The Royal New South Wales Lancers

Lancers' Despatch 12

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 12 - February 2007
Tilting at the Ring

Editorial   From the Commanding Officer's Desk   Museum Matters   RAACA Dinner 2006   Defence Reserves Association Conference 2006   Balikpapan Tank Memorial   The Abrahams at Puckapunyal   Defence Reserves Association Conference   The Wet Camp   War Memorials in London   The Fovant Badges   2006 with the Royal Yeomanry   Reserve Forces Day   Departed Comrades   Coming Events   Thanks   Please Help   Affordable Regimental Ties   RAACA   Response Sheet   .pdf Version  

 Editorial go to top of page

The past six months have been very eventful. We lost a number of past comrades, in particular Major Norman Bent and Lieutenant Colonel Neil Macarthur-Onslow. We were given the opportunity to give the Centurion a run at the Menangle Steam Museum open day and put the first engine in the Staghound. The Tuesday volunteers have been doing a great job working on the exhibits.  This is the 12th edition of Lancers' Despatch, 6 years since I took over the task of an old comrades newsletter from David Craven, if the label on your envelope is not straight, my grandson is now four and likes to help. Thanks very much to the contributors  Major General Glenny, Colonel Stewart, Captain Brown, Pat Donovan, Alan Hitchell, Athol Samson, David Craven, Tracey Hatch and Don Morris.

 From the Commanding Officer's Desk go to top of page

Lieutenant Colonel Graham Stewart CO 1/15 RNSWL

Cavalry Vehicle2006 was a very busy and a significant year of change for the Regiment and the Reserve. Training was very much focused on the conversion to the new Light Cavalry role that is the primary focus for all Army Reserve Armoured Corps Units.

In July 2006 we successfully completed the M113A1 hand back and commenced receiving our new vehicle fleet. With great support from the 5th Brigade we were able to have our new vehicles in place by the year’s end thereby mitigating the gap before receiving our new fleet.

Our Operations and Training Cells have done a fantastic job in providing the highest standards in the planning, preparation and execution of our Light Cavalry training. In particular Warrant Officer Class Two Dale Wallace took the lead in ensuring our training was challenging and interesting. His passion for training excellence enabled us to ensure that we led the Corps in developing our Cavalry Scout and supporting trades.

ScoutWe also had a number of our members deployed on operations, Captain Tom Booler deployed to OP CATALYST and worked as part of the Multinational Coalition Headquarters and returned to the Regiment in July. Captain Booler was later awarded the US Army Commendation Medal for his outstanding contribution. Corporal Duggan from our Q store deployed to OP ANODE in the middle of the year and performed to the highest standards for four months in the Solomon Islands as part of RAMSI.

Each year we have members come and go, 2006 is no exception, our XO Major Andrew Kinton has left the army and has moved into the private sector – he will still be a member in the active reserve. Major Mike Kalms has moved to Victoria and has taken up the position of OPSO, 4/19 PWLH, Captain Tom Booler has moved to ATSOC, Warrant Officer Wallace has been posted back to 1 ARMD Regt as an SSM.

In 2007, Warrant Officer Class One Alby Chirichilli returns to the unit as the RSM, our new XO Major John Bennett joins us after recently returning from OP AZURE, Warrant Officer Eileen Dixon also returns to the unit as the RQMS. Our Operations Cell will see the inclusion of Warrant Officer’s Hopwood and McKie.

A Squadron has undergone a major restructure with Major Colin Shadbolt as the OC and the newly promoted Captain Mark Johnstone as the 2IC. Warrant Officer Steve Dorrington also returns to the Regiment as the SSM.

Combat Support Squadron has also undergone significant changes with Major Mike Sommer assuming command with Captain Alex Richards as his 2IC.

2007 will see the Regiment in its one hundred and twenty second year and in its second year as a Light Cavalry Regiment. Like all Army Reserve Armoured Corps Units, the Regiment has transitioned to the Light Cavalry as part of the Hardened and Networked Army concept.

This next generation of Cavalrymen will carry our proud tradition forward in the 21st century. Our new Light Cavalry Patrol Vehicles and state of the art equipment makes us one of the Army Reserves premier units; our Cavalry Scouts are the eyes and ears of the 5th Brigade.

Our new role and equipment will allow the Regiment to undertake more varied training and to operate in a much wider range of complex war fighting environments.

In 2007, we will continue to work to ensure a culture of readiness within the Regiment and it will be a very busy year for all our members. We look forward to maintaining a strong relationship with the Association.

Tenax in Fide

Just a couple of other regimental notes, this time from the desk of the Honorary Colonel Major General Warren Glenny AO, RFD, ED.

I am pleased to report that Chief of Army has written indicating approval of my term to be extended until 28th November 2008. This will see me complete some 12 years 10 months. A great honour.

Philip Bridie has been promoted Brigadier. He was with 4/19 PWLH in 1990 and at their dinner helped place my slides on, when I was promoted to Major General. He served the Lancers well as CO.

The association congratulates Major General Glenny and Brigadier Bridie. Both are staunch supporters of the Association and Museum. - Editor

 Museum Matters go to top of page

In the past six months, we have put on a number of public displays, taken serious steps in our vehicle conservation work, and re-vamp of the museum displays.

In the Museum, Ross Brown, Paul Maile and Steve Hadfield (Steve had to withdraw recently due to other Tuesday commitments) have done a great job on the Museum displays.  Note that the working day will change to Thursday from 8 February 2007.  The latest is a display covering the Regiment in World War two, with maps and photos of New Guinea and Borneo.  The display is well worth a visit.

New Museum Display

The vehicle conservation team Gordon Ayre, Terry Barnes, Diane Barnes, Terry Boardman, Dave Crisp, Damien Crisp, Jeff Darke, Steve Dieitman, Bob Gay, Harry Halloran, Tom Larkin, Bill Manyweathers, Gordon Muddle, Ron Muddle, John Pigott, Bill Prosser, Scott Rough,  Athol Sansom, Ben Samsom, Kristy Sansom, Brian Staniland, Joe Tabone, Glenn Wallis, Ray Williams are on deck working every Sunday.  They are making great progress on a number of their charges. In September the staghound also had the first of its two 6 Cylinder GMC engines fully restored and in place.

First of the two staghound engines now in place

The Museum displayed its vehicles and Bill Prosser's mobile museum collection at the all British Car show in the grounds of the Kings School Parramatta on 20 August 2006, and at the Fishers Ghost festival at Campbelltown Saturday 4 November.

Museum display at the All British Car ShowMuseum Vehicles in the Fishers Ghost parade.

The piece de resistance, was of course the ability for the Museum to give our Cenurion Tank exhibit a real showing.  The centurion is fully operational, but it is difficult to find the space to move it.  So when an invitation came for us to attend the Campbelltown Steam Museum (Menangle Park) field day on 22 October 2006, the opportunity to run the Tank was taken.  It cost a bit to get there (and our sincere thanks go to Colonel John Arnott for his financial assistance) but the result was well worth it.

The Centurion at MenangleTo see more of that happened on the day,

Click Here for the Slide Show

Click here for the video

Not to mention our Guides Ross Brown, Chris Dawson, Tony Fryer, Bob Iverach, Len Koles, Paul Maile, Joe Tabone, Brian Walters, and Charlie Zarb. You will note that some double up with two roles and serve on committee as well. Joe Tabone serves as part of the Vehicle conservation team, is a guide and the committee member we could not survive without, Treasurer.

By the way Miles Farmer ex Adjt 59-61 is over from WA and will be visiting the Museum on Tuesday 6 March 2007. Anyone interested in catching up with him might like to come along on that day.

 RAACA Dinner 2006 go to top of page

Another great corps association (NSW) dinner was held in November.  It is a great night at the RAAC Club.  This year Lieutenant Colonel Roger Noble spoke of our nations RAAC soldiers on duty overseas, and how the sacrifices of those who served before and the traditions forged serve those currently on the front Line well.

RAACA Dinner 2006 - Mick Lewins and Bill Cross

Bill's father "CROSS, Horace Sylvester" was granted an OAM in the 2007 Australia Day honours list for "For service to the veteran community through a range of ex-service organisations including the Royal Australian Armoured Corps Association and the Returned and Services League of Australia." Horrie served with the Armoured Corps (not the Regiment) in World War 2, and has been a great supporter of the Association and the Museum. Congratulations Horrie, well deserved.

 The Abrahams At Puckapunyal go to top of page

The first of the Army's new M1 Abrahams tanks have arrived at Puckapunyal. Members of the Royal Australian Armoured Corps Association who attended the Corps Conference were given a special preview earlier this year.

M1 Abrahams

 Defence Reserves Association Conference go to top of page

The Defence Reserves Association conference in 2006 was held on 26 August at Randwick Barracks.  The welcome address was made by Her Excellency Professor Marie Bashir AC Governor of New South Wales.  It was a full day with very worthwhile presentations.  John Howells attended and noted presentations from Defence concentrated on the effectiveness of the current Naval Reserve model.  This consists of former members of the permanent Navy who do courses to maintain their skill (there does not appear to be scope for advancement) and are called on to fill billets when required for ship deployments.  This is a reserve model that can have benefits in the current circumstances of semi-peace, but would probably not provide the support at all levels required for general mobilisation. Were our nation to have to engage in a war of survival, we would need to mobilise people with talent, not just those who once served in the permanent forces.  The traditional reserve forces model followed for the most part by the Army to this day allows talented individuals the dual path of a civil and a military career; if the nation had to mobilise, the Naval model would not harness the skilled managers, technicians, coders, mechanics and bushmen in society, they being untrained, would simply be sacrificed. Visit to view all of the conference speeches.

 Balikpapan Tank Memorial go to top of page

Tracey Hatch

In Issue No 1 of Lancers' Despatch issued on 1st August 2001 a report on the origin of this memorial was given with photographs. Over the past 5 years consistent efforts to mount an appropriate plaque and arrange a dedication ceremony met with difficulties at every turn until Major General David McLachlan AO President of the Victorian Branch of the Returned and Services League of Australia took on the task. An accurate plaque was cast, a tour arranged and a dedication ceremony organised at the memorial site on Pasir (Parramatta) Ridge Balikpapan. The tour departed Melbourne on 11th November 06 to Singapore overnight - to Jakarta - to Balikpapan for the dedication on the 14th November, returning to Australia on 16th November. Accommodation was at "Le Grandeur" Hotel situated about 150 metres from the sand at Klandasan and 600 metres west of Red Beach, (near the Mosque) where we landed 61 years ago. Things have changed haven't they? When we were there in 1945 the civil population was 6500 - now it is over 500,000.

Le Granduer Hotel Balikpapan

The dedication ceremony took place at the memorial at 15:00 surrounded by lovely tropical gardens in the grounds of the Chevron Indonesia Co.

Major General McLachlan chaired the ceremony and welcomed guests:-

Mr Robert Beardon, Senior Vice President, Chevron Indonesia Co.
Major General Situmeang, Local Commander.
Brigadier General Indarto, Head East Kalimantan Police.
Mr Audi Burhanuddin Solang, Chairman, House of Representatives.
Major General Mark Kelly, Land Commander, Australia.
Colonel Mike Trafford, Australian Army Attache Jakarta, representing the Australian Ambassador

Also present were -

Three Australian Warrant Officers Class 1
A platoon of Indonesian soldiers
About 40 local citizens
The Mayor of Balikpapan

Making a grand total of approx 73. Speeches were given by :-

- Tracey Hatch, Formerly 1st. Aust Armoured Regt. Workshop.
- Major General Kelly
- Mr Robert Beardon

Tank Memorial Plaque Balikpappan

The unveiling was carried out by Major General McLachlan and Tracey Hatch, followed by the Ode, Last Post, One Minute Silence and Rouse. Closing comments were by Major General McLachlan, then afternoon tea in a large marquee in the beautiful grounds in which the memorial stands. Later that day an official dinner was held at the Le Grandeur Hotel. It was a wonderful experience to be part of this ceremony. I thank major General McLachlan and his staff for all their kind help in making it possible. I was disappointed though that no other WW11 veterans attended. 17 veterans of the 2/33rd Aust. Infantry Bn. who were here with us in 1945 were here again in July 06. About 250 Australians living at Balikpapan today observe Anzac and Remembrance Day each year down near the beach and said they may come to our memorial in future. I am glad I made the effort to go. Come on Gallipoli next year?

Click Here for Tour DetailsAdvertisement

And of course if anyone is interested in visiting Gallipoli this year Military History Tours are offering a very special experience.  A tour of the Gallipoli battle sites in May 2007.  You will not he there on Anzac Day, that means no crowds and accommodation is available at a beach resort on the Peninsula just south of Anzac cove.  Your tour will be escorted by noted military historian Colonel Graham Fleeton and include a moving visit to Anzac Cove at dawn; for 13 days at $4,495 including air fares from Sydney and most meals, the experience is also affordable.

Over the years the crowds on Anzac Day at Gallipoli have increased to such an extent that to attend on that day is very onerous and tiring. The Dawn Service is still very moving but the rest of the day is not conducive for general visits to any of the sites. Military History Tours therefore believe that it is much better for you to have Anzac Day with the comrades you served with and then head off to Gallipoli for a very special historical pilgrimage.

Simply call TBS Travel 02 9319 3007 or visit

 The Wet Camp go to top of page

Don Morris

or, "Camp of continuous Raining (Training)"

One of the very last camps I attended was at Singleton, the holiday Mecca of NSW. It rained for the entire camp.

The quartermaster had failed to have us in the Tin City Area, with the wide paved streets, we were at a place called Red Hill.  It was said by one attendee to be more like Green Hollow.

Staff Sawyer was in camp, and in the first week a group of seven layabouts threatened to tie him to a tree if he did not stop doing his rain dances.  I was close by, preparing to see what a RAEME Sgt could do to help him.  No need to worry , Staff Sawyer fixed them all with a steely eye and said "If you tied me to a tree my eye brows and eye lashes would do a dance that would cover all of this area with water to a depth of six feet (1.8 metres).  The layabouts dispersed at once

Piquet Sergeant was always a fun job, I recall one dark and stormy night.  The adjutant had briefed me, "You do not need to go near the radio tent, it would be manned all night.", at the time I did not recognise how good this advice was.  About midnight I headed out on a personal inspection.  As I approached the radio tent I heard a lot of noise lots of Alphas and Bravos interspersed with hisses and zaps.  I looked inside but could not see anyone.  When I passed the tent on my way back, I found the tent still deserted; I walked in, picked up a mike and asked if I could help.  What a mistake to make, I was not thanked, everyone on the net complained about my non-existent voice  procedure.  If only I had been attentive during those boring turret-head R/T sessions at Lancer Barracks.

In the morning it transpired that an RSM from another unit had passed through our lines and been challenged by my Piquet Corporal.  The corporal had not impressed the RSM, and I was carpeted by the OC LAD.  I recall taking no further action.  I never did find out who the RSM was.

 War Memorials in London go to top of page

Captain David Brown

Australian War Memorial, Hyde Park Corner

The Australian memorial was dedicated by the Queen and the Prime Ministers of Britain and Australia in November 2003. It takes the form of a curved wall made of grey-green granite quarried in Western Australia. On it are carved 24,000 place names from which servicemen and women came who fought alongside Britain in both world wars. Letters from these make up larger names of battle honours (such as GALLIPOLI, KOKODA and EL ALAMEIN) and there is a constant flow of water over the stones. The inscription on the memorial reads 'Whatever burden you are to carry we also will shoulder that burden – Australia – United Kingdom 1914-18 1939-45'. ANZAC Day services have been held here since the memorial was unveiled. With the opening of the New Zealand Memorial (see below) annual services will probably be held at each site in alternate years.

Australian War Memorial Hyde Park

New Zealand War Memorial, Hyde Park Corner

On the north eastern side of Hyde Park Corner is the New Zealand Memorial which was dedicated on 11 November 2006 by the Queen and commemorates the bonds between New Zealand and the UK and their shared sacrifices during times of war. The memorial is designed as sixteen cross sectioned bronze standards with text, patterns and small sculptures, all set into the grassy slope.

The Queen at the opening of the NZ Memorial in London

Cavalry Memorial – Broadwalk, Hyde Park

The Cavalry Memorial was unveiled in 1924 and features a bronze figure of St George slaying the dragon. Behind the statue is a wall inscribed with the names of all of the British, Indian, Australian, Canadian, New Zealand and Pakistani Cavalry Regiments of the First World War. Around the base of the statue are depictions of Cavalrymen from each country (Australian Lighthorseman and New Zealand Mounted Rifleman for example). The inscription on the memorial reads ‘Erected by the Cavalry of the Empire in memory of comrades who gave their lives in the war 1914-1919 also in the war 1939-1945 and on active service thereafter’.

On the Sunday of the first weekend of May each year, the memorial is the focus of an annual parade called Cavalry Memorial Day or ‘CavMem’ for short. All of the Cavalry Regiments of the British Army (including as of 2007 the Royal Tank Regiment) attend, with current serving members joined by veterans and ex-serving members of the Old Comrades Associations.

Cavalry Memorial London

Royal Tank Regiment Memorial, Whitehall

Erected on the corner of Whitehall Court and Whitehall Place near the Ministry of Defence building is the RTR Memorial which was unveiled by the Queen, on 13 June 2000. It commemorates all ranks of the Machine Gun Corps, Tank Corps and Royal Tank Regiment since tanks were first used in battle in 1916.

 The Fovant Badges go to top of page

Captain David Brown

In September 2006 I travelled with my sister and her husband on a road trip to Salisbury and Fovant in Wiltshire, about a 3 hour drive from London. Fovant is famous for the badges carved out of it chalk hills which can be seen for miles around. They include Regimental and Corps badges of a number of British and Australian Army units who were based there during the First World War. The largest badge in the collection is the Australian Imperial Force ‘Rising Sun’ and the Federal Government provide ongoing funding for its upkeep. Other regiments and Corps badges include the Royal Wiltshire Yeomanry, The Devonshire Regiment, The Wiltshire Regiment and the Royal Corps of Signals. A giant map of Australia is one of the ‘unrestored’ badges, which unfortunately has been left untended due to lack of funding.

The Fovant Badges

Wiltshire, the county surrounding Fovant provided the training ground for many units and formations of the ‘New Army’, which was created after much of the majority of the Regular Army was destroyed in the first year of the war. The villages and fields around Salisbury became military camps with thousands of British, Australian and New Zealand soldiers passing through the numerous Camps in the area before they were sent off to the Western Front.

Each year on the August Bank Holiday weekend the Fovant Badges Society holds a fundraising event which is usually attended by the Australian High Commissioner, amongst other dignitaries.

 2006 with the Royal Yeomanry go to top of page

Captain David Brown

British Recon Vehicle2006 has been a relatively quiet year for me having spent most of my time as a Liaison Officer in RHQ. Despite being a ‘spare body’ with no real job I was put to some use doing projects for the CO. I managed to convince him to run some Young Officer training in the Regiment, something that has not occurred for a number of years. Many of you may be surprised by the fact that Subalterns in the TA RAC at the moment do not receive any formal training, with no such thing as a Troop Leaders Course being run! I earnestly hope that this will change in the future as young officers receive only rudimentary training at a University Officer Training Corps (OTC – similar to University Regiments in Australia) and are then expected to command a Troop on exercise.

I was also given Junior NCO Cadre to plan and conduct. ‘Cadre’, as it is know, is a unit run promotion course for potential Junior NCOs. Most TA units conduct a weekend long course, whilst Regular Army units conduct cadres of up to 3 or 4 weeks in duration. Having seen the 2005 Cadre I decided this year that we would run a longer course over two weekends, with one in the field and one in barracks.

The field weekend took place in October at Thetford in Norfolk, about a four hour drive north from London. It is quite a large training area for the UK and is often used by the Regular Army for dry and live firing. Smokers Hole Traffic Control Point (TCP), a purpose built Northern Ireland training facility capable of housing a Squadron, was used as EXCON. Having deployed on Friday night the students were formed into two Sections on Saturday morning, issued with stores and ammunition and then put through a series of three Stands. Each stand involved a different task. Stand A was a Section Attack/IED/First Aid Stand. Section B was a Section strength TCP, and Stand C was a Chemical Recce/Survey. Completing the Stands mid afternoon, the students then moved into a Troop Hide for the night phase, which involved a Night Navigation Exercise and a Troop Defence by Night. On the Sunday morning the students completed a Combat Fitness Test (10 kilometres) in 1 hr 30 minutes.

Royal Yeomanry Combat Fitness Test

The Barracks weekend was held in November at the TA Centre in Croydon, a southern suburb of London. This was due to our booking of facilities at Army Training Regiment (ATR) Pirbright falling through at a late stage. Saturday consisted of a Personal Fitness Test (almost identical to a BFA), a series of lectures on Leadership, Discipline and Welfare, followed by a series of three Stands, similar to the Field Weekend. Stand A consisted of a Vehicle Servicing, Stand B was a CTR Report stand and Stand C were Command Tasks, similar to those used in Recruit Selection. An end of course function was held on Saturday night and Sunday saw dress rehearsals for the pass off parade later in the morning. The Regimental Band attended, all Students were in Number 2 Dress (Ceremonials) and the RSM (being from the Kings Royal Hussars) was resplendent in his pink (crimson!) trousers.

Pass Off Parade Junior NCO Cadre Royal Yeomanry

I would have loved the opportunity to run a longer course but time was against us as the RY had completed their two week Annual Camp in Germany earlier in September. Despite this, the cadre was a success with 11 of the 14 students passing the course. As is customary the best student was promoted on the Pass Off parade by the CO.

The best student at the Pass Off parade

2007 is more uncertain for me as I will have to decide my future. Having been here for three years I will need to decide whether I go on the Inactive List or transfer across to the TA, a decision I am not taking lightly as I would like to return to Australia one day and continue with the Lancers.

 Reserve Forces Day go to top of page

John Howells

Reserve Forces Day has over the last few years been the major reunion for post war association members. Reserve Forces Day has no echoes of a time when only those who had served overseas could have their contribution to the nation’s security marked, and is a day when pubs and clubs are not overcrowded. The march down Macquarie Street to a reunion at the Royal Automobile Club has proved itself very popular with our members. It is particularly satisfying when members of the Regiment and Band support us. Reserve Forces Day, with its orchestrated build-up messages from the Prime Minister, prominent politicians and dash of colour participation by re-enactment groups has also contributed to reserve recruiting. Reserve Forces Day and the events surrounding it usually being the only time the reserve features in the national media. It is therefore of concern that the office of the Head of Reserve Policy has been actively opposing Reserve Forces Day. The policy document covering recognising and promoting reserve service (CDF Directive 19/2006) has been written so as to exclude assistance to celebrations in capital cites, stating that “...the DRP (Defence Reserves Programme) should only consider conducting/supporting activities in regional and local centres where the Reservists work and live, rather than central business districts of capital cities ”. Most of the population of Sydney works in the CBD, they do not live there, they will live anywhere in the metro area, or just beyond it. As reservists, they will serve at any depot location in the metro area. The most convenient place for past reservists to gather in numbers is the CBD; and a parade in the CBD will also get media attention; a parade in the suburbs will have no hope. The policy is flawed, whoever wrote it was either not thinking or maliciously chose to word it in such a fashion as to preclude support for Reserve Forces Day. At the National Reserve Forces Day Council conference in December, Group Captain Knight Deputy Head of Reserve Policy, went so far as to state “It is my personal opinion that a parade held just for reservists is seen by some as self serving. It was great to have once or twice to recognise the contribution of Reservists. But when it continues to depict mainly retired, older, unfit individuals marching ostensibly to promote Reserve service it wears thin and perpetuates the wrong perceptions in the minds of the public.” (speech transcript). Well Group Captain, unlike those killed in battle or in training, age has wearied us and the years have condemned. We with our wrinkles, and the odd limp march to say that we did serve, and we support those who currently forsake family and career in the service of their country as reservists. I might add that not everyone who marches is retired, from the Defence Forces maybe, but not from work, and certainly not from life.

Even if the Head of Reserve Policy refuses requests for support of Reserve Forces Day, there will still be a march. It is just that there will be no regimental bands, no lance guards to lead us, no guidons and no availability of Defence facilities for support of Reserve Forces Day. An example of the Defence facilities not being made available happened late last year. In 2007, Reserve Forces Day intends to celebrate 90th anniversary of the Charge at Beersheba. The Reserve Forces Day Council approached Defence to have their launch function at Lancer Barracks. The Museum was looking forward to this, the visitors would (or at least could) be generous donors. There was no reply to the request; the launch function, quite a shindig, was held at Shore school.

If you want to keep up with Reserve Forces Day developments, visit the website, I will make certain that all post war Lancers on our list receive a letter two weeks before with the exact details.

Click Here to view the Prime Minister's 2006 Community Service Announcement

Prime Minister's CSA
Premier's Speech
Prime Minister's Message
Quite incongruously, whilst the Head of Reserve Policy's office has been actively opposing Reserve Forces Day, our politicians of the major political hues show very active support.  In 2006 the Prime Minister Mr Howard recorded Television Community Services Announcements in support of the celebration, and at the 2007 parade launch the Premier of NSW Mr Iemma gave a speech in which the reasons for Reserve Forces Day, and his Government's support for the celebration were eloquently expressed.  At that same launch Senator Bronwyn Bishop delivered a message from the Prime Minister indicating continued support.  The links to the left will take you to video of the Prime Minister, the Premier's Speech and the Prime Minister's message.

 Departed Comrades go to top of page

David Craven, Reg Gunn et al

TONY ATTWOOD (also known as Noel) of Wyoming, also listed in "Reveille", date unknown. Tony was Orderly Room Corporal with A Squadron, in New Guinea and Borneo. Post War he joined the Millards Menswear store in Queen Victoria Building, along with cousin and fellow A Squadron member Geoff (Chesty) Ryan. He probably outfitted around half of A Squadron on return to civvy life. He was on our roll and received newsletters but we don't remember any contact for many recent years.

BERT BIGLAND, of Leongatha NSW, on 11.7.06, aged 84. Bert came to the Lancers in February 43, along with many others transferred from the 3rd Aust Tank Bn. Like most of them, he was posted to C Squadron, as a tank gunner/operator, where he served for the rest of the war, including in New Guinea and Borneo. He was one of a good group of ex-C Squadron members of the Wagga-Riverina area, who have kept good contact through the post war years. Another is Ted Fallowfield, who gave word of Bert's death. Bert was a very likeable bloke who will be missed by his mates-down that way.

Norman BentMAJOR NORMAN BENT MBE, of Avalon Beach, on 31st July 2006, aged 96. In recent times he was at the Peter Cosgrove care unit at RSL Village, Narrabeen. Born in England on 28th June 1910 Norman came to Australia, aged eleven months, with his mother, his father having come earlier.

Army Service

Norman had a long and noteworthy service with the Royal NSW Lancers, covering pre-war, wartime and post war periods. In a 1997 issue of the RAAC Association NSW journal "Armour" reporting Norman's resignation at age 86 as Editor of "Armour" and as NSW Secretary of RAACA NSW, Bill Gilbert outlined Norman's army service, as well as his post war related ex-service involvements and community activities.

Norman joined our 1st Light Horse Regiment (Militia) in 1928, aged 18, leaving in 1932. He re-joined in 1938, when it had become 1st Light Horse Machine Gun Regt, Royal NSW Lancers. After promotions he was commissioned in Feb or March 1940 as a Troop Leader in A Squadron. Those of us who attended the 1941 Walgrove Camp as recruits will recall him from those times. He was promoted Captain in Oct 41. After becoming 1st Aust Army Tank Bn in May 42 and becoming AIF in in Feb 43, and then supporting 9th Division in New Guinea, Norman had become 2IC of B Squadron. It remained in reserve at Buna while A and C Squadrons successfully carried out operations. The campaign at Balikpapan saw B and A Squadrons involved, with B more so, and Norman saw plenty of successful action. In Sept 45, after war's end, he was appointed OC of B Squadron when Major Ford became 2IC of the Regiment. He continued in this appointment until demob in 1946.  When the Regiment re-formedon 1st April 1948, Norman was the only one of the six wartime officers who rejoined with pre-war service in the Regiment. Promoted to Major, he became OC of A Squadron. He finally left the Lancers in 1951, so his service of 15 years in the Regiment spanned a total of 23 years, quite unique and notable. 

Post War Involvements

Royal NSW Lancer's Association

First formed soon after the Regiment started in 1885, and apparently active through the years, it had become dormant by the time we were demobilised in 1946. It was officially revived in June 46 with Sam Hordern as first President and Norman Bent as Publicity Officer. It is believed that he remained on committee continuously for around 40 years. Norman was President in 1948 and 49, and again in 1971 serving for 14 years until retiring in the Regimental Centenary year 1985, after he had led the group of 120 veterans as part of the Regiment's participation in the Freedom of Entry Parade in Sydney on 3rd March, the Regiment's anniversary. On Anzac Day of that year he arranged for the strip below-the banner telling "Now 100 years old". The strip now appears every "year with an extra year added. As far as known, Norman led our Anzac Day March party every year, with 1997 being his last. He designed our first banner in 1951, and after it was laid up, also the second and present one in 1965. He proposed and oversaw the provision of the Lancers Memorial on the Parade ground at Lancer Barracks, also in 1985. Norman achieved much in his time with the Lancers Association, mostly while President, and those noted above are just some. He was on committee of the Lancers Memorial Museum at Lancer Barracks, in the re-built old Linden House from 1963 when it was opened, and was Hon Secretary for many years, and also a weekend guide on roster for about 20 years.

Australian Armoured Corps Association (NSW)

The Association was formed on the instigation of Brigadier Denzil Macarthur Onslow in 1946. Norman was a member of State Council for 51 years, from foundation until 1997. He was President on two occasions, 1951-56 and 1973-89. He also served as State Secretary for three terms, 1956-65, 1969-73 and finally 1989-97. He was Editor of "Armour" for 43 years, from 1954 - 97. He was presented with Life Membership of the Association in 1956. He was also Vice-President of the Federal Executive and NSW Delegate, and also the RAAC Delegate to the 2nd AIF Council, becoming President in 1997. He was also 2nd AIF Council Delegate to the Australian Veterans and Defence Services Council. In 1975 he was awarded the MBE for his services to the Royal Australian Armoured Corps Association and the Royal NSW Lancers Association.

Volunteer Fire Brigade

Norman's post war community service also included 26 years as a member of the Glenhaven Volunteer Fire Brigade (Baulkham Hills Shire) from 1963-89, during which time he served as Deputy Captain and Honorary Secretary. He was awarded the National Medal with Clasp, in recognition of 25 years service. In civil life Norman was a self employed advertising agent. All in all, a truly impressive record, and one of which Norman was no doubt very proud. Members of the Associations to which he contributed so much can indeed feel grateful. The funeral was held at Parkway Funerals, Dee Why, where there was standing room only at the chapel. Colonel John Haynes OAM, President of the Royal Australian Armoured Corps Association gave the military eulogy. John served as a trooper under Norman when he was a Major in the post war regiment. There was representation from his family (wife Gwyn and daughter Rosalie) and from the Glenhaven Rural Fire Service, and the RAACA and the Lancers Association, who were represented by Terry Boardman, Chris Gardiner, John Haynes, Bernie Hill, John Howells and Neville Kingcott. Our thoughts and sympathy are extended to Gwyn and Rosalie.

K M DAVIS Also in same "Reveille" as Sergeant NX114714 1 Aust Armd Regt. We have no record of him, either on our roll or service record file so at least he wasn't with us in Borneo. Could be an error, but his NX number is like ours. Perhaps a reader may know him and might let us know.

ERIC HALE of Collaroy Plateau, with the date and his age not known. Listed in RSL "Reveille" of November/December 06, he was a former "Pommy" and known to many as "Choom". A member of A Squadron, he suffered a fractured pelvis in an accident at Singleton camp when he was caught between two Bren carriers. It is not known if he recovered sufficiently to rejoin the squadron and serve in new Guinea, and he did not go to Borneo. Eric was on our roll and received newsletters/ but it is not known if he kept contact or attended reunions.

GEORGE HORSFALL of Dee Why, on 27.9.06, aged 87. A tank crew member of B Squadron, he served in New Guinea and Borneo. We have no other information on him. He too was on our roll, but doubtful if he kept contact.

LINDSAY KING of Wahroonga, listed in "Reveille" of Sept/Oct 06, so date unknown. Lindsay was a Captain and 2 i/c of the Workshop Group of our regiment, in New Guinea and Borneo. Our history shows he was in charge of the party of three officers (Lts Carson, Sellars and Hartridge) and 117 other ranks, which handed over the tanks of A and C Squadron to 2/4th Armoured Regt at Madang in July 44, following the completion of operations in New Guinea. It also reports that in May 45 at Nerang he operated training classes in waterproofing tanks in preparation for the planned operations in Borneo. Lindsay was on our roll and kept some contact, but was more so with the mainly South Aust Workshops Group. He didn't attend our reunions.

Neil Macarthur OnslowLIEUTENANT COLONEL NEIL MACARTHUR-ONSLOW ED of Ulladulla August 2006.

Neil commanded the 1st/15th Royal New South Wales Lancers from 1 Jul 1969 till 30 June 1972.

A son of Major General Sir Denzil Macarthur-Onslow, he enlisted in the Lancers as a trooper, 6 November 1948, and rose rapidly in non-commissioned rank; lieutenant, 6 April 1951; captain, 26 November 1954; major, 1 September 1959; lieutenant colonel, 1 July 1969.

On 16 May 1955 he transferred from the Lancers to 1st Commando Company, and when that unit became 1st Infantry Battalion (Commando) he was appointed 2nd-in-command. Then, on 10 April 1962 he was seconded to Headquarters, 1st Division, moving later to 2nd Division until re-posted to the l/I5th, 1 January 1969, being supernumerary until receiving command, 1 July 1969. He had achieved the distinction of winning the Blarney Award for top student at Tac 5, the then Lieutenant Colonel and above qualification course in 1961, the presentation parade being at Victoria Barracks in April 1962. In November 1969 he was attached for two weeks to "B" Squadron, 1st Armoured Regiment, on active service in Vietnam. After his term as CO, l/I5th, he was transferred to the Reserve of Officers.

From 1992 until 2001 he was Honorary Secretary of the Royal United Service Institution of NSW.

In civil life he is a company director. Neil's funeral was held on 22 August 2006 at St Mary of the Virgin Church Waverley. It was well attended by Lancers (the CO Lieutenant Colonel Graham Stewart, and RSM Warrant Officer Dale Wallace attended in uniform) and Commandos with members of both units supplying pall bearers.

The Lancer Association received many messages of condolence.

Geoff Moran wrote: The ranks are starting to thin out. Neil was a contemporary of mine and one for whom I had a lot of respect. I am saddened at his passing.

Frank Holles: Am deeply saddened to hear of Neil’s passing, he was a true gentleman, It seems to be a year for regimental funerals .Yet again I cannot be there .(I am on circuit in Tamworth and started my third trial in seven days today ) . If able could you pass on my condolences . I can recall serving with Neil’s younger brother in SUR (some thirty six or so years ago ) but obviously never served with Neil.. One has always this image of people as being time locked at the age when one first met them, but on reflection, I realise that he should have been in his mid seventies. I hope his passing was peaceful and painless. Resquiscat in pace.

Fred Goode: Thank you for notifying me of Lt Col Macarthur - Onslow passing, I met him several times in the 1960's while serving with 2RNSWR and at two of the big exercises of that era in the Putty area.

John Plowman: I am sorry to hear of Neil's death. Like John Drolz he was a larger than life character. I was a corporal driver in Recce Troop which was commanded at one stage by Neil. We were amused by the way he used to tie his pistol to his leg, very practical of course, but looked as if he had just stepped out of a western movie. The place used to "jump" when he was around and we had a lot of fun with him and adventure. There were not many "out of the square" characters like him and the place is the poorer for his loss. Please convey my condolences to his family.

John Stenhouse: Unfortunately I will not be able to make it down to Sydney for Neil's funeral however, we do send our sincere condolences to his family and to those members of the Lancers who knew him so well.

Terry Boardman: Neil was, briefly, my first troop leader when I joined Lancers and of course I had subsequent dealings with him when he was CO. He was a gentleman and I have fond memories of him.

Peter Quilty: Neil will be in our prayers and Masses & also his family. He was a delightful man, so different from "Bikky" (Colonel Arnott); I have a great recollection of riding in the back of a Land Rover up the eastern side of Mt Pucka as Bikky Arnott drove and I looked back (at the steepness mind you !) and exclaimed "Oh, shit!" to which Neil simply replied something like "a surprising statement to come from the padre"! He was great to work with and a real gentleman. May he rest in peace.

ERIC McGUIRE of Lidcombe. Also in same "Reveille". Eric was a tank driver of 4 Troop B Squadron in New Guinea and Borneo. He was also on our roll and mailing list, but we are not aware of any post war contact. Perhaps some ex-B Squadron reader may have been in touch.  Eric's son Kerry wrote "My father, Mr Eric John McGuire received and enjoyed your publication Lancers’ Despatch for many years.  Unfortunately dad passed away in April this year."

PATRICK RAYMOND O'TOOLE of  Kingscliffe NSW on 19 December 2006 at the John Flynn Hospital, Togun Qld in the presence of his family.  Pat was a Matilda tank driver in 4 troop, B Squadron 1st Armoured Regiment (RNSWL) AIF.  He served with the unit in New Guinea 1943/44 and in action at Balikpapan, Borneo July 1945.  He is survived by his wife Betty, sons Paul, John and Frank; daughters Maureen, Catherine, Pam Judy and Trish.  Twenty five grandchildren and six great grandchildren.  Pat was a keen supporter of the Lancers Association attending the Anzac day march in Sydney, re-unions and meetings in NSW and on the Gold Coast Qld.  Despite undergoing major surgery in February 2006, accompanied by his three sons he took part in the Anzac day march two months later.  For many years the sons have marched with their father.  For two decades in retirement Pat was deeply involved with helping others through his association with the St Vincent de Paul Society, Legacy and Meals on Wheels.

RALPH PERROTT of Gosford, on 13.11.06, aged 83 Ralph was a loader operator of B Squadron, with service in New Guinea and Borneo. He was one of our group who volunteered for BCOF at war's end, and unlike others who returned, he stayed on in Japan, involved in education. When the Korean War began he again volunteered, and served as a W02, the only one from the Lancers to do so. In recent years he suffered with muscular dystrophy, and was confined to a motorised wheel chair. Living in the RSL Village at West Godford, he was in contact with some of our members who lived or visited there. He died in a nursing home at Erina, with the funeral at Palmdale, Ourimbah.

 Coming Events go to top of page

Anzac Day 2007

For WW2 Veterans, this will be the 61st time we have formed up for Anzac Day. Assemble as usual at the Corner of Pitt & Hunter Streets ready to move off at 09:30. 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 11:00 hours but the Reserve Contingent is well down the order of march and generally moves off around 11:30 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.

Given that the Anzac Day March is controlled by the NSW branch of the RSL, one of their rules is that no children are allowed to take part in the march. The two Lancer contingents will need to follow this rule.

Our reunion will be at the NSW Leagues Club in Philip St, as in the past three years. The Civic Hotel where Vietnam and post-war black hats meet is an alternative venue, but gets noisy and has very limited seating - not good for older blokes.

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 (Click Here for online submission Click Here for .pdf download to fax or post).

Lancers Association AGM 2007

The Annual General Meeting of the Royal New South Wales Lancers’ Association will be held at Lancer Barracks, Parramatta, on Sunday, 11 March 2007 commencing at 10:00 hours. At the conclusion of the meeting, the regular Committee Meeting will be held.

Reserve Forces Day 2007

The Sydney parade and others throughout Australia will take place on Sunday 1 July 2007 or the weekend before will acknowledge serving and former members from the three services.

This year celebrates the 90th anniversary of the Charge at Beersheba.  Expect a strong Light Horse and Armour focus.  In particular be aware that the Reserve Forces Day Council has included a segment on the Light Horse on their website Click Here.

We will be part of the Sydney march, assembling in College Street adjacent The Australian Museum at around 11:00 on 2 July.  A reunion will take place afterwards 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 who gave donations to the Lancers Museum in the six months 1 July 2006, until 31 December 2006.  Official receipts are with the hard copy of this Lancers' Despatch.  Please note that the Museum is a tax exempt gift recipient; thus your donations are tax deductible.

John Arnott, Allan Aynsley, Jim Caradus, Les Chipperfield, John Cook, John Creswick, Horrie Cross, Ron Cullen, Jack Curtayne, James Dick, Pat Donovan, David Downes, John Duncan, Reg Gunn, Frank (Snow) Irvine, Norma Jamieson, Jean Macdonald, Keiran Macrae, Ted Martin, Colin McDonald, Alfred (Snow) McEwan, Alex Miller, Fred Moir, Don Morris, George Pennicook, Doug Pinnington, Eddie Polley, Ron Rope, June Simpson, Arthur Standring, John Upton, Mavis Vost, Col Williamson, Wilma Wilson.

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

Thanks to the Following who gave donations to the Lancers Association in the six months 1 July 2006, until 31 December 2006.

Allan Aynsley, Bill Balchin, Jim Breakwell, Les Chipperfield, Ron Cullen, Jack Curtayne, Trevor Darby, Pat Donovan, John Duncan, Reg Gunn, John Haynes, Alan Howitt, Norma Jamieson, Ted Martin, Joan McDonald, Alfred (Snow) McEwan, Alex Miller, George Pennicook, Doug Pinnington, Ron Rope, Col Watson, Wilma Wilson.


Due to a technical hitch, a number of donors were not included in the list of donors to the Lancers Association for the period 1 January 2006, until 30 June 2006.  The following need to be added to the list:

Allan Aynsley, Norman Bice , Brian Bourke, Jim Breakwell, David Brown, Arthur Bulgin, John Burlison, Hilary Burton, Rod Button, Bert Castellari, Alan Chanter, Alan Chapman, Graham Clarke, David Craven, Jack Curran, Jack Curtayne, Trevor Darby, Jeffrey Darke, David Downes, Cynthia Fitzsimmons.

Please accept the Editor's sincere apologies for any inconvenience.

 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 (Click Here for online submission Click Here for .pdf download to fax or post) 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.

We also need volunteers, in particular tour guides.  There are working bees every Thursday (from 8 February 2007), and the second Sunday of each month.  Simply turn up, join up and you will be put to work.

 Affordable Regimental Ties go to top of page

The Museum now has regimental ties available at an affordable price, only $20. The ties are good quality and the colour match is excellent.  If you have always wanted a Regimental tie, now is your chance to get one you can afford.  Click Here to go to the Museum Shop.

Do not forget that we have a range of other 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 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)405 482 814, 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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