The Royal New South Wales Lancers

Lancers' Despatch 45

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 45 - August 2023

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

It is with great regret that I have to report on the passing of our Patron, Warren Glenny (Major General, AO, RFD, ED, Ret'd). Warren was the Regimental 2IC when I transferred into the Regiment and, Neil MacArthur Onslow was the CO. Warren achieved a great deal in his civilian life as a volunteer and patron of many organisations.

Our secretary John Howells has included a detailed record of his military serve in this Dispatch.

His life was about service to the community and the Nation. Warren, thank you for your service.

 Coming Events go to top of page

Expect the following:

• Regimental Reunion - Sunday 5 November 2023 (first Sunday in November) Lancer Barracks, Parramatta commencing at 11:00

 The Regiment go to top of page

Captain Marlon Schroeder Adjutant 1st/15th Royal New South Wales Lancers

[Editor's Note: At the Association's AGM on 29 March 2023, the Regiment's Commanding Officer Lieutenant Colonel Colin Shadbolt gave Association members a update. Just watch the video (Right).]

2023 is well underway, and has presented a busy start to the year for the Regiment. We are preparing for a platform transition from Bushmaster PMV-M to Hawkei PMV-L, an Employment Category Number (ECN) change from Light Cavalry scout to Armoured Cavalry, the changes to job training that go with this ECN change, and a transition of the role of the 2nd (Australian) Division to Domestic security. Foundation warfighting training has continued, and the Regiment continues to support Brigade exercises.

The year commenced with a bang, with the Regiment conducting Exercise Lancer Marksman in February, a combat shooting weekend conducted at the Majura training area. This saw the members of the Regiment conducting combat shooting practices with rifle and pistol by day and night, as well as mounted firing from the Bushmasters. The weekend culminated in a pairs sneaker range, practicing and embodying the cavalry mantra of "shoot, move, communicate". The Regiment then refined their individual soldier skills and ensuring that our members remain deployable and ready by conducting an army first aid, tactical care of the combat casualty and Army combative program weekends. This prepared the Members of the Regiment to treat casualties quickly and effectively, and maintain their hand to hand fighting skills. March continued to be a busy month for the Regiment, with a troop deploying to support 5 Brigade's Ex Waratah Run, providing protected lift capability to the infantry platoons within the deployed combat team, as well as providing a reconnaissance effect to the commander. The exercise culminated in a combat team clearance of the Singleton urban operations training facility, with the cavalry troop providing hard points for blocking actions and vehicle checkpoints during the clearance. They additionally linked in with our mates from across the ditch, a platoon of reservists from New Zealand.

A member of the Regiment mans the gun on a Bushmaster in a blocking position (Above Left). Bushmasters in the Battlegroup Leaguer ready to step off on task (Above right)

Members of the New Zealand Army reserve sit in the back of a Bushmaster as they prepare to insert on task (Above Left).

April saw the Regiment support over thirty locations and services on ANZAC Day, with a tireless effort from the Lancer Band, who supported Dawn Services, ceremonies and marches, as well as the SQNs providing catafalque parties and speakers for Dawn Services across Sydney and Canberra, as well as the Band providing a Bugler, Musician Braxton Jones, to support the ADF service at Jerusalem in Israel. The members of the Regiment were proud to support the Association in the ANZAC Day march through Sydney CBD.

Members of the Regiment supporting ANZAC Day services within Sydney.

May provided the opportunity for the conduct of a Bushmaster drivers course, with the focus on training infantry drivers from the 4th/3rd Battalion, Royal New South Wales Regiment, in preparation for the handover of Bushmaster PMV-M to the infantry battalion. The course saw members of the Regiment qualified as PMV-M drivers alongside our infantry colleagues. The soldiers conducted theoretical and practical driving assessments by day and night on public roads and difficult terrain.

Students on the PMV-M drivers course stop to check wheel nuts on the Mt Panorama racetrack in Bathurst (Above Left)). Students on the PMV-M drivers course celebrate completion of the course (Above Right)

June saw the Regiment conduct exercise Lancer Impact, our annual machine gun and heavy weapon training weekend. This saw the members of the Regiment live firing hand grenades, 66mm and 84mm direct fire support weapons, as well as MAG 58 and 12.7mm machine guns. The tireless work of the planning team enabled a highly successful weekend and ensured that the members of the Regiment were proficient across the range of weapons that they are expected to employ.

Members of the Regiment fire an 84mm Carl Gustav MDFSW during Exercise Lancer Impact (Above Left). Troopers engage a target with a 12.7mm M2 HB QCB machine gun while the safety supervisor watches (Above Right).

July has seen us conduct Exercise Lancer Walk, led by A SQN. The weekend saw three troops and a squadron headquarters deploy into the field with support from the 9th Regiment, Royal Australian Artillery. The troops trained in the new mounted cavalry construct, operating in conjunction with joint fires teams and Wasp Unmanned Aerial Vehicles to provide a reconnaissance effect, and culminated in a mounted delay of an advancing mechanised enemy conducted by the Squadron, a complicated operation that the troops carried out to great effect, achieving their mission. The weekend greatly enhanced our understanding and development of tactics, techniques and procedures for operation with the Hawkei, and saw our troop leaders challenged with a fast paced and realistic training tempo.

Members of A SQN receive orders in their hide (Above Left). Troopers observe down a road with the PMV-M crew commander supporting (Above Right).

As we move towards the second half of the year, we will see the Regiment support exercise Talisman Sabre, send a troop to support Exercise Predator s Run on Melville Island, and continue to conduct training and stand ready to support domestic operations and operations in defence of Australia. The second half of the year will be busy, and we look forward to the challenges it may hold.

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

 Your Association go to top of page

Anzac Day this year was a bit different to those under COVID and its aftermath. We marched in the Sydney with other members of the Armoured Corps the ranks of past serving Association members being swelled by those currently serving in the Regiment and supported by the Regimental Band. The full contingent 70+ being one of the largest, and certainly with our prominent black berets, the most impressive in the parade. The RSL insisted the Regiment not join its Regular cousins. The RSL Flying in the face of the reality that the Reserve has as many combat, peacekeeping and community service veterans as its regular cousins. The Lancers, with HQ and two sabre squadrons based in Sydney can field the largest parade contingent, and with 21 Battle Honours is Australia s most decorated unit.

In 2023 RSL directives were defied and all RAAC unit associations marched together supported by the Lancers' Band.

Do note that the Defence Reserves Association Annual Conference will be held in Brisbane Saturday 19 August 2023. It will also be available online. Use the button to download the flyer for details.

 Our Museum go to top of page

The first half of 2023 has been a great time to be a Museum volunteer.

We have done great things. Our Matilda ACE came back on line in February and our visitor numbers began to rise. The monthly Tank Days brainchild of the late Ian Hawthorn draw crowds. ACE does a great dance for the patrons, and for those young or young at heart a tour of the Barracks in our Champ or Gun-Buggy generates great excitement.

We have had a number of special visits including by the Assistant Minister for Defence, Matt Thistlethwaite, our Local Federal Member, Andrew Charlton, the then NSW Minister for Veterans David Elliott, Hilltop Road Public School, Heritage NSW, 203 RCU, UWS Students and the Tattersall family.

We were also most fortunate to receive a donation of effects from Philip Vernon's children Jane and Michael. The items including Philip s sword crafted and branded during the brief uncrowned reign of Edward VII and the original medals of all three Vernons who commanded the Regiment.

The new hard stand and protected work area are proving their worth and the plans are complete for overhead vehicle protection.

All of the vehicles are being painted due to a grant to cover material cost, and we are going ahead with restoration work on the M113.

And on 15 July 2023, the Museum supported a Defence Force Recruiting (DFR) display at Lancer Barracks. The display focused on the Reserve and Cadets Army with DFR offering assistance to those wishing to join any branch of the ADF, regular or reserve. The display was viewed by a group of New Zealand Army Cadets in Australia for a visit.

The next six months could be even better, on 23 July, the gearbox complete with clutch plate was returned to The Beast, a bit more work to do on the meteor engine and our Tank Days will feature our Centurion MBT.

If you have not been to see us for a while, come one, come all.

 In the Beginning go to top of page

On 15 May 2023, we sold the last of the 1885 - 1985 Regimental History. Back in 1985 Len Koles and John Howells were on the Regimental Centenary Committee, we worked with Phil Vernon to produce the book. We had advance sales of 700 and funds to buy a further 700; it has taken until now to sell them all, quite a profitable exercise for Regimental funds and the Museum. I also recall taking the 700 to the Post Office, and needing to have the rear springs in the Pulsar replaced.

Without the History for every new soldier to buy and study in detail, it behoves us to tell the story of our Regimental forebears online till a new edition is produced. We will start in the beginning, not 13.7 billion BCE or 6000 BCE, 1884 CE.

In order fully to understand the reasons for the formation of the Volunteer Cavalry Corps in New South Wales in 1885 it would, perhaps, be as well to glance, briefly, at conditions both in Australia and abroad at that date.

In 1870 British Garrison troops were withdrawn, and in the following year local regulars were raised. These consisted of one battery of artillery and two units of infantry. In 1872 the artillery was considerably increased, the infantry disbanded. Under the relative Act of 1871, men between the ages of 18 and 40 enlisted for five years, and were permitted to re-engage for two to five years. A gunner's pay was 2 shillings and 3 pence (22.5 cents) a day, in addition to free rations of bread, meat and groceries; free kit on joining, uniform, barrack accommodation, fuel, light and medical attention. Increased pay was given on re-engagement. Rewards for good conduct were granted as in the British Army of the time, no pensions.

The year 1870 and the decade that followed were significant not only for Britain and the Australian colonies, but, also, for Europe and the Pacific generally. The 1860s had seen the rise of Prussia, culminating in the Franco-Prussian War. With the end of the Second French Empire and the fall of Paris the German Empire became firmly established, to fall only in 1918 at the close of the First World War. After 1870, the decision and rapidity with which German annexations were carried out in Africa and the Pacific. In 1884 German colonies were established in New Guinea.

This rapid and menacing development in Germany, the unrest in Russia following the Crimean War (October 1853 to February 1856) and the significance of the Indian Mutiny of 1857 could not fail to cause deep concern in responsible circles, and between 1870 and 1880 Australian defence works received much attention under the advice of Royal Engineers of the standing of Sir William Drummond Jervois and Colonel Scratchley. Stimulus was given to the organisation of local defence forces by the outbreak of the Russo-Turkish War (1877 1878), with a possibility of British intervention.

In 1867 New South Wales had passed a Volunteer Force Regulation Act and volunteering was encouraged by grants of land after five years' continuous service. In 1878 some of the volunteers were reorganised on a "partially paid" basis, and in 1886 volunteers in receipt of payment were re-named "Militia". No doubt military affairs were under discussion in 1884 when there arrived in Sydney from New Zealand one Robert Roland Thompson, one-time sergeant of the 4th Dragoon Guards, who had promoted the formation of the Dunedin Hussars in New Zealand. He was later, in 1897, to become the first adjutant of the 1st (Volunteer) Australian Horse, and later still to be prominent in forming the King's Colonials. He brought a letter of introduction to Senior Sergeant Charles Dalton of the New South Wales Police from Inspector Bevan in Dunedin, Dalton and Bevan being old comrades with long service in the 8th Hussars, in fact, both were survivors of the famous charge of the Light Cavalry Brigade at Balaclava in 1854.

Thompson, it is considered, is the person whose initiative led to the formation of a cavalry troop in Sydney at that time. He apparently confided in Dalton, whose role in the police was officer-in-charge of the Governor's mounted escort, for which reason he, with his family, was quartered at the Government House stables which later became the Conservatorium of Music. Dalton brought Thompson under vice-regal notice and, although it is not thought that the then Governor, Lord Loftus, played a prominent part in this cavalry movement, he was destined to be the first to receive the honour of a cavalry escort.

Thompson became active in spreading the idea of a cavalry troop among the many horse owners in Sydney and, if Governor Loftus gave no particular encouragement to the project, there were citizens whose enthusiasm more than outweighed his apathy. Malcolm Melville Macdonald, a veteran of Indian frontier fighting, retired and living at North Sydney, while at first hesitant, came to show very definite interest. During his active service he had commanded the Poona Horse in Upper Scinde and Baluchistan in 1847; after rigorous service against the Baluchis and Afghans he had held several important staff appointments. About 1854, for health reasons, he had been given leave to proceed to Australia and to act as a buying agent for horses for the army in India, and had remained here ever since. Of commanding presence, tall, straight and dignified, Captain Macdonald was a well-known City and North Shore identity. In retirement he had not lost any of his enthusiasm for physical fitness and the self-discipline bred of a lifetime of military service. His influence and example were to prove of inestimable value, and it is little wonder that he became known as the Father of Australian Cavalry.

The Oxford Hotel Sydney C1905

Several names having been collected, a meeting was held in October 1884 at the Oxford Hotel at the corner of King and Phillip Streets. The publican Mr William Hession, an Irishman whose family had fled the famine and made good on the goldfields near Braidwood was most supportive of the venture. This became the regular meeting house of the Lancers until about 1911, and, incidentally, it was here that the Imperial Service Club was launched. At this initial gathering Captain Macdonald was in the chair, and the room was filled to capacity with the young and adventurous.

That a cavalry troop should be formed was proposed by Mr J M Purves, later for many years major and quartermaster of the regiment. The motion was carried unanimously, and a preliminary mounted parade was arranged. The new troop was toasted liberally, and a decision made to take the matter up with the Government.

The preliminary parade took place in Moore Park early in December 1884, probably where the Sports Ground now lies. About 40 men turned out, mostly well mounted. Besides such well-known names as those already mentioned, men of high standing in the community answered the rollcall. Amongst them were:

A J and C T Metcalf, J B Donkin, G Kiss (of the Horse Bazaar), T K Abbott, A J Barton, Dr R S Bowker, H C Doyle, C B Fairfax, C H Kerry, W Kettel, S E Laidley, J H Sands and W L Vernon.

Names of sufficient importance to recommend the acceptance of the services of the men bearing them by the Government.

In January, 1885, the corps was gazetted as follows:

Colonial Secretary's Office, Sydney.

3 January 1885.

His Excellency the Governor with the advice of the Executive Council has been pleased to give Authority under the Fifth Section of the Volunteer Force Regulation Act of 1867, for the formation of a Volunteer Cavalry Corps in Sydney: such Corps to be subject to the above-cited Act, and the Regulations made thereunder, and the members thereof to receive no assistance from the Government beyond being furnished with Arms (Sabres and Rifles), Cavalry Bridles and Saddle Cloths; the Corps to bear the designation of the Sydney Light Horse Volunteers.

William Bede Dalley.

In those bygone days, "Corps" having the meaning of a single military unit, usually battalion equivalent size, not the current meaning of a formation consisting of two or more divisions.

It will be noted from the above that the volunteers provided their own horses, uniform s and saddles.

Staff Sergeant R R Thompson was enrolled on 17 January with a salary of 50 ($100) per annum, Captain Malcolm Melville Macdonald, and 59 others, all troopers, a few days later.

February of this significant year, 1885 saw the fall of Khartoum and the offer by the New South Wales Premier, William Bede Dalley, of two batteries of field artillery and one battalion of infantry fully equipped, all expenses paid, to arrive in Suakin within 30 days. This was the first time that a colony had offered organised military assistance to the United Kingdom, and of this gallant offer the infantry and one battery were accepted.

The new light horse troop made its first public appearance on 3 March 1885, on the occasion of the pageant which marked the departure of the contingent for the Soudan. The troop, which paraded about 50 strong under Captain Macdonald, was detailed as escort to the Governor. Their uniform was blue: blue tunics and peaked caps with red bands; blue overalls, worn over short boots, were neat and serviceable looking. Spurs and polished brown pouch belts added a gleam. Swords and bridles had been obtained from the Police Department. Saddle cloths were dark blue, edged with white lines. The Governor with escort followed by the Soudan Contingent under Colonel J S Richardson (Commandant of the Military Forces) and other troops marched in procession from Victoria Barracks to the Orient Wharf, East Circular Quay, where the contingent embarked. The light horse formed up in line with the white walls of the Hill, Clarke and Company Woolstore forming a very effective background. With addition of the red tunics and white helmets of the foot soldiery there was a riot of martial colour.

Escorting the Governor Lord Loftus March 1885

This display of good horses and martial mien aroused much enthusiasm in visitors from the country districts and it was not long before troops began to spring up wherever a leader arose. From 1885 until 1889 all the light horse units were administered as independent troops, the whole constituting the Cavalry Brigade Reserves, with Captain Macdonald as Commandant. The headquarters orderly room was apparently at No. I7 O'Connell Street as there was an order about September 1885 directing all Cavalry Reserve Corps correspondence to be addressed to Captain Macdonald at that address. Macdonald was promoted to major on 29 September 1885.

When the Soudan Contingent returned in August 1885 the Sydney Troop again escorted the Governor. Colonel Richardson brought back two lances, presented to him as a memento of the campaign by Colonel Palmer, 9th Bengal Lancers. One of his first official acts was to convert the Sydney Light Horse Troop into lancers, giving it a touch of "pomp and circumstance'' that well became a troop that was to appear as vice-regal escort on so many occasions. This was the signal for a fresh pattern of uniform, one resembling that of the 5th Royal Irish Lancers but with silver braid instead of gold and a white dragoon type helmet instead of the traditional lancer cap. These blue uniforms with their red facings and silver buttons were ordered from London and paid for by the members of the troop. And although appearance was a great factor in those days, good riding must also have been well in evidence, for it was only seven years later that the New South Wales cavalry were winning prizes in London against Britain's best.

When Lord Carrington, Governor Loftus's successor, arrived in Sydney on 12 December 1885 the Lancers turned out to accompany him from the quayside. There were no lances yet, but with enthusiasm unquenched by cries of "fishing rods" from humourists among the crowd of onlookers, the troop carried bamboo poles with red and white pennants attached. The Government was slow in providing arms and when, some months after his arrival, the Governor visited a country town the light horse escort, having no weapons, turned out with stockwhips.

Lord Carrington, later the Marquis of Lincolnshire, at once identified himself with the cavalry. His official position as Governor in those days carried with it the title of "Commander in-Chief of the New South Wales Defence Forces." But in the early orders of the cavalry he is termed the honorary colonel, and he held this position with great interest, munificence and practical assistance, even though in England, until his death in 1928.

By early 1886 the Cavalry Reserves comprised:

• Sydney Lancers

• Seven troops of light horse

⚬ Illawarra
⚬ West Camden (i.e., Mittagong, Robertson and district)
⚬ West Maitland
⚬ Ulmarra
⚬ Grafton
⚬ Upper Clarence (two troops)

Lancers in pre-1890 uniforms  Thompson    Dodds 

The complete designation of a troop was in this style: Illawarra Reserve Corps of Volunteer Light Horse. The establishment of a troop was 60 all ranks, comprising: I captain, 2 lieutenants, 1 troop sergeant-major, 3 sergeants, 4 corporals, 1 trumpeter, 1 farrier, 1 shoeing-smith, 46 troopers.

Jumping ahead a bit, a General Order of 1894 promulgated the marches approved for the use of the lancer regiment at all ceremonial parades:

The Dragoon Guardsman
March Past at the Walk

The Cavalier
March Past at the Trot

Bonnie Dundee
March Past at the Gallop

The Regiment, to be called the New South Wales Lancers from 1894 (Royal from 1935) was up and running.

 Anzac Day Ceremony at Mount Scopus Cemetery - Israel 2023 go to top of page

MUSN Braxton Jones

On the 21st of April, I embarked on a memorable journey, where I would represent the 1/15th RNSWL, and ADF, playing the last post on Anzac Day. The service was held at Mount Scopus Cemetery, Jerusalem, Israel. I was also with the delightful company of Padre Kevin O'Sullivan, who shared the same itinerary. The catafalque party that accompanied us consisted of soldiers from nearby deployments, OP MAZURKA. The task of providing this catafalque party was entrusted to the Multi-National Force and Observers (MFO). Among the five MFO participants, two members hailed from the New Zealand Defence Force (NZDF).

The moment the Padre and I arrived in Jerusalem, we were warmly welcomed by GPCAPT Desjardins, who graciously guided us on a scenic tour of Old Jaffa en route to our accommodation. During the tour, it became evident that Tel Aviv represented the more modern and cosmopolitan aspect of Israel, while other places like Jerusalem held on to their deep-rooted conservative and traditional values. An intriguing example of this contrast was observed when entering the old city, where visitors were required to have most of their skin covered as a sign of respect and adherence to local customs.

On the flight over, I experienced an 11-hour stopover in Abu Dhabi after landing at 11pm. On the flight out to Tel Aviv, I peered out the window and was struck by the scarcity of greenery in Abu Dhabi, with most houses devoid of gardens. Whilst there seemed to be more vegetation in Israel, I was similarly shocked by the lack of greenery, particularly trees. There was no shade to hide under, there were few to no insects, and whenever we saw a tree, it was almost certain to be an olive tree. The entire countryside between Tel Aviv and Jerusalem was terraced and covered in olive trees. With only one type of tree present, it is easy to see how there are no insects around.

During our exploration of Tel Aviv, I couldn't help but notice a few gum trees scattered in the area. Curious about their presence, I inquired with GPCAPT Desjardins, who shared some historical insight. These gum trees were originally brought over by Australian soldiers during wars to provide much-needed shade. However, it was later realized that this act inadvertently revealed the soldiers' positions to the enemy.

After one night in Tel Aviv, I was then transported to the city of Jerusalem, where we gathered for a dinner involving all participants of the dawn service. The following day, Monday the 24th, commenced with a rehearsal at Mount Scopus Cemetery. As we arrived, but before running through the ceremony, we walked through the Australian section of the cemetery, locating 15 gravestones to the soldiers of the 1st Australian Light Horse Regiment, now part of the 1/15th Royal New South Wales Lancers.

Once the initial run-through of the service was completed, we entered the memorial, where together we signed the visitor book, which had remained untouched since the previous year's dawn service. The rest of the day was our own, so the Padre and I explored the old city.

Exploring the old city and its four quarters was a surreal experience. The quarters being the Christian, Armenian, Jewish, and Muslim quarters. As we walked around, talking to locals, we began to hear different interpretations on historical Christian events, like the location of Jesus' tomb and crucifixion. It was Intriguing to learn how from the passage of time, coupled with the impact of wars, it is not known exactly where major historical events took place. On the night of the dawn service, a dinner was hosted for all the embassy staff and service participants, followed by an early bed time.

The intimate dawn service left a great impact on all who participated. Following the solemn ceremony, the MFO personnel bid their farewells and departed. The Padre and I stayed one more night back in Tel Aviv, before leaving for Australia the following day.

This unforgettable experience has imprinted a lasting memory of Jerusalem deep within my heart. As the last post echoed through the air, I found myself gazing out from the hill Mount Scopus Cemetery was on, at the majestic expanse of Jerusalem and its ancient old city. The weight of 4000 years of history lay before me, casting a sombre yet awe-inspiring ambiance as I played the last post to honour the fallen soldiers. This moment will forever remain etched in my soul.

 Bert Soldiers on go to top of page

It is always great to get a note from our last surviving World War Two veteran Bert Castellari.

"Canberra, 1638 hrs, Sunday, 29 January 2023

Hello John

Lancers Despatch No. 44 arrived just as I was finishing reading the biography of Neville Howse VC which deals in depth, among other events, with the Boer War, the Great War, especially Gallopoli, and medical experience in the military. Howse was a strong character. Among those he didn't get along with was Dr Thomas Fiaschi who gets an unfavourable mention.

Thank you for publishing my letter. I have always appreciated the Lancers interest in knowing just who the individuals who serve, and those who have served, in the Lancers are.

It pains me to have to seek a correction. My birthday is 27 December 1923, not the 22nd. People often remark on this, so close to the nominal birthday of Jesus Christ. Some even mention the proximity of Chairman Mao, who was born on the 26th of December.

Also, a clarification. I was the CO's loader/operator and was sent to Puckapunyal to do a course for driver/mechanics. But it was a course for NCOs and above so I became a temporary, acting Lance Corporal (unpaid), and reverted to the rank of Trooper when rejoining the Lancers.

After WW2 I returned to newspapers, where I had begun as a copyboy, aged 15, at The Sun, changing to The Daily Mirror, before joining the army. In 1947 I joined the Daily Telegraph and later, The Sydney Morning Herald. In Canberra in the seventies I worked for The Canberra Times, followed by Specialised Press Agency. I worked as press secretary to five ministers of the Hawke Government.

Personal. My father was Italian. My mother was English. We were post Great War migrants. Dad came ahead in 1923 to manage successfully The Ambassadors, a restaurant cum ballroom etc which was wiped out by the great depression. The rest of the family followed in 1924. I was six months old.

Enough already.

Bert Castellari"

 A Few Hints for New SQN OCs go to top of page

Hints given to those about to head to RCSC and gain qalification for Major in the 1980s. Probably just as relevant today, though attitudes may have changed.

Without being presumptuous, I would offer these few hints to you in an effort to provide you with what I consider, the key aspects of the job that I have learned and observed both as a digger and a Sqn OC.

I have often been concerned with the fact the dash and elan of the Corps have affected the way in which some officers and NCOs have mixed and dealt with the most important asset in the Regt, the soldier. The macho gungho slash and burn approach is seen by some as the sign of an effective officer, NCO. This is most noticeable in the ARA. This is not true or correct.

It takes greater skill and ability to be an effective man manager and trainer in the ARes. We need both types of approach. The true skill comes in using the right balance. This is difficult.

In many cases, the ORs are equal or superior to their leaders in their experiences and skills, these should not be oppressed but utilised.

As keystones, we should remember that "we should treat others as we would want to be treated ourselves" and "adults are motivated if they know why they are doing something even if they don't agree or understand it."

In short point form I would propose you consider the following hints.

1. The "OPEN HAND" policy. Let people get on with the job, issue orders, clarify questions then stay out of their way. Your job is to provide direction advice and resources. Then STAY OUT OF THEIR WAY. Adults learn through success and mistakes. Let them make them. AS LONG AS THEY DON'T MUCK THE DIGGERS AROUND TOO MUCH OR SAFETY IS INVOLVED LET THEM LEARN. This is difficult on occasions as you should not let leaders embarrass themselves too much.

2. Never admonish anyone over the radio or in front of Tps. If you must over the radio, use a nickname like "BUSS" (Bloody awful speak soon).If you correct someone do it in private.

3. Use humour but be aware to some it may appear to be sarcasm.

4. Work them hard but let them know why they are doing something, this includes everyone. Hold informal Sqn meetings get the "FEEL"

5. Don't be a NELSON be seen and approachable at all times. The office is not a cage, get out and about at least once a night.

6. Respect the chain of command do things through the Tp Ldr or Tp Sgt otherwise they become servants with no authority.

7. Be the buffer between the other levels in the Regt. Be a FLACK CATCHER shield the Tps from the problems and let them get on with their tasks. Let them known what is going on but don't worry them with all the details unless they are critical.

8. Be honest if you don't know say so.

9. At all times make sure the training is relevant to the role of recon.

10. Use you imagination in the training so there is as little repetition as possible.

11. Allow others to develop the training, they need to learn too.

12. Seek others opinions and comments before deciding. If they contributed they will have ownership of the decision and push for it. However, when necessary, impose your will when it is absolutely necessary.

13. When you are wrong admit it openly and apologise if necessary.

14. If you disagree with orders don't tell the Sqn its not your fault and blame the Regt. You are the Regt, you take orders like everyone, keep your opinions to yourself and only tell those who need to know.

15. Lead by example, no double standards, if they do it you do it, if you have it they have it, if they don't have it you don't have it.

16. Keep up your own technical skills and knowledge. A good paper pusher loses track of the capabilities and characteristics of the equipment.

17. Don't judge others by the fact they don't perform or work or parade as much as you, each person has their own level, tempo and family pressures. However don't lower your standards.

18. Interview each member informally at least twice a year. Get to know them, Tp Ldrs may be too immature themselves to be really aware of their soldiers circumstances.

19. You are responsible for the future of the Regt through the training of the YOs. Get out with the Tps in the field, advise, coach, encourage and be there when they need support. If they see you as an auditor, forget it.

20. On those occasions you lose your temper do it in private, go for a walk and question if the mistake occurred because you were not clear.

21. Don't ask "WHY DID YOU DO THAT" ask "DID YOU CONSIDER THIS" Or "WHAT ELSE DID YOU CONSIDER". You are inquiring not threatening. This may give you and insight to a flaw in the thinking that needs to be covered in training.

22. You have a responsibility to fight for the Sqn at Regt level don't use the Sqn as an opportunity to make you look good. Don't volunteer for everything.

23. You will be the CO one day give him the respect and SUPPORT you would expect.

24. If you must destroy someone, do it yourself, its got to be swift, well explained, well documented and consistent.


26. NEVER LET THE REGT CAUSE SERIOUS DISHARMONY IN THE FAMILY, NO MATTER WHAT YOU DO ITS NEVER ENOUGH. On occasions be absent, let others run it without you, they need the experience and it happens in battle.

 Memories go to top of page

Just a collection of images of the past sixty years from Centurions and Recce Troop in the 1960s, recruits in the 1980s the Regimental Centenary parade 1985, through to the Regiment's Bushmasters.

 When the King called in go to top of page

6 December 1977 the then HRH Charles, Prince of Wales stepped out of part of the Vice Regal fleet at Lancer Barracks. The speed troughs designed to slow young soldiers entering the Barracks had been smoothed for his comfort. Those of us old enough to have been serving then will recall the visit though few got anywhere close to the future monarch. He was surrounded by local dignitaries and the press, only the then CO the late Greg Smith and Colonel Armour the late John Arnott got close enough to say g day.

When the new king was crowned on 6 May 2003, I checked out what had been sent as gifts to previous monarchs by the Lancers Association when they were crowned. Oops a bit pricy. So he was sent a challenge coin. The thank you letter, not personally addressed and signed by a minion far removed from His Majesty was very kind.

Whilst the King got his challenge coin as a gift should anyone else require one, they are available online at the or when next you visit the Museum.

 History Contributions go to top of page

Now that all of our 1985 history books have been sold, it is time to update and re-issue the volume. But to do that we need to know what happened within the Regiment since 1985. We are lucky to have the issues of Lancers' Despatch, with reports on the Regiment 2001 - 2023, and the oral recorded history by Commanding Officers 1986 - 2000 courtesy the late Bob Iverach. What we do not have are stories from the soldiers.

More is needed. So why not write-up your Regimental story, it will be published in Lancers' Despatch and we will be very glad to submit it for inclusion in the updated history. If you feel you have the skills, why not put yourself forward to edit the publication.

 Departed Comrades go to top of page

PETER BLAXLAND of Waitara 12 April 2023

Peter was a former National Serviceman and a member of the 1/15 Royal NSW Lancers.

He was a Trustee of the Hornsby RSL Sub Branch.

The funeral service for Peter was conducted at the Northern Suburbs Crematorium at 1400 hrs Tuesday 18 April 2023.

Our thanks to Rod White for letting us know.

ROGER GELLETT of Nhulunbuy 7 June 2023.

Roger served in the Regiment between 1963 and 1965 as a B vehicle driver. He had fond memories of his regimental service and was buried with his beret and medal.

Our thanks to Roger's brother Jim, who also served in the Corps, for letting us know.

WARREN GLENNY aged 88 of Castle Hill

Major General Warren Glenny AO RFD ED's first involvement with the Regiment was in the 1 RNSWL Cadets, from 1950 to 1953. His National Service training was from August to November 1953, and he then passed into the ranks of the Regiment; lieutenant, 14 December 1955; captain, 27 August1959; major, 171963; lieutenant colonel, 1 July1972.

After commanding from 1 July 1972 to 30 June 1975, he was posted to 2nd Training Group located at Ingleburn, and became Chief Instructor TAC 5. On 1 September 1979 he was appointed Colonel (Armour), Headquarters 2 Division Field Force Group; then, in July 1981, he became Colonel (Projects) , HQ Training Command, until promoted to Brigadier with command of 5 Brigade on 1 January 1984. Also, as from 1 April 1984 he was appointed Honorary ADC to the Governor General for a period of three years.

During Janary 1968 was in South Vietnam for operational experience.

At the end of his command of the brigade, he moved to Melbourne, promoted Major General and given command of the 3rd Division. After a year the Division was amalgamated with the 2nd Division, and General Glenny became its commander until Nov 1994. When he was awarded the AO and retired from the Army, he was appointed Honorary Colonel of the Regiment, succeding Sir Laurence Street. General Glenny relinquished the Honorary Colonelship in 2012, handing over to Colonel Long.

In civil life he was a company executive in a retail chain. From early in his adult life General Glenny has been very active in community affairs, such as voluntary ambulance and fire brigade, politics and especially the Parramatta Foundation Week on the committee of which he served from 1964 to 1981. Later he was Commissioner of the St John Ambulance in NSW. And president of the Castle Hill RSL club and Sub-Branch.

From 2013 'till 2016 General Glenny served as the chair of the Battle for Australia organisation.

His service as Patron of the Lancers' Museum where he was a generous supporter from 2015 was greatly appreciated.

General Glenny passed away on the morning of Wednesday 5 July 2023, a life of service to the nation and community ended. He was survived by his wife Gaye, son Andrew and family.

His funeral held at All Saints, Parramatta on 14 July 2023 was well attended by military and civil colleagues, including members of the Lancers' Association. The eulogy was delivered by Brigadier Phillip Bridie AM ADC, the Regiment's current Honorary Colonel. The proceedings were conducted by Lieutenant Colonael Colon Aitken, Army Chaplin and friend of General Warren for many years.

The gallery below concludes with video of General Glenny in the 1960s recruiting film "Citizen Soldier", and if you could not make it to the funeral, full video of the funeral.


PAUL HANNA 25 March 2023.

Paul served in the 1970s/80s, rising to the rank of sergeant. Wayne Clark recalls he was troop sergeant of Transport Troop, HQ Sqn in 1984. A highly competent soldier and very good company.

His funeral was held Thursday 30 March at 1030 hours at 992 Old Windsor Rd Glenwood NSW, many Lancers were in attendance.

DAVID LAWRENCE of Queenscliff.

David was adjutant of the Regiment in 1965 then subsequently served in Vietnam with 3 Cavalry in 1969, later retiring from the Army with the rank of Colonel having been Commandant of the Apprentices School. His Funeral was held at the St George's Anglican Church, Mercer Street, Queenscliff, Victoria on Wednesday 29 March 2023 at 1100. This was be followed by burial at the Queenscliff Cemetery, Pt Lonsdale.

Our thanks to General Grey for letting us know of David's passing.

JOCK McKENZIE 31 January 2023

Jock served with the Regiment in the 1960s, he was a sergeant at the same time as Bill Prosser.

Our thanks to Bill Prosser for letting us know.

ARTHUR STANDRING of Jacobs Well 24 February 2023.

Arthur served in the Regiment in the 1960s. His daughter sent this tribute:

"Beautiful Arthur, aka King Arthur crossed over the Rainbow bridge last night. He passed with love, honour, joy and peace in his heart. He was fully supported and loved by his family, friends, the land and all the beings helping him cross over. Thank you King Arthur, for sharing in these loving moments with us. You really are a pioneer for all us. Love the Standring Clan."

and the photo, taken shortly before his passing.

 Thank You go to top of page

Thank you all very much for your assistance in supporting the Museum and Association financially in the 2022/23 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; John Bollard; Paul Degiorgio; Tony Fryer; Bob Gay; Peter Giudes; Alan Hitchell; Graham Hodge; Barrie Rafter; Margaret Sheppard; Bob Stenhouse; Norma Swadling; Kel Warham.

AND the Museum:

Bill Amor Dianne Barnes; Terry Barnes; Tony Beechey; Terry Boardman; John Bollard; Ray Bowen; Joe Bozonie; Phillip Bridie; Paul Brock; Christopher Brown; Matthew Caple; Keziah Carating; Aaron Cheney; Wayne Clarke; David Crisp; Jeffrey Darke; Paul Degiorgio; Chris Devrell; Gordon Dimmick; Rod Dixon; Eric Drew; John Duncan; Warwick Edwards; Ian Frost; Tony Fryer; Bob Gay; Peter Giudes; George Glass; Brian Hackland; Brian Hanlon; Phillip Hastings; Alan Hitchell; Leon Hoare; Graham Hodge; David Hooper; Matthew Hopkinson; Blair James; Fiona Jarvis; Timothy Jones; Warren Kay-Spratley; Ray Keating; Bruce Kilgour; Mark Knight; Alex Koole; Marina Laverty; John Lee; David Lewis; Amgad Lotfi; Peter Major; Michael Martin; Ian McClure; Colin McDonald; Brian McEvilly; John McLean; Brian Meston; Philip Morris; Craig Muller; David Nicholls; National BWM Association NSW Sub-Committee; John Palmer; James Pappas; Shane Parker; Davy Patrick; Ian Pitman; Bill Prosser; Robert Sepping; Margaret Sheppard; Bradley Simmonds; Les Simpson; Mithendra Singh; Peter Smith; Steven Solomon; Bob Stenhouse; Michael Sultana; Mark Swadling; Norma Swadling; Joe Tabone; Brian Turner; Colin Upjohn; Michael Vernon; Rick Vincenti; Mick Visinko; David Walker; Logan Walker; Gregory Wallace; Stephen Walmsley; Sakiusa (Zac) Waqatairewa; Kel Warham; Wojciech Wawrzyniak; Michael Webb; Christopher White.

  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:

to go to the donation page. Donations to the Museum are tax deductible.

Don't forget your memorabilia. We have secure payment facilities available using your credit card (now including AMEX)  or your PayPal account.  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 Victoria Barracks (Sydney), Locked Bag 7005, Liverpool NSW 1871, or visit the website:

   go to top of page

"A regiment is not solely the men who presently comprise its strength. It is an entity stretching back in time to its beginnings. It is all the men who have served in its ranks, with their traditions and achievements. The serving unit, like the tip of an iceberg, may be the only part you see, but under neath, supporting it, there is a great deal more." (These words, often quoted, were introduced by our Late 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 Barramatta people of the Dharug nation 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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