The Royal New South Wales Lancers

Lancers' Despatch 41

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 41 - August 2021

 Coming Events    The Regiment    Your Association    The Museum    The Regiment Mechanised 
 Exercise Dusty Waler 1981   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:

• Wednesday 1 September 2021 - 1100, The Battle for Australia Commemoration, Martin Place, Sydney.

• Sunday 7 November 2021 - 1100 to 1400, Regimental Reunion Lancer Barracks, Parramatta. Function is contingent on being allowed under the COVID restrictions at that time.

• Saturday 13 November - the Annual Dinner of RAACA NSW to commemorate the Battles of Beersheba and Cambrai is to be held at the Royal Automobile Club of Australia, 89 Macquarie Street Sydney. JOIN the RAACA NSW to get your invite

 The Regiment go to top of page

Captain Jerome Abdelmessih Adjutant 1/15 RNSWL

After what proved to be an incredibly challenging yet rewarding year for the Regiment in 2020, the Commanding Officer's intent for 2021 was to return to foundation war fighting with a focus on dismounted and mounted cavalry tasks, whilst remaining flexible and capable of supporting domestic operations and security.

The year's training commenced in February with the Regiment delivering a number of driver courses to members of the Lancers as well as our partner units in the 5th Brigade. These included Bushmaster PMV and G-Wagon courses which set the conditions for EX SUVLA STRIKE 21. This saw a range of dismounted training as well as mounted training at Troop level with both Bushmaster PMV and the G-Wagon SRV.

EX SUVLA STRIKE A and C SQN conduct rehearsals and SOP development
(Holsworthy Training Area)
B SQN conduct blank battle runs as part of their progression to live fire battle runs later in the year (Majura Training Area)

After a successful field exercise to commence 2021, the Regiment was then fortunate to have the opportunity to celebrate the unit's 136th Birthday in March with a Regimental parade at Lancer Barracks. The night was an opportunity for new members of the Regiment to visit the Museum, engage with members of the Lancer Association and get to know each other in a social setting outside of formalised training.

EX NORTHERN LANCER was next on the calendar for the Regiment and provided an opportunity for the Junior Officers and JNCOs to participate in a weekend of professional development with a series of Tactical Decision Exercises at RAAF Base Williamtown. The weekend was also used to commemorate the lives of Corporal N Moran, TPR N Mornement and PTE R Blackie of the 15th Northern River Lancers who lost their lives in a tragic training accident in March 1954 off Newcastle. Wreaths were placed at the graves of the members as well as at the memorial at Horseshoe Beach.

The Regiment celebrates its 136th Birthday (Lancer Barracks) The CO and RSM lay a wreath in remembrance of Lancers who lost their lives in a training accident (Horseshoe Beach)

The 136th Birthday Parade.

Continuing to pursue our goal of increasing our foundation cavalry skills, the Regiment then provided a number of instructors and trainees to attend the Cavalry Scout Grade Two and Patrol Commanders courses in Singleton, NSW. The Regiments Honorary Colonel, Brigadier Phillip Bridie, visited the courses and used the opportunity to emphasise the importance of maintaining networks across the Corps and encouraged the trainees to make the most of the opportunity to get back into the field for some good training.

Although there was some excellent training, courses and other Regimental activities taking part in the early months of the year, an event of much greater importance stole the spotlight. Led by our Transport NCO, CPL Jeffrey Small, the unit took part in raising over $30,000 for cancer research by taking part in the World’s Greatest Shave. The inspiration for the idea was sparked when TPR Kaveh-Ahangari’s two year old daughter, Emilia was diagnosed with Leukaemia earlier in the year, and naturally his mates wanted to help. CPL Small along with the OC and SSM of C SQN led the charge and highlighted the importance of looking after fellow members of their Squadron and the Regiment.

HONCOL, BRIG Phillip Bridie AM addresses course members (Singleton Training Area) Members of the regiment and volunteer hair dressers at Shave for a Cure (Jordan Lines, Holsworthy)

The Regiment, and in particular the Lancer Band, was fortunate to attend and support a vast range of activities for ANZAC Day 2021. There was an incredible amount of work done in the lead up to these events and the Regiment was well represented across NSW and the ACT. Key events included support to the NRL and AFL as well as support to the Parramatta RSL dawn service where the Commanding Officer was the guest speaker.

Shortly after the busy ANZAC Day period the Regiment got straight back into its foundation war fighting training and undertook EX LANCER MARKSMAN, which was focussed on enhancing individual soldier skills, lethality and survivability. The training activities conducted included a range of small arms practices and blank training exercises. There was an excellent turn out for some quality training. Following the success of this activity, EX LANCER IMPACT was conducted in Singleton Training Area with the entire Regiment present to build upon the individual skills tested on EX LANCER MARKSMAN and re-visit our HE and larger calibre weapons drills. There was a good combination of mounted and dismounted practices to ensure that the Regiment maintains its currency and competency on the systems.

Individual sneaker lanes EX LM (Holsworthy Training Area) Members of B SQN conduct small arms practices at the 25m range (Majura Training Area)

CPL Elizabeth Smith of the Lancer Band performs the National Anthem (ANZAC Day 2021) Members of the Regiment supporting the NRL as flag orderlies (ANZAC Day 2021)

During National Reconciliation Week 2021, the Commanding Officer and Regimental Sergeant Major had the honour and privilege of attending the memorial service and re-dedication of the grave of Trooper Jack Alick Bond. Jack is currently the first known Aboriginal serviceman to be presented a medal for military service in a foreign country and the first Aboriginal serviceman to serve two tours of active duty. The Regiment was honoured to be a part of the memorial service and the opportunity to commemorate and pay tribute to a remarkable mounted soldier. CLICK HERE for more information on Jack Bond.

CO, RSM and Aunty Lorraine Hatton OAM at the memorial service and re-dedication of TPR Jack Alick Bond's grave (Botany Cemetery Eastern Suburbs Memorial Park) The re-dedication plaque for TPR Bond

For the remainder of 2021, the focus remains on foundation war fighting and re-fining our individual and collective skills. This will see the Regiment take part in a range of courses as well as Troop and Squadron level training activities.

As always we remain, Tenax in Fide - Steadfast in Faith.

 Your Association go to top of page

COVID caused complete cancellation of the Regimental Association activities in 2020.

In 2021, we were able to make up for this a bit. We were able to have a small presence at the ceremony and lay a wreath at the Regimental Memorial on 20 April 2021 when the Regiment held its Anzac Eve commemoration.

Len Koles for the Association and serving Lancers lay wreaths at the Regimental Memorial on Anzac eve

As Anzac Day approached, who could march, what banners could be displayed etc seemed to change daily. We therefore decided to hold our Anzac Day service at Lancer Barracks. This was a day when a drive by ACE was scheduled, so the day started at 1100, ACE impressed.

ACE performs on Anzac Day

At 1200 our service started, Len Koles was the MC, Darren Jones handled the ecclesiastical side with other association members making the necessary speeches. We were fortunate also to have a member of the Regimental Band play the Last Post. The keynote speech referred to our Regimental soldiers at Anzac:

"At Gallipoli on 7 August 1915 the Regiment suffered its greatest loss of life on a single day. In the Boer War, the Regiment lost six, in World War 2, 15. On 7 August 1915 the Regiment in a single action at the Chessboard had 147 casualties, 86 dead. The Chessboard is 200 metres south east of the Nek and the 1LH action took place at the same time, 0430 that the 8LH left their trenches. In the early hours B Squadron had moved out from their positions at Pope’s Post and crossed a gully toward the enemy 100 metres away. The start line was the edge of a rise, but 10 metres from the Turkish trench system. Unlike the Nek where their colleagues were required to cross 29 metres of open ground, reliant on an artillery barrage that ended too early, the 1LH were able to lob bombs a shorter distance. Bayonet-men covered their flanks, no rounds were fired. The first line of trenches was occupied, and bombs lobbed the 5 metres to the next line. Another scramble and lots of hand-to-hand fighting saw the next line occupied. 2 hours and a total of 1,000 bombs later and the few remaining explosives were needed to cover the withdrawal of those still alive. All the officers and most senior NCOs of B Squadron were either dead or wounded.

The attacks by the Light Horse and the infantry at Lone Pine were designed to hold the enemy in place enabling NZ Div to take Chunuk Bair and Brit 29 Corps to land at Suvla Bay then sweep across the peninsula. None of the plans succeeded; the Turks had defended their homeland.

When attacking Turkish soldiers shouted 'Allah'. After the Australian attacks during August 1915, Turkish prisoners asked if 'bastard' was the name of the Australian god; so often had the Australians been heard to use the word in battle."

The Anzac Requiem was read by John Palmer:

"On this day above all days we recall those who served in war and who did not return to receive the grateful thanks of the Nation.

We remember those who still sleep where they were left - amid the holly scrub in the valleys and on the ridges of Gallipoli, on the rocky and terraced hills of Palestine - and in the lovely cemeteries in France.

We remember those who lie asleep in the ground beneath the shimmering haze of the Libyan Desert - at Bardia, Derna, Tobruk - and amid the mountain passes and olive groves of Greece and Crete, and the rugged, snow-capped hills of Lebanon and Syria.

We remember those who lie buried in the rank jungle of Malaya and Burma - in New Guinea - and in the distant isles of the Pacific.

We remember those who lie buried amid loving friends in our Motherland and in our own far north.

We remember those who lie in unknown resting places in almost every land, and those gallant men whose grave is the unending sea. Especially we remember those who died as prisoners of war, remote from their homeland, and from the comforting presence of their kith and kin.

We think of those in our women’s services who gave their lives in foreign lands and at sea, and of those who proved to be, in much more than name, the sisters of our fighting men.

We recall too, the staunch friends who served beside our men on the first ANZAC Day - men of New Zealand who helped to create the Legend of ANZAC.

We recall those who gave their lives serving with British Commonwealth and allied forces and in peacekeeping operations since WW2.

We think of every man and woman who has died so that the lights of freedom and humanity might continue to shine.

We think of those gallant men who died in Korea, in Malaya, Vietnam, Timor, Iraq and Afghanistan in the fight against oppression.

May these all rest proudly in the knowledge of their achievement, and may we and our successors in that heritage prove worthy of their sacrifice."

The Lancer Prayer was recited by John Palmer:

"Almighty God, whose command is over all, and whose love never fails, let us be aware of your presence and of each other in our Regiment.

Help us to accept our military responses with a strong heart and clear mind.

May we be considerate of those with whom live and work, and faithful to the duties our country has entrusted to us.

May our uniform remind us of the traditions of the service in which we serve and help us maintain our commitment to be steadfast and faithful.

When we are in fear or doubt strengthen our resolve.

When we fail, give us the courage to try again.

Guide us with the light of your truth and keep before us the life, courage and example of Jesus in whose name we pray."

The Ode was recited by John McPhee:

"They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old;

Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.

At the going down of the sun and in the morning

We will remember them."

At the conclusion of the ANZAC Day service, a short memorial service was held for Sgt Peter (Harry) Hallaron. Paul Dunne read out a letter from Harry's sister thanking the Lancer Association for conducting this memorial service and also the great rollup of members at Harry's funeral. Reverend Darren Jones invoked the Benediction for Harry.

The Association's Anzac Day service at Lancer Barracks -: Michael McGraw lays a wreath on behalf of the Halloran Family

A reunion followed, 98 present, just below the Lancer Barracks COVID limit. The weather was exquisite, the RSM opened the Sergeants' Mess for us; the late Peter Halloran gave a bequest for the gathering to remember him - we did. A great day was had by all.

Some of the Former Lancers at the Reunion

Congratulations to Rob Lording past CO and President of RAACA NSW on his promotion to Brigadier and appointment to command 5 Brigade WEF 26 July 2021.

Congratulations to Brian Turner OAM RFD for the award of the OAM in the 2021 Queen's Birthday Honours. Brian is secretary of the Katoomba RSL Sub-Branch. Well deserved.

Do note that the RAAC Corp AGM scheduled for 9 October will again be held by Zoom. The executive on which the Lancers' Association is represented, decided to forego a face-to-face meeting and unit inspection. Pandemic related state border closures could still happen, and funding previously provided by the DVA to in part cover delegates' travel and accommodation expenses has been refused in 2021.

 The Museum go to top of page

This past six months has seen the Museum do very well until the dark hammer of COVID struck again on 26 June 2021.

Our vehicle conservation program has seen a lot of work on the Centurion, the M113, and getting our Staghound ready for display. ACE, our WW2 Matilda is in great shape. Our Ferret troop is roadworthy. Work is proceeding to enliven the M113 as we can get the necessary parts. Thanks so much to Matthew McMahon for allowing us to store our containers packed with spares at his Oberon property.

Our vehicle collection in great shape, and our spares head to Oberon

Work on the indoor displays has proceeded apace. Visitors can now see where the Regiment went in WW2, follow the New Guinea and Borneo battles and see the work done to restore ACE all in one room.

The level of knowledge shown by our visitors can be astounding. On a late Sunday afternoon a 16 year old student of Chinese heritage was able to name and detail the characteristics of every Japanese weapon, and explain Po-Yi’s career in Manchukuo.

Great work has also been done to display the Regiment's exploits in the Solomon Islands, and the bushfire emergency of 2020.

The fruit of much effort on display - our re-vamped Museum displays

Our TANK DAYS have worked out well in attracting visitors. On the last Sunday of each month, we run a vehicle around the barracks at set times in the morning (1100) and afternoon (1400). Advertising this has drawn many visitors, the days March to May being a great success. The June day could not proceed. Government COVID restrictions ordering us to shut down.

Special tours go well, mostly Probus clubs, are a good source of income.

Jeff Darke guides a group from Junctionworks

Changes are happening at Lancer Barracks, our A vehicles are now all on hard stand, and it is hoped we will be able to start the construction of overhead cover in the forseeable future.

 November 1936 - The Regiment Mechanised go to top of page

On the 1 November 1936, the Regiment was mechanised and converted to a Machine Gun Regiment. The idea of such a unit was new, and the unit was the first of its kind in the then British Empire. The Regiment knew that it was to be armed with Vickers Machine Guns and nominally mounted on 1.5 tonne motor lorries. The role was to be that of Support Regiment to the 4th Cavalry Brigade. That was all that was known. At first the unit had to improvise section and vehicle drill as they went along. Initially vehicles were fitted with discarded tram seats, they were tried in various positions with several alternative methods of packing stores. The dismounted drill was modified light horse drill, finally a definite system was evolved and portée[1] fitments were designed and manufactured. They had many disadvantages and were soon replaced by a new type.

Major JB Pye led the Regiment into its first Mechanised Camp at Campbelltown in March 1937. Everything was strange at first with no horses to look after, but the drivers soon learned that a vehicle requires just as much attention as a horse. We learned, too, some of the disadvantages of mechanised units under wet weather conditions.

In the Regiment's second mechanised camp in November of the same year, the Lancers had become accustomed to vehicles and were able to carry out some advanced work. The Regiment tried its first night march without lights, and found it impossible on rough ground with inexperienced drivers. There was then the first attempt at feeding troops in the field. The Q people had a difficult task, with insufficient and unsuitable equipment, but gained valuable experience.

Moving to Camp at Berry the following year gave the Regiment its first long march and was a good test of drivers, vehicles, and of March Discipline generally. The work became more strenuous than usual yet the physical condition of the men was proved to be quite satisfactory. Travelling kitchens were used for the first time and found that a kitchen with pneumatic tyres, which can be towed by a lorry was needed.

During the March 1938 Camp, 1 Troop B Squadron, the Gordon Troop, won the unit competition, to represent the Regiment against the 16 MG Regiment NSW's other Mechanised Machine Gun Regiment in the Royston Shield competition. Needless to say, the troop was very proud of the fact, stuck out their chests and boasted on every opportune or inopportune occasion. Little did we know what we had brought upon ourselves.

The troop started training for the great day when we were to defend the honour of the Regiment and meet the best team of the 16th. At first training was done on Saturday afternoons. All other work was forgotten. All our training took the form of mounting, dismounting and deploying. Then to the Saturday afternoons were added occasional Sundays. Up 'till then, all the work was done at French's Forrest. We were at last taken to Liverpool and carried out our training at Green Hills with ball ammunition.

Towards the time when the competition was to take place, troop members were out training on three weekends out of four. In addition, some of the NCOs were training recruits on special nights in the Gordon Orderly Room in order to bring them up to standard. Then the fatal date was announced.

On the regular parade night before this date, Gordon Orderly Room was a hive of industry: vehicles were being washed, in some cases painted, guns and tripods cleaned and ammunition boxes painted, cloth belts were filled with .303 ammunition.

Then on Saturday we started off for Liverpool!

On the Woodville Road our No 2 truck swerved to avoid a milk cart. The steering gear locked and the truck finished up in the ditch on. the opposite side of the road. All the occupants were thrown into a heap, some of them ending up on top of the cab. The front of the vehicle was badly damaged, and the men received various light injuries. Many uniforms were damaged. Needless to say, the competition had to be postponed.

Again we started to train, if anything, harder than we had before. We came to know every bush on Green Hills. We froze in the huts of Liverpool Camp. One of our guns exploded. Whilst boiling the billy, we started a bushfire that took a lot of extinguishing. Eventually, a revised date was set, and once again we painted and cleaned our stores.

The day came! A Sunday; the wettest Sunday in the history of Australia. Or if not, it must have been a runner-up. We gathered at the Orderly Room, and everybody said: "They'll put it off again".

But no! The Squadron Leader did a bit of roaring, we put the finishing touches of paint on our trucks and wiped, it off -with our greatcoats, and. sallied forth to Liverpool.

The rain did. not dampen our spirits. The strains of "Daniel Hall"[2] and of "I Touched Her on the Toe"[2] resounded along the deserted streets of Wahroonga, Parramatta and Liverpool. By the time we reached Liverpool Camp the "Ball of Carymuir"2 was in full swing.

A halt near one of the messing huts of the camp. We dismount and peel off our greatcoats that by this time weigh somewhere around the 45 kg mark. Out of our haversacks appear an interblended mass of sat-upon sandwiches, tins of boot polish, banana-skins with the insides squeezed out, and polishing rags well impregnated with the former contents of the above banana skins.

And so; with a ham sandwich in one hand and a boot brush in the other, we endeavour to make ourselves look and feel like soldiers. Where there's a will, there's a way. Before long, equipment started to regain its appearance, and when Major Anderson arrived to inspect the troop; one would never have thought that it was the same troop that had travelled all the way from Sydney through pelting rain that very morning.

After the inspection, we donned our wet greatcoats, mounted our vehicles and started off towards Green Hills.

There was no dust on Moorebank Road this day. Instead, the lorries swam in a squelchy substance that sprayed in every direction and splashed you in the face. Every now and then your truck would do a dainty side slip, and glide towards the side of the road.

Eventually the troop got to Green Hills, and proceeded to range its guns. Since the ground was very wet, there was not an expectation that the strikes would be visible. However, when the thumbpiece was pressed, strikes could be observed beautifully. So I presumed that the ground was sufficiently dry underneath. The spot ranged on was covered by about 5 cm of water, the strikes were splashes. Everything set the troop was at the starting point, and off they went. Apart from the fact that the trucks refused to hold the road and skidded in every direction, all was going well so far.

"Prepare for action - Ammunition normal. Dismount".

Over the tailboard, and into a pool about 15 cm deep. Troopers tumbled out of the trucks wiping off a good deal of green paint with wet greatcoats, drag out our stores, wiping off more green paint from barrel casings, and race squelching and splashing to the position of readiness. Down on their guts in the water. Just then the rain, which had hitherto poured on us in a steady shower, came down in torrents. "Action!" Off raced the gun teams, tripods placed in soft slippery ground. Ram the shoes as hard as you like, you cannot get them to remain firm on ground like that. The troop opens fire. Not one hitch. Not one stoppage. The bursts are as even as the most exacting Commander could wish.

After everything is over, Major Anderson addressed the Troop. He regretted that the score we had put up in the actual shooting, although a very high one, was not high enough to beat the phenomenal score of the 16th. But in every other respect, turnout, drill movements, and vehicles, we had beaten our opponents. Taking into consideration this, and the exceptionally difficult conditions under which we had to go into action, Major Anderson regretted that he had no points that he could distribute at his own discretion. He therefore had to give the decision to the 16th MG Regiment.

On the way back as we were passing through Liverpool, Colonel Whitehead, who decided that we were quite wet enough for a rum issue, went into one of the pubs to purchase the most important ingredient for that ceremony. Rumour has it that Mine Host refused, to supply the goods on the grounds that it was Sunday, and that the CO persuaded him by saying that he would bring the Troop in and take what he needed.

On the way back to Turramurra, "Daniel Hall"[2], "O'Reilly's Daughter"[2], and the "Funeral March" [2] were sung with particular gusto at the thought of the rum and the hot dinners that were awaiting us in the not so distant future.

The beach defence exercise held at Berry in February of 1939 was the biggest job to date. A long night march tested the endurance of drivers and men. It gave the first opportunity for co-operation with Light Horse. The biggest problem was speed differential. Great difficulty was experienced in keeping touch. The unit also gained further experience in feeding the troops in the field. By using fast utility trucks to transport food from kitchens to the troops we were able to get meals out in time and hot on most occasions.

1939 Vehicle Husbandry

The affection of the cavalryman for his mount is traditional, and many poignant and touching stories have been written on this subject.

Today, our mounts are inanimate things of steel and wood, so our natural feelings towards them cannot be expected to be those we would have for that magnificent animal the horse. The combination of horse and man has produced the "Cavalry Spirit", that nothingness which is so vital to our efficiency and esprit-de-corps.

Those who were in this Regiment when it was horsed, need no reminding that tho care of the horse came first. He had to be watered, fed, groomed and rugged before the man attended to his own personal comfort.

Two things were necessary to obtain the best results, knowledge and horse-mindedness. An incident during World War 1 comes to mind. A party of Light Horsemen were attached to a mounted unit of Royal Engineers; one of the Tommy's horses had got off the lines during the night and was found to have gorged on dry barley. The tommy was advised by the Aussies not to let him drink, but did not heed the advice; in consequence when moving out on a stunt next morning, he was minus his mount.

The Royal New South Wales Lancers of 1939 found themselves with a different mount. Knowledge of it is just as important; motor-mindedness had to replace horse-mindedness; but the light horse spirit, bred of the horse, had to remain.

Every member of the Regiment was encouraged make a point of gaining as much knowledge of the vehicles on which they were mounted, as that soldier's job allowed. Every Lancer needed to feel that they, the crew, and the vehicle are a fighting unit. In the main the care of the vehicle falls on the driver and crew, and that care is as important as the care of the horse.

Routine maintenance as laid down should be carried out with meticulous care, remembering that small things neglected, grow into large ones. Much of a maintenance schedule may seem ridiculous to those unaccustomed to military methods; for instance the frequent cleaning of plugs and points; but let us examine the result of one driver to neglect it:

A vehicle has a dirty plug, to clean it on the march can hold up :-

The individual vehicle.

The troop.

In hostile country, the Regiment or even a large column.

In getting out of a gun position, could unnecessarily endanger lives.

A golden rule is never to leave what was all right yesterday. Make sure today.

To have affection for a thing of steel and wood, as mentioned earlier, is hardly possible, but treat it as part of your fighting equipment and see that it is serviceable before you attend to your personal comfort.

The Light Horse spirit needing to remain with motors as with horses.

1940 many members of the 1st and 16th MG Regts were to find themselves in Egypt, Libya and Greece having transferred to the 2/1 and 2/2 MG Regts AIF providing mobile heavy machine gun support to infantry.

2021 finds the Regiment's vehicles with neither plugs or points nonetheless the lessons learned when PMVs crewed by poorly trained non RAAC soldiers were found unreliable in recent conflicts emphasises that nothing much changes.

Assembled from articles in "The Lancer" August 1939.


[1] Portée - The practice of carrying an artillery piece on a truck which can be fired from the vehicle or quickly dismounted and fired from the ground.

[2] Songs with connotations that would not be permitted in today's army.

 Bourke (2) AFX 81 Exercise Dusty Waler go to top of page

Steve Leslie

Ex Dusty Waler conducted in the Bourke region it was a Regimental exercise conducted over 7 - 8 weeks including an advance and rear party. 12/16 HRL operating in the first half and handing over to 1/15 for the second phase. RAEME and RHQ set up a base camp and maintenance support area in North Bourke around the show ground and the airfield.

Both Regiments pooled resources and vehicles for the EX with 35-40 A vehicles and a large number of Land rovers and trucks. This was the second EX in the Bourke region and this one came under the command of the Colonel Armour 2 Div. The Regiment deployed at war strength less CSQN operating over a vast area at times with a frontage of 100km.

I was with my Troop in BSQN and due to the size of the EX and the limited number of A vehicles our troop was issued with series 2 Land rovers. We were less than impressed with this option and immediately set about making improvements to the cars.

First to go the canvas cover/hood and the windscreens. Next fire power signed for .30 MGs and commissioned LAD to make up mounts for the guns. We never found out where the pipes came from to make the mounts there was some rumblings they may have been sign posts around Bourke showground.

This EX was a great introduction into working in the Australian outback its vastness its featureless terrain the dust the flies and the long supply chain.

Long night drives, area and sector searches, route recons over unforgiving and unfamiliar country from Bourke - Gundabooka - Louth - Tilpa.

The vehicles never gave us any problems although moving at night in blackout in open vehicles was at times a little dangerous and highlighted our vulnerability. On one of these long night drives Dave Crisp and I were following behind the lead vehicle through a cloud of dust and smacked into a very large gate post and the car stopped dead in its tracks. The two Assault Troopers in the back landed in the front seats almost and I was jammed under the dash board almost. A carton of softies flew over the bonnet and landed 20mts up the road with cans bursting and scattered all over.

Towards the end of the EX the Troop was tasked to intercept a high profile target. We set up an ambush along the MSR we had a cut of car at the end and the remainder of the Troop along the killing ground. The target was intercepted a HQ Statesman staff car when the target refused to stop at the cut off car a vigorous high speed pursuit followed. With 5 LRs in the chase the target was cut off and forced off the road in a cloud of dust. The Assault troopers surrounded the target car and the driver was ordered out of the car he refused and was dragged out through the window thrown to the ground and hog tied in his Polies. It was then that the word came out the high priority target was Colonel Armour and at that point an assault trooper cried out that we still have plenty of rope left.

As usual we had a BBQ at the end of the EX with the local farmers who assisted with access to their land and it was over herd the Colonel reckoned our ambush and his capture was the most aggressive peace time action he had witnessed.

Barons of Bourke

 Departed Comrades go to top of page


Allen John Chanter was born at Albury on 8 February 1924. After four years at Maitland High School, gaining his intermediate certificate, he took a job as a bank clerk and was living at Dulwich Hill with his mum and dad. Allen's father Albert had served in World War 1 with the rank of Major in the 4th LH serving at Gallipoli, Egypt and Palestine. In 1940 Allen joined the 14th Motor Regiment AMF, army number N244623 serving as a trooper until the unit disbanded in May 1942 when he was transferred to the 3rd Army Tank Battalion. On 22 July 1942 he transferred to the AIF, his number changing to NX132400. On 21 December 1942 he was appointed lance-corporal at the same time qualifying as a tank gunnery instructor. On 12 February 1943, he was transferred to 1 Army Tank Battalion (Royal New South Wales Lancers).

On 13 July 1943 he had his first bout of sickness, severe enough to be transferred to 6 Fd Amb for a couple of days.

10 September 1943 saw Allen as a driver/operator at Milne Bay with C squadron. C Squadron was then despatched to the Huon Peninsula, landing at Finschaffen then taking part in the battle of Sattelberg. On 27 September 1944 he embarked with his squadron at Madang for Brisbane. His first tour of duty over.

On 1 May 1944 he was promoted temporary corporal, confirmed in that rank on 15 October.

12 December 1944 saw him back at the Field Ambulance (this time 106 Lt Fd Amb) with another bout of what was soon to be diagnosed as a serious tropical disease.

15 June 1945 he embarked on the Millen Griffith for another tour of combat duty. The liberty ship went aground on the New Guinea coast at Bonga north of Finschaffen. Men and equipment salvaged, they continued on to Moratai, jumping-off point for Balikpapan and the Regiment's last battle of World War 2.

Allen landed with his squadron on 19 July and pushed inland following-up A and B Squadrons that had landed on the 1st. The enemy had already broken contact, the war ending officially on 15 August, Allen making temporary sergeant on 8 August, a rank confirmed on 10 October 1945.

His tropical illness struck again. Allen was not able to return to Australia. He was demobilised on 25 November 1946 and stayed on in Indonesia showing his entrepreneurial streak by selling army "disposals" to the locals.

When he re-enlisted in the Citizen Military Forces on 20 November 1952 he was 175 cm tall and weighed 72 kg, single, living at Concord and employed as a clerk by Mercantile Credits Ltd. His rank on enlistment was trooper, rising quickly to sergeant the rank he had when he was discharged from the AIF. Soon after he is recorded as married and living at Chatswood. Allen’s first wife was Ausma with whom he had two daughters Maree (born 1954) and Alaine (born 1956).

Allen, being fully qualified applied for a commission in 20 January 1954 to be posted as a LO with C Squadron.

In that same year, 1954, Allen left Mercantile Credits and started his own business Allen's Industries, a furniture store.

By February 1956 he was a commissioned lieutenant and a qualified Centurion crewman.

By 1959, Allen's business was not going well, he closed the store, left his family, and moved to Melbourne where he set up delivering fruit and vegetables to hotels.

He decided that he could no longer serve in the Army. He was transferred to the retired list on 29 April 1959. The end of Allen’s military career. For his service he was qualified for the 1939-45 Star, Pacific Star, War Medal, Australian Service Medal and Australian Defence Medal.

Allen was a big drinker. He had a jovial personality making him an ideal publican. 1960 saw him as the publican of the “Gresham” Port Melbourne, a position he retained until he retired aged 62 in 1985.

He built his own house in a semi-rural block at 557-559 Harkness Road, Melton West, Victoria. He was intensely proud of it.

The House that Allen Chanter built at Mentone, Victoria

In his long and eventual lifetime, Allen was married on another two occasions, to Sylvia then Margaret. In the process he gained two stepdaughters and a stepson.

In his later years Allen's neighbour, John Forrester became a good friend. John was in 1st Armd Regt LAD from 1970 to 1972, so could talk a little about "Centurions", and Allen spoke of "Matildas"!

At Allen's funeral held at St Albans Victoria on 21 May 2021, Howard Burvill was able to represent the Association along with Lindsay Burke of the 4/19 PWLH Association (Allen's Dad served in the 4LH in WW1) and John Forrester, all wearing the black beret.

With thanks to Bert Castellari, Alaine Chanter, John Forrester and Allen's Service Record in the NAA.


Reg Gunn of Palm Beach Queensland. Reg (Reginald Barton Gunn) was born on 6 May 1923 at Forbes NSW, he passed away in March 2019, his passing was advised by his daughter Collen Purcell.

In civil life Reg was working as a junior clerk when joined the CMF (N223689) 1 MG Regt (RNSWL) on 22 Oct 1941. He transferred to the AIF (NX147713) 1 AR (RNSWL) on 30 November 1942 at Clovelly NSW.

Reg was in B Squadron, this meant he spent the time from 16 August 1943 to 9 May 1944 at Milne Bay waiting to see combat. That did not happen.

15 June 1945 he embarked on the Millen Griffith for another tour of combat duty. The liberty ship went aground on the New Guinea coast at Bonga north of Finschaffen. Men and equipment salvaged, they continued on to Morotai, jumping-off point for Balikpapan and the Regiment's last battle of World War 2.

On 1 July 1945 Reg and his comrades from B Squadron landed at Balikpapan in what was then Dutch Borneo. On 5 July Reg received a bomb wound to his lower head, 21 July saw Reg evacuated by LST to hospital at Morotai. The next day his promotion to corporal was confirmed.

On 24 April 1946 Reg left Morotai for Australia. On 15 October 1946 he was discharged. His Army record shows that he went back to work as a clerk in civilian life.

Reg met his old friend Alf (Snow) McEwan in February 2011. The friends met often until Alf's passing on 24 August 2017.

With thanks to Collen Purcell and Reg's Service Record in the NAA.


John Whitehorn joined the Regiment between 1952 and 1954. He was a trained Centurion crewman reaching the rank of sergeant before concluding his service around 1970. He was probably best known however for his long involvement in the training of B vehicle drivers, including those of us who were qualified to drive and crew the double articulated tank transporter.

Until his retirement he lived in Quakers Hill.

John kept in contact with others after leaving the Regiment and was on our list until he retired and moved to Caloundra.

John's funeral was held on Wednesday 30 June 2021 at Caloundra. Arthur Standring represented the Association.

With thanks to Terry Boardman OAM.

 Thank You go to top of page

Thank you all very much for your assistance in supporting the Museum and Association financially in the 2020/21 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; Tony Blissett; Joe Borg; Joseph Camilleri, Bert Castellari; Allen Chanter; Eric Drew; Mark Edwards; June Faunt; Tony Fryer; John Haynes; Alan Hitchell; Graham Hodge; Mary Lamb; Trevor Lord; Joyce Sharpe; Kel Warham.

And the following the Museum:

John Arnott; Douglas Black; Dave Blackman; Tony Blissett; Joe Borg; Ron Cable; Joseph Camilleri; Bert Castellari; Allen Chanter; Geoff Cuthbert; Annelyse Davison; Eric Drew; Mark Edwards; June Faunt; Tony Fryer; Warren Glenny; Robert Grinyer; Alan Hitchell; Graham Hodge; Ray Keating; Mary Lamb; Trevor Lord; Danny Marriott; Dorothy Pollard; Joyce Sharpe; Kel Warham.

  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 a series of patches for sale depicting our restored Matilda, and the M113 MRV Scorpion, more are on the way; 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 41, Victoria Barracks (Sydney), Locked Bag 7005, Liverpool NSW 1871, or visit the website:

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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 ABN 50 361 228 724. 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.

Lancers' Despatched is published on the ancestral lands of the Dharug people whose stewardship for millennia is appreciated and acknowledged.

© 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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