The Royal New South Wales Lancers

Lancers' Despatch 43

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 43 - August 2022

 President's Report    Coming Events    The Regiment    Your Association    The Museum    A Ukranian Australian 
 The Redcoat Visit   Sinking an M113   Two Lance Corporals   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.

 President's Report go to top of page

Len Koles

I would be remiss of me, on your behalf, not to recognise and thank our Secretary, John Howells for the excellent job he has done with this edition of the Lancers' Dispatch.

The period since the last Lancers Dispatch has been a sometimes happy and often sad time in our Regimental history. It was a happy occasion to see so many of you attend the Lancer Reunion at the Barracks on ANZAC Day. It was wonderful to see so many of the old and bold. We seem to be getting through the threat of Covid without any casualties.

However, it has also been a sad and difficult time with the passing of so many Lancer comrades. The Association/Regiment has lost eleven Lancers. Their service included the WW11 period, the Centurion ferret period, the APC period and the current serving Regiment.

I had the privilege of serving with seven of these Lancers and am deeply sadden by their passing. I particularly will miss Ian Hawthorn who served in the Regiment and then for a long period on the Museum Executive. I also have fond memories of Danny Marriott as I watched him smile in all difficult situations. A nice guy and a good soldier. They were an important part of our family.

The Regiment lost an inspiring and future Commanding Officer with the passing of Alec Baczocha. A very professional soldier who always looked after his diggers and was admired by them all.

Geoff Francis was the last WW11 Matilda veteran to march on our ANZAC day march in Sydney three years ago. I was always proud to march with him as our WW11 contingent got smaller and smaller by the years. Until, he was the last to march under the 1st Armoured Regiment Royal New South Wales banner. A true gentleman to the end.

On that sombre note, I can only wish you all good health and hope that I will see you all at the next reunion on the first Sunday in November.

C/S 19
As always

 Coming Events go to top of page

HMAS Parramatta Freedom of entry to Parramatta exercise Friday 9 September 2022 from 12:00 to 12:30.
The parade will commence at Prince Alfred Park proceed along Church Street and conclude at Parramatta Town Hall/Prince Alfred Square.

Regimental Reunion - Sunday 6 November 2022 (first Sunday in November)
Lancer Barracks, Parramatta commencing at 11:00

 The Regiment go to top of page

Captain Jerome Abdelmessih Adjutant 1/15 RNSWL

The 2022 training year has been an eventful one for the Regiment so far. With LTCOL Colin Shadbolt commencing his tenure, the Regiment spared no time in picking up where we left off at the close of a successful 2021.

The year's training commenced in February with a Regiment run Cavalry Scout Grade 2 course. Trainee soldiers were assessed in their ability to act as a member of a cavalry scout patrol, conducting tasks both dismounted and mounted in Bushmaster PMV. This course culminated with an early morning fighting withdrawal over the rolling hills of the Majura training area. On completion of the Cavalry Scout Grade 2 course, the soldiers became fully qualified troopers within the Regiment.


Above: Members of the Regiment and 12/16 Hunter River Lancers on the Cavalry Scout Grade 2 course at Majura Training Area, Canberra.

Concurrently to the Cavalry Scout Grade 2 course, A and C SQN executed EX LANCER MARKSMAN. Soldiers practiced their small arms skills and combat marksmanship by day and night with the EF88. On the completion of the Cavalry Scout Grade 2 course, B SQN launched directly into EX WALER CRAWL where they practiced their individual soldier skills as part of a patrol, and their general field craft. This exercise set the conditions for further B SQN soldier training and exercises to take place later in the year.

Above: Members of A and C SQNs practice alternate shooting positions on EX LANCER MARKSMAN.

In pursuit of further professional and trade development several members of the Regiment then completed their Subject 4 Corporal Patrol Commander's Course, and concurrently Regimental Officer's Basic Course (Module 2). This saw the junior leaders of the Regiment assessed in their ability to command and control a cavalry patrol, both mounted and dismounted in the field. At the conclusion, CPL Luke Hughes of A SQN was awarded the Trainee of Merit for the SUB 4 CPL.

B SQN undertook EX LANCER MARKSMAN in the closing days of March, refining their small arms skills and combat marksmanship, as well as refining machine gun skills with the F89. April saw the Regiment commemorate ANZAC Day, supporting numerous events, as well as holding our own ceremony at Lancer Barracks with the Lancers Association. Members of the Regiment also provided catafalque parties and wreath layers at several dawn services across Sydney, as well as participating in the march through Sydney CBD.

Above: Members of B SQN participate in combat shooting and rapid engagement serials on EX LANCER MARKSMAN.

In order to increase lethality and currency in machine gunnery and HE weapon systems the Regiment then conducted EX LANCER IMPACT. This exercise saw the opportunity for members of the Regiment to qualify on the 84mm Medium Direct Fire Support Weapon, and 12.7mm Heavy Barrel Quick Change Barrel Machine Gun. This exercise also afforded the opportunity to combine forces with the 12th/16th Hunter River Lancers for some collective training. Training included simulated PMV troop manoeuvre in the Singleton Simulation Centre as well as All Arms Call for Fire practice. B SQN concurrently ran EX LANCER MARKSMAN (SOUTH) at Holsworthy Barracks, giving their junior leaders the opportunity to practice fire control orders on the section defence range, as well as running grenade practices.

Above: 84mm Medium Direct Fire Support Weapon, utilising High Explosive Dual Purpose rounds to engage and destroy targets (left). Members of A and C SQNs utilise 12.7mm HMG to engage targets out to maximum effective range on the Singleton range (right).

June has seen the Regiment continue to maintain a high tempo, with the CO directing further foundation warfare training particularly with further opportunities to deploy to the field environment. B SQN recently executed EX WALER WALK, where the soldiers practiced patrol level tasks, and operating in vehicle pairs. Additionally members of the Regiment participated in a trial of autonomous brain controlled robots, run by the Army robotics cell and the University of Technology Sydney. The members demonstrated to senior Army leadership the ability to integrate a brain controlled robot into an urban clearance at the Majura Training Area.

Right: SGT Rana of A SQN, seen in the centre of the photo in a fire position, wearing the headset required to control the robot (pictured in the foreground) with his brainwaves.
Below: The ghost robot dog moves for SGT Rana.


July has been a busy month for the Regiment. Starting with a Bushmaster driver's course, members of the Regiment and other units were taught the skills needed to be employed as a driver including tactical, off-road and city driving.

Above: Bushmasters from 1/15 RNSWL participate in rescues in flood stricken areas in New South Wales, including the rescue of civilians stranded by floodwater, assisted by SES canoe teams.

Simultaneously, the ADF launched into assistance tasks in NSW with heavy rains causing significant flooding. 1/15 RNSWL took the lead for the response across the Greater Sydney area and stood up an O5 headquarters, with the Commanding Officer filling the position of Commanding Officer Joint Task Unit 629.1.1.

A number of other key staff including the Regimental Sergeant Major, Chief Clerk and Regimental Quartermaster comprised the HQ of the Task Unit. Bushmasters from the Regiments drivers’ course were enacted to assist in the recovery of stranded civilians recovering alongside the SES using canoes to ferry people into the vehicles. An unexpected and unplanned job, which was executed to a very high standard from those involved.

The year so far has been fast paced but successful. Next on the calendar is a series of Battlegroup Waratah and Regimental war fighting field training exercises focussing on collective training. Additionally as the 5 Brigade Centre for Excellence for Force Modernisation, the OPSWO has secured an exciting trial of Army’s next generation of simulation capabilities which will commence shortly. We look forward to providing more updates on this as it rolls out.

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

Raw video of robot courtesy Department of Defence.

 Your Association go to top of page

The first half of 2022 saw the Lancers' Association commemorate Anzac Day at Lancer Barracks. We had intended to hold a major reunion, however, COVID killed that. When it came to Anzac Day, the Lancers' Association was faced with the allocation by RSL NSW of a position at the end of the Army contingent. Anzac Day was commemorated at Lancer Barracks. Some Lancers marched with the RAAC Association NSW near the head of the Army contingent then came to Lancer Barracks. The Regimental Band led the Army Contingent and would have been far from the Association.

The address this year did not cover a Lancer exploit, rather that of a first generation Australian of Ukrainian ancestry who gave his life for our nation at Gallipoli. See the article below (LINK).



Members of the Association also attended the Regiment's Anzac Eve event.


Later in 2022 (see coming events), the Association intends to hold a reunion, and in 2023 we intend to march with our banner, with the RAACA NSW.

 Our Museum go to top of page

Our Museum has been quite successful financially in 2022. COVID lock downs appear to be a thing of the past; though our COVID SOPs have only just been archived not destroyed, better not to have to write all that from scratch again. Visitors have been many, even on the wettest and coldest days, members of the public have braved the elements to see our exhibits. The New South Wales Government’s "Discover" vouchers were particularly helpful. Through the Government website you could search those attractions in Parramatta taking the vouchers, we were on that list. Particular thanks to those on the Museum’s list who sent us vouchers in the last few days of the scheme being open for entry passes to be used in future visits.

The amount of work we can do on the vehicle collection has been limited. A new high tech gate is being installed at the Little Street entrance to Lancer Barracks. The work is extensive, has taken a year or so and is still to complete. Delays have been caused by COVID, and the finding of original foundations for the Lancer Barracks privies that date from 1820. With these problems solved, and the slab poured, we hope to see completion soon.

The capacity to move our vehicles has also been restricted due to the amount of rain meaning even the movement of a light B vehicle on the parade ground can leave a set of tyre tracks 10 cm deep.

Along with a deso leak in ACE and a new clutch to be installed in the Beast, this has reduced the impact of our tank days. Youngsters have of course still enjoyed seeing the 106 roll and a bit of vehicle climbing.

Everything is programmed to get sorted out by our Vehicle Supervisor, Joe Tabone. The Dingo in the shelter of our work shed is being re-wired. A crane and crew has been identified to replace the Cent’s clutch. We have a deso mechanic to fix the Matilda’s leak. Work to refurbish and stabilise the Covenanter bridgelayer will re-commence shortly. As will work on our M113, TATTS. Steve Lesley will be setting-up a "Track Drivers’ Union" shortly to help fund the project by gathering donations and providing benefits, eg vehicle rides to the generous.

We have also set-up an audio guide system for the barracks, museum and vehicle collection. A series of QR codes are placed throughout the museum that when activated by a smart ‘phone provide commentary to visitors. A necessary advance, since COVID, our guides have reduced in number; and on a Sunday, it is not always possible to provide a personalised tour of the exhibits. The system was generously developed and installed for us at no cost.

Of concern is the fact that our Museum team of volunteers is aging. We need youngsters (like 65 year olds or less) to help and take over our duties for the Museum to continue. If you have time and skill (even if you do not have skill, we will teach you – anyone can learn to code in .php).

 A Ukranian who died for Australia go to top of page

Anzac Day Address 2022 - John Howells

Much is made of Monash as a first generation Australian of immigrant heritage who rose to be the best of the best.

Max Howitz' name on the Lone Pine Memorial - Max with his sisters (Max never married)

Today I am going to speak about one of his subordinates, another first generation Australian of immigrant heritage.

Maximillian Horwitz was born in Redfern in 1892. His father David's family had fled the Ukraine. When the Bible text was edited to move blame for a Jewish hero's judicial crucifixion from imperial Rome to the persecuted Jewish people, it gave justification for pogroms. Just as today the live edit of history seeks to move the blame form imperial Russia to the very Ukrainian people who are being destroyed.

In 1914 Max was working as a labourer in Queensland. He had been in the militia for three years. When volunteers were called for the Australian Naval and Military Expedition to drive the Germans from New Guinea and take radio stations used to communicate with the German pacific fleet, Max volunteered, joining on 14 August. It was a six week adventure. Max only made it to Thursday Island, he did not get to set foot on German New Guinea, let alone see action.

September saw him in Townsville. This time volunteers were being called for the Australian Imperial Force to fight the Germans in Europe. The 22 year old Ukrainian Australian volunteered again on 21 September; the recruiting staff shortened his surname to Howitz and adjusted his given name to Maxwell. He was allocated to 15 Battalion in Monash's 4th Brigade. In May 1915, Max's battalion was involved in the heroic defence of Pope's Post at the head of Monash Gully at Gallipoli. Max was wounded in the shoulder on 4 May, treated at Heliopolis he was back at the front soon after. Junior leaders were needed to replace casualties; Max was appointed Lance Corporal on 20 May.

On 7 August 15 Battalion attacked Hill 971 just north of Chunuk Bair ground that had to be taken and held to enable fresh British troops to sweep in from Suvla Bay and take the Peninsula. Max never made the top of 971, in the scrub he copped a Turkish bullet. Buried by his enemies somewhere on the hillside, he is remembered on the Lone Pine Memorial and on the Australian War Memorial in Canberra.

In 1920 his Mum Alison received his war medals in the post. His dad David was still alive but was suffering from dementia.

Max's countrymen today find their nation destroyed in the name of imperial glory. Since 1945 we have seen nations released from imperial dominance, moving into partnerships where mutual respect has enabled prosperity. It would appear, however, that the last empire to fall, Soviet Russia, lacked the capacity to adopt liberal democratic values, falling back on a dictator evoking imperial glory, leading to death and destruction.

In our own region we are faced with another dictatorship wanting to re-kindle much faded imperial glory, seeking to dominate and supplant democratic societies. As our ancestors did, we must stand firm.

Max's great nephew plants a commemorative poppy on the slopes of Hill 971, Gallipoli Peninsula on the centenary of his death, 7 August 2015.

Max's Service record in the National Archives of Australia
The oral history provided by his sister the late Rose Lillian May Hession nee Horwitz

 When the Redcoats Visited go to top of page

On 3 October 1964 Lancer Barracks was honoured by the visit of a group of Grenadier Guardsmen resplendent in their red tunics and bearskin hats. The tradition of red dating back to the New Model Army, so as Cromwell was a Cavalryman, it was only right they visit a cavalry barracks, The photos sent in by Ray Keating show the guardsmen along with the Lancer contingent at that same parade and a couple of examples of our contemporary vehicles in training.

 The Day we Sunk an APC go to top of page

It was April 1977, probably before the Big Bang, and before 42 (one year at least). An exercise was conceived. Our APC/LRVs would drive to the loading ramp at Woolwich. There to embark in a Landing Craft Heavy. On board the carriers and A Squadron crews would make a sea voyage, out through the Sydney heads, then South toward Botany Bay. In through the heads, toward the open beach near Kyeemagh.

The concept was for the vehicles to be landed on the beach, crews hand-over to B Squadron, who would drive the vehicles back on to the LCH and return to Woolwich.

All was going well, the LCH had its ramp on the sand, and the vehicles rattling off. Then a change of plans was ordered. The last vehicle would do a deep water landing. The vehicles had been prepped for water, the drain plugs inserted and pumps tested, however they had not been ballasted. An APC was designed to ride evenly with 300 mm of freeboard if loaded with 10 soldiers, offsetting the weight of the engine and crew in the front of the vehicle. When swimming, carriers therefore had to have static ballast in the cargo bay. Track was the usual ballast, the track pads providing the required stability, however, there was none available. An anchor chain was pressed into service. The chain provided the requited weight BUT not the stability. Objections were raised to the proposal, dismissed by those whose idea it was.

When the carrier negotiated the steep ramp, the chain slid forward. When the vehicle entered the water it was speared toward the bottom, rapidly filling with water. The water was thankfully only about 4 m deep, and the carrier settled on the bottom.

The "L" on top of the vehicle and Crew Commander in the turret popped straight to the surface. The crew were wearing non inflatable life jackets. The driver, however, was sucked back into the vehicle cavity as it slid into the water. Those on the surface were trying desperately to remove their life jackets so as to try and save the driver. A diver from the LCH in SCUBA gear had entered the water. Thankfully when the vehicle settled, the driver was able to move to his hatch and also pop to the surface, negating the requirement for an underwater rescue.

The crew swam to shore.

The RAEME's recovery vehicle was positioned on the shore, and a tow chain attached to the drowned vehicle’s bollards and it was dragged from the water. The vehicle was nominally repaired and returned to the Regiment. It was thereafter a bucket with a troublesome engine.

The exercise ended after the incident. B Squadron did not get to have its boat trip.

Interesting page 554 of the 1985 version of the Regimental history attributes the fact that the result was not worse to "safety and recovery procedures" mmm.

Please note that that names have been removed from this account, much blame was thrown, not always in the right direction, and most, not all, involved are still alive.


Account by John Howells 2022 using the recollections of others who were present.
Photos by Richard Small (B&W), Michael Mcgraw (Colour)

 A Tale of Two Lance Corporals go to top of page

The photo, left was uploaded to Facebook by Barrie Rafter. The two Lance Corporals from the 1960’s are the late Warrant Officer Henry Mikel and the late Sergeant Ron (BUC) Cullen. Ron passed away in 2008, Henry at the end of 2007.

Henry Mikel was born in Poland, son of a pilot in the Polish Air Force. When he finished his schooling Henry followed his dad into the Air Force. When Germany conquered Poland in 1939, he was a cadet in the Air Academy. After capitulation, the Polish Air Force, including the Academy cadets fled to England to continue the fight. The trained pilots were drafted into the Polish squadrons of the RAF. The Academy cadets, were considered too young and untrained. As a group, they volunteered to join Free Polish units fighting with the British army. Henry saw service in North Africa and Italy with a mechanised unit. Captured at Monte Cassino, he became a Prisoner of War in Germany. When the prison camp was taken by the Americans in 1945, Henry and his comrades volunteered to re-join their units in the hope of taking part in the liberation of Poland. That did not happen.

After demobilisation, he sought a a new life, migrated to Australia and anglicised his name. He worked with the New South Wales Railways, as a fireman and then driver; later becoming a technical officer at the Munitions Filling Factory, St Marys. Henry enlisted in the Regiment in 1960. His vehicle and combat knowledge ensured he rose quickly through the ranks. Soon he was a corporal, then sergeant in the somewhat legendary recce troop commanded by the then Captain Glenny.

Henry stayed on when others departed as the unit converted from Centurions and Ferrets to M113s. Henry eventually retired from the Army in 1984, he was a special guest of honour at the church parade in 1985, the Regiment's centenary year. He was resplendent in his uniform, all his medals on display, and a silver "R" on his shoulders. His boots were so shiny that you could see your face in them.

Ron served in the Regiment in the 1960s, 1970s and 1980s, he also served in 12/16 HRL. Ron's dad had served with 1 AR (RNSWL) during WW2, and Ron's son served with 1AR. We all remember Ron as a great soldier and friend. I particularly remember Ron when we served together in B Squadron in the late 1970s. I recall a squadron Christmas party at Frank Fitzpatrick's pool-side, Ron and I were both fairly new fathers, we had a nappy changing race, Ron changed his son Ian's, I, my son Simon. Ron was far more dextrous that I and won hands down. Frank Holles remembers the irony of them serving together on B Squadron Headquarters in the 1980s, as their fathers had served together in B Squadron at Balikpappan in 1945.

Ron continued to serve in the Army in the Northern Territory until shortly before his death at the same time he worked a full time job and was carer to his beloved grandchildren.

 Departed Comrades go to top of page

ALEX BACZOCHA of Upper Colo aged 50

Alex was a second-generation member of the Regiment. His father George had served in the 1980s, George was noted for his participation in the mounted contingent on Reserve Forces day, and latterly as the editor of ARMOUR, the RAACA-NSW journal.

Major Alex Baczocha, Officer Commanding C Squadron passed away on 30 March 2022. Alex's shining career cut far too short. He died suddenly of a cerebrovascular related condition only just after returning from full time service related to the flood emergency in the north of our state.

Alex's funeral was held Friday 8 April 2022 at St Patricks Cathedral, Parramatta with full military honours. He is survived by his wife Tracee and two teenage daughters Phobe and Isabella.

Born on 24 November 1971, Alex Baczocha enlisted into the Australian Army on 25 November 1997, one day after his 26th birthday. Being allocated to the Royal Australian Armoured Corps, he undertook his recruit course in April 1998. After successfully completing Kapooka he was posted to the 1st/15th Royal New South Wales Lancers, the unit where he would spend a majority of his military career. Upon receiving his beloved black hat, it was not long until Trooper Baczocha commenced his M113 crewman suite of courses, becoming fully qualified less than a year after enlisting.

He was promoted to LCPL in March of 2002 and CPL 19 months later. In 2004 he completed his Subj 4 SGT courses in comms and gunnery. While many at 1/15 were impressed with Alex's rise through the ranks and may have had grand plans for him as an OR, Alex had a different view. In June 2004 he crossed to 'the dark side' and transferred to the Sydney University Regiment as an OCDT. Eighteen months later, the newly minted 2LT Baczocha emerged from the Royal Military College. However, the old Alex was not lost to the military. As recurring theme throughout Alex's next 16 years was his 'ORTs’, or 'Other Rank Tendencies', but more on that later.

His brief stint away from the Regiment during his time as an OCDT was quickly forgotten when he returned like the prodigal son and took up a position in Regimental Headquarters. He completed his Regimental Officer’s Basic Course over the next 15 months and was promoted to full lieutenant and with it, the prized subaltern role of troop leader %#45; a position he cherished and made his own for the next two years.

The beginning of 2010 saw the now 'Captain' Baczocha spread his wings and head to B Squadron as their second-in-command, a position he held for three years, both in Canberra and Sydney. However, his fun times in the Regiment were soon to come to an end, albeit briefly. It is imperative that to be a good, well-rounded officer, one cannot remain in the same unit for the entirety of their career. In 2013 Alex was posted to Headquarters 5 Brigade in the operations cell. He spent the next 4 years in various non-corp postings, further enhancing his knowledge outside his armoured speciality, and losing his pips and gaining a crown in 2016.


Major Baczocha returned to 1/15 in December 2017 as the adjutant on full-time service. In 2020 he finally achieved a life-long dream when he was given sub-unit command of B Sqn, and subsequently C Sqn. He final period of full-time service was at Headquarters 2 Div as the SO2 Future Training Needs. Such was his dedication and love for the Regiment, that at the same time he was on full-time service at 2 DIV, he was also maintaining his role as OC C Sqn.

Alex had a profound influence on everyone he came into contact with. There is not one person in the army who ever said a bad word about him. He was able to relate to all ranks, whether they be troopers, NCOs, or officers. He had the benefit of sitting on both sides of the fence – as an OR and an officer. This gave him so much credibility within the unit and gave him a unique insight into the requirements of his soldiers, a trait many officers wish they possessed.

So many positive words have been said about Alex since his untimely passing. The impact he had on junior officers will stay with them for the duration of their military careers. A lieutenant stated that 'Major Baz' (as he was affectionately known) showed her what it meant to be an officer who put soldier welfare first. He gave young officers confidence when they had none and felt well and truly out of their depth. He made them feel welcome when they marched into the Regiment. He always made himself available for the officers under his command, showing them how to complete paperwork that looked completely foreign to them. Another lieutenant said that Major Baz provided him with a perception of how to be a good officer and a good leader. He shaped and mentored officers and was instrumental in their development.

But his influence was not confined to the officer stream. Indeed, his ‘ORTs’ earned him a certain level of respect from the other ranks. Maj Baz was not your normal looking squadron commander. Despite the best efforts of his SSM, it was his dress of the day to be walking around with his t-shirt hanging out under this uniform. When chipped by the SSM for being dressed incorrectly, his response would always be "yeah yeah".

On exercise in Shoalwater Bay, he was in command of a PMV which was assigned to be the battlefield clearance vehicle - effectively tasked with removing casualties from the battlefield. Approaching an intersection in the middle of nowhere, travelling a best speed to reach the ‘casualty’, his warrant officer driver told him they needed to turn left. “No. Keep going straight to the next track” Maj Baz said. As they drove down that track the driver noticed a mobile air traffic control tower. A closer look at their surroundings revealed an MRH90 flying alongside them. The pilots holding their hands up, questioning why a Bushmaster was driving along the edge of the airstrip.

Alex was always willing to assist the unit whenever it was required. He was one of the few officers who was PMV driver and crew commander qualified. This skills, coupled with his M113 experience made him an excellent manoeuvre commander. He was an engaging person, and his audience would always enjoy his muses, whether they be related to the army, his family, Tracee, Phoebe and Isabella, or his horse breaking and endurance riding skills.

Alex Baczocha loved the Regiment, but he particularly loved C Sqn. The loyalty he earned from his squadron was second-to-none. He was most certainly the epitome of a 'soldier's officer'.

Brigadier Robert Lording CSC.


BRIAN BRACKENREG of Wauchope Aged 85

Brian has not been the best for the past year, moving from his retirement home at Wauchope to the adjacent nursing home in February, he was receiving palliative care for a few days before he passed. On 4 June 2022. Brian is survived by his wife Janelle, six children and many grandchildren.

Brian's funeral was held at St Agnes' Catholic Church, Port Macquarie on Friday 17 June 2022.

Brian's funeral was attended by association members Bob Gay, John Howells, James McCann, David Meidling, Joe Tabone and Brian Walters. A beautiful sunny day to say farewell to a friend.

DON CAMPBELL of Carramar Aged 78

Don Campbell who with Reconnaissance Troop 1/15 Royal NSW Lancers also a member of Sydney Tramway Museum and member of Australian Ex Military Vehicle Collectors Society Inc. Passed away after long term illness on 1 April 2022 at Concord Hospital aged 78. He was buried at Rose Chapel Macquarie Park Cemetery and Crematorium on Friday 8 April. We found out a bit late to let everyone know. There was no Lancer presence at the funeral

From a post to Facebook.

DENNIS COOMBER of Frenches Forrest Aged 75.


Dennis (Den) passed away on 16 June 2022 after a short illness. Denis joined the Regiment from OCTU in 1975, completing his Troop Commander’s course and essential corps qualifications in the same year. 1976 saw him a troop commander in A squadron, his squadron OC Ian Hawthorn recalls a competent and effective officer. Den stayed in the Regiment for 10 years, leaving with the rank of captain, he had a new and demanding civilian job.

In civilian life Den was a state public servant working for State Archives then in the Corrections Service.

After he left the Army and had conquered his new job and sought the opportunity to serve his nation again. This time with the Maritime Safety authority, using his RAAC radio skills.

Den was married but had no children, his story is best told by viewing the speech by his friend John Allinson at his funeral given at his funeral, Len Koles represented the Association at Den's funeral at the Northern Suburbs Crematorium on Friday 24 June 2022.

BOB DICKSON of Port Macquarie Aged 85

Bob passed away on 11 April 2022 there was no funeral for him that was his wish.

Bob Dickson was a sergeant and very involved in conducting B Vehicle driving courses, over four or six weekends. The safe driving area was Schofields Aerodrome; bush-bashing was at Lucas Heights; and the long haul I did as an instructor went via Oberon down to Goulburn, Taralga and back up the old Highway through Liverpool.

When Bob retired, he and his wife Shirley moved to Old Bar on the North Coast. When Shirley died a few years ago, Bob then moved to a Retirement Village at Port Macquarie.

Thanks to Lyn Pascoe (Bob's daughter) Bob Gay and Bob White

PAUL DOOLEY of St Clair Aged 71

Paul Dooley was known by those of us who served with him as a diligent if quirky officer. He joined the Regiment in 1974 from the Eastern Command Officer Cadet Training Unit as a second lieutenant. He corps qualified and was promoted lieutenant eighteen months later. He served in the regiment as a troop commander and other postings, choosing to leave the Army in the late 1980s. His contemporaries remember him fondly:

He did not have the burning desire to climb the Army ladder like some others.

It was through the army that he met his wife Florence.

Mark Swadling recalls:-

"Paul Dooley was an officer in A Sqn in the the late 70s early 80s . I have attached photos from an AFX at Singleton where SHQ, Admin Troop and LAD had to daisy chain pull the ACV from a bog, Paul was CC of 19B. I remember him as a unique character, and a pretty laid back person. I recall we had a troop BBQ at his house, the grass in the back yard was about a Metre high, Paul had mown a path the BBQ and that was all, the rest was left unmown, would have been a good hippy back in the day."

Paul is remembered by Terry Boardman OAM with affection, as a free spirit and a somewhat unconventional person who was fun to be around.

A number of Lancers. Paul's wife, children and grandchildren attended the service, his young grand daughter stealing the show, just as Paul would have wanted it. Paul's service was at Pinegrove, Minchinbury, on Friday 8 April, 1300hrs. Quite a few of us made the dash from Alex Baczocha’s funeral in Parramatta to be there.

Contemporary photos Mark Swadling

GEOFF FRANCIS of West Pymble aged 99

Geoff was the penultimate World War II lancer to pass away (the surviving soldier is Bert Castellari of Curtin ACT, he is going well for a 99 year old). Geoff died on Friday 20 May 2022, his funeral was private, no Regimental presence.

Geoff joined the Regiment in 1942, serving until 1946. In that time he served mostly as a Matilda driver with A Squadron, seeing combat in New Guinea 1943-44 and Borneo (Kalimantan) in 1945. After the war ended he was part of the rear party, not returning to Australia until mid 1946.

Geoff was the last WW2 lancer to march in Sydney on Anzac Day.

In recent times, Geoff was a VIP at the parade held in Parramatta in August 2014 to mark the centenary of the formation of the 1st Light Horse for WW1. He was also the only veteran of the Kalimantan battle present when ACE was able to move through Lancer Barracks under its own power in 2017.

We are very lucky with Geoff, he wrote his own story for his family, who have shared it with us. The story can be found HERE.

IAN HAWTHORN of Norwest Aged 76

Captain Ian Hawthorn Retd was born in England just after the end of World War 2.

He was educated at Forest School and Cambridge University graduating with a Master of Arts with honours specialising in economics and sociology in 1966. Whilst at uni his studies were partly funded by a University Cadetship with the British Army. After leaving university and completing officer and corps training, Ian was commissioned into the Royal Armoured Corps and posted to the 3rd Royal Tank Regiment.

Ian served in the British regular army until 1973 with overseas postings to Europe and North Africa. He told stories of the cold in Germany manning the line should the Soviet Empire choose to expand, and the dry and hot Libyan desert when on an exercise in ferret scout cars the route of the 7th Armoured Division in 1941 was re-traced. It was whilst on full-time army service that Ian married Sarah.

Ian was promoted captain but he felt that without the advantage of birth and the funds that came with that, further career prospects were limited. He left the Army, packed up his family and headed for the antipodal horizon.

The family migrated to Australia and Ian obtained a position as a personnel officer with CSR. In parallel encouraged by CSR's policy toward the Army Reserve, he joined. Commissioned as a captain as a result of his British service he was allocated to the 1st/15th Royal New South Wales Lancers and very quickly posted OC A Squadron. Those of us who served with him at the time recognised we had a competent commander with great potential in our midst.

1977, however, saw him in a new job as an HR consultant with Peat Marwick Mitchell. The pressures of this new role, however, put paid to his Army Reserve career. Ian left the Army after his term as squadron commander.

As Ian's civil career took off, there was no time to return to the Army Reserve. Ian worked in Human Resources Management, with a series of large corporations, both local and overseas owned, all during periods of fast paced, major change. He set up his own consulting company "Hawthorn People Development", specialising in organisational and management development, team building, leadership and public speaking training, as well as corporate superannuation management.


When he retired in 2010, we at the Lancers' Museum got the benefit of his full drive and energy, the video to your right made during COVID lockdown shows his energy and commitment. He had already been helping-out with the organisation of Reserve Forces Day, but after election to the committee of management of the New South Wales Lancers Memorial Museum Inc in 2011, the Museum became his focus, to our benefit.

He proved to be a great researcher, organiser and had the capability and tenacity to obtain funds. The meticulous way in which he sought out, obtained and managed grants and funds from public and private sources demanded admiration. His passion for the Second Anglo-Boer war and the Lancers' participation therein shows well in the Museum's collection; his unearthing and contextualising items like Patterson's poems, the Elands River Flag etc enhanced the Museum's collection. His greatest triumph was the fundraising and management of the project to restore the WW2 Matilda Tank ACE; this will stand as a symbol of his endeavour for many years to come.

As Vice President Ian was also a great networker on behalf of the Museum, using his personality and honed HR skills to work with local politicians, the Parramatta Council and heritage community for the benefit not only of the Museum but the Regiment and Lancer Barracks. In January 2020 Parramatta Council gave Ian Hawthorn an Australia Day award (see photo above) for his contribution to the Museum. His council and energy will be sadly missed.

Ian passed away at Norwest Private Hospital in the evening of 21 July 2022, just short of his 77th birthday on 16 August, in the presence of his wife Sarah and three adult daughters. To Ian’s youngest grandson, apple of his eye and all his family, the New South Wales Lancers Memorial Museum and Association extends their sincerest condolences.

Ian's family have asked that in lieu of flowers at his funeral, donations should be made to the Lancers' Museum in recognition of Ian's commitment to the Museum's continued success.

A report covering Ian's funeral is not available at the time of publication of Lancers' Despatch.

Source: Ian's Linkedin Profile and the editor's recollections of conversations with Ian.

PETER KNOWLAND of Ballina Aged 85

Peter Knowland, who served in the Regiment in the 50s after completing National Service died on 25 June 2022 in Lismore hospital, a couple of weeks short of his 86th birthday. Bob Gay attended his funeral on 1st July at Ballina. Peter was obviously a very private person as Bob found out in the course of the day. He was prominent in the formation of two Australian associations relating to acoustics as well as being responsible for the acoustics in the Queensland Centre of Performing Arts, among other similar performing centres. He was also prominent in the updating of the Sydney Opera House acoustics.

Thanks to Bob Gay for this information.

TOM LARKIN of Goulburn Aged 81

Tom Larkin died in Goulburn Hospital on Wednesday the 29 June 2022 (his 81st birthday) after a short illness.

Tom and Arthur Standring went to Granville Technical School (now Granville Boys High). Tom was in the same classes as Arthur from 1954 to 1956.

Tom joined the Lancers in 1960 and Arthur caught up with him again when he joined in 1961.

Tom served into the 1970s, leaving with the departure of the Centurions. and remained good mates until his death last week. Tom and Arthur would always contact each other on our birthdays. We were both born in 1941, my birthday was the 28th June and Tom's was the 29th.

Tom did not contact me last Tuesday and when I rang him on Wednesday morning his home phone and mobile went to message bank. Later that afternoon Arthur had a call from Perce Denton to tell me that Tom had passed away that morning. Perce had gone down to Goulburn that morning with a small cake and a bottle of red to celebrate his birthday with him only to be told the sad news.

Bob Gay went to Primary School with Tom at South Granville Public School in the early 50s and hung about with him, losing contact when we went to separate High Schools. He also went out a few times with my twin sister in the late 50s.

Despite my Service in the Regt, I wasn't aware he was also a member until I met him again at the Freedom of the City of Sydney in 1985. Obviously we weren't in the same Squadron.

The last time I saw him was in 2007 when we went to Armidale to take part in the 12/16th's Freedom of the City as Commemoration of the Charge at Beersheba in the Museum’s we crewed Jaffa.

Thanks to Arthur Standring and Bob Gay for the info

DANIEL MARRIOTT of Coffs Harbour aged 61

Daniel (Danny) Marriott's funeral service was conducted at 1000 hours on Friday, the 15 July 2022 in the Chapel of the Coffs Harbour Crematorium. There were a large number of people in attendance including about twelve past serving Lancers.

There was a number of eulogies delivered by different members of his family, including his ex-Lancer son, Bryan Marriott, with some of the main points being:

• Known to everybody as Danny;
• Born in the UK in 1960 and migrated to Australia with his parents in the mid-1960s;
• Attended school in the Chester Hill area including the local High School;
• Was a very keen soccer player and coach.

He became an Australian Citizen in late 1984 with a view to joining the Australian Defence Forces.

The Army Reserve was a very big part of Danny's life but he always put his immediate family first:

• Enlisted with the Australian Army in July, 1985 at the age of 24;
• Unit on enlistment was the 1/15 Royal NSW Lancers, Parramatta;
• Discharged from the same Regiment in February, 1996 with over ten years' service;
• His initial training was the 15-day Recruit Course done in the second half of 1985 at Bardia Barracks, Ingleburn;
• On his return to the Regiment as a Trooper, he did further introductory training in the Assault Troop;
• His main employment training came with the completion of the Crewman Driver Signaller Course (ECN088) on the Armoured Personnel Carrier (M113/LRV);
• Later he completed the Crew Commander's Course - Armoured Fighting Vehicle;
• He also completed a further course which become his passion in the Regiment - a 76mm Gunner;
• Later became a 76mm Gunnery Instructor;
• He finished all the promotion subjects necessary to be promoted to Sergeant but left before that promotion;
• He finished his career as a Corporal;
• For his service to the country, he was awarded the Australian Defence Medal and the Soldier's Medallion for Exemplary Service.

There was a RSL Tribute included as part of the service which was conducted by MAJ Alan Crouch OAM Ret'd from the Woolgoolga RSL sub-Branch. A Poppy Ceremony was included with many poppies laid by his former Army colleagues and his own family. This was followed by the very moving “Last Post”, a recitation of “The Ode” and “The Rouse (Reveille)”; there was also a period of silent reflection.

Among the Lancers there were Kevin Hobbs, Tim Jones, Steve Leslie, David Major, Tony Skinner, Greg Wallace, and Brian Walters.

In conclusion, to Danny’s immediate family and friends, may we extend our deepest sympathy. The Lancers’ Regiment is like a large family with members from many generations - the Lancers’ Family has lost a favorite son and the Regiment has lost another of its Brothers-in Arms.

Brian Walters 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 2021/22 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; Paul Degiorgio; June Faunt; Bob Gay; Peter Giudes; Trevor Lord; Neil Mangels; Richard O'Dell; Joyce Sharpe; Norma Swadling.

AND the Museum:

Douglas Black; Tony Blissett; Peter Burness; Bert Castellari; Jeff Darke; Paul Degiorgio; Glen Eaves; June Faunt; Bob Gay; Peter Giudes; John Gooch; John Grey; Robert Grinyer; Ian Hawthorn; Wayne Higgins; Bev Hill; Gordon Honeman; Len Koles; Mary Lamb; Trevor Lord; Neil Mangels; Keith Mountain; Gordon Muddle; Craig Muller; Richard O'Dell; John Palmer; Brad Pearce; Joyce Sharpe; Norma Swadling; Vergola (NSW) Pty Ltd; Kel Warham; Andrew White; Raymond Williams; Albert Zehetner.

  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. Two new products are arriving. Lance Pennants, one red over white, the other blue over white. The white over blue able to be customised with the callsign you used when in the Regiment. Detalis of how to order will be available online shortly. 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' Despatch is prepared and 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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