The Royal New South Wales Lancers
|Roy Faunt A Lancer's Story|
Roy entered World War 2 in December 1941 with the 3rd Australian Armoured Regiment at Cowra with recruits from the Riverina and surrounding towns. He was 20 years of age. Strange he began here and finished here in 1946 guarding Italian POWs at the Cowra Prison camp.
During 1942 the unit trained at Goulburn, Greta and Singleton. Matilda tanks had now been issued and selected men were transferred to the 1st Army Tank Battalion AIF (Royal New South Wales Lancers). Roy joined 2 Troop A Squadron.
With the injection of Roy and his colleagues from the 3
Roy sailed for New Guinea with A Squadron in mid 1943 and camped at Milne Bay, Morobe and Buna. Finally the squadron was attached to the 9th Division for support at Finschafen, Sattleburg and Huon Peninsular campaign. Roy, was the gunner in tank "Avenger" when it knocked out a Jap anti-tank gun.
This campaign finished the Japanese in New Guinea, leaving their army pinned down in Wewak and New Britain without air or sea support until the War's end.
The unit returned to Australia in mid 1944 and camped at Southport Qld for 10 months. It was renamed the 1st Armoured Regiment AIF (RNSWL).
In mid 1945, the 7th Division selected the unit to support them in the assault landing at Balikpapan, Borneo.
A major incident occurred when ship Roy was on taking the Regiment to Morotai was wrecked, it crashed into a cliff near Finschafen where A Squadron were camped twelve months previously. What a coincidence.
After being transferred to another ship, Roy's Troop arrived in Morotai to catch up to their tanks and join the convoy for the attack on Balikpapan. This was the largest operation of the war for Australian Armour.
Over 100 War ships and Troop carriers moved in to land on 1 July 1945. Dozens of Liberator bombers were flattening everything on land including oil refinery tanks. Warships were gun broadsiding the shore. 2 Troop landed with the first troops. Almost the whole division landed on the first day. Many actions took place. We lost 2 tanks with few casulties.
In this campaign Roy was promoted to crew commander of the "Avenger" tank. The Japs were well and truly beaten and surrendered on the 15 August 1945. We were certainly happy thinking we were now going home, but this was not so. The younger ones, with low post war job prospect points were appointed to the occupation forces. From 2 troop, Tony McGee, "Doc" (Adrian) Kenny, Noel "Sorlie" O'Brien and Roy "Pancho" Faunt were transferred to the 2nd/14th Infantry Battalion to occupy and compound the Japanese in the Celebes. After 5 months here they sailed for home and again the younger age group waited until June/July 1946 before being discharged.
2 Troop members all went their own way and settled into various lives, but as they got older they were hungry for reunions. All of its members are now in the Great Big Squadron in the sky.
Adapted from Roy's funeral eulogy
delivered by Noel (Sorlie) O'Brien in September 1994.
© New South Wales Lancers Memorial Museum Incorporated ABN 94 630 140 881;
Linden House, Lancer Barracks, 2 Smith Street, PARRAMATTA, AUSTRALIA
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