The Royal New South Wales Lancers

Lancers' Despatch 11

Badge of the Royal NSW Lancers Lancers' Despatch

Bi Annual Journal of the
Royal New South Wales Lancers Association
The New South Wales Lancers Memorial Museum Incorporated ABN 94 630 140 881
No 11 - August 2006
Tilting at the Ring

Editorial   Anzac Day 2006   Reserve Forces Day2006   World War II Liberty Ships   The Museum Helps Blacktown Celebrate 100 Years   The Battlefields of France   Forty Years of Service   Departed Comrades   Australian Defence Medal Available   Coming Events   Thanks   Please Help   Affordable Regimental Ties   RAACA   Response Sheet   .pdf Version  

 Editorial go to top of page

The past six months have been both very good and very sad for the Regiment, the Association and the Museum.  The Regiment lost its armoured vehicles in July.  The last parade where the last one, a pristine condition M113 appeared was the church parade in May.

Last Parade with an M113

The Association had its say on the loss of the vehicles in the last edition of Lancers' Despatch.  The Regiment is now back to where it was in 1936, again attempting to evolve tactics and a useful role for soldiers required to fight out of soft-skinned vehicles.  It is hard for us to understand that worthwhile vehicles could not have been found given the billions spent on other defence material.  Vehicles on which the Regiment could have honed the skills required for combat.  If you think about it, we in the Museum maintain 3 Ferrets and a Centurion; and the Department of Defence is in the process of scrapping a regiment of perfectly good (as training vehicles at least) Leopards.

LTCOL StewartLT MurfettThe Church parade was the first time many of us had the opportunity to meet the new commanding officer Lieutenant Colonel Graham Stewart.  We also presented the David Donald award for the first time.  Readers of Lancers Despatch will know that David passed away last year.  David had served with the Regiment during World War II, post war serving as treasurer of the Lancers' Association for over 50 years; and was a great friend and benefactor of the Museum.  The association has never presented an officer's award and considered it fitting to create one to commemorate David's memory.  David served as a troop commander in B Squadron.  Lieutenant Murfett was nominated by his commanding officer to receive the award as the best performing junior officer.

The Lancer Association awards now comprehensively cover all ranks and postings in the Regiment.  Award winners were: Best Trooper - Tpr Hayward Smith (A Sqn), Best Corporal Cpl Boyd (B Sqn), Best Administrator - Cpl Cook (RHQ), Best tradesman - Cfn Oldsen (CSS), Best Instructor - Cpl Knight (RHQ), Best Bandsman - Musn Lukin, Tiger Colliss award - Sgt Spadaro (RHQ), David Donald Award - Lt Murfett.

 Lancer Association Award Winners 2006

It was very pleasant to see the reinstatement of the Regimental Officers' dinner again in 2006 after an absence of two years.  I only wish the same could be said of the University of New South Wales Regimental dinner.  It may well be the case that those of us who once held positions of command in the Regiment are no longer perceived to have community influence, but there is no need to rub this in by not holding Regimental Dinners.

Ken Studeris and Greg Smith

The Regimental Anzac Eve function was very moving this year and very much appreciated by the association members who were able to attend.

Bob Gay, Brian Walters and Ross Brown

Work is proceeding with copying and restoring the Museum's photo collection Ray Williams has been working steadily every month.  Expect to see a CD for sale some time next year.

Lighthorse Training Holsworthy C1910

Ross Brown and his crew have just about completed all of the new displays, give them a couple of months, then check out the online tours on the website and you will see the fruits of their labours.  The vehicle team have also made great strides; the Ferret donated by David Brown has been refurbished to the point where it has been able to be registered and could appear in this year's Reserve Forces Day parade.

Once again thanks to contributors Captain David Brown, John Blackberry, David Craven, with photos from Bob Gay and Tracy Hatch.  Captain David Brown (his rank is used to distinguish him from Davids Brown on the Regimental list) has been acting as our foreign correspondent whilst working in the UK and serving with the Royal Yeomanry, this time he tells us of his visit to the Battlefields of France - a great read. 

 Anzac Day 2006 go to top of page

John Blackberry Photos courtesy ABC TV

A few light showers fell as veterans assembled for the 60th time. As always, it was good to see old mates - a great pity that we only get together once a year though. Fifteen veterans marched, once again led by Ted Martin, accompanied this year by Bill Halliday. Other veterans present were Rod Button, Arthur Bulgin, Doug Beardmore, John Blackberry, Bert Castellari, Doug Clift, Geoff Francis, Bob Forrest, Ken Lowe, Bill Lynch, John McManus, Dan Tesoriero, and Bemie Temby. David Craven with Helen, daughter Jill and Kitty Hobbs formed a cheer squad amongst the huge crowd which looked bigger again this year. Also marching were Ray Downey's daughter Margaret, John Lowe and Mick Wilson's grandson Chris Hall. Our post war group included Association President Len Koles, Secretary/Treasurer Brian Walters and committee members David Crisp and David Woods. Apologies if I have missed anyone.

Anzac Day 2006  Anzac Day 2006

Our get-together at the NSW Leagues Club went very well this year - much less crowded and quieter without the big influx of young RAAF members later in the morning. Plenty of seating, easy conversation, everybody happy. Thanks to all who attended - always good to see you. Finally - thank you to our Lancer band and banner party. We appreciate your attendance each year very much.

 Reserve Forces Day 2006 go to top of page

Our Association forming up - Reserve Forces Day 2006Once again there was a substantial presence at the 2006 Reserve Forces Day parade.  Major General Warren Glenny AO, RFD, ED was the parade host, representing the National Chairman Sir Lawrence Street.  Our regimental contingent was led by Len Koles, Brian Walters and Colonel John Haynes OAM, Colonel Haynes is the President of the Royal Australian Armoured Corps Association.  Members were seen to be wearing the new $20 regimental ties, the ties were also on sale at the march.

This year the parade commemorated the participation of reservists in theatres of war post WW II and the centenary of the cadet corps.  General Peter Cosgrove was a noted participant, marching with the Waverley College contingent.

Our contingent was preceded by the Museum's three ferret scout cars.  It was the first appearance of the latest acquisition personally donated to the Museum by David Brown.

After the conclusion of the parade, association members proceeded to the Royal Automobile Club for an excellent reunion. Apart from those already present, Brian Walters noted the following: Brian Algie, John Andersen, David Blackman, Terry Boardman, Ross Brown, Helen Clarke, Charlie Clasper, John Cook, Harry Crampton, Dave Crisp, Merv Cummings, Jeff Darke, Chris Dawson, Steve Deitman, Ross Denny, Jim Dick, Pat Donovan, Brian Dudley, Jim Ford, Raymond Gabriel, Bob Gay, Jim Gellett, Gabriel Gewargis, Karl Gruber, Jim Hamilton, Ken Hickey, Bernie Hill, Alan Hitchell, Chris Holland, Bob Iverach, Rick Jensen, Jack Lamb, Dennis Lees, Mick Lewins, Terry McKenna, Gordon Muddle, Doug Pollard, Jeff Randall, Ron Roberts, Neville Shaw, Greg Smith, Arthur Standring, Joe Tabone, Ron Vallance, Stephen Walmsley, Ray Williams, David Wood, Eric Zakulis, Charlie Zarb.

Museum Ferrets on Parade

Our Association on Parade

Next year the parade will commemorate 90 years since the Charge at Beersheba.  We will be involved in something special.

 World War II Liberty Ships go to top of page

John Blackberry (photo by Tracey Hatch)

The critical shortage of both fighting ships and merchant ships in the early stages of World War II determined the extent of the Allied war effort. This was especially so in 1941-42 when the loss of merchant ships and crews due to enemy action exceeded production and training.

The main factor to correct this situation was the program adopted by the United States of America between 1939 and 1945 when the United States maritime authorities ordered the production of 5775 ships. This program employed over 600,000 workers in 70 shipyards at a cost of $(US)14,000,000,000 and by 1943 the United States was producing 85% of all allied shipping.

The majority of these were "Liberty" ships which were designed along the same pattern as the well tested British "Tramp" ships. In 1939 production was one ship every thirteen days. In 1941 it increased to one in three and a half days and in 1943 launchings were at the rate of five ships each day. Prefabrication of components increased production still further until a ship could be launched four days and fifteen hours after the keel was laid, then fitted out ready for sea three days later.

Line drawing of a Liberty Ship

Liberty ships were 10,800 dead weight tons with a maximum speed of 10.5 to 11 knots with a cargo capacity of 9100 tons and a range of 14,000 miles. They were approximately 442 feet long with a beam of 57 feet. They had five holds, three forward and two aft, with steam winches for the ten booms arranged on three masts. Lifting capacity was up to thirty, sometimes fifty tons during the latter part of the war to meet the demand for ability to handle heavier cargo. The average cost of each ship was $(US)1,875,000.

Manning of the ships was difficult because production outstripped recruitment. As a result crews were a mixed lot - men who were too old for the draft were accepted, as were some with minor disabilities. Each ship had a crew of 41 and depending upon the area of operations some ships had U.S. Navy gunners aboard to man the ship's armament. Other ships relied on the crew or utilised troops on board after a brief lesson!

Liberty Ships unloading

The armament was usually a four inch calibre surface defence gun at the stem, two 40m.m. Bofors, and four Oerlikon 50 calibre anti-aircraft guns. Although designed as freighters, Libertys were converted and used for many purposes - hospital ships, navy supply ships, escort carriers and troop ships (not ours!).  Apart from a few crew cabins being allocated to army officers, all other troops were accommodated down in the holds on dirty steel decks in semi-darkness with little ventilation. Access to the holds was by one steep, narrow stairway. There were no showers, washbasins or toilets. However the ships carpenter usually rigged two six holers over the side of the foredeck (why not the aft?) which at least had a good view. So did everyone else. Water was mainly ex waterbottle hip, "meals" were twice daily at 8am and 5pm. All supplied out of two "Wiles" cookers lashed to the rail. In rough weather sea sickness was rife - and infectious! There are no happy memories about Liberty ships among veterans!

 The Museum Helps Blacktown Celebrate 100 Years go to top of page

Photos by Athol Samson

Blacktown municipality celebrated 100 years of local government in May.  The Museum was invited to help with the celebrations and did so thanks very much to the good offices of Wal Smith, without whose support the Centurion would not have made one of its rare ventures outside Lancer Barracks.

The centurion at Blacktown

The mobile museum at Balcktown.

The outing to Blacktown was only one of a number of displays by the Museum at community events over the past six months.  It was of course the only one where the funds could be raised to get the Centurion to the display.

 The Battlefields of France go to top of page

Captain David Brown

In early December last year I travelled to Belgium and France with a close friend to tour the Allied battlefields of World War 1. It was a thoroughly enjoyable trip and outlined below is a day by day account.

We travelled from London Waterloo Railway Station to Lille in France on the Eurostar and then took a train north into the Belgian town of Ieper (spelt ‘Ypres’ in French) to stay at a well known hotel called the ‘Shell Hole’ run by a lovely English bloke (who was ex 2 Para and veteran of the battle of Goose Green in the Falklands in 1982). He was very knowledgeable about the battlefields of Ieper and Passchendaele having lived in Belgium for the best part of 15 years. After a minor disaster losing our hire car in Lille (in which the Hire Company asked us for 1,000 Euros as a Security Deposit on top of the rental cost!) we managed through the Shell Hole to hire another car from a local dealer who had closed for winter but agreed to hire a car to us on recommendation from the Shell Hole owner.

That night we watched the Last Post played by members of the local Fire Brigade at the Menin Gate in Ieper. Despite being a cold winter’s night over 300 people attended. The Menin Gate is an imposing structure and has inscribed on its walls the 54,900 names of the ‘Missing’ - all those soldiers of the British Empire who fought and died in the Ypres Salient and have no known grave. Surprisingly there are no New Zealanders inscribed on the Menin Gate as a decision was made by the New Zealand Government at the time that they did not wish to do so.

Having sorted out the car problem we began our journey on our second day driving north from Ieper to Essex Farm, where Canadian Lt Col John McRae wrote the famous poem ‘In Flanders Fields’ after the death of a close friend. We then drove a short while north to some excavated trenches at Boezinge and then on to Langemarck German Cemetery. It was interesting to note the differences in the designs of the British and German cemeteries. All of the German dead are buried in mass graves with a small plaque marking the spot and it has more of a lawn cemetery cemetery design.

German Cemetary Langemark

Stopping at Passchendale for lunch we visited the Canadian Memorial in the town before driving on to Tyne Cot Cemetery, the largest Commonwealth War Graves Commission cemetery in the world. ‘Tyne Cot’ was named by British soldiers from Yorkshire as some of the bunkers on the ridge reminded them of cottages on the Tyneside in the north of England. It was a very moving experience and one where I am not ashamed to say I shed a few tears. On either side of the entrance to Tyne Cot there are large plots of Australians and it is quite emotional walking past them all.

Tyne Cot Cemetary

After visiting Tyne Cot we drove to Polygon Wood to view the 5th Australian Division’s memorial and then tried to locate the Hooge Crater, but couldn’t find it and went into the nearby Museum.

Finishing our tour of Ieper and Passchendale we then drove south into France. It was very interesting driving along the A1 at 100 mph, not having driven since I arrived in the UK 2 years before!

We arrived at Albert after about an hour and a half driving and found accommodation in the centre of town and stayed there for the next two nights. The Albert - Bapaume Road is an old Roman road, which is straight for miles and miles. On either side there are a whole host of different memorials. With long sloping ridgelines it is easy to understand how the area became a charnel house and the scene of so much bloodshed. With observation for miles and excellent fields of fire it is no wonder so many died there. A well sited machine gun could kill thousands before the enemy was even close to your position.

On our third day we drove to Corbie and asked a woman in the Local Tourist Information Centre where Von Richtofen, the ‘Red Baron’ was shot down as it was not marked on any tourist maps. After a short drive we found the location near a Brickyard a couple of miles outside of the town. It is surprising that someone like the Baron has no fitting memorial.

We then drove to Villers Bretonneux and stopped at impressive Australian Memorial. Villers Bretonneux is in my opinion the most important place on earth for Australians, much more so than Anzac Cove or Kokoda, for it was here on the eve of Anzac Day 1918 that a small Australian force (the much depleted 13th and 15th Brigades) recaptured the town and prevented the German’s from seizing nearby Amiens, the critical administrative hub of the entire British Force on the Western Front. If that had happened the course of the war would have been dramatically different and may have even been lost.

It was a very moving experience for me, and I was particularly struck by the engraved messages on some of the headstones written by some of the next of kin. We then stopped in the Victoria School and Museum, which in my opinion wasn’t that impressive, just a display upstairs in a long room. ‘VB’ was also the sight of the first Tank versus Tank action where the German tank ‘Mephisto’ broke down and was captured. It is now in the Queensland Museum.

Driving on to Longueval we visited the and South African and New Zealand Momorials. Moving north to the Canadian Newfoundland Memorial at Beaumont Hamel we walked through the preserved trenches. The world owes a debt of gratitude to the Canadian Government for they were the only ones to leave the trenches as they were as a fitting tribute to those killed and an important reminder of the past. It was much like a moonscape with craters everywhere and areas marked off to this day containing unexploded ordinance.

Driving south to Pozieres we visited the 1st Australian Division memorial near the ‘Gibraltar’ strongpoint and the 2nd Australian Division memorial at the ‘Windmill’.

2 Div Memorial at Pozieres

Pozieres, like Villers Bretonneux, is another extremely important place as it was here that more Australians died than anywhere else in the Great War. Charles Bean, the Official Historian correctly stated that ‘this site marks a ridge more densely sown with Australian sacrifice than any other place on earth’. Over 16,600 Australians died in the battle, winning four Victoria Crosses in the process.

Across the road to the ‘Windmill’ is the Tank Memorial commemorating the first ‘Tank versus Tank’ action of the Royal Tank Corps at Flers-Courcelette on 15 September 1916. ‘Lochnagar’ Crater is also close by. The largest British mine crater on the Western Front, Lochnagar was one of several mines exploded under the German front line positions on the Somme on 1 July 1916. A charge of almost 27 tons of explosive was blown at 7.28am resulting in a crater 90 feet deep and 300 feet across.

Day Four saw us drive north to Arras and then on to Vimy Ridge where the Canadian National Memorial is located. It was under repair at the time but was very impressive and has since been re-dedicated early this year.

Vimy Ridge

With our trip coming to an end we drove north towards Ieper to return the hire car. On the way we tried to locate the Indian Memorial but it proved too difficult given scant directions in the Lonely Planet guidebook. Arriving in Ieper late in the day we returned the hire car and then took the train back to Lille to stay in a Hotel overnight before returning the London on the Eurostar the following day.

All in all it was a fantastic trip and one that I would recommend to any current or ex-serving member of the Regiment. My only regret is not having enough time to visit Hamel, Mont St Quentin or Peronne, scenes of other Australian triumphs during the Great War. I had scant knowledge of the Western Front battlefields and Australia’s involvement but now have a good understanding of our impressive achievements.

I would recommend you read ‘To the Last Ridge’ by William Downing and also found the ‘Major and Mrs Holt’ books and maps to be very helpful guides.

 Forty Years of Service go to top of page

Mick and Kerry McConnellFor many years, to have served 30 years in the army was quite an achievement.  If you joined at 17, and served until the OR retirement age of 55, you made could as a maximum serve 38 years, as an officer it was harder, ranks up to Major were required to retire at 47, so could only ever achieve 29 years unless they gained a difficult to obtain extension.

Now the retirement age for all ranks is 60, (Chaplain Peter Quilty in recent correspondence indicates that chaplains have been invited to serve up to the age of 75) longer service is possible if the soldier is sufficiently dedicated to serve and the Army needs their skill.

Warrant Officer Class One Mick McConnell is one such dedicated and needed soldier, he celebrated 40 years of Army service in March 2006, yes you can fit 4 rosettes on an RFM.  Mick who served with the Regiment from Trooper to Warrant Officer, now works full time for the Army Personnel Agency.

Mick is also soon to be come a grandfather for the first time and twice over, two grandchildren are due within days of each other in January 2007.

 Departed Comrades go to top of page

David Craven unless otherwise noted

Since the deadline date for last newsletter, no. 10 of February 2006 we have heard of the deaths of the following:-

WILLIAM (Bill) HAHN, of Cambridge Park, on 25.9.05. John McManus said "Bill was a quiet type of man who served in C Squadron as a tank crew member, and was in New Guinea operations but not in Borneo. He was on our mailing roll and may have had contact in early post war years, but it seems not likely. He is not shown in our service file. Past C Squadron members may remember Bill.

ASHTON CURRY of Junee, on 26.11.05, aged 83. Ted Fallowfield said that Ashton was a tank crew member of C Squadron, and post war was on the land at Illabo. He also was on our roll but did not keep in touch. Roy Jessup, Norm Pentland and Ted Fallowfield attended Ashton's funeral.

J MACK. Listed in RSL Reveille of March/April 06 as NX102102, Trooper l Aust Armoured Regt, so date not known. He is not on our mailing roll or service record file, indicating he was not in the regiment in Borneo. We have no further knowledge, and would welcome word from any reader who knew him.

HARRY RODD of Bega. Also listed in Reveille of March/April 06, so date not known, probably late in 2005. Harry was a tank crew Sergeant of C Squadron, and was one of the group who didn't embark for Borneo and remained to take delivery of some specially modified tanks. They then were taken to Rabaul where they joined 2/4th Armoured Regiment, and at war's end eventually returned to Australia. It is thought that post war he worked with former OC A Squadron Bob Watson for some time in his retail store in Bega.

IVOR HUMPHRIES of Long Jetty, on 1st April 06, aged 89. Word came from nhis daughter June Spooncer, who said Ivor joined us on 29.9.41 and was discharged from the army on 2.5.46. He became a Sergeant, arid was for a time an instructor at Puckapunyal, before joining 2/31st Infantry Battalion of 7th Division, being commissioned as a Lieutenant and was with them at the landing at Balikpapan in July 1945. Post war he opened a general retail store in Lidcombe and later established a distribution network for confectionery in Western Sydney. He and his wife Eunice retired to the Central Coast in 1974. He didn't attend reunions in recent years, but was on our roll and in contact. June said Ivor was proud to be a member of the Royal NSW Lancers.

GEORGE NAGHTEN of Penshurst, on 16.3.06. aged 82. John Drews reported that George was a Trooper and a storeman in our HQ Squadron Q Store, and served in New Guinea and Borneo. Post war he became a TPI, with a large group of TPI Association present at his funeral, which John Blackberry attended as our representative.

John Howells reports. My first job after leaving uni was with the "Department of Supply".  It was 1967, my boss was the late Bruce Harrod, a wartime Jeep driver and trooper in the Regiment, he introduced me to George, who worked in the same office.  I recall that George was responsible for tool recycling.  When they found I was in the University of New South Wales Regiment they both suggested I transfer to the Lancers, and organised a copy of the Regimental History for me to study.  When the Army eventually posted me to the Regiment in 1974, these two men had ensured I was at least partially prepared for what lay ahead.

HOWARD BROOK. Listed in RSL Reveille of May/June 06, so date not known, and probably aged 83. Our service record file shows he joined the 1st with the intake of USP in December 41 at Rutherford, becoming a tank driver of C Squadron, with service in New Guinea and Borneo. Howard was not on our mailing roll, and did not attend reunions or make post war contact with our Lancers Association.

ALBERT POPE. Also listed in May/June Reveille, and date not known. The "service tile gives his date of birth as November 1918, so he was probably 87. He joined us as a reinforcement in May 43, only weeks before our departure to New Guinea. John Blackberry well remembers Bert as a likeable gunner in his 3 Troop A Squadron, and was also wounded in the action at Manggar airstrip, Balikpapan in July 45. We had no post war contact, and he too was not on our mailing roll.

CYNTHIA FITZSIMMON of Mosman on 23.4.06, advice coming from Mrs Gwyn Bent. Cynthia was the widow of old mate Fred Fitzsimmons, who joined The Lancers in 1936, became OC 1 Troop A Squadron, later serving with 2nd/11th Armoured Cars, and post war with 1st/15th Lancers. He died in August 94, as reported in newsletter 19. Cynthia was a good supporter of the Lancers Association through all the years since. She kept contact with friends of Fred and came to many of our events, and was indeed a very nice lady. She had a private family funeral.

ALGE GUDAITIS of Rooty Hill on 28 April 2006.  Alge was 65, and had served as a tank driver in the l early 1970s.  Alge passed the photos below on to us; a tribute to the glory days when the Regiment was equipped with Centurions. Gordon Muddle Reports.

Bogged Centurion 1972

Centurion at Holsworthy 1970

C Squadron 1970

 Australian Defence Medal Available go to top of page

New Australian Defence MedalAustralia will recognise the service of more than one million current and former Defence Force personnel with the Australian Defence Medal (ADM), Minister Assisting the Minister for Defence Bruce Billson, announced on 30 March 2006.

“Her Majesty the Queen has approved the official regulations and design for the award that aims to recognise current and former Australian Defence Force (ADF) Regular and Reserve personnel, and volunteer and National Servicemen, who have served since the end of World War II,” Mr Billson said.

“The Australian Government is committed to recognising the outstanding contribution to our proud military history made by Australian men and women in uniform.

“After extensive consultation with veterans’ organisations and the wider community, the government has decided to broaden the eligibility criteria to include former ADF members who completed their initial enlistment period, or four years service, whichever is the lesser,” Mr Billson said.

“The criteria also recognises National Servicemen and those who could not serve the four-year qualifying period because of the ADF’s workplace and enlistment policies of the time.

“The expanded criteria also includes those who die in service or are medically discharged due to permanent injury and unable to reach four years or complete their initial period of enlistment,” Mr Billson said.

“Although creating any new medal is an extensive process which includes consultation, design and testing, Royal approval and manufacturing, the medal is an important tribute to those who have given so much for our country.

“Presentation ceremonies by senior military officers and Federal parliamentarians are expected to commence in mid-2006 as the medals become available. I encourage all those eligible to submit applications and supporting evidence as soon as possible to receive the recognition they deserve,” Mr Billson said.

We have the application form available for downloading, completion and despatch.  Click Here.  Please despatch the completed form to the address indicated thereon.

Heraldic design details of the medal are that the Scarlet and Black represent the poppy flower (the black being the centre of the poppy) of the the WWI battle fields of Flanders and representing the ANZAC tradition of service, the white stripes represent peace time service and it is divided into three segments by the two white stripes to signify RAN, ARMY and RAAF.

Medals are being despatched in the order of receipt of applications.  Many eligible association members have already received and are wearing their medals.  Some like the editor never received any paperwork to mark their service, are still waiting.

 Coming Events go to top of page

Defence Reserves Association Conference

The Defence Reserves Association conference this year will be held on 26 August 2006 at Randwick Barracks, Avoca Street Randwick.  Registration 08:00 for 08:30, call Warren Barnes 0409 909 439, Catherine Lewis 0411 160 547 or Graham Fleeton 0412 399 693 to book in.  The welcome address will be by Her Excellency Professor Marie Bashir AC Governor of New South Wales.  It will be a full day with very worthwhile presentations from 08:30 to 15:30 when there will be an open forum.  The after dinner speaker will be the chief of the Defence Force Air Chief Marshal Angus Houston.  Cost for the day including morning tea, lunch, afternoon tea and dinner in the evening is $70 (If you are unable to be at the dinner, the cost will be $50) payment options can be discussed when you book in.

The 90th Anniversary of the Charge at Beersheba October 2007

2007 marks 90 years since the last successful charge by horse mounted forces with a British heritage (Polish Lancers charged successfully against the Russians in the early 1920s).  The charge at Beersheba in Palestine was by the 4th and 12th Light Horse Regiments.  The 1st was holding the line Gaza Beersheba at the time, as was the 15th, at that time still a part of the Imperial Camel Corps.  In NSW the celebrations will centre on Tamworth, headquarters of our sister regiment the 12th/16th Hunter River Lancers.  However, the charge will also be the major theme for Reserve Forces Day 2006 which will incorporate a major display by the Light Horse Association.

The charge at Beersheba

Given the current unrest in Israel/Palestine, it is unlikely there will be any commemorations on the site.  Our thoughts are with association members with family members in the region.  That region has such a mix of skilled people that if they could work together as the same mix does in Australia, they would lead the world.  'Tis a sad thing that differing explanations of existence intelligently designed to help people accept the unknown can be used to excuse conflict.

Black Hat Reunion April 2008

We have heard that there will be a major reunion of past serving members of the corps in Canberra in April 2008, expect more information in subsequent editions of Lancers' Despatch

 Thanks go to top of page

Thanks to the Following who gave donations to the Lancers Museum in the six months 1 January 2006, until 30 June 2005.  Official receipts were posted out in June.  Please note that the Museum is a tax exempt gift recipient; thus your donations are tax deductible.

John Anderson, Allan Aynsley, Bill Balchin, John Bollard, John Booth, Brian Bourke, Valerie Boyton, John Burlison, Jim Caradus, Bert Castellari, Alan Chanter, Alan Chapman, David Craven, John Creswick, Jeffrey Darke, David Downes, Cynthia Fitzsimmons, Jim Gellett, Sir Glenny, Therese Holles, John Howells, Alan Howitt, Les Hughes, Historic Houses Trust, Honorary Secretary Ingleburn RSL Sub-Branch, Norma Jamieson, John Kearney, Jack Lamb, Keith Linnert, Jean Macdonald, Albert Martin, Snow McEwan, Fred Moir, Don Morris, Geoff Morris, Valerie O'Sullivan, Doug Pinnington, Peter Quilty, John Roseby, Joyce Sharpe, Eric Stevenson, Ray Stone, Peter Teague, Dan Tesoriero, Stewart Thompson, Graham Ware, Wilma Wilson, E Wright, Erik Zarulis.

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 January 2006, until 30 June 2005.

Alan Howitt, Hector Howlett, Les Hughes, Norma Jamieson, Roy Jessup, John Kearney, Neville Kingcott, Jack Lamb, Keith Linnert, Ken Lowe, Albert Martin, Joan McDonald, Snow McEwan, George McLean, Geoff Morris, Valerie O'Sullivan, John Paton, Doug Pinnington, Eddie Polley, John Roseby, Joyce Sharpe, Ray Stone, Peter Teague, Dan Tesoriero, Stewart Thompson, Don Watson, Col Watson, Col Williamson, Wilma Wilson, E Wright, Erik Zarulis.

 Please Help go to top of page

The Royal NSW Lancers Association and the NSW Lancers Museum operate because of your generosity.  Please take the time to download and fill-out the response sheet (no longer available) 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 Tuesday, and the second Sunday of each month.  Simply turn up and you will be put to work.

 Affordable Regimental Ties go to top of page

The Museum now has regimental ties available at an affordable price, only $20 as opposed to the previous price of $65. The ties are no longer made in England from the finest silk, but are good quality and the colour match is excellent.  If you have always wanted a Regimental tie, however thought the cost a little too steep, now is your chance to get one you can afford.  Click Here to go to the Museum Shop.

Do not forget that we have a range of other memorabilia available Click Here to go to the Museum Shop.  Orders placed online or by facsimile will be in the post within 24 hours of the validation of your credit card details.

And when it comes to the wearing of Regimental ties Captain David Brown reminds us:

"The wearing of Regimental ties is one tradition that we have inherited from British Cavalry Regiments and the Lancers are the only RAAC Regiment that I am aware of that actually has a proper Regimental Tie. Traditionally, Regimental ties are of a ‘candy cane’ design and many regiments in Britain have quite outlandish designs. They should be worn by members of the Regiment when wearing a suit on Army business.

Each May the Cavalry Regiments of the Regular Army and Territorial Army gather in Hyde Park in London for ‘Cavalry Memorial Day’. Essentially a Cavalry version of Anzac Day, ‘Cav Mem’ sees all of the different cavalry regiments (excluding the Royal Tank Regiment, who are not viewed as Cavalry) form up along the Broadwalk in their respective Divisions and march past the Cavalry Memorial to the Bandstand where a short Church Service is held. All ranks wear their respective Regimental Ties with Officers also traditionally wearing ‘City Kit’ of Bowler Hat and Rolled umbrella.

There have been a number of iterations of the Regimental Tie but the current one is based on the ‘Racing’ Colours of Lord Carrington and are taken from a Cumberbund held in the Regimental Museum. ‘Racing’ colours are those traditionally worn in the Royal Enclosure at Royal Ascot (together with Morning Dress for Gentlemen). A previous design with a Gold Band rather than Silver (produced in the 1980s) was of the Carrington Family’s ‘Hunting’ Colours."

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Membership of the RAACA is free 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

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"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,  Tel: +61 (0)414 886 461, 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
Postal Address: PO Box 7287, PENRITH SOUTH NSW 2750, AUSTRALIA; Telephone: +61 (0)405 482 814 Email:
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