The Royal New South Wales Lancers

Lancers' Despatch 8

Badge of the Royal NSW Lancers Lancers' Despatch

Bi Annual Journal of the
Royal New South Wales Lancers Association
The New South Wales Lancers Memorial Museum Incorporated ABN 94 630 140 881
No 8 - February 2005
Tilting at the Ring

Editoria The Museum  120 Years Anzac Day 2005  Reserve Forces Day 2005  Belmont - the Baptism of Fire  Cambrai Day at Puckapunyal  Beersheba Day Canberra  New Medal  Tongala Commemoration  Snippets  Light Horse Interchange  Parramatta - Singleton Record  Killed in Training  The Watcher on the Hill  BCOF or Bondi  Departed Comrades  Thanks  Please Help  RAACA  PDF Version

 Editorial go to top of page

The past six months have been eventful. Work on the Museum's collection has been proceeding and we have a couple of new interesting acquisitions.

This year marks the 120th anniversary, it does not seem that long since the 100th. As Regimental Association Members and friends of the Regiment you are invited to the celebrations.

Following the Boxing Day Tsunami, the Museum's Volunteer Corps have asked to be included in the International Council of Museums effort to help communities in the ravaged area begin to rebuild for the future. The retrieval of surviving material of cultural heritage, repairs to those museums left standing and the building anew of those that were destroyed, the development of new narratives that will emerge from this cataclysmic event will all need help and support. If we are called on to assist I will let those of you with eMail addresses registered with us know; and give you every opportunity to help to; all of us have already given money, this is an opportunity to help in kind, in a very personal way.

Our thoughts are also with our colleagues in 2 Cav, serving and taking casualties in Baghdad.

We have also made an approach to the Army History Unit for our Museum to be accepted into its fold. When the Army History Unit set up the current crop of Army Museums some five years ago, the offer made to the NSW Lancers Memorial Museum was not accepted by the Museum's Committee of Management. It involved handover of ownership of the collection, building and funds in a way that we were concerned would not ensure continued preservation of the Regimental heritage. The result has been that we are not referenced on any Department of Defence websites or guides as an Army Museum; something we are unable to understand and would like to resolve.

Once again thank you for your contributions, this time we have Tony Fryer, Don Morris and Kel Warham as new contributors, along with the stalwarts John Blackberry, Hugh Clark, Terry Hennessey, Brian Walters and of course David Craven. David is moving to Tasmania in February 2005 but will continue to contribute from across the strait, I an certain, we wish David and Helen well. Any contributions for future editions would be greatly appreciated.

Remember if you get this newsletter in paper format and could get it electronically you are costing the Museum and association $2 a time! Please let us know your email address, and keep it up to date. Simply eMail and indicate your name so that we can cross reference the current master list.

 The Museum go to top of page

Since the last Lancers' Despatch our Museum has purchased two major acquisitions, an Austin Champ and a Willys Jeep. The Jeep rounds out the Museum's collection of WW2 vehicles, and Champs were used by the Regiment in the 1950s and 1960s. We bought both vehicles cheaply, and have a lot to do to restore them to their former glory.

Work on the Champ

The Jeep

The recently acquired Jeep, and yes there is a lot of work to be done on it. We have also acquired the equipment to conserve the Museums' photo collection and upgrade the capacity of our accession register. Work has already started. By mid year, it is intended to offer for sale a CD of the Museum's photo collection. Without your valued contributions, the Museum would cease to function. Please take the time to go to our online contribution page Click Here. or download the contribution form Click Here and help. All contributions over $2 are tax deductible in Australia.

 120 Years go to top of page

In March 2005, it will be 120 years since the Regiment's first parade. The regiment has celebrations planned, and you are invited.

Lancers on parade in London, 1897, on the occasion of Queen Victoria's Diamond Jubilee

Lancers on Parade at the then 1 Bde (now 5 Bde) Parade Ground, 1985 on the occasion of the Regiment's Centenary, and presentation of a replacement 15th Guidon

The parade will be held on Sunday 6 March venue will be the 5th Brigade Parade Ground, Holsworthy Barracks, NSW. Timing 12:45 for 13:00.

If you wish to attend, please RSVP to the adjutant or Regimental Sergeant Major on (02) 9635 7822 by 11 February 2005.

 Anzac Day 2005 go to top of page

John Blackberry and Brian Walters

As at the completion of this news letter, the arrangements for the Regimental Anzac Memorial Parade, Tuesday 19 April 2005 are not confirmed. In any case there will be a wreath laying ceremony held on the night commencing around 2000 hours in the grounds of Lancer Barracks. Dress should be jacket, tie, beret and decorations. An invitation to watch the ceremony is extended to all those who may be interested.

On 25 April 2005 WW2 Veterans are asked to assemble in Hunter Street up from Pitt Street before 0900. Sort yourselves into ranks of 10 abreast and try to think young.

For post war members the forming up point will be the corner of Philip and Bridge Streets, Sydney - look for the Lancers' banner or the distinctive black berets. Try to be there by 1100 hours but the Reserve Contingent is well down the order of march and generally moves off around 1130 hours. Dress should be jacket, tie, beret and decorations. With respect to the reunion, the general consensus appears to reject a return to Balmain, a number of alternative venues have been investigated. The decision is that we go to the NSW Leagues Club in Philip Street, the same as last year. Gather at the top stair of the first floor. Use the response sheet (Click Here to download) to let us know if you will be there.

The Annual General Meeting of the Royal New South Wales Lancers’ Association will be held at Lancer Barracks, Parramatta, on Sunday, 13 March 2005 commencing at 1000 hours. At the conclusion of the meeting, the regular Committee Meeting will be held.

 Reserve Forces Day 2005 go to top of page

Building on the success last year of creating a parade spectacle by using light horse re-enacters, it is proposed to again have the parade in Sydney on 3 July 2005 led by a spectacle. The three historic themes will be: to celebrate the coo-ee marches; the 90th anniversary of the raising of 2 Div; and the 50th anniversary of the raising of the Commandos.

Exact details of where to form-up, and our proposed reunion will be forwarded to our post-war members closer to the date. You can follow the lead-up to Reserve Forces Day and check out the history (possibly even see your picture) by checking out the Reserve Forces Day website .

 Belmont the Baptism of Fire go to top of page

Belmont in South Africa was the Regiment's first engagement. Lancer squadron had disembarked at Cape Town on 2 November 1899, a fortnight later, having journeyed 480 km in a north-easterly direction, the Lancers detrained at De Aar Junction. A short distance from where Lord Methuen was trying to force his way across the hills through the Boer lines, it was thought that a start into action would be made as soon as the horses had got over the journey. But there was still insufficient equipment, and enough weapons for only a few. Hurriedly, a troop under Lieutenant S. F. Osborne was given what was available, and away they went, to the disappointment of the remainder of the squadron. With Lieutenant Osborne were S.S.M. Robson (Lismore) , Sergeant McDonald (near Ballina) , Sergeant Dooley (Berry) , Corporal Hopf (Lismore), Lance-Corporal Ford (Lismore) , and 23 troopers. They were called by the British regiments "The Fighting Twenty-nine".

The fighting 29 reached Belmont on 23 November, and were tasked to cover the withdrawal of the 9th Lancers, who had been heavily engaged by the Boers. The troopers took cover in rocky ground and produced a hail of fire. There were no Lancer casualties, however, in this engagement and that of Modder River, the day after and in the same area, the Boers suffered 131 and the British 780. The British troops had to advance across open, bare veld without any cover, in the face of harrowing, accurate fire under a merciless sun.

NSW Lancers cover the withdrawal of the 9th Lancers at Belmont, an illustration by J Finnemore, from a sketch made at the time.

Of the "Fighting 29" eleven survived sickness and wounds and continued to the end of the lancer squadron's involvement in the South African conflict; nine of these (two were prisoners at Waterval for five months) hold the distinction for the regiment of bearing eight, the maximum number of battle clasps on the Queen's Medal for South African War service.

This account was prepared from the Regimental History and the 1997 Newsletter of the Cape Town branch of the South African Military History Society.

 Cambrai Day at Puckapunyal go to top of page

John Blackberry

Cambrai Day was celebrated in Puckapunyal on 20 November 2004. The day marks the battle in 1917 when tanks firts showed their full potential. The Victirian branch of the RAACA held their annual dinner at the School of Armour. Four 2nd/6th Armoured Regiment veterans attended as duid two from our Regiment, Geoff Morris and John Blackberry. Geoff laid the wreath on our Regimental memorial with a large number of Veitnam veterans and serving soldiers present.

A memorable day, a delightful dinner and great company. Our thanks to Majors John Baines, Peter Brannigan, Paul Handel and WO2 Joe Linford for their hospitality.

Wreathlaying at Puckapunyal

 Beersheba Day in Canberra 31 October 2004 go to top of page

John Palmer

David Craven laid our wreath on behalf of the association at the Light Horse memorial in Canberra on Beersheba Day. Present were David, Bert Castellari, John Palmer and representatives from other associations such as John Smith and John Munns. Representatives from the New Zealand and British armies were also present. The Light Horse Mounted Troop provided an escort with music from the Queanbeyan Pipe Band. This will be David's last time in Canberra as he is moving to Tasmania in January. The bugler proved to be a victim of daylight saving as he turned up just as everything finished!

Beersheba Day 2004 - Canberra

 New Medal go to top of page

New MedalInformation about the new the new Australian Defence Medal was published in the last edition of Lancers' Despatch, we can now report that a decision will be made about the exact terms and conditions in February 2005, and publication from the Minister for Defence's office can be expected. The terms are likely to be as follows:

Service after 1946 only can be claimed for the issue of the medal.

Recipients will have been required to serve at least six years* in the regular or reserve forces.

Holders of the National Service Medal will have to have served an additional volunteer period of six years after the completion of their National Service obligation.

The award of other long service medals and decorations will not preclude the award of the Australian Defence Medal for concurrent service.

*Negotiations are proceeding around the six year requirement for those who have left the service. It appear likely that the medal will be awarded to those who have left the services and completed an agreed service obligation that was less than six years.

As yet the official form to apply for the medal is not yet available. As soon as it is, your editor will ensure all those on the eMail listing are made aware of it. Expect more information next issue.

 Tongala Commemoration to RAAC Fallen in Vietnam go to top of page

Tony Fryer

Tongala is a small town in the north of Victoria, boasting 1150 residents - most who seem to have relative connections to the Victorian Mounted Rifles. In November 2003 the town unveiled a statue of a Light Horseman, commemorating those who had to leave their (Yarramen) horses behind in Palestine.

The man behind the statue, Michael Thompson, a young resident with a proud Lighthorse heritage, then turned his energy (with heavy local support) into expanding the surrounding area in the centre of town, by adding the Avenue of 24 Ironbarks, each with a small plaque commemorating a member of RAAC who died in Vietnam. All within sight of the town's main industry, the Nestles factory.

Thus in November 2004 His Excellency the Governor General Maj Gen Michael Jeffery AC, CVO, MC, opened the Avenue after taking the salute from a surprisingly long march-past of hundreds associated with Light Horse in some way, whether having served in a RAAC unit, or as part of a commemorative mounted troop, owner of a military vehicle (all sorts), or a serving member. At least four excellent bands participated (including the 4/19 PWLH Band). I was given the privilege of unveiling L/Cpl John McCarthy's plaque. Wreaths were laid by a broad range of persons, including Lt Gen Peter Leahy, the CO and RSM of the Armoured Centre and CO and RSM of PWLH, senior police and RSL representatives, etc.

The statue of a lighthorseman at Tongala Victoria

Michael Thompson has achieved notoriety in the region for his efforts and is only part-way into his plans to grow the Lighthorse Commemorative area even far more significantly as the town/regions centrepiece. Watch out for the wall and other additions to be unveiled in November 2006. You might be flabbergasted at guest of honour & you'll do anything to be there for the occasion!

 Snippets go to top of page

David Craven

In April 04, having time available while recuperating from my heart operation, I at long last dealt with Lancers memorabilia material I accumulated during my years as secretary 1982-93, and before and after. Most of it went to the Lancers Museum, per their committee member and fellow Canberran John Palmer. Some, either duplications or of a more general armour nature, went to the Tank Museum, Puckapunyal. Manager PaulHandel, in a nice letter of thanks, said much of it is of use, especially articles and-info on Denzil Macarthur-Onslow and Sam Hordern. He, or Curator Joe Linford (03) 5735 7285 are happy to accept more from our members. Lancers Association President Len Koles is also President of the Lancers Museum Committee, and he also invites donations of material thought to be of historical interest. Photographs need an indication of where, when and who, and memorabilia items need some relative information To learn more please phone Len Koles AH 9874 4585 or mobile 0418 6074 56 - or John Howells AH 4703 3873 or mobile 0414 886 461

In a later issue I hope to submit an item listing some of the historic material handed over to the Lancers Museum, like a number of Lancers Association minute books from 1946 to 1972, which came to me years ago from Phil Vernon. While perusing them I noted down significant events and matters which were dealt with over the years, also who filled various offices. They will make interesting reading.

With war ended in 1945 a multi-national force was formed to occupy Japan. Volunteers were invited from our regiment to join the British Commonwealth Occupation Force. They were:- Officers - Gordon Hardcastle, Jim Hartridge, George McLean, Jack Sellars. Others - Philip Barnett, Brian Bourke, Ted Bray, Harry Britten, Bert Castellari, Terry Cudby, Stan Davies, Cyril Dwyer, Herbert Edwards, K Hirst, John Kennedy, William Mott, Chris Mumberson, Arthur Mclver, Ralph Perrott, Anthony Reeves, Willian Rhodes, Keith Ross, Jim Stark, Horace Spencer, Les Watson. Of the 28 listed, 7 are known survivors and on our present roll. Maybe there are more. It is worth noting that Ralph Perrott stayed on in Japan involved with education, and joined the Australian Force in the Korean War. A remarkable service record. From the LAD were - Bill Banham, Geoff Black, Les Hand.

As a former Secretary of the Lancers Association, former Editor and Committee Member for many years, I thought some members might be interested to know that Helen and I are moving from Canberra to Hobart during Feb 05. We'll be in a self care retirement unit at: 3 The Mews, 13 Chardonnay Drive, Berridale Tas 7011, a Hobart suburb. Phone (03) 6249 3579. We plan to get back to NSW and ACT during the year, hopefully for Anzac Day, and would like to keep contact.

 The Light Horse Interchange go to top of page

Those of us who trained at Wallgrove Camp up until the 1970s, have seen the area change over recent years. The Nissin huts we had come to know all too well were demolished, and a fun park established. A park I recall so expensive that my children had to a job of long term and extreme persuasion on Mum and Dad in order to get there. Now it too has gone, to be replaced by factories and our nation's largest tollway interchange.

Training at Wallgrove in 1964

In recognition of contribution the Light Horse soldiers who trained at Wallgrove made to the defence of the nation, the new interchange, when it is opened in 2007, will be called the Lighthorse Interchange and incorporate a suitable memorial. The Museum has indicated to the RSL and the NSW Government that it is ready to assist.

The Lighthorse Interchange takes shape - 2005

 Parramatta to Singleton in Record Time go to top of page

Don Morris

It was February 1974, Colonel Glenny was CO, and Major Adams OC A Squadron where I was a troop sergeant.

As a result of my wife's prevarication on the Saturday morning camp was to start, I arrived at the Barracks to see two bus tyre tracks leading out into the road, proving that the busses had gone. I told my wife that chasing after them in our car was out of the question, dropped my pack, and looked for an alternative method of getting to camp. The DCO (Draft Conducting Officer) offered me an order to the Parramatta Station for a train ticket to Singleton. I saw someone else moving to the station, but I was not excited by the thought of a lengthy train trip, I looked for another faster method. A MK111 IHC truck was standing by laden with one metre high of M113 track weighing almost three tonne. It had no canopy, a full crew of two, no room for me. Not only that but it had started to rain a wet trip would be less exciting than a long one. I carried on down to the LAD lines where a Diamond T Wrecker was ready to roll, only two people both Sergeants were in attendance and there was room for crew of three. "Room for you", said the driver," I will get you there". The Diamond T had a one ton trailer hooked up to it.

One of the people picking up stores for camp had seen a Wiles Cooker standing on the "sales" position at Moorebank, and had it added to the list of needs for the camp. The Wiles cooked by steam, and it was thought it would be useful to steam clean the vehicles before the Squadron change at the mid-point of the Regimental Camp. The cooker had been towed to Lancer Barracks without incident.

Our wrecker was tail end of the stores convoy. Shortly after leaving the Barracks we stopped for one of our members waiting beside the road, I had to get into the back of the vehicle; I found out that a corporal with a reserved seat beats a stowaway sergeant!

About 10 km before Windsor the Wiles Cooker failed to proceed. A passing civilian suggested putting the cooker onto a half-ton trailer, This was done, and the convoy proceeded. But, the weight of the cooker, its height, plus the fact that it was on sideways across the poor half ton trailer, meant that the assembly described figure eights behind the towing vehicle, in the interests of public safety the assembly was left at the Roadhouse just before Windsor for the LAD to deal with. We winched the assembly onto our one-ton trailer, and and proceeded to tow it behind the wrecker.

A view from the Putty RoadWe crossed the Hawkesbury and pushed on, just before the first big hill we spotted a MK111 IHC truck parked just off the road. We stopped and our driver hopped out, he was told that the red light on the instrument panel had come on, and the IHC driver had stopped to investigate, when slowing, he found he had to use the hand brake as well. We uncoupled the one ton trailer from the Diamond T Hooked it to the MK111, and proceeded to give the MK111 a suspended tow. We crossed the Colo River, and our vehicle struggled to keep going at all up the now very steep hills. I pleaded extreme need but the driver was concerned that if he stopped on the steep grade he would not get going again. I jumped from moving vehicle, found a tree, and used it as a toilet. I then had to run to catch-up up, I was assisted to board it by the other sergeant. By this time we had a large following, I estimated the road behind us was blocked for several kilometres, if not back to Windsor. At one time our highly skilled driver had to make a ratio change as well as a gear change, as the deft operation was performed the front wheels rose high into the air not quite a metre from the left hand side of the road where a steep cliff dropped away, I glimpsed a perfect vision of a man ploughing his fields seemingly one thousand feet below us.

Finally the Howes Valley roadhouse was reached, we dropped both loads, and checked out the IHC. The travelling public was happy to see the last of us (No mobile phones in these days - even today they do not work along the length of the Putty Road). Our corporal proved his worth by finding out that the fan belt on the IHC had fallen off the pulleys, no fan belt, no brake, no IHC!! A search was made of the engine bay, the generator pulley and the fan belt were found, but no nut or woodruff key for the generator pulley. A "D" dry cell battery was pressed into service, it was stripped down to the carbon core, then using a wire coat hanger for a filler rod, and a set of jumper leads we made an efficient electric welding set, using the vehicle's battery as a power source to weld the pulley to the generator's armature. The generator was fitted to the vehicle, and made it viable again. As a parting gift our driver hoisted the half-ton trailer and the Wiles cooker assembly, on board the MK111, hooked the one-ton trailer also to it, and waved it off on its way. The driver of the vehicle waved back his thanks, and started to move into the far distance.

Our driver tried to start our Diamond T again, but found it would not go. His waving took on a different meaning, but the other driver did not understand we had become a casualty in his stead, and waved back happier than before and disappeared round a bend in the road. Our driver managed to start our vehicle, got it across the road into a clump of trees and tried to check out our plight. The vehicle was nearly forty years old by that time, a veteran of the war in the Pacific, it had long before passed twice the allocated life span. Our driver said the timing had slipped, and started to try to rectify this. The two other people on our vehicle decided to try the food on offer at the roadhouse and had tucked into a hearty meal of steak and vegies. I asked our driver if we should tell the Barracks of our plight, and was told to advise them. In civilian life a Sergeant of Police carries some weight and I wondered how a Sergeant in the Army would fare in this situation. I soon found out. No soldier gets a phone call from here unless it is a reverse call, the roadhouse manager said in a voice like thunder!! Reverse call to "635 7822" I said, the draft conducting officer answered the phone, knew my voice and said he wondered where I had gone. I was told that the only other Diamond T in captivity was in camp in Singleton and it would come to get us. " Its alright", our driver said on my return, "I have got the wrecker going, get those "people" out of the road house, I will make the other wreckers job easier for him".

Off we went into the gathering darkness, moving slightly faster than we had before towing our heavy load. When the wrecker changed gear a tube of flame shot across the road, making me glad we did not see any traffic coming toward us. At least it was raining slightly there was no bushfire danger! The driver did not see this happening as he was on the left of the vehicle and the exhaust pipe was on the right. After a while, the passengers started to complain about a hot floor. We stopped in a safe place and drew off the road. The engine cover on the right was raised to find the exhaust manifold had heated past the bright cherry red stage, and had now reached a bright clear white colour. A period of cooling inactivity and we were able to limp on, the passengers' feet now clear of the hot footplates. As passengers we started to doze to wake with a start, all the wrecker's klaxon horns and whistles had been set off at once along with its rotating warning lights. It seemed like all sorts of lights and sounds filled the night sky, making a very good light and sound show!! The wrecker pulled off the road and waited.

I asked the driver what had happened. He said the other wrecker had at last come to our aid, and had seen us and was even now turning around to help us. This was not the case, for some reason he had failed to see us, and had gone to our location as provided by the Parramatta. On failing to find us, they eventually turned back toward Singleton. In the early light of dawn the other wrecker came around the bend and the driver spoke to our driver in a very churlish tone. " What are you doing here" he growled, "I went back to where you said you were!! ". Our driver, a recovery mechanic of many years standing, took offence at this tirade, and refused the offer of a tow, taking only a large drum of fuel.

We limped on. Finally the service station at Broke appeared, and our driver filled both the vehicle's tanks. Despite this we had to have another fill up with fuel from a convoy we saw on our way to the campsite. Time was now early afternoon on Sunday, more than 24 hours after we had left Parramatta. Finally we arrived at our location in the sticks around Singleton to the sound of much cheering. We must hold a record of some sort for the slowest journey from Parramatta. The wrecker was nursed back to some sort of health over camp and at one time was tasked to tow a M113 carrier to Singleton base Workshops It looked like a flea towing a horse!! The Commander RAEME 2 Div saw this minor miracle and promised us on the spot a new recovery vehicle.

When I left the Regiment years later there was no sign of a replacement wrecker.

 Killed in Training go to top of page

The footnote to David Brown's article in last August's Lancers Despatch drew out some more information.

Kel Warham writes:

The reference to Joe Karowana relevant to Regimental soldiers killed in training should read 'Joe Caruana'. I was the Crew Commander of the ferret that rolled over on that tragic day and I vividly recall the extra-human effort to lift the vehicle and Ron Cable's desperate efforts to resuscitate Joe. A few years ago I became aware of the absence of Joe's name from the Puckapunyal Memorial and tried to correct the situation. Unfortunately, the emails sent to Puckapunyal remained unanswered. For a while the OR's Mess at Parramatta became known as the "Caruana Club" but I don't think that the name was ever 'formalised'.

I also remember Dad returning from the camp where Trooper Evans was accidentally killed. The incident occurred during Centurion Tank live firing. The turret mounted .30 Cal MG experienced a stoppage. Unnoticed by the crew Trooper Evans had moved forward of the turret whilst the stoppage was being cleared and was killed by a 'clearing burst'.

Hugh Clark writes:

A little more information on two of our members who died during training:

POWELL Tpr R H N 225769, Bob Powell died from a massive heart attack at Greta camp during one of the exercises the Regiment was having to get all members fit, there was a circuit around, the camp area where all members were to run with full gear including rifle. At the time Bob was the fittest member of the squadron. He had not long joined up and in civil life he was a champion bike rider.

FENN Aubrey NX114654, Cpl Fenn was attending an Army school concentrating on river crossing with all equipment when he drowned, Norman Bent took a small party consisting of myself. Max Newton and Neil McDonald to represent the regiment at a funeral service held in Aub Fenn's home town of Cesnock.

 The Watcher on the Hill go to top of page

Morobe was a pleasant campsite. A real estate agent would describe it as "A Tropical Paradise absolute beach front. teeming with fish, no noisy neighbours, swaymg palm trees etc. He would forget to mention the green ants which infested the Palms and the shocking noise from the 3.7 inch .Ack Ack guns when they out of blasted us out of our beds.

Some 'A' Squadron personnel were surprised when a stranger walked into camp. He was a "Coast Watcher" and spent his lonely days and nights perched up on top of a great high hill with a heap of Bully Beef tins packets of hard Army biscuits and a Two Way Wireless (an early form of information technology) to keep him company. I didn't see him but a couple of the lads attended to his problems and helped carry tucker and equipment up to his aerie. Is mere anyone around who can provide more info about him or other Coast Watchers? There is a. Navy Veteran in Nowra who served as engineer on an Army boat which crept around at night re-supplying "Coasties" and also picking up "downed" Air crew. He would be interested to know about the Morobe Watcher.

 BCOF or Bondi go to top of page

Terry Hennessy

BCOF (British Commonwealth Occupation Forces - Japan)

"Take me back to Bondi Bay,
Where the Mozzies never stray"

That's the way the ditty went that we sung at Morobe when the War ended and our order of discharge was calculated by allotting points for Age, enlistment/Time spent Overseas and No of dependants (If any).

The LAD crew were about equally divided Sgt Les Hand said "I lived like a pig in New Guinea's mud and now I want to see a big city before I get out". Most of the married men elected for discharge. Remember when those of them who had wives living in Southport stayed overnight with their wives? I wonder why they were called "The Nesters"?

I had not made up my mind until I was on Picquet duty one night. We had been warned that either Japs or locals were pinching petrol from vehicles and to be alert. I got bored wandering up and down the Truck lines and settled in a Jeep where I had a clear view along the vehicle line. Hearing a noise I cocked the Rifle and waited for the thief to appear. To my surprise an animal shaped like a scaly turtle with claws and a long neck climbed the bank and sniffed the muzzle of my rifle.

My first impulse was to shoot it and show it to the boys. Then I decided to let it live, the war was over and I could soon be home as I had a fair number of points. It occurred to me that most of the worlds population had black hair and brown eyes. I missed seeing blue eyed blondes.

So that is why I came home and married a blue eyed blonde, and of course lived happily ever after.

 Departed Comrades go to top of page

David Craven (unless otherwise noted)

Since the deadline date for last newsletter of August 2004, we have heard of the deaths of the following:

JIM BRIGHT of Tweed Heads, on 24.5.04, aged 89. Jim's younger brother Gordon, who served with the Lancers in B Squadron, in New Guinea and Borneo, said Jim joined our militia 1MG Regt in the 1930s, and soon after WW2 started, joined the RAAF as an LAC mechanic Post war he lived in Murwillumbah and Tweed Heads, was a good mate of Ron Pile, and attended the local reunions which Ron and Merv Canham organised. Post war Jim was a successful commercial flowers grower and was also an accomplished pianist. He was on our roll and in contact through the years.

RALPH LARKINS of Cremorne, around June/July 04, aged 85. Ralph joined 2nd Tank Bn in Sept 41, became Sergeant in 42 and transferred to the Lancers with the intake of Feb 43. He was posted to B Squadron and served as Troop Sergeant to both Doug Ferns and David Donald. He was on our roll and we had contact, but whilst he may have come to early reunions he didn't later, so little is known of him post war

VINCENT DOUGLAS FERNS (known to all as Doug) of Nth Ryde, on 5.8.04, aged 86. Doug joined A Squadron of our militia 1MG Regt in December 39, soon becoming Corporal of No 1 Troop under Lt Col Southwell. He gained promotion to Sergeant, and was commissioned during 42 and transferred as OC 1 Troop B Squadron. Adrian and Syd Ferns were his cousins. Whilst B Squadron didn't see action in New Guinea, they had the leading role in the successful attack on Balikpapan, when Doug and his No.l Tp had plenty of it. Our history says that after return to Australia at war's end, with records disposal and other duties, he was the last member of the regiment to be discharged on 6th November 46. Post war he and Adrian successfully operated a carrying business with several trucks. Doug was well known and regarded in Ryde RSL and golf clubs, and a good supportive member of our Lancers Assocn, attending reunions and events. In recent years he was one of our Anzac Day March leaders. He sadly lost his wife Margery a good many years ago. At his well attended funeral we were represented by David Donald. Doug was indeed a good mate to many members.

J S PAUL NX 114568 was listed in "Reveille" Last Post as 1st Armd Regt. He was not on our roll or service record file and we have no information on him. The NX number looks like one of ours. Would any who knew him please let us know.

HOWARD PERKINS of Alstonville, in August 04 aged 81, and

GEOFF HAYNES of Strathfield, on 9.10.04, aged 82. Word came from Norman Bent. Both were tank crew of B Squadron - Howard was a gunner of FHQ Troop and Geoff a driver of 4 Troop, and both served in New Guinea and Borneo. Both joined our 1st MG Regt, Howard in Dec 41 and Geoff in July 40. Both were on our roll and in contact, but not known if they attended reunions or other events.

REGINALD (BILL) ROKES of Randwick, on 19.8.04, aged 81. Bill joined our regiment at Randwick in December 41, and was in HQ Squadron for most of his service, in New Guinea and Borneo. Post war he resumed his occupation as movie projectionist at both Regent and Plaza theatres. For a time he held the only copy of the documentary "Armour of Infantry" in which our regiment took part. The commentary was by Jack Davey. Bill showed it at times to regiment groups and at reunions. He was for many recent years a wartime member of our Lancers Association committee. His sister Betty, his only family, told us that when in hospital with heart problems and cancer of the liver Bill asked that his friends not be told and "be worried about me". His unadvertised death and funeral were not known to us, so no army mates were present. Betty later found a contact name and phone number to let us know. Bill, always the quiet man was quiet even to the end. A likeable man, he will be missed and not forgotten.

LES MORRIS of Ourimbah, in September 04, aged 87. A cousin of committee member Geoff Morris, Les joined the Ourimbah 2 Troop B Squadron of our 1st MG Regiment in 1940. He left at Rutherford in December 41. Post war he kept contact, coming to Gosford Reunions, but not to our annual Anzac Day one. He went in the first Reserve Forces March some years ago. After the war he had a fruit and vegies run for some time, and for many years he drove a bus for disabled people at their home "Fairhaven".

ERNIE "TIGER" BEATTIE of Norahville, early in 2004, aged 82. Tiger also joined the Ourimbah 2 Troop B Squadron in 1940, and like Les Morris was at the 41 Wallgrove camp. Soon after he joined the AIF, unit not known. Post war, although on our roll and in contact, he didn't attend our reunions, and may well have joined his AIF unit party on Anzac Day. We don't know his occupation - it is thought he may have worked with the railways.

NORMAN LEWIS MOSS 1909 - 2004 Norman Moss served in the Regiment in the early 1940s as squadron leader B Sqn. He left the Regiment woth the rank of Captain and was posted to the 2/6 Armoured Regiment where he was promoted to the rank of Major. He served with distinction in the Buna - Sanananda campaign with Stewart light tanks. In his school days Norman had been a great sportsman. After the war he became a grazier in the Berrima and Coonamble districts. Norman was aged 94 when he passed away on 12 June 2004. (Our thanks to Hugh Clark for this information.)

MURRAY KERLE 85 years 1922 - 2004. Murray joined the Royal NSW Lancers in early 1940 serving in the Rutherford. Greta and Singleton camps, left the Regiment with a B2 medical classification due to eye sight problems which did not qualify him for service in Armour, however, he remained in the army serving at the showground where he was promoted to WO2. At war's end he was in the discharge section of the Army and quite a large number of the Regimental members were to pass through his capable hands. Sister Alison was married to John Bartlett. (Our thanks to Hugh Clark for this information.)

 Thanks go to top of page

The following people contributed to the Lancers' Association in the six months to December 31, 2004: Jim Squires, Ivor Humphreys and Don Morris. Once again, thanks to these people as the Association does rely on these funds to operate. The total was just over $3,000 for the whole year. Apologies to those who may have been missed and for any spelling errors.

The following people contributed to the Lancers' Museum in the six months to 31 December 2004 (some donations are made anonymously): Peter Aldous, John Arnott, Harry Bailey, Bill Balchin, John Bollard, Valerir Boyton, Joy Canham, Jim Caradus, Bert Castellari, Alan Chanter, Denis Comber, Ron Cullen, David Downes, Cynthia Fitzsimmons, Ian Frost, John Gates, Terry Hennessy, Alan Hitchell, Alan Howitt, Les Hughes, Ivor Humphreys, Norma Jamieson, Neville Kingcott, Chris Lawley, Ted Martin, Alfred (Snow) McEwan, Geoff Moran, Don Morris, National Servicemen's Association of Aust Illawarra Branch, Marcia Newton, John Patterson-Kane, George Pennicook, Bill Philip, Doug Pollard, Eddie Polley, Ron Rope, John Roseby, June Simpson, Zena Smith, Arthur Standring, Bob Stenhouse, Ray Stone, Vincent Strohmayer, Reg Swadling, Dan Tesoriero, Huy Dinh Tran, Gloria Warham, Don Watson, Col Williamson, John Wilson, Phil Wright.

Official receipts have been included with this newsletter.

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Without your valued contributions, the Museum and association would cease to function. Please take the time to go to our online contribution page Click Here. or download the contribution form Click Here and help. If you wish to contribute to the Association to enable the continued assistance to the welfare of our WW2 veterans, please Click Here and download the response and contribution form. All contributions over $2 TO THE MUSEUM ONLY are tax deductible in Australia. Do not forget to order your memorabilia, Click Here.

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Membership of the RAACA is free free to all applicants over 75, and only $10 per annum for those who are younger. The RAACA NSW newsletter complements Lancers' Despatch, providing news of events in the wider corps community. If you wish to join the RAACA and receive the newsletter, drop a line to the association at Building 96, Victoria Barracks, Paddington NSW 2071, or eMail .

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"A regiment is not solely the men who presently comprise its strength. It is an entity stretching back in time to its beginnings. It is all the men who have served in its ranks, with their traditions and achievements. The serving unit, like the tip of an iceberg, may be the only part you see, but under­neath, supporting it, there is a great deal more." (These words, often quoted, were introduced by our Patron, Major General Warren Glenny, AO RFD ED, during his term as 2IC of 1st/15th Royal NSW Lancers in the 1960s)


Lancers' Despatch is Published in February and August each year by the New South Wales Lancers Memorial Museum Incorporated ABN 94 630 140 881 and the Royal New South Wales Lancers Association. All material is copyright. John Howells - Editor, New South Wales Lancers Memorial Museum Incorporated, Linden House, Lancer Barracks, 2 Smith Street, PARRAMATTA NSW 2150, AUSTRALIA,  Tel: +61 (0)414 886 461, Fax: +61 (0)2 4733 3951.

© New South Wales Lancers Memorial Museum Incorporated ABN 94 630 140 881; Linden House, Lancer Barracks, 2 Smith Street, PARRAMATTA, AUSTRALIA
Postal Address: PO Box 7287, PENRITH SOUTH NSW 2750, AUSTRALIA; Telephone: +61 (0)405 482 814 Email:
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