The Royal New South Wales Lancers

Lancers' Despatch 39

Lancers' Despatch

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 39 - August 2020

 Coming Events    The Regiment    The Museum    Our Association    Lancer Barracks Turns 200  
 Battle of Belmont   The Regiment at Beersheba   Water   Remembering General Glenny    Lives Matter  
 Departed Comrades   Thank You  Help    RAACA NSW    Online Response Sheet     Download Printable Newsletter   

Photos and text by the editor unless historical, submitted to the editor without attribution or otherwise noted. Thanks very much to all contributors.

 Coming Events go to top of page

Expect the following:

• Sunday 1 November 2020 - Regimental Association Reunion 11:00 - 14:00 Lancer Barracks, Parramatta. Function is contingent on being allowed under the COVID restrictions at that time.

• Saturday 21 November 2020 - Regimental Freedom of Entry Parade to the City of Parramatta to mark 200 years since Lancer Barracks was first occupied and 101 years since the Regimen's first combat mission, Belmont South Africa, . The parade will be followed by a reception in Lancer Barracks for soldiers' families and the Association. Do note that numbers able to attend may be controlled due to COVID-19 conditions applying at the time.

 The Regiment go to top of page

Commanding Officer's Message

Looking back at the last edition of the Lancers Despatch I recall thinking at the time that the Regiment could not get any busier or see greater disruption to the Unit following the first ever 'call out' of the Army Reserve. How wrong I was. The Regiment ably completed its commitments to OPERAION BUSHFIRE ASSIST 19-20 in early March. This included the awarding to unit members of multiple COMMANDER JOINT TASK FORCE (CJTF) Commendations, several Bronze Commendations and a Silver Commendation (awarded to CAPT Ian Goodwin).

The Regiment only had a few weeks to settle back into routine business before Commander 5th Brigade doubling as Commander Joint Task Group 629.1 (JTG629.1) asked the Lancers to once more step up to the plate to support the emerging global pandemic. The Unit raised its own Joint Task Unit (JTU) "Battle Group Lancer" led by the CO, LTCOL Andrew White and many of the RHQ staff with augmentation from across the Squadrons. The JTU was force assigned under OPERATION COVID-19 ASSIST to provide support to NSW Police with Port Quarantine Compliance Measures (QCM). This saw the deployment of multiple Troop size groups to support NSW Police Marine Area Command (MAC) and Australian Border Force (ABF) at Port of Newcastle, Port Botany, Port Kembla and Port Eden. The Troops were grouped under a Squadron HQ led initially by MAJ Ryley Reynolds, then CAPT Will Kerr. Due to the nature of the task, the JTU was able to deploy newly posted officers and soldiers. This was largely a 'Troop Leaders Battle' with Troops operating in isolated AOs across the 4 ports. Of particular note were LT Georgia Clare and LT Annelyse Davison who stretched themselves commanding Lancers in this environment. LT Clare had the unenviable task of supporting the ill fated Ruby Princess for several weeks at Port Kembla. She successfully repatriated many of the international crew, effectively and safely. She was highlighted by the NSW Police for her efforts. During this time access to bases, including Lancer Barracks and unit training was very restricted. The Unit's commitment finished after 8 weeks at the end of May and we returned back to Unit business. Or so we thought.


After just over a month, the Commander again called on the Lancers under the CO to re-raise our JTU and rapidly re-deploy on OPERATION COVID-19 ASSIST. This time in support of NSW Police conducting Border Control Checkpoints along the NSW and VIC border. With less than 48h notice, the Lancers again launched, establishing a maturing HQ node and critical relationships as we went. The JTU was assigned 5 sub unit (Sqn size) groups from the RAN, 8/9 RAR, ALTC, 5 & 8 Bde and RAAF. A truly "Joint" Task Unit. As I write this I am sitting in Albury in the Forward HQ. We have members of the JTU in checkpoints along a 1,400km front from the South Australian border to the Pacific Ocean. Members of the Regiment are in the Forward HQs, Main HQs (RAAF Wagga) and in one of the sub units on the border. Winter in the border country is variable (from very cold to slightly less cold!), especially for our teams operating in the Alpine checkpoints. We anticipate being here for some time as Australia wrestles with its approach to the second wave of COVID-19.

Amid all this we have still managed to squeeze in some unit training, in particular a great weekend with all sub units conducting combat marksmanship live fire training.

As we look forward we are not sure when training and commitments will return to "normal" but we continue to respond in an agile and professional way. In particular we are hopeful in being able to meaningfully celebrate the bicentenary of Lancer Barracks in November this year.

Lieutenant Colonel Andrew White CO

The Band on Bushfire Relief

Along with the rest of the Regiment our Band also did a tour of duty helping clean-up after the bushfires. Not only did they labour hard, they also serenaded the other workers and locals.



The Adjutant Decorated

Association member Graham Hodge served with the Regiment in the 1950s and 60s. His grandson Rohan Mitchell, Adjutant of the Regiment, recently arrived home in late June after serving nine months in Afghanistan. He was deployed into an American training brigade during that time. Rohan will be rejoining the regiment for the balance of his term and then will move to his new posting in Canberra starting the beginning of 2021. Whilst serving with US forces his actions and leadership was recognised to such that in May this year he was awarded the US "MERITORIOUS SERVICE AWARD" for "Exceptional and Meritorious Achievement as a force protection officer". Rohan's rather lengthy citation finishes with "Caption Mitchell's extensive accomplishments reflect great credit upon himself, Training Advise and Assist Command and the Australian Army". Not bad for a young Lancer, a grandson that Graham is very proud of.

 Our Museum go to top of page

The last six months have seen the Museum required to close, hold the AGM and committee meetings online, then see a gradual re-opening.

The end of February saw us still able to open. We hosted a group (80 year 6s over two days) from Hilltop Road Public School Merrylands. The photo shows Jeff Darke and the group he guided.

First we were able to work at the barracks to ensure our exhibits including the vehicle fleet did not deteriorate during the prolonged shutdown. Then in July we were permitted to open again to the public provided we had a COVID Safe plan in place and took all the necessary precautions.

During the shut-down we made a couple of videos to show to the world that we were not idle.

We also added quite a few soldier stories to the website including Roy Faunt thanks to the detail of his funeral eulogy sent by his widow Joy, and Philip Edwards, an extract from Memories of A Squadron. Philip served with the Regiment throughout WW2, his recollections are comprehensive if a little irreverent.

For the re-opening we created a COVID SAFE PLAN and obtained the necessary kit for contactless payment.

Thanks very much for the good offices of Parramatta's Federal MP The Hon Julie Owens for assistance in gaining a grant that covered the cost of the POS Terminal for contact-free payments and a defibrillator, a necessary piece of kit given the age of our volunteer pool.

And thanks so much too for the Work of John Alexander fixing and painting our windows, Catherine Pearlman painting our cabinets and Steve Lesley and Mike McGraw replacing our worn floor coverings with carpet tiles; a job well done all.

 Our Association go to top of page

2020 has been a year for navigating restrictions for the Association as it has been for everything else. Started well, we managed to get the February Lancer'’ Despatch out on time. By March things were not as good, the Regimental birthday, 135 years since the formation in 1885 could only be commemorated by a short parade in the Drill Hall, much of the unit being committed to the bush fires. Cake was good.

Later in the month, as with the Museum a physical AGM was not possible, we assembled via Skype Meeting and did the necessary business.

ANZAC Day was not like any other, we along with all of the nation gathered with family members in the cold at the end of our driveways and watched presentations on our tablets like the one below assembled by Tony Fryer for the St Marys RSL Sub-Branch.

Let us hope that COVID will abate sufficient for the Association to participate in the Freedom of Entry parade in November, and not just watch a compilation of past parades on YouTube.

Do note that the Annual Battle for Australia (the Lancers' Association is a member - not a big cost the membership is covered by a targeted and un-acknowledged donation) commemoration will take place in Martin Place Sydney on Wednesday 2 September 2020. The number attending will be strictly restricted to 50 (other than casual passers-by) under Defence direction and there will be no pleasant lunch to follow at the Westin Hotel. The proceedings will be reported on and appear HERE soon after the event.

This year the RAAC Corporation (brings together all RAAC Associations) was to be held in October in Perth, moved to Melbourne as the government grant to cover the travel of participants could go nowhere near covering the cost will now be held online, travel to Melbourne is not likely to be viable. John Howells represented the Lancers’ Association at a trial meeting in April to prove the technology and apart from a few NBN short comings giving fuzzy images and delayed sound, it worked. You can expect a full report in the next Lancers’ Despatch.

 Lancer Barracks Turns 200 go to top of page

In November 1788 a party was sent from Sydney to establish a settlement at Rose Hill. It built a small the redoubt in the vicinity of the present Parramatta Park within the redoubt there was a barrack for the troops.

In November 1790 a new barrack, 30 x 8 metres was commenced within 150 metres of the wharf where the boats from Sydney unloaded (now Queen’s Wharf where the ferries to Sydney dock. It stood on land now bounded by George, Purchase, Hassall and Harris Streets. It was built of brick but was necessarily of single storey because lime was not yet available in the colony and therefore the bricks had to be bound with mud. It was first occupied in May 1791 and was used for nearly thirty years.

In December 1817, Governor Macquarie reported to authorities in Britain that the old barrack was nearly in ruins and not fit to be inhabited any longer.

In 1818 erection of new barracks, later to be called Lancer Barracks was commenced under the design direction of Lieutenant John Watts an aide to the Governor.

1820 saw the barracks complete, standing in an area of 3.25ha, they were designed for a company (approximately 100 officers and men).

They served as a barracks for British regiments stationed here in convict days. Some of the men would have served under Wellington in the Napoleonic wars.

British Regiments with detachments stationed at Parramatta Barracks, 1820-1850

48th Foot 80th Foot
28th Foot 96th Foot
3rd Foot 58th Foot
57th Foot 99th Foot
39th Foot 17th Foot
4th Foot

The original buildings included the two-storey building overlooking the parade ground and the single storey "Bobs Hall" nearby. There was also a twin of Bobs Hall, equal and opposite to it. There were also stables, kitchens, and privies on the perimeter. The three main buildings form three sides of a square. The walls are of sandstock brick. The two storey building was of Georgian design; the balcony and veranda were added in the C1830s.

During the 1830s, the number of troops quartered in Parramatta grew to over 360, several additional buildings in the town had to be used for military quarters. One of these was Linden House, then known as the School of Industry. When the garrison was withdrawn in 1850, the Police and Military Volunteers occupied the barracks. The Lancers came to Parramatta in 1891 when K Troop was added to the Regiment and was based in what was soon to be known as Lancer Barracks. By this time land had been taken for railway and education purposes. A cavalry parade ground was needed, “sadly” the eastern single storey building burned and had to be demolished; a cavalry parade ground materialised.

After the South African War, the remaining single storey building was re-named "Bobs Hall" after Lord Roberts VC, the Commander in Chief.

When the RHQ of the Regiment now called "The New South Wales Lancers" was moved from Sydney to Parramatta in 1898, accommodation was provided for the permanent cadre. An Edwardian House for the Adjutant, and a cottage for the Staff-Sergeant. In C1910, a drill hall was added. The stables were converted to a Sergeants Mess, and an Officers Mess added in the 1930s. In the 1980s, the Officers' Mess was demolished, and the Sergeant's Cottage renovated as a mess; the Officer's house was converted into offices.

When the Regiment was mechanised in the 1936, a hangar was constructed against the eastern boundary.

Linden House the 1828 building that houses the Regimental Museum was moved to its current site on the northern boundary in 1964 from its original location at 130 Macquarie Street.

The three principal buildings in the barracks grounds are now protected against demolition under the New South Wales Heritage Act 1977.

Thankfully the government spends what is necessary to maintain the Barracks, now dwarfed by skirting high rise.

 The Battle of Belmont 121 Years Ago go to top of page

Only a fortnight after disembarkation at Cape Town, having journeyed 500 kilometres in a north-easterly direction, the Lancers detrained at De Aar Junction. It was thought that a start into action would be made as soon as the horses had got over the journey. But there was still insufficient equipment, with enough weapons for only a few. Hurriedly, a troop under Lieutenant SF Osborne was given what was available, and away they went, to the disappointment of the remainder of the squadron. With Lieutenant Osborne were SSM Robson (Lismore), Sergeant McDonald (Ballina), Sergeant Dooley (Berry), Corporal Hopf (Lismore), Lance-Corporal Ford (Lismore), and 23 troopers. They were called by the British regiments "The Fighting Twenty-nine".

In mid-November 1899, the fighting 29, were attached to the 9th Lancers in Lord Methuen's column advancing north on South Africa's western railway toward Kimberley. Kimberly then a rich Diamond mining town was in Cape Colony, but a few kilometres from the Orange Free State. It was under siege by the forces of General Cronje; an astute tactician.

Cronje had deployed the first of his covering force at Belmont, on the rail line about 100 km from Kimberley. They were commanded by General Koos De la Rey.

Lance armed cavalry were best used against infantry in the open. Wellington had adopted the lance when he had seen what French lancers could do to his infantry squares. By 1899, infantry did not form square, but they often deployed quickly taking advantage of natural cover if available. A tactic forced on those deploying from horseback when on the move, and all of the Boer soldiers were mounted.

On 21 November 1899, reconnaissance party, consisting of the 9th Lancers, including the NSWL troop and Rimington's Guides, was ordered in advance to scout the area in the vicinity of Belmont. Heading out from Fincham's Farm (about 10 km south west of Belmont, near the rail line), they spied several hundred Boers climbing up a kopje (hill) at Belmont.

Our troop were used by the 9th Lancers as a rear-guard, ready to deploy and provide covering fire for withdrawal if necessary.

The following day, the British reached Thomas' Farm, three kilometres south of Belmont. The advance party of lancers had deployed forward and was fired upon by soldiers dug in and un-assailable by the lance. The rear-guard deployed, making use of available cover to provide covering fire with their rifles. The 9th Lancers were able to withdraw successfully.

This delivery of covering fire, whilst hardly the hand to hand combat Australian soldiers were to become renown for, was the first time Australians as part of an Australian unit in Australian uniforms had engaged in combat.

Methuen ordered the artillery forward to return fire and the Boer fire ceased. At midnight, the troops bivouacked and prepared for battle. The subsequent battle was fought by British regulars mostly Coldstream Guards. It was ultimately successful. The 9th Lancers, the NSW Lancer Troop a squadron of Rimmington Guides and a company of Mounted Infantry were the only mounted troops; and were thus used to follow up the Boer withdrawal toward the Modder River and Magersfontein where Lord Methuen's column was eventually halted.

Ref: Regimental History and Stephen Miller, Die Suid-Afrikaanse Krygshistoriese Vereniging Journal December 1996.

 The Regiment at Beersheba go to top of page

It is a bit like the fact that 80 from 10 Light Horse died at the Nek in Turkey on 7 August 1915 is known by every Australian, the 154 from the 8 LH who also died at the Nek and the 86 from the Regiment (1 LH) who died at the Chessboard 300 metres from the Nek at the same date and time are forgotten. The actions at Beersheba in Israel on 31 October 1917 as understood by our countrymen focus on the approach at the gallop and dismount on the objective by the 4th and 12th LH as the sun set. The fact that 12 of the Australian Light Horse Regiments and the two Australian battalions of the Camel Corps (later the 14th and 15th LH) were in action at Beersheba on that day is oft neglected. The 13 LH and two squadrons of the ANZAC Mounted Regiment were in France.

On 30 October 1917 the Regiment less the two troops left Asluj at 05:30 and, after watering, joined the brigade near Asluj railway station, which was the rendezvous of the Anzac Mounted Division prior to its advance against Beersheba. After a long night march, the high ground east of and overlooking Beersheba was reached at dawn on 31st. Orders were issued to the 1st Brigade to attack Tel el Saba (now Tel Beersheba), the 2 and 3 LH Regiments being detailed to initiate the attack, while the 1 LH was held in reserve. At 10:30 on 31 October 1917, the regiment was detailed to take up a position on the left flank of the Inverness Battery, which had come into position a 1600 metres south east of Saba, near Khurbet el Watan. The advanced troops were heavily shelled, and all led horses had to be taken back some distance to the broken ground. Lieutenant Wright, with two sections, carried out a very daring reconnaissance of the enemy's position in Wady Saba, bringing back much valuable information.

The New Zealand Mounted Rifles materially assisted the attack by a flanking movement from the north, and Tel el Saba (now Tel (or hill) Beersheba) was occupied at 15:00.

At 16:10 the regiment received orders to attack the town of Beersheba on the line Hill 970 to the mosque in the town, both inclusive. This line, which was on the northern side of the town, was made good just after dark. Before the order to attack had been received, however, the position generally had become grave. The enemy, though driven off Saba, was still strong south of the town and stronger north of it. Only a few hours of daylight were left, and the possession of the wells in the town was imperative, for both the infantry and the cavalry. It was neck or nothing, and General Chauvel ordered that Brigadier-General Grant's 4th Australian Light Horse Brigade should make a mounted attack on the trenches on the south-east. At 16:30 the 4th and 12th Regiments commenced their famous attack. Within an hour Beersheba had been entered, the lightning attack so disorganising and demoralising the Turks that the opposition to the 1st Light Horse Brigade, on the north, failed.

Ref: Regimental History

 Water go to top of page

It has been said that an army marches on its stomach. My experience is that it marches longer and better if that stomach is full.

Supply in the field is no doubt a major task but surely water must be a priority.

Every soldier carrying a water bottle on his hip would wish that it contained sweet, cold, clear water; it seldom does.

I recall an incident in 1943 whilst occupying a position at a place called Bonga, north of Finschhafen, on the east coast of New Guinea. It was very hot and humid, of course, and water was the only beverage available highly chlorinated water which put fur on one's teeth and smelt like a public toilet.

A small stream ran through the jungle nearby, and a mate and I decided to investigate this to see whether it was suitable for a bath which was long overdue. About 200 metres upstream we found a small pool of clear water, trickling over rocks, which we promptly used for a bath and to wash our stinking clothes. We also filled our waterbottles adding the minimum allowable number of chlorination tablets.

Highly delighted, and clean, we returned to our bivvy area and told a few friends. The next day, on returning for more of the same, we discovered that word had got around and our little pool was fully occupied by others frolicking like nude schoolboys, filling water bottles, cleaning teeth and having a great time.

Not to be outdone, my mate and I withdrew and proceeded upstream for a further couple of hundred metres where we found a much larger pool - this one quite wide and deep.

Our joy was short lived. There were four very dead Japanese soldiers lying half-in and half-out of the water, the wet halves white and bloated, the dry halves heavily infested with swarms of flies and their offspring.

We looked at each other, emptied our waterbottles and went downstream to warn the others. Some didn't believe us and had to see for themselves.

On return to our area we filled up with the public toilet smelling water which actually didn't taste as bad as before.

Now, 57 years later, I still don't like water - beer is preferable.

John Blackberry - 2000

 Remembering General Glenny go to top of page

It was September 1974 when I was called into HQ 2 Div and advised by the then Colonel John Dart that I was posted to 1/15 RNSWL effective immediately and that I should present myself to the CO Lieutenant Colonel Glenny on the next Tuesday night parade.

Colonel Glenny was faced with integrating not just me but another captain with no armoured corps experience into his unit. I do not know what notice if any he had of my arrival. Certainly, my former CO had no notice that his only company commander was being posted until after the event.

My new CO was very comfortable to have me on board, and made certain that I took every element of training to fit me out as an Armoured soldier (I think the colleague I was posted with could not cope with this, he soon dematerialised). The Regiment, under Colonel Glenny’s command was a great place to be. The CO took a great deal of interest in his soldiers at every level making certain their careers and interests were fostered. The Regiment had only recently made a major change, giving up its beloved Centurions and converting to reconnaissance. The M113s and 106mm RCL’s were in the eyes of some soldiers no substitute. This coupled with the end of national service meant the very continued existence of the Regiment was under threat. Only having an excellent CO enabled the Regiment to prosper.

My next experience of the General was in 1980 to 1982. He was the Colonel Armour 2 Div and I along with Bill Meares was one of the SO2s Armour with Frank Holles as the SO3. The GOC Major General Murray was noted for his big ideas. He wanted an Armoured Brigade exercise in western NSW. When it was explained to him that there were only enough vehicles for one squadron, this was adjusted to two separate exercised run by the Colonel Armour’s HQ spread over eight weeks between Bourke and Louth.

Colonel Glenny threw himself into the task, gathering a HQ that used every available ARES RAAC officer in NSW not posted to one of the Regiments. The exercise “Dusty Waler” was planned in detail and well executed. It was not without challenges. We had a week in Bourke to prepare for the arrival of the first unit, 1/15 RNSWL, a two-week exercise for that unit, a week to prepare for 12/16 HRL then two weeks exercise, and a week to clean-up.

The first three weeks were dry, then the heavens opened-up. Rain has an interesting effect on the red powder and black soils of western NSW. The powder soils become slippery, and when a wheeled vehicle slips it bogs. The black soil just becomes a quagmire sucking in the most robust of tracked vehicles. In the fourth week we had a series of thunderstorms. One I recall knocked out the HRL HQ comms, throwing the RSM out the back of the ACV, luckily unhurt except for a few bruises.

The exercise must have gone well. The Colonel kept his post. General Murray was a great one for using any pretext to sack a subordinate.

For some time our paths did not cross. It was only when General Glenny was honorary colonel and I was secretary of the Lancers' Association and Museum that we again worked together. The General was very generous with his time and energy in supporting the endeavours of the Association and Museum. It was again a difficult time for the Regiment. The unit had been mounted on the M113 for 35 years and the vehicles had to change. Initially this was to un-armoured wheeled vehicles, a challenge to keep soldiers. The General was well experienced to mentor the COs of the day.

Since leaving his post as Honorary Colonel, the General has continued to support the Association, Museum and other causes. He only recently relinquished the chair of the Battle for Australia organisation where I again had the pleasure of working with him.

John Howells - 2020

 Lives Matter go to top of page

One of my volunteer activities is to video and publish presentations made to the Royal United Services Institute of New South Wales. The May presentation was by Dr Simon Longstaff AO of the Ethics Centre. It was entitled “Ethics in the Australian Defence Force” and concerned his work preparing soldiers for combat deployment in culturally diverse asymmetric (ie one side is bigger than the other) circumstances.

Engendering ethical behaviour is designed to save lives on both sides of the symmetrical and cultural divide (stops one side getting unnecessarily shot while saving others from PTSD and suicide). The presentation covered the armed forces, however, in thinking about what was said, I recognised that the training is just as applicable to police and corrective services when dealing with the public, in particular those who are disadvantaged.

The presentation runs 45 minutes, if you have the time, it is worth taking it in.

You will note that skin colour is not mentioned; neither it should be. It is incumbent on us all to be oblivious to skin tint, facial shape, wrinkly skin, fashion sense etc and; judge people on their presence, effort, potential and achievements, not on any irrelevant factor. If there is an asymmetric situation of power it must be recognised and dealt with in a way that does not put life or livelihood at risk.

 Departed Comrades go to top of page

PETER DAILHOU of Chatham aged 68.

At around 18:45 on 21 May 2020, Pete Dailhou passed away from a brain haemorrhage caused by a fall. He had been diagnosed with Progressive Supranuclear Palsy in early 2019 and had fought long and hard against the progressive loss of his physical and mental capabilities.

His funeral was held in his birth place of Mullumbimby, in Northern NSW, on his birthday 10 June 2020. Under social distancing restrictions, only immediate family were allowed to attend.

Peter joined the Army, A Sqn 12/16 HRL whilst a student at Armidale Teachers College in 1972. When he graduated from College, he moved to Rhodesia, was commissioned in the Rhodesian Army and served with the Rhodesia African Rifles during the "Bush War".

After he returned to Australia, Peter served as a Lieutenant in the Regiment in the late 1970s - mid 1980s and is remembered with respect by those who served with him. Pete has remained in contact with the Regimental Association, though as he lived 300 km away, he has not been able to attend reunions or march on ANZAC Day.

In civil life, Peter was a school teacher, his last post being at West Taree Public School. He held a PhD in cybernetically enabling education and was fluent in Afrikaans and Shona.

Rod Davis (former CO and Hon Col of 12/16 HRL) recalls:

"Dick Braithwaite and Peter were students at Armidale Teachers College when I was the Registrar and also OC of the Sqn. They enlisted in to A Sqn 12/16 early in the 70's (I cannot remember the exact year). Peter and Dick were members of a cohort which styled itself as the 'Class of 72' and included the likes of Iain Spence; Frank Holles and Wayne Higgins. I can say that they were an exceptional group of young men and there is a Sqn photo of that group sitting on my study bookcase. Sadly, I have lost 3 of 'my boys' over the last 6 months.

Peter was a very intelligent young man, who was serious about his work in the Regiment. Even in those early days Peter showed those attributes required of a leader, while he maintained a quiet reserve about his work. It was a considerable loss to the Sqn when he graduated from College and was appointed away from the Regimental area."

Frank Holles RFD (CO 1993-1995) recalls:

"I am really sad to hear of Peter's death . He served with me in 3TP ASQN 12/16 HRL in 1973. I was a new troop leader, and Peter a newly minted Crewman DVR/SIG , from memory he drove the Delta call sign.

My troop was a mix of graziers, students (of which Peter was one - Armidale Teachers College) and the odd railway man. We all got along well and I had many interesting conversations with Peter , who was a polymath even then.

I caught up with him on a number of occasions, we had some interesting discussions on his time in Rhodesia , and the different training between the two Armies . He had a commission in the Rhodesian Forces and saw a lot of the bush war as it was called.

I saw him somewhere about ten years ago, for the life of me, I cannot recall where . He was then as always an engaging conversationalist and a thoroughly decent person.

We shared a LinkedIn connection."

3TP ASQN 12/16 HRL in 1973
Back row on top of carrier left to right: Ron Jaegar, Terri Eicorn, Frank Hole (Holles) Tony Bock and John Adams.
Middle row left to right, Phillip Batty, John Ellis, Dick Braithwaite
Front Row left to right, John Taylor, Steve Hudson (recently deceased) and Pete Dailhou.

Thanks to Dick Braithwaite for the Photo and the names.

IAN SPENCE of Canberra aged 67

Major General Iain Geoffrey Spence was born in Edinburgh (UK), in 1953, emigrating to Australia with his family as a teenager in 1970. He completed his schooling at Armidale High School in 1971 and a degree at the University of New England (UNE), and subsequently becoming a career academic.

His military career was centred on 12/16 HRL and training streams, he did not serve in the Regiment late in his service he saw considerable staff experience in the Canberra environment.

Iain was CO 12/16 HRL from 1997 'till 1999.

Many of us who served in the Regiment crossed paths with Iain as his instructors and students.

His work for the National Boer War Memorial was notable, From the time that Iain Spence was appointed by the CDF to the NBWMA Project, he was an active member of the Executive Committee and always provided sound advice. It is strongly believed that the NBWM Project would never have been completed without the participation, advice and influence of Iain Spence.

In 2018 due to ill health MAJGEN Spence retired from the Australian Army to concentrate on getting better. Unfortunately, despite a long, hard fight, he succumbed to his illness and passed away peacefully on the morning of 28 Feb 2020.

BARRY TORMEY of Epping aged 80 (13/09/1940 died 17/04/2020).

Barry Tormey was quite a character in the regiment.

He will be remembered for all time for his part in the 1970s promotional film "Citizen Soldier".

Lee Long RFD (former CO and HON COL) recalls:

"I remember Barry when I was a trooper and we were staying in 1 Armd Regiment lines and he made us run over the hill to the School of Armour for our Gunnery lessons. Yet another one gone."

Mick Moriaty recalls:

"I worked with Barry at Fiat of Australia for 6 years from around 1969-1970. He was the Spare Parts Manager.

Quite a character. Flashman we used to call him. He did have a way with the Ladies!

Good boss though, demanding, but a strong crew in the Spare Parts Department.

I can see him standing beside me laughing about some graffiti one of the store men had written on the toilet wall. 'Mr Tormey is a [EXPLETIVE DELETED]!'.

The little guy still used his title (Mr), cracked us all up.

Who would have thought that he would make 80 years without some irate hubby doing him in or from falling out of a back window or some such.

I bought a little red Fiat 850 coupe from him. I was a 21 year old tear away and marvelled how it would rev to 8500rpm! That ended badly eventually, haha!"

Terry Boardman OAM JP recalls:

"I enjoyed serving with Barry and meeting up with him a few times afterwards. I considered him a friend and was sad to lose touch in recent years. My last encounter was a long lunch that Jim Gellett organised at Doyle’s at Circular Quay a few years ago - Barry was older and a bit more 'battle scarred' than we remembered but was still good company. Barry was one of those larger than life characters who add spice to life, and cause the odd problem while doing so. He was lively, colourful and had tremendous charisma – children and many ladies were fascinated by him. He was flamboyant, quick witted and smart - and some would say a smart Alec. He “bucked the system” at times and yet at other times was a traditionalist.

There are many stories about his time at Lancers - some would be good to hear again whilst having a wake, and some would be better to go with him where he has gone. He loved the Regiment

Vale 'BJ' Tormey RIP

Warren Glenny AO RFD ED (MAJGEN, past CO and Hon Col) Recalls:

"He was certainly bigger than life and amongst memories I can remember being in West Ryde on Victoria Rd with Gay - standing in amazement as 3 APCs trundle past lead/commanded by an officer wearing a Sam Brown and looking as smart as only Barry could.

The next Parade Night he was fronted. His justification 'Sir I knew you would not approve us going to a mates Military Wedding so we went for a Test drive instead'.

The Regiment during those days was a great time/place to be a member."

Jock Mackenzie recalls:

"We were saddened to hear of the passing of Barry. I served with Barry on Centurions during the 1962/1972 years, although I was a member of C Sqn most of the time. Barry worked his way through the ranks and was commissioned after attending OCTU.

Barry was a bit of a legend among the guys at the time and if I recall had a passion for fast cars. Service in the Regiment at that time was an adventure, particularly on the annual pilgrimage to Puckapunyal, Vale Barry."

Barrie Rafter recalls:

I knew Barry very well, he was always larger than life. I joined the Regiment in April 1961 as a recruit Ferret driver in Recce Troop, I later was appointed Troop Sergeant I had many happy hours in the Mess with Barry. He was still a sergeant when I transferred to the HRL in 1969. He will be sadly missed.

Neil Jefferys recalls:

"I left 1/15 in 1971 but I can remember most of the Lancers faces/names in 'Citizen Soldier' as most of them were ex C Squadron people and were merged with A Squadron after I transferred to 34 Field Squadron in Broken Hill. They were good days and 1/15 was a 'social' regiment and most of us knew other blokes families/girlfriends etc. and we were very professional in exercises with the regular army in Pucka.

Barry Tormey was a character even in those days when many of us were perhaps a little right or left of 'normal' and there were plenty of stories about his exploits."

 Thank You go to top of page

Thank you all very much for your assistance in supporting the Museum and Association financially in the 2019/20 Financial Year. Our records (and they may not be perfect, human data entry has been involved) show the following supported by donation, the Association:

Douglas Black, Bert Castellari, Alan Chanter, Paul Degiorgio, Josie Edwards, June Faunt, Joseph Granzotto, Clint Johnson, Trevor Lord, John McPhee, Sam Mifsud, Margaret Sheppard, John Van Gelderen;

and the following the Museum:

Jack Best, Douglas Black, Cynthia Booth, Lindsay Boyton, Ron Cable, Bert Castellari, Alan Chanter, Paul Degiorgio, Josie Edwards, June Faunt, Joseph Granzotto, Bruce Gurton, Jonathan Herps, Bev Hill, John Hitchen, Clint Johnson, Mary Lamb, Trevor Lord, Daniel Marriott, Colin McDonald, Brian McEvilly, John McPhee, Sam Mifsud, Brad Pearce, Safetyline Jalousie, Margaret Sheppard, Bob Stenhouse, John Van Gelderen, Vergola (NSW) Pty Ltd.

  HELP! go to top of page

Yes we really do need your financial assistance. No amount too large, no amount too small.

Donations to the Museum (the Museum is registered with the charity tick) and Association are possible securely using PayPal from your credit card (Visa, Mastercard, AMEX) or from your 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 has Regimental beanies for sale; we have secure payment facilities available using your credit card (now including AMEX)  or your PayPal account.  Click Here for the Museum Shop. Do note that if you visit the Museum you will find the goods cheaper (no delivery charges) and still able to be purchased using your credit etc card.

We also need Museum volunteers. All that is required is an interest in the Regiment and its history, we find everyone has a skill to contribute. If you have any questions about our volunteer programme, simply call the editor, John Howells on 0405 482 814.

 RAACA NSW go to top of page

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 Bld 96, Victoria Barracks (Sydney), Locked Bag 7005, Liverpool NSW 1871, or visit the website:

   go to top of page

"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, AUSTRALIA, (Postal Address: PO Box 7287, PENRITH SOUTH NSW 2750, AUSTRALIA) Click to contact  Tel: +61 (0)405 482 814.

© 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:
Click to contact
website designed and maintained by cibaweb Site Disclaimer

go to top of page

Find and compare hotels near The Royal New South Wales Lancers Memorial Museum through HotelsCombined for the cheapest rates.

Image loading please wait
Donate to the Museum
Image loading please wait Like us on Facebook RUSI of NSW The NSW Lancers Museum acknowledges Vergola for their generous assistance