The Royal New South Wales Lancers

Lancers' Despatch 10

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 10 - February 2006
Tilting at the Ring

Editorial   A Plaque in History   The Victory in Pacific March in Sydney Saturday, 13 August 2005   The AFL - DVA Tribute to Veterans 14 August 2005   Victory in the Pacific Celebrations Parramatta   Light Horse Interchange Opens   Cambrai Day Puckapunyal   Cambrai Dinner Sydney - A Window to the Future   The VC that Wasn't   Department of Veterans' Affairs Messages   Kangaroo Valley's Light Horse Memorial   Departed Comrades   Australian Defence Medal Update   Coming Events   Thanks   Please Help   RAACA   Response Sheet   .pdf Version  

 Editorial go to top of page

The past six months have been both very good and very sad for the Regiment, the Association and the Museum.

Tiger Colliss TrophyVery good in terms of a celebration of the Victory in the Pacific at Lancer Barracks.  This involved a Museum open day with 600 visitors, and a medallion presentation to local veterans at Lancer Barracks all funded by the Department of Veterans' Affairs.  The "Tiger" Colliss Trophy, was presented for the first time to Warrant Officer Class II Mark Johnstone.  Funded from the estate of the late WW II Veteran Frank (Tiger) Colliss it is presented to the NCO judged by his peers as making the greatest contribution to the regiment each year.  The illustration shows the bronze perpetual trophy, on which all the winners names will be recorded, individual winners receive a smaller chrome replica. To mark the 60th anniversary of WWII and the Regiment's participation in the Pacific campaigns, a bronze plaque was placed in the forecourt of the Australian War Museum at Canberra.  And the Museum web site was upgraded.

Ross Brown reports that the volunteer Tuesdays have been going very well.  The World War 1 and 2 rooms are looking good, and work is moving apace on digitisation and repair of the photo collections.  Earl Partridge's uniform (see Lancers Despatch February 2004) is now in display as part of a show of uniforms of the Light Horse in the 1930s and early 40s.  Ross advises that the Tuesday work groups will resume in March, he has personal business that will take him to Queensland in February.

Light Horse uniforms

Also very sad.  We lost a great friend and benefactor with the passing of David Donald.  David was an officer with the Regiment in WW II, later serving as treasurer with the Association for over 50 years.  David also made regular substantial anonymous donations to the Museum.  He was determined that the sacrifice of his colleagues should be remembered (see Departed Comrades for more on David).  We also heard that the Regiment, for the first time since 1942, will in July 2006 be no longer equipped with armoured vehicles.  The M113s will be retired, and the Regiment will be equipped with soft skinned cross terrain vehicles and concentrate on producing "Cavalry Scouts", back to a "light horse" role, with mechanised rather than horsed mobility.  The article on the Cambrai Dinner Sydney - A Window to the Future, provides some insight as to why the A vehicles are departing.

Major Mike KalmsWe saw a change in command.  Lieutenant Colonel Brett Barlow relinquished command on 31 December 2005, and was replaced by Lieutenant Colonel Graham Stewart.  Colonel Barlow was a great supporter of the Museum and the Association.  He will be best remembered for the parade to mark the 120th anniversary of the Regiment.  A parade those of us who had served with them got to see our beloved M113s en-masse on parade with the Regiment for the last time.  At the same time, Major Peter Guides departed the position of Second in Command.  Peter rose through the ranks of the Regiment from Bandsman to 2IC in 25 years a remarkable achievement.  Peter has also left the Army, so Peter, if you need a hobby now there is a gap in your life, remember the Museum can always use another (unpaid) IT consultant.  Peter was replaced with Major Mike Kalms.  Both Colonel Stewart an Major Kalms have seen service with the Regiment over many years, Colonel Stewart having also served with 10th Light Horse in Western Australia.

I would also like to take this opportunity to thank Warrant Officer Class 1 Bill Baxter for the assistance he gave to the Museum and the Association during his time as RSM.  His work on the Victory in the Pacific celebrations and the Tiger Colliss Trophy was greatly appreciated.

My thanks to the contributors, John Blackberry, David Craven, Reg Gunn, Terry Hennessey, Len Koles, Brian Walters and John Palmer (photos).  Please note that we need more contributions.  Tell us about what made your regimental service memorable.

 A Plaque in History go to top of page

John Balckberry

To mark the 60th anniversary of WWII and the Regiment's participation in the Pacific campaigns, a bronze plaque has been dedicated for placement in the forecourt of the Australian War Museum (AWM) at Canberra.

John Blackberry and Ted Martin at the Plaque dedication

This impressive ceremony took place in the Western Courtyard Gallery of the Australian War Memorial at Canberra at 11:30 am on Friday, 26th August, 2005.

After a warm welcoming address by Mr Mark Dawes, Acting Director of the AWM, Association President Len Koles addressed the congregation followed by the unveiling by Ted Martin and John Blackberry.

The Dedication by Chaplain Andrew Rutley followed and Ode by Geoff Morris. Corporal Aaron Madden, bugler of the Band of the Royal Military College Duntroon, gave a first class rendition of Last Post and Rouse. The ceremony continued to the National Anthem, Closing Prayer, and Thank You and Farewell remarks from Len Koles.

Veterans present were John Emmott and Ted Martin, Harry Britten, Bert Castellari, Geoff Morris and John Blackberry. From the 2nd/6th Armoured Regiment were Bunny Austin and Doug Spinney. Former 1st/15th Lancers were Association Secretary Brian Walters, John Palmer and Bob Stenhouse. About 28-30 in total on the day.

A good mix of veterans, relatives and friends, not forgetting the wonderful assistance by AWM officials - thank you all

 The Victory in Pacific March in Sydney Saturday, 13 August 2005 go to top of page

John Blackberry

When the cry went out "It's Over" on the night of 15th August, 1945, veterans will remember our thoughts in many ways - disbelief at first, then relief perhaps. In the following weeks many changes took place. We built comfortable camps with showers and kitchens - sporting equipment appeared like magic. A canteen appeared with a great variety of previously unobtainable goods.

The points system was set up giving priority to those awaiting return to Australia.

A prison camp for Japs was constructed and parties of them were allocated to Squadrons for labouring tasks. (A correct and stern attitude with no harsh treatment, was the order.) A single concert by Gracie Fields was seen by 12,000 troops at an open air event near the 2/12th AGH and movies were shown twice weekly near the 2/2nd Casualty Clearing Station.

In the following weeks 52 members went to the 34th Brigade Group in Japan as part of the British Commonwealth Occupation Force. A further 110 men went to the 21st Infantry Brigade known as Makforce to occupy the Celebes Islands, to restore order. Others went to Morotai and dumped our tanks in the sea (other tanks were burnt at Balikpapan.)

Troops disappeared in all directions, finally leaving only a small rearguard. Most got home for discharge bet ween March and May 1946, seven or eight months after war's end.

We could have relived those days together after the march - sadly I was the only one from our Regiment.

However, although disappointed, I had a good day in the company of fellow tankies, 6 from the 2/4th 3 from the 2/6th, 1 from the 2/7th and 2 from Brigade ASC, 13 all up. Some of us found a friendly pub after the march where it was impossible to spend money - they wouldn't take any!

A pity you didn't come - see you at the 70th?

 The AFL - DVA Tribute to Veterans 14 August 2005 go to top of page

John Blackberry

Telstra StadiumThe Dept of Veterans Affairs in conjunction with the Aust. Football League organised the attendance of about 70 or 80 WW2 veterans from all services to attend a match between the Sydney Swans and the Brisbane lions at Telstra Stadium to celebrate VP  Day.

Once again the convenors excelled themselves with precise programming and attention to detail. Many disabled veterans were given kind assistance at all times by the ADF men and women who were our attendants from pick up at home to return in chauffeured limousines.

My invitation came through the RAAC Association together with some from the 274th, 276th and 2/7th and supporting units. Thank you RAACA.

An excellent lunch in the Ambassadors Dining Room with a great choice of (free) grog made it difficult to watch the game at times - but the Swans won. I think.

 Victory in the Pacific Celebrations Parramatta go to top of page

The Regiment, Museum and Association hosted special celebrations in Parramatta. The events were free for the public, and fully funded by the Department of Veteran's Affairs (DVA).

Joe Tabone guides visitors

Sunday 14 August, there was a special Museum open day with a Pacific War Exhibition, vehicles were be open for inspection, and guided tours conducted of Lancer Barracks, the Museum and the Vehicle collection. The Regimental Band gave a concert at mid-day, and tea and scones were be served. Invitations were issued to the local schools, and advertisements placed in local newspapers.  With the advertising paid for by the DVA and no entry fees, we had some 600 visitors.

Len Koles guides visitors

On the evening of VP Day Monday 15 August, the 60th anniversary of the day Japan accepted surrender terms, there was a wreath laying ceremony at Lancer Barracks followed by drinks in the Sergeants' messes. All local veterans were invited, those who saw service in the Pacific Campaign were presented with 60th Anniversary Medallions by the The Hon Julie Owens MHR, Federal Member for Parramatta.  The DVA funded veteran's travel to and from the ceremony.

Geoff Morris and Ted Martin

We would like to thank the member for Parramatta The Hon Julie Owens MHR and her staff (in particular Matthew Ferguson) for their initiative and assistance in organising and helping to obtain funding for these events.

Hon Julie Owens and WO1 Bill Baxter present Medallions

 Light Horse Interchange Opens go to top of page

December 2005 saw the opening of the largest freeway interchange in Australia ah the Junction of the M5 and M7 motorways at Wallgrove NSW.  Wallgrove was the site where many light horse trained during the 1930s and 1940s, ultimately seeing service as Armoured and Infantry soldiers in the Middle East, New Guinea and Borneo.  To commemorate this the interchange has been called the "Lighthorse Interchange".  The Museum was to contribute vintage vehicles, and the Australian Light Horse association mounted re-enacters to the opening ceremony, however, this had to be called off due to inclement weather.

The light horse connection is commemorated by 1,600 "statues", each a red (signifying the Army) pipe cut with a slice at the top (indicating a slouch hat), with steel wires protruding from the top (signifying emu plumes) and large signs for those who would otherwise miss the symbolism.  A major piece of the nation's infrastructure now commemorates our forebears.

Light Horse at the Interchange

A Lighthorseman at the Interchange

 Cambrai Day Puckapunyal go to top of page

Once again RAAC veterans were invited to Puckapunyal to celebrate that day in France in 1917 when tanks first showed their value on the battlefield. The day when Brigadier-General Hugh Ellis commanded the Royal Tank Corps in an advance, the success of which had not been seen in the Great War until that time.

Geoff Morris Lays a wreath at the Regimental Memorial.

Geoff Morris represented the Lancers' Association, he laid a wreath at the Regiment's memorial and attended a very pleasant dinner in the Officers' Mess.

 Cambrai Dinner Sydney - A Window to the Future go to top of page

John Howells

The Annual Cambrai Dinner was held at the Royal Automobile Club in Sydney on 19 November 2005.  Organised by Colonel John Haynes OAM and his team at the RAACA NSW branch, it was as always a great gathering of black hats of all units and all ranks.

Tony Fryer, Mark Gibson and Harry Crampton at the Sydney Cambrai Dinner  

Brigadier Craig Orme CSC, then the commander designate 1 Brigade (Darwin)  was the keynote speaker. he gave those present an insight as to what is happening in the Corps.

For the regular component, the news is mostly good. 1AR is soon to take delivery of its new (or at least refurbished) M1 Abrahams MBTs, 2/14 QMI is being kitted out with ASLAVs to join 2 CAV as a fully operational Armoured Reconnaissance Regiment. The news for B Squadron 3/4 CAV is not quite so good, it is to be equipped with Bushmaseter AMVs providing lightly armoured mobility for the Townsville brigade. There is also to be another fully mechanised infantry battalion equipped with upgraded M113s and able to work with 1AR and the two Reconnaissance Regiments.

The news for the Reserve is not so good. All reserve units (except 2/14 QMI - now a regular unit with a reserve component) are to lose their A vehicles, the Army’s whole fleet of M113s being reduced from around 600 to around 300. Reserve armoured corps soldiers are to concentrate on the skill of “Cavalry Scout” (formerly known as assault trooper or infantryman in an RAAC unit). Transport will be by soft skinned cross-country vehicle.

In answering a question from Major (Retd) Pat Donovan OAM RFD (Pat is a former 2IC of the Regiment), Brigadier Orme indicated that the main reason to remove the M113s from the reserve was a perception that reservists are unable to maintain A vehicles. He said that changes in course length and the Australian workplace had precluded reservists from completing the extensive courses necessary to crew an A vehicle, and that even if it was possible to complete the courses there was no time left for the exercising of crew skills at sub-unit level essential for effective performance. Course lengths are now being looked at.

What Brigadier Orme did not say was that the decision to extend the length of Army Reserve courses was a proactive decision taken by the Army. The recruits’ course that took most of us two weeks with a few weekends now takes 4 weeks full time. Learning to drive an M113 took my generation 11 days, it now takes six weeks. It is not that there is any greater depth in these courses; the weapons and equipment are much the same. It is just that the courses are padded out, early finishes, long breaks during instruction, free weekends. The justification for longer courses is supported by research showing that if you learn quickly, not everything sticks in. Reports based on “soft” data justified the requirement for reservists to have to attend these extended courses; essentially on the grounds that unless they attended the long courses they were not qualified to the same level as their regular counterparts.  Such an approach to training could never be supported by industry, workers out of the work force cost money.  There courses must be concentrated and focussed, enhanced by work experience.  A case in point, the Master of Business Administration offered by Macquarie University, Sydney takes two (up to six in other institutions) years part time to complete, there is no time for social or family life long nights, few weekends, just work and study, rather like an Army Reserve course of old; the result is a qualification better regarded than most.

In Queensland, the only RAAC unit with a reserve component to retain A vehicles, 2/14 QMI, will have most reservists precluded from serving  on the basis of the complexity of the ASLAV (letter LTGEN Leahy – BRIG Wilson 18 November 2005).

I consider reservists could accept the removal of A vehicles if that were an economic measure. I can remember an early boss telling me of his CMF training in the 1930s where the firing of a Lewis gun was simulated with a boot polish tin filled with stones – there was no money for ammunition; soldiers accepted this. I can recall training soldiers on the MAW Carl-Gustaff in the early 1970s with drink cans as there were no drill rounds, soldiers accepted this. But to be told that you are losing the vehicles because you cannot reach the level of training necessary, when generations of reserve soldiers have been able to do so, is hard to swallow.

In parallel with changes in course length there have been changes in the workplace. The public service, which used to be the mainstay of the reserve has been depopulated. Private industry has changed. Small business has never been able to actively support the reserve. It is difficult enough to cover a small number of skilled employees for statute leave periods let alone any additional military leave. Large corporate business still for the most part “nominally” supports the concept of reserve service. However, if you are a worker in one of these behemoths, you know reorganisation is constant and retrenchment all but inevitable. If you are known as a person who is always there beavering away at the computer screen, retrenchment is less likely. If you are a contractor which many of my colleagues in the Information Technology industry are; you work when work is available. Our workplace has been “Americanised” without the patriotism of American industry; a patriotism that ensures support for reservists.

Thus as Brigadier Orme indicated, the reserve is both dwindling and aging.

The problem is that this has been for the most part a product of Defence policy. Courses have been lengthened by padding, and thus made all but impossible for reservists to attend. This has been coupled with the inept thinking that removed the secondary role of “providing military training to undergraduates” from university regiments and turned them into officer factories. Meaning our emerging politicians and captains of industry do not have fond memories of reserve service during their time at university. Thus removing the industrial and political understanding of the benefits of reserve service.

So what can be done. The bean counters have probably already added the maintenance costs of half the current M113 fleet to the benefits column of many discounted cash flow tables (benefits are usually claimed many times over – costs reflected only once). We have probably lost our A vehicles this time. But I would appeal to those making the decisions that will shape our future reserve (if there is to be one); read carefully the proposals; ask the questions wisely; and do three simple things:

1. Make the length of reserve courses reflect the content not the time a regular soldier might have available. Recognise that such courses can be a model for the kind of courses we will have to run should there be a need to exponentially expand the size of the defence force in time of war.

2. Review the kinds of decisions that have been made around issues like the destruction of the university regiments, and failure to train reserve RAAC soldiers in vehicle skills. Think again, and do things better.

3. Give reserve units or sub-units real roles; and send them overseas; not after months of re-training in justification of a padded system.

Every soldier needs to feel that what they are doing has a purpose and is appreciated. This would not appear to be the message currently being passed to RAAC reservists.

I do consider that a viable reserve links the defence force to the community. Something absolutely essential when most regular units are based away from centres of population. But if making it impossible to gain the skill necessary to contribute actively destroys the soul of the reserve, then the morale of the reserve will fade; it will shrink and age.

Please note that the opinions expressed in the above article are those of the author, and not those of the Royal New South Wales Lancers Association, or the New South Wales Lancers Memorial Museum Inc.

 The VC that Wasn't go to top of page

No Lancer has yet been awarded a Victoria Cross, the highest award for valour in nations with a British heritage. Trooper Tom Morris, however, bears the honour of being the first Australian nominated for the award; an award which given different circumstances (not in any way related to the valour he showed) he would have received.

Tom MorrisThis interview with the Singleton Argus when he returned to Australia tells the story:

"Singleton Argus" Tuesday 26 June 1900:

Interviewed at Melbourne

Trooper Tom Morris, who is being invalided home from the war, was recommended for the distinction of the Victoria Cross for courage in returning to rescue a disable comrade of the New South Wales Lancers under hot fire near Arundel. Though he is not yet officially gazetted as "V.C." it is understood throughout South Africa that the recommendation will be confirmed, and so certain is the belief that the English illustrated press published his portrait as the "first Australian to win the Victorian Cross". Should Trooper Morris receive the coveted distinction, he will not only be entitled to the annuity provided by the Imperial Government but will obtain a similar income from a Sydney life assurance society, which made the offer of an annuity at the opening of hostilities. The return of Trooper Morris is quite unexpected, for his name is not among those cabled as suffering from illness, and the story of how he came to be recommended for the Victoria Cross is interesting, and especially from the fact that it has not hitherto been published either in England or in Australia. Trooper Morris is a tall, handsome young fellow of 24, a native of Singleton, New South Wales, where he follows the calling of a contractor with his father, Mr Joseph Morris, one of the best known residents of the district. Young Morris joined the local detachment of Lancers as a mere lad, and, unlike most Australian youths, neglected athletics for military exercises. The result has been that, though he regretfully admits that he can neither play cricket nor football, and can neither scull nor box, he can point to a long list of prized won at military tournaments, not only in his own country but against the flower of the British Army. Morris was one of the detachment of Lancers which left Sydney 18 months ago for training at Aldershot. He remained there till the opening of the war, when the majority of themen volunteered for service at the Cape. He took part in much of the hard and glorious work connected with the campaign, and was under fire on so many occasions that he learned to despise the enemy's bullets. "The first time you go into action," said his townsman, Trooper Waddell, "you think every bullet is going to hit you. After a while you imagine none will." Morris nods, but of his exploit he will say little, and that little has to be obtained by a series of leading questions and long cross-examination. "We were at Arundel, near Colesberg," says Morris at last, "and a body of us were ordered out under Major Lee to examine a row of kopjes about four miles long. We had ridden along for half the distance without finding any sign of the enemy, when they suddenly opened fire on us from the kopjes on both sides. Al we had to do was to draw their fires, so we started to get back at once. I was near the rear of the detachments, and as I rode along I could see the Boers coming round the other kopje to cut us off. Then I looked back to see if any of them were following us and saw Trooper Harrison's horse fall. It was shot under him, so I went back and took Harrison up and galloped away." In telling his story Trooper Morris omits the most important part which his comrades eagerly tell. As Harrison fell the Boers rushed down from the kopjes on both sides towards him evidently intending to make him a prisoner, but the others maintained such a heavy fire that he was forced to take cover behind the body of the dead horse. A number of Boers also closed in from the kopjes on either side, and were firing after the retreating Lancers at the very moment Morris turned his head. The plucky Singleton lad, however, swung his horse round, and galloping back right in the face of the fire picked up Harrison with the enemy scattering bullets from three sides of them, and rode back safely, running the gauntlet of the enemy for the second time. Morris was present in several subsequent reconnaissances but eventually he fell a victim to enteric fever, and after three months in the hospitals of South Africa he was invalided back to Australia."

But nothing came of Morris’s recommendation for the VC possibly because in 1899 Australian troops were classed as "colonials" and Tom Morris was only a farm contractor and "trooper". Later, a professional from the Australian Commonwealth did an equally brave thing and became the nations first VC winner. That takes nothing away from what Tom Morris did.

The "Taddy" Cigarette Card featuring Tom MorrisTwo contemporary cigarette companies issued cards to commemorate South African war heroes, the "Ogden" cigarette company issued a card using the photograph above of Tom Morris.  The other was issued by the also long defunct "Taddy" Cigarette Company.  The Taddy card takes quite a degree of licence.  The regimental badges have been evened up by adding extra elephant trunks, also the badges and buttons are gold instead of silver.  And; Tom is shown wearing the VC that never happened.

After his return to Australia Tom did not stop serving the community.  He joined the NSW Police, eventually retiring with the rank of Sergeant at Corowa, a town close to the Victorian border.  His obituary in the "Corowa Free Press" Friday 7 October 1955 details his part in two police cases:

"Four men were wounded with rifle bullets in a shooting affray near Jingellic. About 17 shots were fired at a picnic party by a man named Claude Batson. One of the men later died. Armed; Batson terrified the district for several days and turned bushranger, hunted by an armed posse he was eventually captured in a starving condition at a dairy farm near Jingellic. It was during the search that Sgt Tom Morris visited a house at Lankey's Creek and after searching the house, saw Batson run through the orchard. Morris called to him to put up his hands, but instead Batson turned and fired at him, and also at Sgt O'Connor. Morris fired at Batson and the shot went through his sleeve. He took aim again, but the rifle jammed.

Sgt Morris was also responsible for recognising a 19 year old youth named Thomas, who was known as the Staghorn Flat murderer. Thomas lived at Corowa as George Maxwell for nearly a year, until he forged cheques in the name of Hugh Jamieson, and hired a car to Culcairn. Morris and his second in command, Constable (afterwards Inspector) Yardy, notified Culcairn police and Thomas was arrested and brought to Corowa, where Morris recognised the likeness of a photo in Thomas' pocket to the Staghorn Flat murderer, he was arrested and admitted his guilt. Although a reward of 200 pounds had been offered in Victoria for the arrest of Thomas, the Victorian authorities refused to recognised the NSW Police, and the reward was never distributed."

Clearly the bravery shown by Tom in South Africa was not in any way out of character.  Tom was buried at the Corowa old cemetery on Wednesday 5 October 1955, the casket was carried by Sergeant M. J. Whelan, Senior Constable B. D. Riordan and Constable 1st Class R. Hunt (Corowa Police) and Messrs M. Gyles, C. Pratt and Eric Harrison (Returned Soldiers).  Tom married Amy Clare Nickson on 5 March 1906 in Coolamon NSW. They had three children: Gladys Ellen, Edwin James, and Irene.

Almost as a monument to the injustice Tom suffered. No Lancer has ever been awarded a VC.

Thanks to Jan Galsby for the Tady Cigarette Card, and details of Tom Morris later life.

 Kangaroo Valley's Light Horse Memorial go to top of page

Terry Hennessey

Kangaroo Vallwy MuseumAbout a year ago The late Peter Aldous donated a beautiful photo of 4 members of the Valley"s 1931 L.H. Troop jumping a hurdle, to the Local Pioneers' Museum. The Troop won the Prince of Wales Cup that year. The Museum people asked for and received a Grant to use the photo as a model for a beautiful Stained Glass Window which is now installed. If you are passing through the Valley it is worth a visit to this Museum which is located just before the beautiful Hampden Bridge on the Western side check 4465 1306 for opening hours

 Department of Veterans' Affairs Messages go to top of page

Material supplied by the Department of Veterans' Affairs

Reissue of DVA Orange Cards.

Anyone who currently holds a Repatriation Pharmaceutical Benefits Card, also known as the Orange Card, will receive a replacement card during December and January.

The cards will be sent out in the mail, and while they will look different to the old cards, with a new logo on them, they should be treated and used in exactly the same way as the old cards.

When you receive your new card, sign it and keep it in a safe place. Destroy your old card by cutting it in half and putting it in the rubbish bin.

People who are eligible for the Orange Card are British, Commonwealth and Allied veterans and merchant mariners who:

" Have been resident in Australia for 10 years or more;
" Are aged 70 years or over;
" Have World War I or World War II qualifying service.

If you haven't received your new Orange Card by February 2006, please contact your DVA State office on 133 254.

Veterans’ MATES - Helping Veterans Get the Best from Their Medicines

When was the last time you had a good talk with your doctor or pharmacist about the medicines you take? As we get older we tend to rely on more medicines to help us manage our illnesses and maintain our health. Often we take a range of medicines which, if not taken correctly, can result in additional health problems.

Veterans' MATES is a new program from the Department of Veterans' Affairs that helps veterans and their carers avoid these problems and use their medicines safely.

Most medicines are effective when used as directed by your doctor or pharmacist. You may also use medicines from supermarkets, health food stores or over the counter medicines along with those prescribed by your doctor. But medicines taken in the wrong way or at the wrong time can cause harm, even an emergency.

Up to one-third of hospital admissions of older people are due to problems with medicines. People mix them up, use them incorrectly or simply forget to take them. Thankfully, these problems are preventable and Veterans' MATES can help.

Veterans' MATES sends information about different health conditions and medicines to veterans, doctors and pharmacists every few months. So far, materials have covered Home Medicine Reviews, heart conditions, diabetes and arthritis. DVA has joined with Australia's leading Quality Use of Medicines organisations to deliver Veterans' MATES tow. estimated 16 000 medical practitioners, 5 500 pharmacies and their veteran patients.

You or your carer can begin to better manage your medicines by talking to your doctor and pharmacist about Veterans' MATES. They can arrange a Home Medicines Review of all your medicines.

Ben*, a 78-year-old Korean War veteran, leant a lot about his medicines after having a Home Medicines Review, which was organised by his doctor. A pharmacist visited Ben in his home, arranged to dispose of out-of-date medicines and helped him organise his tablets. Afterwards, the pharmacist discussed Ben's medicines with his doctor. Ben felt much more confident talking to his doctor and pharmacist about his medicines after the Home Medicines Review.

To get help with your medicines:

• Talk to your doctor or pharmacist regularly about your medicines
• Ask your doctor about a free Home Medicines Review by a pharmacist in your own home
• Call Veterans' MATE Son 1300 556 906
• Get a copy of the Home Medicines Review brochure at

*Name change for privacy reasons.

 Departed Comrades go to top of page

David Craven unless otherwise noted

Since the deadline date for last newsletter of August 2005, we have heard of the deaths of the following:-

STAN CHIVAS of North Ryde, on 25 August 05, aged 82. Stan joined our Militia regiment at Randwick, becoming a corporal in C Squadron HQ of our A1F unit, with service in New Guinea and Borneo. Post war he was an executive of a shipping company in Sydney. He was one of a small group which planned and established the North Ryde RSL Club in the early post war period, beginning with just 25 members. It grew steadily to become the big one to-day. A foundation director of it, he served on the Board for many years, becoming a Life Member. He was also Secretary of the Armoured Corps Association NSW Branch for some years around 1980. Stan also served on the Lancers Association Committee, and being a member of the NSW Leagues Club in Philip Street he got space there for our annual Anzac Day reunions, after holding them for some years at Lancer Barracks, Parramatta. He was therefore much involved in ex-servicemen’s activities. His wife Sylvia died about seven years ago.

A very likeable and "fair dinkum" man, he was well known to many, especially his Lancers mates, and will be missed. Good C Squadron pal and committee member John McManus represented us at Stan's funeral.

RONALD IRVING, of Campbelltown. Ron was listed in "Reveille - Last Post issue of July-August 05, so date of death is not known. Our service file shows date of birth Nov 22, so he would have been 82. It also says he joined the Regiment in January 42, with service in New Guinea and Borneo. He was thought to be a Jeep driver of C Squadron. He was on our roll and received newsletters, but we know little about him. John McManus knew Ron when serving but has had no post-war contact. Possibly some C Squadron veterans may remember him, and let us know more.

Bert Castellari sent this note on Ronald Irving:  "Ron and I were in the same class at Coogee Public School in the 1930s. We joined the Lancers at the same time. I had not seen him for many years. For that matter I didn't see many old friends and associates for many years because of the hours I worked as a journo on a daily, which is why I can't tell you any more about Ron."

WILLIAM (BILL) HALL, on 1 October 05, aged 83. Bill joined the Regiment in December 41, becoming a tank driver in C Squadron. He served in the " New Guinea operations, and was in the rear party which took our tanks to Madang for handing over to 4th Armoured Regiment, returning to Australia in September 44, some three months or so after the main party. He did not serve in Borneo. Bill was a member of the Australian Victory Contingent to England after WW2 ended. For some years he came to the Anzac Day March, and possibly to some reunions. John McManus also told us about Bill.

David Donald - 2006DAVID DONALD of Killara, on 11 Nov 05, aged 85. David joined our Militia Lancers, 1st Light Horse MG Regiment in early 1940, in A Squadron He was Ted Martin's Troop Sergeant at the time he was commissioned as Lieutenant in early 43, and was then posted to B Squadron. Our history records that the main body of the regiment, by then 1st Aust Tank Bn AIF arrived in Milne Bay, New Guinea, on 11 Aug 43, with the tanks of A and C Squadrons arriving soon after. David was with the group of around 40 who were to bring the B Squadron tanks later, but were delayed by an accident in loading, and they got to Milne Bay on 16 Sept, four days after the regiment moved on to Morobe. They were destined to spend the. next 11 frustrating months there, doing maintenance and training, finally arriving back in Sydney with the tanks on 28 August 44 after a dramatic return voyage and then a hectic drive of 26 tanks through the city at peak hour to the showground base (reported in full in a past newsletter). With other armoured regiments ready for future operations, we all wrongly thought our regiment wouldn't see action again. Believing this, David got a transfer to a Commando fighting unit of 9th Division, and ironically saw action in North Borneo alongside the 9th Armoured Regt at the same time as we were at Balikpapan with the 7th Division.

Post war David qualified as a Chartered Accountant and became a partner in the firm of Spry Walker & Co later known as. Touche Ross and Co. He retired as Senior Partner in 1983, and was then for many years Consultant to the firm, which had ultimately merged with KPMG. On"discharge in 46 he joined the newly re-formed Lancers Association, succeeding David Craven as Treasurer in 54. After 51 continuous years he was still the Treasurer when he died - maybe a record for the Guinness book. Around 1968 he arranged for a newly joined employee of Touche Ross, Margaret Reid, to assist him by writing up Lancers financial records, and she has done so in all the years since, including the last 18 in her retirement. With committee approval. Secretary Les Betts bestowed on Margaret the title of "Honorary Sergeant" and pinned three stripes on the sleeve of her dress at a family reunion. Current Lancers Secretary Brian Walters agreed to take over as Treasurer (in addition to being secretary), subsequently confirmed by committee, for which we are glad and thankful, and wish him well. For many years David was out front, alongside march leader and old mate Ted Martin at the Anzac Day March. Ted often referred to David as "Haggis". David took over as March Leader in 2005, it is doubtful if he ever missed one. He sadly lost his wife Ruth in April 2002.

At the well attended funeral service at Northern Suburbs Crematorium were WW2 veterans Ted Martin ( with Kath), Geoff Morris, John McManus, John Blackberry, and Neville Kingcott. Post war Lancers were President Len Koles, Brian Walters, John Palmer, John Howells, David Woods, Joe Tabone, David Crisp, Mark Gibson, and former 1/15 Lancers COs Frank Holles and Lee Long. Wearing black berets they followed the casket on entry to the chapel. A scout car of the Lancers Museum, with Gordon Muddle in battle dress, symbolically stood guard outside, while the service was conducted by Regimental Chaplain Don Kaus. Touche Ross and Co were represented by a group of retired partners and staff of the old firm, including David's Secretary of almost 50 years Pam Christian and Margaret Reid. Also present was Juiie Owen. MLA of Parramatta. Committee members Ron Cable and David Craven sent apologies.

Eulogies were from David's daughter Jennifer and granddaughter Claire, while his son Bruce and his wife Mary had returned from America. Lancers Association President Len Koles paid a well deserved tribute to David's war service and support to the Lancers Association through the post war years.

It was certainly a memorable and fitting farewell. David was indeed a special member of our Lancers Association. His wise counsel and loyal support over the years has been recognised and much appreciated He was well known to our wartime veterans and to many post war members as a true friend and one of natures gentlemen. He will be sadly missed.

THOMAS HAYES - known as Bobby - on 11 Nov 05, aged 86 - the same day as David Donald. Bobby joined the regiment in September 41, becoming a radio operator/loader in the CO's tank of RHQ Troop with service in New Guinea and Borneo. Incidentally, the CO did not personally command his tank. A good supportive member of our Lancers Association, Bobby regularly came to Anzac Day Marches and Reunions. He had a good sense of humour and happy disposition, and for a few years at Balmain Bowling Club he got smiles by wearing the most colourful shirt - in fact the only one. For many years he lived close to Murgy and Kitty Hobbs at Lidcombe. His wife Helen sadly died a few years ago. In recent times John Blackberry visited Bobby at his nursing home at Harris Park.

The RSL "Reveille-Last Post" issue of Nov/Dec 05 listed William John Cord NX138933 Tpr, and W C Cochrane NX138934 Tpr, both of 1st Armoured Regt AIF. Dates of deaths not known.

WILLIAM CORD - known as Jack, was probably 82. Our service records says he enlisted in 3rd Army Tank Bn in December 41 and joined us on 14th April 44. Also that he was driver/mech in C Squadron. At that time A and C Squadrons were camped at Wareo Heights in New Guinea, having completed our operations, so he apparently joined us there. It also says that he was at a course at Puckapunyal in Sept 44, and that he went to Borneo. He was on our roll as Jack Cord, which could mean he was at one or more reunions. We have not heard from him for years.

W.C. COCHRANE - with the NX number following. He was not known to us, and is not in the service records, meaning he was not at Borneo, and he was not on our roll. Possibly he was with Jack Cord, but who knows? Some members may remember either or both, and if so we will be glad to hear.

ALLAN KEITH ALDOUS - Known as Peter of Nowra. Aged 88 Peter joined the 1st/2lst Light Horse NSW Lancers in 1934 but transferred to the 7th LH Regt in l936 when the Lancers lost their horses.  He was present at Wallgrove when the great horse stampede occurred. 7 Troopers and several horses were killed

When the 7th LH was disbanded Peter transferred to an Infantry Battalion and fought in the Lae Campaigns as a Lieutenant.  He never missed a Bomaderry Reunion.

It was a Full House at Nowra's Catholic Church for Peter's service. A “Guard of Honour" between Church and Hearse included 7 ex Lighthorsemen. Absent because of ill health was George Me Millan, aged 92 who joined the lst/2lst L.H. in 1929. Terry Hennessey Reports.

HARRY BAILEY of Milton , on 31.12.05, aged 82. - A matilda tank crew member of 5 Troop, B Squadron 1st Armoured Regiment, Harry served with the unit in New Guinea (where B Squadron was not required to participate in action),  and was involved in the intense operations at the landing at Balikpapan, Borneo on 1 July 1945 and following days.

Harry was the wireless operator in a matilda commanded by Sergeant Ewart Terrey, with Frank Chong (driver) and Jack Rolfe (gunner).

On discharge in 1946 Harry worked for a short period at the munitions factory in his home town Lithgow. Deciding that a confined space was not suitable he applied for a course in carpentry and followed this occupation until retirement. Most of his working life was spent in the ACT, where he worked on many of the great buildings.

Having moved to Milton in 1985 his wife Isabel passed away ten years later. Harry is survived by sons Chris (Noosa, Qld), Allan (Brisbane.), daughters Kerry (Toowoomba, Qld), Carol (Sydney) and partner Daphne.

Affectionately called "Drover" possibly because of his drawl. Harry was a likeable and popular member of our squadron. Surprisingly since his discharge so long ago he had not met any of his comrades or had any contacts until Jack Rolfe tracked him down about 18 months back, since then our wartime friendship had been renewed by phone and mail.

Harry's partner Daphne told me that Harry wanted no fuss at his funeral (cremation) Service. She said the RSL was not being involved. The service was at Ulladula on 11 January 2006.  Reg Gunn Ex B Sqn HQ Reports.

 Australian Defence Medal Update go to top of page

New MedalTenders have been let for the production of the new Australian Defence Medal.  Click Here for details! 

The terms for award 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.

*Award for a period of less than six years may be possible under certain circumstances (as yet these circumstances are not published).

The Director Honours and Awards has advised that the Department of Defence is not calling for applications for the ADM, and will not be doing so until the Minister Assisting the Minister for Defence has made an announcement about the medal. This is unlikely to occur until after the regulations for the medal have been formally approved by the Queen.

The medal design which as shown is for tender purposes, it is not the approved medal design.

Further information about the medal will be publicised when all formal processes have been completed.

If you need any further information, please call Defence Honours and Awards 1800 111 321.

 Coming Events go to top of page

Anzac Day 2006
John Blackberry, Len Koles and Brian Walters

For WW2 Veterans, this will be the 60th time we have formed up for Anzac Day - let's make it a good day. Assemble as usual at the Corner of Pitt & Hunter Streets ready to move off at 9.30am. Please note that family members can march, but one member only per family please, they should be wearing the medals of a deceased family member (on the right breast), and be appropriately dressed, of course.

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.  Post war members can also support the WW2 Veterans by joining their contingent.  The plea is for post war members to get out there and march.

Our reunion will be at the NSW Leagues Club in Philip St, as in the past two years. It gets noisy later, but so does every other city venue including the City of Sydney RSL, NSW Bowling Club, Combined Services RSL Club, Gallipoli Club and other venues which have been checked out. The Civic Hotel where Vietnam and post-war black hats meet also gets noisy and has very limited seating - not good for older blokes. What happened to all those little comer pubs in Sydney? Oh for the Maitland and Morpeth pub!

Please indicate in the response sheet if you will be there to let us know to look out for you - do not forget a donation for the Association and/or the Museum.

Lancers Association AGM 2006

The Annual General Meeting of the Royal New South Wales Lancers’ Association will be held at Lancer Barracks, Parramatta, on Sunday, 11 March 2006 commencing at 1000 hours. At the conclusion of the meeting, the regular Committee Meeting will be held.

Reserve Forces Day 2006

The Sydney parade and others throughout Australia will take place on Sunday 2 July 2006 or the weekend before will acknowledge serving and former members from the three services. In addition the Reserve Forces Day Council and its members will be proud to acknowledge civilians from volunteer organisations who have served overseas, in many cases along side the Australian Defence Force members. These volunteers come from Non Government Organisations like Red Cross and others affiliated with Australian Council for International Development (ACFID).

The celebrations will also acknowledge the 90th Anniversary of the formation of the Military Police and the 70th Anniversary since the formation of 22 City of Sydney Squadron RAAF and 21 City of Melbourne Squadron RAAF.

We will be part of the Sydney march, assembling in College Street adjacent St Mary's Cathedral at around 11:00 on 2 July.  A reunion will take place afrterwards in the Royal Automobile Club in Macquarie Street.  A notice will be sent to post war members a few weeks before the event.  For more information visit the Reserve Forces Day web site (

90 Years Since Beersheba 2007
LTCOL Hawke - CO 12/16 HRL

It is the intent of 12/16 Hunter River Lancers to commemorate the 90th Anniversary of the Charge and Battle of Beersheba on 31 October 2007, m Armidale NSW.

The 12th Light Horse Regiment AIF, from which the 12/16 Hunter River Lancers descends and takes battle honours, played the key role in the capture of the town and its wells on 31st October 1917, thereby opening the way for British victory in Palestine during World War I. The 12th accounted for 'a large number of enemy killed or wounded' and 738 prisoners, 90 guns, three machine guns, rolling stock, vehicles and animals captured. Of 14 decorations awarded, eight were to 12th Regiment officers and men, most of whom came from the New England, Gwydir, Upper Hunter and Western Districts.

Beersheba is one of Australia's greatest victorious Battle Honours and its 90th commemoration is an occasion of significance to the nation. The focus of this commemoration in NSW fittingly, will be the home of the 12th Regiment and its heirs, the Hunter River Lancers. A Squadron of the Regiment is stationed at Armidale and that City is also home to our Memorial and Museum.

The Regiment was granted Freedom of Entry to the City of Armidale by the City Council on 23rd March 1986. The Regiment will request leave to exercise this Freedom and commemorate Beersheba with a mounted parade through the City of Armidale, Guidons flying and band playing, from 12 noon on Saturday, 3rd November 2007. 12th/16th Hunter River Lancers, vehicles will be on parade. A light horse re-enactment troop of riders would also take part as would old comrades, mounted in historic vehicles or dismounted at the viewing point will be descendants of those who took part in the charge.

Plan your visit to the celebrations now. More information will be published in later newsletters.

 Thanks go to top of page

Thanks to the following for their donations to the Lancers’ Association during 2005. Apologies in advance for any misspelt or omitted names.

Bill Armstrong, Morry Bates, Keith Bennett, Norman Bice, Brian Bourke, Jim Breakwell, Brian Algie, David Brown, Arthur Bulgin, John Burlison, Rod Button, Bert Castellari, Allen Chanter, Graham Clarke, David Craven, Buc Cullen, Jack Curran, Jack Curtayne, Trevor Darby, John Emmott, Cynthia Fitzsimmons, David Gendle, Bruce Gurton, Allan Hoad, Hec Howlett, Bob Iverach, Roy Jessup, John Kearney, Jack Lamb, Sid Lewis, Keith Linnert, Ken Lowe, Albert Martin, George McLean, Geoff Morris, Norm Pentland, Doug Pinnington, John Roseby, Arthur Standring, Bob Stenhouse, Allan Stewart, Peter Teague, Dan Tesoriero, Col Watson, Aub Wheeler, Wilma Wilson, and Phil Wright.

The total of the donations was down on last year. Once again, the donations are important as the Association has no annual subscriptions and there are on-going costs to cover items such as the newsletters, postage and the various annual awards given out to the serving members of the Regiment.

Thanks to the Following who gave donations to the Lancers Museum in the six months 1 July 2005, until 31 December 2006.  Official receipts are included with this newsletter.  Please note that the Museum is a tax exempt gift recipient; thus your donations are tax deductible.

Graham Lovegrove, Alan Howitt, Alfred (Snow) McEwan, Allan Aynsley, Arthur Standring, Bernie Kestel, Bill Balchin, Col Williamson, Dan Tesoriero, David Downes, Denis Comber, Doug Pinnington, E Wright, George Pennicook, Harry Rodd, Helen Clarke, Ian Frost, Jack Curtayne, Jack Lamb, Jack Rolfe, James Dick, Jean Macdonald, Jim Caradus, Joan McDonald, John Cook, John Creswick, John Kearney, Joy Canham, June Simpson, Keith Linnert, Les Perrett, Marcia Newton, Neville Kingcott, Norma Jamieson, Outreach Services RAHS, RG Heath, Ron Cullen, Sam Mifsud, Ted Fallowfield, Ted Martin, Vincent Strohmayer, Zena Smith,

Thank you all very much.  Without this assistance, the Museum cannot continue to preserve and display the history of the Regiment and the Corps.

 Please Help go to top of page

The Royal NSW Lancers Association and the NSW Lancers Museum operate because of your generosity.  Please take the time to download and fill-out the response sheet (no longer available) indicate if you are attending the Anzac Day reunion, and make a donation to the Association and/or Museum.  Payment can be made by credit card, single cheque or money order.  Donations to the Museum are tax deductible.  Filling in and sending the response sheet also keeps your details current in our records.

Do not forget that we have a range of memorabilia available Click Here to go to the Museum Shop.  Orders placed online or by facsimile will be in the post within 24 hours of the validation of your credit card details.

 RAACA go to top of page

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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