee was also joined by Terry Boardman. Terry served in the Regiment for many years, and has recently worked tirelessly as a member of the Museum's vehicle troop. Bruce Kilgour was voted Vice President. The current committee of management is therefore:
President: Len Koles email@example.com
*The Hon Secretary is the Public Officer.
The work of Bruce Kilgour unofficially appointed of as publicity officer last year, and confirmed in that appointment at the recent AGM has resulted in a considerable increase in visitors. Bruce has been able to ensure co-operation with Parramatta tourist authorities, and get us a number of free plugs on radio. A number of visitors are also referred by the web site. On some Sundays, there have been so many visitors that it has been difficult for the guide on duty to keep a record, having to calculate the number of visitors from the takings.
The experience for visitors has also been enhanced, with the vehicles being open every month, opportunities have been granted for youngsters to visit the inside of a tank. This has proven very popular.
The museum website is also proving more popular. Since we went live with the distinctive "www.lancers.org.au" url (Universal Resource Locator) last July, visitors have risen steadily from some 250 in the first full month, with most of these passed across from the old site, to a current average of 1,000 in May 2000 we had 3,180, this, however, was aberrant. Visitors come from all over the world, approximately 50% from Australia, 40% from the USA, and 10% from elsewhere, principally Commonwealth countries.
The graph generated by our ISP (Internet Service Provider) shows how visits have grown. There is, however, an as yet un-resolved problem with the web site. Physical visitors donate 50˘ - $2 per visit. Virtual visitors visit for free. We are still trying to set up tasteful and relevant advertising to cover the cost of the site some $35 per month (we have put most of the effort into creating the site rather than revenue generation from it);. Anyone with a sponsor, please let us know.
A lot of work has been done on the collection. The going vehicles are in excellent condition, and work is proceeding well on our two main restoration projects the Staghound, and the Museum's second Matilda Tank "Ace".
There has also been a substantial amount of work been done referencing the Museum's book and technical manual collection. We have also been provided with listing and preservation work undertaken on the Museum's photographic collection in 1985. This work was done as part of assembling the Regimental History for publication, the negatives and listings having rested in someone's garage since then (the editor won't say who, but does know the person very well). If anyone else has treasure of this nature hiding away, the museum would really like to get hold of it. We now have an air conditioned area where artefacts of this nature can be stored.
The original web site that went live on the "lancers'" url in July was restricted in nature. It contained some photos, but the text for the post part only consisted of that which is in the brochure. Since that time the website has been completely dismantled and redeveloped including:
- full visual tours of the Barracks showing all of the buildings in their recently restored glory;
- a detailed history of Lancer Barracks by Rosemary Anabel (reproduced with the permission of the Commonwealth Government), complete with maps of the site as it has developed;
- a complete visual tour of the inside of the museum;
- photographs of the vehicle collection, along with technical details, and service histories;
- the regimental marches with downloads (.wav files) available of the Regimental Quick (el Abnico) and Slow (Scipio) marches;
- a shop where memorabilia can be purchased with automated credit card payments;
- a lineage of the Regiment's History; and
- finally a page showing the Guidons, and a complete list of the battle honours; with click throughs to battle descriptions (this is still being finalised).
Part of the site has been made available to the Regiment, who have a recruiting contact.
Feedback indicates that it is one of the best museum and military history web sites.
The vehicle troop has been very active in the community this year. Putting on displays at local shows (Blacktown, Castle Hill), participating in the 2WS Schools programme, Brittfest, and the School of Military Engineering open day.
The museum has been pleased to support the Regiment. Museum members were pleased to be invited to visit the Regiment in camp in February, and observe a firepower demonstration, and to take part in the Annual Church Parade in March.
The Museum compliments the Regiment on a very high standard of training.
This year marks the 80th anniversary of the event that more than any other changed our continent from a loose federation to a united nation and tied us forever to our fellows across the Tasman. United in grief for the flower of lost youth, and in pride for what they achieved. Many Australians visited the peninsular this year on Anzac Day 25th April. Museum members at Gallipoli this year included Len Koles, Dave Crisp, and John McPhee.
We must remember that the Regiment's single most costly engagement, including all B Squadron officers, the attack by the Regiment against the Chessboard (Battle Honour Sari Bair) took place on that far shore.
"At 04:50 on 7 August 1915 the regiment was ordered to attack in co-operation with Walker's Post on the left and Quinn's Post on the right, against what was known as the enemy's "Chessboard ' trenches north of the Bloody Angle. The principal objective of the attack on this date was Baby 700, to the left (north). The troops for its assault were to be the 8th and 10th Light Horse Regiments of 3rd Australian Light Horse Brigade, assisted by the 8th Cheshires and also by the Royal Welch Fusiliers who from the head of Monash Valley would attack the nearer Turkish positions of the Chessboard, eventually connecting with the 1st LH from Pope's.
The attack by the 1st LH, which would be directed by Major T. W. Glasgow, commandant of Pope's, was to be made by two squadrons, about 200 men. Instructions were to go over the top when the 8th LH left their trenches to attack on the left; no shots were to be fired and only bayonets to be used until the trenches were occupied. White patches were sewn on the backs of the men's shirts so that mistakes could not occur in the dark. Rations and water were carried as it was hoped to push on.
The attack was gallantly led by Major J M Reid, of Tenterfield, who lost his life. The storming party reached the third line of trenches and held on for two hours, but the enemy attacked in great force and bombed the already thinned-out regiment back. (The ground contested had been fought over by the Royal Marines at the first landing and many of the bodies still remained in no-man's-land.) The regiment lost heavily, viz: 15 killed, 98 wounded, 34 missing (mostly killed) , total 147.'(These figures differ slightly from those given in the Official History of Australia in the War,1914-18, Vol. II,)
The casualties included all the officers of B Squadron; Major Reid's and Lieutenant Nettleton's bodies were not recovered; Captain Cox and Lieutenant Tinson died from their wounds a day later. The following officers were evacuated wounded: Captain Holman, Lieutenants Reid, Macmillan, Stewart, Weir, Harris and White.
Lieutenant Harris showed great gallantry in leading the advanced storming party, and, although wounded, remained in the foremost position until the retirement. The grit of the men when being carried to the beach was remarkable; some 3,000 passed through the dressing station that day, and boats in strings of four and five, towed by small tugs, took the wounded off to empty transports where accommodation for them was hastily improvised. Much suffering occurred on the voyage to Alexandria, and many wounds were septic by the time Cairo was reached.
There were many acts of gallantry performed on 7 August, notably those of 566 Corporal T. J. Keys, 437 Trooper R C Tancred and 397 Trooper F. Barrow in carrying much-needed bombs to the forward party over ground swept by machine gun and rifle fire.
On 8 August Lone Pine, the objective of the Australian infantry on the right, was gallantly taken and held against repeated counter-attacks. The 1st LH cooperated with heavy covering fire on the Chessboard and from Quinn's."
The Museum receives 2 - 3 inquiries a week from members of the public. Most we can answer from the Regimental History or other references. Some are a bit more complex. If you can help it would be appreciated.
The Nangano Public Library in Queensland has asked if we have any information on Matilda Tank No 321.
Gordon Crossley of the Fort Garry Horse Museum in Winnepeg Canada asks if there is a legend behind the adoption of El Abanico as the Regimental Quick March. In the case of the Fort Garry Horse, legend has it that: "In 1914, When the men of the Fort Garry Horse went over to England as part of the 6th Battalion, C.E.F, they travelled aboard the S.S. Lapland. The Lapland was an old Belgian Red Star Line ship, which had carried thousands of central European immigrants to Canada and the United States. On the Lapland, the bandmaster discovered a library of music left by the German orchestra that had formerly played for the first class passengers. In it, was the orchestration of a stirring march entitled "El Abanico".".
The Museum would like to thank you all very much for your support, and ask you to take advantage of the credit card facilities to contribute to the Museum's continued upkeep. Follow This Hyperlink. You might also like to buy an item from the museum shop. Follow This Hyperlink.
John Howells - Editor
© New South Wales Lancers Memorial Museum Incorporated
ABN 94 630 140 881 - - - Site Updated January 2017
Lancer Barracks, 2 Smith Street, Parramatta NSW 2150, Australia
Telephone +61 (0)405 482 814, Facsimile +61 (0)2 4733 3951 E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
For Regimental enquiries call: +61 (0)2 9635 7822