The Royal New South Wales Lancers

Lancers' Despatch 32

Lancers' Despatch

Bi Annual Journal of the
Royal New South Wales Lancers Association ABN 50 361 228 724
The New South Wales Lancers Memorial Museum Incorporated ABN 94 630 140 881
No 32 - February 2017

 Coming Events    The Regiment    The Museum    Our Association    The Regiment 1917   The Button Brothers  
 Land 400    New Russian Tank    Centenary of Beersheba    National Boer War Memorial  
 New 4/19 PWLH Guidon    Promote Monash    Departed Comrades   Sick Parade   Thank You  Help    RAACA NSW  
 Online Response Sheet     Download Printable Newsletter     Download 2/14LH (QMI) Newsletter   

Photos and text by the editor unless otherwise noted. Thanks very much to all contributors

 Coming Events  

Lancers' Association and Museum Annual General Meeting
Wednesday 12 April 2017 - 1930 Drill Hall, Lancer Barracks

Regimental Birthday Officers' and Senior NCOs' Dinner
Dinner postponed 'till later in the year.

Tuesday 25 April 2017 - Sydney 1000 form up [CLICK HERE] for full details as supplied by the RSL

National Boer War Memorial Dedication
Wednesday 31 May 2017 - ANZAC Parade Canberra 1100

Reserve Forces Day
Sunday 2 July 2017 - Sydney 1000 form up

 The Regiment go to top of page

Lieutenant Colonel Scott Francis, Commanding Officer

Tenax in Fide - "Steadfast in Faith" - is the official motto of the Regiment, and symbolises the unwavering loyalty to the ideals of service; however, the motto Assiduus Commute - "Constant Change" - is a more apt description of the past year.

While 2015 was a year of consolidation, 2016 has seen a substantial change in focus, which will continue into 2017 and beyond. This year started with a new Commanding Officer and Regimental 21C, and continued with a new Officer Commanding and Squadron 21C for both A and B Squadrons. It also saw the definitive separation of roles based on squadrons. Whereas previously the two squadrons met Light Cavalry and Protected Mobility Vehicle (PMV) requirements, the new structure saw A Squadron (Parramatta) take over the Light Cavalry role, with B Squadron (Canberra) concentrating on the PMV role.

Dividing the squadrons thus allowed more targeted training, which is essential with a time-constrained Reserve unit. It also meant that limited resources, including major equipment and ammunition, could be concentrated to provide better training outcomes.

PMV Bushmaster G Wagon

As a result, B Squadron concentrated on developing the protected lift capability, while A Squadron refined its Cavalry Scout skills. The highlight of this was the provision of Cavalry Scout support to 2nd/14th Light Horse (Queensland Mounted Infantry) (2/14 LH) during Exercise KOSTER RIVER 2016. 2/14 LH is a Regular Army Armoured Cavalry Regiment (ACR). [Editor's note: currently an ACR consists of: A Squadron – Armoured Lift, equipped with M113AS4 Armoured Personnel Carriers; B Squadron – Armoured Reconnaissance, equipped with ASLAV armoured cars; C Squadron – Tank, equipped with M1 Abrams.] Each ACR will have two Cavalry squadrons, to be equipped with the new Combat Reconnaissance Vehicle (CRV) being delivered under LAND 400, and one Tank squadron, equipped with the M1A1 Abrams Main Battle Tank (MBT). The decision was made late 2016 to move the APC squadrons from the ACRs to Infantry battalions, to be utilised in an Infantry Fighting Vehicle (IFV) capability.

A Vehicles

The Corps Conference in March introduced a new capability requirement for the Reserve - M113AS4 crews. The crew requirements of the ACR construct meant there was a manpower shortage in the APC squadrons, and the Reserve was seen as the force to fill it. A training continuum has been developed that incorporates driver and crew commander training, plus continuation training for crews up to Troop level. While the task was achievable, the decision by the Chief of Army later on in the year to move the APCs to the Infantry battalions made this requirement redundant. Following on from a successful trial by 4th/19th Prince of Wales' Light Horse, the Regiment stood by to provide Cavalry Scout support to 1 Aviation Regiment during Exercise HAMEL. As part of a layered approach to surveillance, the Aviation Battle Group would make use of the reconnaissance and surveillance skills of Cavalry Scouts, much in the same way the Surveillance Troop would use them. In fact, the sections had just finished work with 2/14 LH and were the ones ready to utilise those skills with the helos. The use of the Cavalry Scouts in this instance points to a possible future for Reserve units - the use of Reserve capabilities to enhance current full-time capabilities, rather than trying to replicate them. Although the task was ultimately turned off, the model has much to offer.

This future model was glimpsed with a visit to the unit by the CO and RSM of the Queens Dragoon Guards (QDG). Working closely with their allied Royal Yeomanry units, the QDG regularly sends its members to train with the RY to ensure a common baseline of skills. Acknowledging the differences in both training and equipment, the QDG has plans to deploy on operations with a squadron of RY equipped with RWMIK (Landrover) instead of the Jackals of the Regulars. The RY would be deployed to those parts of the battlefield where a greater engagement with the local population was required, as well as providing information on the "human terrain". This enables the CO to keep an eye on the more permissive areas of the battlespace; ensuring problems are identified before they require a more substantial effort.

With this in mind, the Regiment prepares to take delivery of the G-Wagon Surveillance and Reconnaissance Vehicle as a training aid for Cavalry Scouts. These vehicles will enable the Cavalry Scouts to move to locations in the field that they would normally have been positioned by the ASLAV squadrons. It also means that the Cavalry Scouts can be deployed as part of the ACR; part of the Avn BG; or as a dedicated reconnaissance and surveillance capability for the Reinforcing BG. Talk of future allocation of the Protected Mobility Vehicle – Light (PMV-L) Hawkei to Reserve RAAC units could see the possibility of Reserve RAAC units providing a similar capability to the ACR that the RY provide to the QDG.


In 2016, a few officers and I made a private visit to the Thales Bendigo factory to get a closer look at the new PMV-L (Hawkei). The photos above show one of the later prototypes (the top hatch is now round, and other smaller changes), and a photo of myself taking the keys of the vehicle from Lieutenant Alasdair Cameron, Troop Leader 3 Tp A Sqn, who is also a Project Manager with Thales, for a test drive.

As we look towards 2017 and beyond, the Regiment has been tasked with growing a third squadron by 2018 to meet the demands of the Unit Establishment Review and realignment of the Reserve RAAC units under BEERSHEBA. The new squadron will see the return of the Regiment to Holsworthy, occupying the old 2 Cav lines. The general feeling amongst the ranks is one of excitement as we go "back to the future" - and the hope that the increased attention on the Cavalry Scout capability helps to establish an enduring role within the Corps.

As the year closed we said farewell to two long serving and much appreciated soldiers. The RSM, Dale Wallace and Sergeant Peter 'Harry' Halloran both left the Army after many years dedicated service. As was his way, Dale preferred to leave without ceremony - to him, getting the job done and moving on with the next task was always foremost. An exceptional soldier, his energy and dedication will be missed, and I wish him, Linda, and the girls all the best for the future. For 'Harry', he will always be part of the Regiment, having spent just over 36 years with us. The enduring memory is one of a 'straight talker' - you always knew where you stood with Harry - who had the experience and knowledge to back himself. Heavily involved with training up to his last few times with the unit, he is another soldier who the Regiment will find hard to replace. The Sergeants' Mess put on a great function to say farewell to these two fine soldiers. They will both be sorely missed.

Dale and Harry's Farewell At Dale and Harry's Farewell

Next year we commemorate 200 years since Governor Lachlan Macquarie commissioned the building of our Regimental Home, Parramatta, now known as Lancer Barracks, and 100 years since our Regiment’s involvement in the third battle of Gaza that concluded with the charge at Beersheba.

Tenax in Fide

 Our Museum go to top of page

Photos courtesy Alan Hitchell

2016 saw a great deal of work by our Museum volunteers. The Museum building now meets statute requirements and the collection is displayed in the best way possible within the limitations dictated by space.

The Museum's Collection The Museum's Collection
The Museum's Collection The Museum's Collection

ACE is now at Matthew McMahon’s property near Oberon. There we have the space to field trial the vehicle and have access to Matthew’s workshop. There are still a few bugs in the gearbox meaning the steering has a control problem, and for some reason one of the Leyland bus engines has twice the fuel consumption of the other. We hope to have ACE back at Parramatta "in the fullness of time" as Sir Humphrey would have said. Otherwise vehicle maintenance continues unabated.

At Oberon The Museum's Vehicle Collection
The Museum's Vehicle Collection The Museum's Vehicle Collection
The Museum's Vehicle Collection The Carport Design

Our next project is to protect our valuable vehicle collection and facilitate its display by building carports to provide overhead protection. At the moment our vehicles are only protected by tarpaulins. These are difficult to place (especially when you are 70+ like most of our volunteers) and deteriorate rapidly. The idea is for the flooring to be gravel, able to soak up rain, and for there to be no gutters on the low edge, the run-off dropping to the gravel floor and gradually seeping away. The structures will be effective, tasteful but sufficiently temporary in nature to hopefully permit them to be allowed in the heritage precinct.

The CO has been approached and indicated his support, it is to be considered by a committee he has established to coordinate commemoration in 2018 of when work started on Lancer Barracks 200 years ago.

Our Museum visit numbers have been quite high, in particular group visits, we have averaged one a month, with groups averaging 20, but as high as 40.

Richard Smith, Director of the Royal Tank Museum, Bovington UK, was a very welcome visitor. He was visiting family in Epping over the Christmas period and took time out to inspect ACE at Oberon, and visit the Museum.

Plenty of work to do next year, so if you are able to become a volunteer, have the odd bequest that needs a home or even if you know of a grant we could apply for; remember us.

 Our Association go to top of page

The Regimental Association has been very active in 2016.Brian Walters our Treasurer has taken the welfare initiative to help anyone that has fallen on hard times and put their hand up. Our secretary works to communicate and keep all members aware of what is happening in the Corps and Regiment including the past-serving community (some of whom are defined by the DVA as "veterans").

The secretary represented the Lancers’ Association at the RAAC Corps Corporation AGM and Corps conference 14/15 October 2016 in Adelaide. The Honorary Colonel, Colonel Lee Long RFD also attended as an adviser. Our treasurer, Brian Walters, also treasurer of the RAACA NSW attended representing that body. No association funds were spent, a DVA grant to the RAAC Corp covered 2/3 of the travel expenses, delegates covered the rest from their own pockets.

As a prelude on the afternoon of 14 October, the AGM delegates visited 1AR at Edinburgh. 1AR is due to consolidate all squadrons at Edinburgh in 2017, at present A (lift) squadron is all that is there. The delegates were shown the new M113 in detail. It is not the machine that those who served with it from 1970 – 2005 knew. The extended body and new armour give it a weight of 20 instead of 13 tonnes, it now fords rather than swims, it has a steering wheel rather than levers. The electronics and weapon control systems, were impressive.

At the close of the day, delegates were invited to join squadron members at the Rhino Club. It was great to talk to all ranks and be infected by their enthusiasm for the work and training they are deeply involved in.

Rhino Club hospitality Rhino Club hospitality

The AGM took place at the A Sqn 3/9 LH (SAMR) depot at Smithfield. Congratulations to Noel McLachlan for an exceptionally well run meeting and Graham Brown for a great job as treasurer. Keynote speeches were by Major Greg Hooper CSM who gave a briefing on behalf of the Head of Corps, and Corps RSM Warrant Officer Class 1 Peter Swinfield. The speeches can be heard by using the controls below.

Use the controls above to access MAJ Hooper's speech

Use the controls above to access WO1 Swinfield's speech

In 2017, the RAAC Corp AGM will be held at Puckapunyal where delegates will get the chance to inspect first hand the shortlisted Land 400 vehicles, see report later in this newsletter.

After the AGM, delegates were shown the SAMR vehicles, now a collection of PMVs (Bushmasters) and G Wagens (bought for the SAS, then found not to have protection, thus given to ARES RAAC units for recon training), and had the training difficulties the squadron is experiencing explained. The vehicles were impressive, the difficulties the squadron has having in getting drivers trained, and being under the command of an infantry battalion not being allocated the training time for vehicle husbandry did not impress. These are to we who are now outsiders simple administrative matters, able to be readily solved. In the environment where it is intended for incomprehensible reasons that an Armoured sub-unit should integrated into an infantry battalion and so lose its historic identity in addition to being commanded by officers who lack the understanding of vehicle requirements and skills, have become all but insurmountable.

The Corps now has a new head, Brigadier Chris Mills, his message of introduction can be downloaded HERE.

On 6 November the Association held its annual reunion at Lancer Barracks. Once again, a great occasion well attended. Just go through the photos below and see if you can see your face. Our thanks very much to Alan Hitchell for his quality photography.

At the 2016 Regimental Reunion At the 2016 Regimental Reunion At the 2016 Regimental Reunion
At the 2016 Regimental Reunion At the 2016 Regimental Reunion At the 2016 Regimental Reunion
At the 2016 Regimental Reunion At the 2016 Regimental Reunion At the 2016 Regimental Reunion
At the 2016 Regimental Reunion At the 2016 Regimental Reunion At the 2016 Regimental Reunion
At the 2016 Regimental Reunion At the 2016 Regimental Reunion At the 2016 Regimental Reunion
At the 2016 Regimental Reunion At the 2016 Regimental Reunion At the 2016 Regimental Reunion
At the 2016 Regimental Reunion At the 2016 Regimental Reunion At the 2016 Regimental Reunion
At the 2016 Regimental Reunion At the 2016 Regimental Reunion At the 2016 Regimental Reunion
At the 2016 Regimental Reunion At the 2016 Regimental Reunion At the 2016 Regimental Reunion

Thanks also to the association for its work un ensuring funds from the Regimental Band’s major benefactor, the Castle Hill RSL Club continue to flow. The Band, now the only one left in the RAAC continues to flourish. I just wish they would play Radetzky and El Abnico a bit more often.

Thanks to all who donated to and/or volunteered to help the Association for it to keep up the good work.

 The Regiment January to June 1917 go to top of page

Map showing route of the Regiment

In the period January to June 1917, our Regimental History tells the story of the 1 LH’s part in momentous events. In the last episode (July to December 1916), the defence at Rumani had stopped Ottoman Empire forces short of their objective, the Suez Canal; the sea route to the eastern British Empire would remain open. British Empire forces then advanced. The nominal aim was to prevent German access to the oil fields of Iraq and possibly force Turkey out of the war. The British and their French allies, were also after a little more Empire.

The Turks were not going to give up without a fight, the Gallipoli veterans in the Regiment knew this well. The Regimental History tells the story of the fight at Rafa then on to Gaza. The British reached Gaza in March 1917. The garrison was not large, late in the afternoon of 26 March 1917, on the verge of capturing Gaza, the Desert Column was withdrawn due to concerns about the approaching darkness and reports of Ottoman reinforcements in the area. The decision to withdraw was not made by commanders on the ground it was made at some distance on the basis of telegraphed reports. A decision later described as having snatched defeat from the jaws of victory.

The next attempt on Gaza, in April (the second battle of Gaza) saw deployment of another technological innovation fascinating the GOC Eastern Force, General Murray and his staff way off in Cairo, tanks. The problem was that the strengths and weaknesses were not appreciated. Cambrai and Le Hamel had not yet shown how innovations in communications and weapon technology could yield results. The tanks were used sparingly and desert sand caused break downs.

Tanks at Gaza

By 17 April 1917 Gaza was defended by the strongly entrenched Ottoman Army garrison, well reinforced after the first battle. They manned the town's defences and a line of strong redoubts which extended eastwards along the road from Gaza to Beersheba. The defenders were attacked by Eastern Force's three infantry divisions, supported by two mounted divisions including the Regiment, but the strength of the defenders, their entrenchments, and supporting artillery decimated the attackers. 19 April saw the attack called off.

Picking up the narrative in the Regimental History, January 1917 found the 1st LH near the Mediterranean Sea Coast in the vicinity of el Arish.

On 7 January tents arrived from the railhead. These had their disadvantages as they were hard to conceal from the air; an enemy 'plane bombed the 2nd Light Horse Regiment, and at 2130, it being a bright moonlit night, the enemy machine-gunned the camp generally. Next day the brigade moved out north east along the coast to Sheikh Zowaiid en route to Rafa where the Turks were reported to be strongly entrenched. The regiment, advance guard for the brigade, started at 0130. On all-night marches, it was difficult to keep touch, and the guides, mostly local friendly natives, were often unreliable. At dawn the brigade deployed and helped form a cordon which completely enveloped the enemy's earth works, the New Zealand Brigade being closest to the sea, on the north. To their left and on the east of the enemy position was the 1st Australian Light Horse Brigade, with the 2nd Light Horse Regiment on the right of the 1st Light Horse Regiment. The enemy reserved his fire until the regiment got within 1 100 metres; then a sunken road was made use of and good progress was made under cover of the Ayrshire Battery's fire until 1145, when the line was held up.

Night march Turkish Machine Gunners

At 1300 the regiment pushed on to the ridge known as C3 where Major Irwin, in making a forward reconnaissance, was successful in surprising a party of Turks in a concealed trench. Though severely wounded himself, he, with the assistance of Sergeant Menzies, Corporal O'Connor, Troopers Pearce, Manning, Erickson, Ferris and Harvey of A Troop, A Squadron, secured 30 prisoners.

At 1400 the advanced troops of the regiment were shelled by guns on the right. Casualties by now were 22, with another officer, Lieutenant Hordern, wounded. By this time the New Zealand Mounted Rifles had got well into the enemy's rear at Hill 255, while the 1st Light Horse Regiment had advanced beyond the available telephone cable length, and communication was kept up by helio until 1 600 metres of wire was obtained from the brigade signal officer. More small arms ammunition was brought up at 1600, rapid fire was ordered, and the regiment charged the Turks, who surrendered trench by trench, but kept up fire on the left until dark. As reinforcements were reported on the march from Shellal and Gaza, the Turkish prisoners were hurriedly formed up and marched off. Little war material could be collected, and as soon as the dead were buried the regiment marched back to Sheikh Zowaiid. Casualties numbered 34.

El Arish was reached on 10 January, men and horses showing signs of fatigue. During the absence of the brigade (at Rafa) the enemy had bombed the camp, his airmen keeping a few bombs to drop near the Camel Corps during the battle of Rafa. Nothing more of the enemy was seen until the 14th, when the regiment stood to arms, Turkish cavalry in the waddy having been reported by an outpost. Daily visits were being made by enemy 'planes, but little damage was done by their bombs. On 19 January, 11 reinforcements and 12 remounts from Kantara were taken on strength and gift parcels from Australia were distributed among the men, who were always most grateful for what the people at home did for them.

Turkish Lancers Turkish Aircraft and Crew

Meantime the railway and pipeline were being pushed on, the regiment taking its turn at escorting the Royal Engineers survey party ahead. Good progress was being made by most of the wounded men, but unfortunately the following died of wounds: 507 Lance-Corporal WA Waller, Anzac Provost Corps, attached to 1st Light Horse Regiment, buried by Chaplain Finnigan at Sheikh Zowaiid; 2952 Trooper ET Stanton, buried by Chaplain Gordon at el Arish. Two non-commissioned officers were buried by Chaplain Clarke, 3rd Light Horse Regiment, at Rafa: 494 Corporal J Laws and 136 Lance-Corporal EA Leese.

The regiment marched out on 20 January on a road reconnaissance, and to find and develop water at el Burj. The Military Governor of el Arish came out to interview the Arab sheikhs from east of Rafa, and to explain how they would be treated if they continued to act as spies for the Turks. All this time very strict precautions were taken against interference with the Arabs' property. On the 25th Lieutenant Kater was appointed adjutant, vice Captain Weir, who resumed duty as OC B Squadron, while C Squadron under Major Smith made a special patrol to Sheikh Zowaiid and brought in four prisoners. At this time 34 reinforcements from Moascar were taken on strength, sickness having accounted for the loss of an average of one man per day.

On 29 January the regiment was relieved by the 5th Mounted Brigade and returned to el Arish, camping on the north side of the waddy. The enemy still had better aeroplanes than the British and paid daily visits, but did not always drop bombs. A fumigating engine and trucks were now made available and all ranks were glad to be ‘put through’, lice being prevalent in the winter.

Lewis Gun Hotchkiss Gun

Hotchkiss guns, one to each troop, were issued in place of the Lewis guns, of which there had been but one per squadron. As the unit was now in reserve, the opportunity was taken of sending several officers to schools of instruction. A rifle range was built and a syllabus of training carried out during the next fortnight. The regiment on 10 February moved back parallel with the coast to Bardawil, and next day to Mazar. It was travelling as a light mobile force, all heavy gear having been sent back to Bir el Abd, and its destination was Bayoud, which was reached on the 14th. Here it relieved the Staffordshire Yeomanry. One officer and 32 other ranks from the 1st Machine Gun Squadron were attached for duty. C Squadron was posted at Mageibra, and the remainder took up an outpost line to the east, sending patrols to Rubisat,

CamelsMajor Irwin re-joined on 14 February. Two days later Brigadier General Meredith, now commanding the 4th Australian Light Horse Brigade, paid Bayoud a visit, Captain Wordsworth going back with him to join his brigade. The usual patrols were carried out, a company of Imperial Camel Corps alternating with the light horse in this work. The ‘Camels’ on 20 February reported tracks of an enemy patrol at Oee Geisi, but nothing more than tracks could be found. While at Bayoud, a very severe sandstorm was experienced, the contours of the sandhills changing in a few hours. Many tents were blown down and tracks were soon obliterated.

Brigadier General John Baldwin Meredith, DSO, had joined the New South Wales Cavalry Regiment in 1889. In the South African War he served as a medical officer, and in 1905 was appointed a lieutenant in the 4th ALH Regiment (re designated 6th LH in 1912), rising to be Commanding Officer (lieutenant colonel) when war broke out in 1914. He was appointed commanding officer of the 1st LH Regiment, AIF, on 28 August 1914. From May to August 1916 he temporarily commanded the 1st LH Brigade which he led with distinction in operations at Romani. When the 4th LH Brigade was formed in February 1917 he was given command of it, but in September 1917 was invalided back to Australia. After the war he commanded the 2nd LH Brigade 1920-21, and the 2nd Cavalry Brigade 1921-23.

Lieutenant Colonel Cecil Horace Granville, DSO, who succeeded Colonel Meredith as regimental Commander, had served in the South African War as a trooper in the 1st Australian Horse. In 1904 he was commissioned in the 6th ALH Regiment and transferred in 1905 to the 4th (later 6th LH). He joined the 1st LH Regiment, AIF, on its formation in 1914, commanded the regiment, 1916-19, and temporarily commanded the 1st L.H. Brigade for short periods in 1916 and 1918.

The 1st Light Horse remained at Bayoud for a month, during which time another batch of officers was sent to Zeitoun, and a proportion of the men were granted leave to Cairo. Saddlery was cleaned, fresh remounts arrived and the unit's strength was made up by reinforcements from Moascar.

Seventy camels were taken on strength as transport animals on 13 March, and the 1st LH, less A and C Squadrons who joined the unit a day later, marched out to Ge'eila. Four days later the brigade was met at Salmana, and the whole proceeded to el Arish once more, camping this time on the beach. On 22 March Lieutenant SM Moore and his troop were detached and sent to Bardawil. While at el Arish, Hotchkiss gun firing was practised by every man in the regiment; live-bomb throwing was also taught.

Usual routine duties were carried out until 6 April, when a move was made to Khan Yunis which was occupied without opposition next day. As the sand was giving way to firmer ground, portion of the regimental transport was sent up by rail and 12 drivers, three GS wagons and 23 draught horses were taken on strength. At Khan Yunis, after an aeroplane fired on the camp, doing little damage, Hotchkiss guns were set up on sandbags for anti-aircraft work. There was more practice to speed up the men in loading the Hotchkiss guns on the pack-horses and in ‘action from pack’. On 12 April the 1st LH relieved the Worcester Yeomanry on the outpost line and remained in position for 24 hours, being then relieved by the Bucks Yeomanry.

The regiment, with the brigade, left Khan Yunis on 16 April and marched all night to Shellal, arriving at 0500 and formed the outpost line that night from Waddy Sheikh Maran via Tel el Fara to Hill Goz el Geleib. During the day, the enemy bombed the division from the air; the 1st LH had no casualties. The regiment was relieved by the 22nd Mounted Brigade at 0615 and returned to bivouac near the Waddy Ghuzze; this waddy was a string of permanently running waterholes, in places connected underground.

At 2030 on 18 April the regiment crossed the Waddy Ghuzze and joined the rest of the division for the advance on Gaza. The ensuing battle is known as the Second Battle of Gaza. With C Squadron as point, the 1st LH acted as vanguard for the Anzac Mounted Division, which deployed near Erk. The regiment's objective was the enemy position at Baiket el Sana. C Squadron under Major Smith galloped in extended order and got into position, followed by B Squadron under Major Weir, B Squadron's frontage reaching to Waddy Sheria. Both squadrons were shelled but casualties were light. Lieutenant WJM Edwards with 12 other ranks patrolled to the left but failed to reach their objective, the Gaza-Beersheba road, as they were heavily fired on from Um Adrah. One troop, led by Lieutenant WFM. Ross, was detailed to escort the guns. At 1500 the enemy commenced to move against Baiket el Sana, and their artillery fire increased in intensity and accuracy. The 2nd LH relieved B Squadron but could not relieve C Squadron owing to the enemy counter-attack. By 1700 it seemed that the attack on Gaza by the main force had failed, and it was seen that the enemy all along the line were pushing up their guns and cavalry. At 2030 the order was given to withdraw to Tel el Jemmi, a tactical landmark on Waddy Ghuzze where sufficient water had been obtained for the division.

Light Horse on outpost dutyThe regiment marched all night, neither man nor horse getting any rest until dawn. A few hours later the order to move off was given and the 1st LH, with the brigade, moved to a point one and a half kilometres north of Waddy Sheikh Nuran where it formed a splendid target for the enemy 'planes which bombed the division heavily. Many horses were lost and Lieutenant J Egan and 20 men were wounded. At night (20-21 April) the regiment was again on outpost after watering at Abu Hisia, a waterhole in Waddy Ghuzze. Men and horses were by now very much fatigued. Next day the regimental observation post reported enemy patrols and Major Irwin was sent to make an appreciation of the situation under cover of Lieutenant James' troop which got into action and drove off a squadron of the enemy. At 1710 the 1st LH were relieved by the Staffordshire Yeomanry, who carried on the entrenching of the outpost position. The unit moved back to water at Hisia and formed a camp at Abasan el Kebir, supporting the outpost line. Aircraft bombed the brigade again and the 1st LH suffered 20 casualties. Next day the regiment moved to Abu Sitta.

During all these operations, marches and counter-marches, the weather had been very hot and men and horses had suffered much from thirst. Two days were spent in recuperating; then with 20 remounts to replace killed horses the unit marched to a reserve position near Waddy Sheikh Nuran, camping that night at Shellal and forming an outpost line from the Beersheba-Shellal road to Hisia, with the 22nd Mounted Brigade on its right and a camel battalion on its left. The Bedouins were constantly moving about and there is no doubt every movement of the cavalry was known to the enemy. At 0345 the regiment stood to arms, until patrols reported ‘all clear’ and then received orders to dig in, being assisted by the 3rd LH which took over in the evening, allowing the 1st LH to withdraw to a camping area on the west bank of Ghuzze, 800 metres from Hisia. Next morning all squadrons went out on independent patrols and each drew fire, but it was information they were after so they did not become heavily engaged. The enemy now held all the high ground on the western side of the Gaza-Beersheba railway line, and had direct observation of all movements. On 29 April the regiment relieved the 2nd LH on outpost and extended the front by also taking the Imperial Camel Corps sector at Hisia crossing. A day later, with two sections of the Machine Gun Squadron, a section of the Shellal outpost line was taken over permanently, the 2nd LH being on the left and the 22nd Mounted Brigade on the right. A lot of heavy digging was done by the men along this line; some 3,000 metres of barbed wire entanglements were erected in front of 1,015 metres of fire trench and 865 metres of communication trench; also 11 machine gun and 20 Hotchkiss gun emplacements were dug in suitable positions. Enemy aircraft, which at this time were very daring, were reconnoitring the work almost daily, and on 11 May an enemy 'plane shot down a British 'plane 800 metres in front of C Squadron lines. Two troops of C rushed out and brought fire to bear on the Taube, forcing it to rise and saving the British machine from further damage. Shellal Mosaic At Shellal it was found that the Turks had commenced excavating a mosaic floor, attributed to a Christian church built about 250 CE. Under the superintendence of Lieutenant Colonel Maitland Woods, Church of England padre, this floor was carefully raised and deposited at the Cairo Museum until such time as it could be shipped to Australia, where it was eventually housed in the Australian War Memorial.

Septic sores were now bad among the men and a rest camp was kept going at Khan Yunis near the beach to afford a change of conditions. The dust was a great nuisance, clouds of it arising and obliterating everything when the cavalry moved or went up to water. On 17 May the 74th Division took over the line held by the regiment, improving the defences by digging fresh trenches and erecting more wire. The regiment moved back to camp on the west bank of Waddy Ghuzze near Abu Hisia crossing, whence daily reconnaissances were made by squadrons, including A to Abu Siwash and Waddy Imleih, B to Goz el Geleib, C to Goz Mahruk and Bir el Elawi. On 22 May a reconnaissance in force was made by the brigade to Asluj with the object of blowing up the railway line from Beersheba to Auja built by the Germans and Turks as a military railway line to the south. The regiment, advance guard to the brigade, started at 1745 and marched via Esani and Khalasa on a compass bearing to Asluj. From Khalasa the 1st LH formed the left flank guard; A Squadron provided the flank party and was fired on by a party of mounted men who retired when the fire was returned. Asluj was reached at 0620 but excepting bands of well-armed Bedouins on camels, no enemy were seen; the railway station and buildings had been evacuated by the Turks. No time was lost in blowing up an 18-arch bridge and four kilometres of railway line, the demolition party being under the supervision of the Royal Engineers. The covering party was supplied by the 1st LH, who cut the telegraph lines and held an outpost line about six and a half kilometres past Asluj. Laying Demolitions On the return journey orders were given to burn all stacks of grain and crops, but the latter were so thin that the fires soon died down, and not much damage to the standing crop was done though many tons of hay were burned.

The regiment returned to Hisia but did not have more than 24 hours' rest, as it was ordered to move out at 0500 on 26 May for el Nagili to cover a personal reconnaissance by the GOC Eastern Force (Chetwode) and commander of the Desert Column (Chauvel). Several hundred enemy cavalry and camelry were seen just south of Erk, but these retired towards el Sana on the approach of the regiment. At midday, the latter withdrew, leaving Lieutenant Moore with two troops of A Squadron to patrol to Sausage Ridge.

On 28 May the 1st LH moved to Kazar and set-up a new camp, carrying out the usual routine for the next three weeks. The Mark III rifles were exchanged for Mark IVs, and all Mark VI small arms ammunition was handed in in exchange for Mark VII, which has a higher velocity. Gas demonstrations were carried out and every man was sent through a chamber filled with poisonous gas; a rifle range was built and Hotchkiss gun and live-bomb throwing classes were held. Behind the lines a regiment gets little rest.

Major DWA Smith left on 3 June, invalided to Australia. Captain Harris being promoted to major and to command C Squadron. On 9 June a field day was held and the 1st LH was inspected by the French General Bailloud, who decorated Major Irwin with the Croix de Guerre won at Rafa. Next day Major Wells, RMO, was evacuated sick and Captain CS Molesworth took up duty in his place. General Allenby took over command of the Eastern Force on 28 June, and great preparations were made for another attack on Gaza. The railway line was thrown out from Rafa to Shellal, more guns came along and more British aeroplanes were seen. Huge dumps of ammunition, forage and stores grew daily larger. As for the regiment, training in all branches was carried out and the men were kept fit by frequent marches to the beach. Later, the whole brigade moved to Marakeb, close to the Mediterranean, and as the heat was intense the sea bathing was very welcome to all ranks. While at Marakeb 51 cases of comforts were distributed and an issue of beer (on payment) arranged for; some of the beer came from Japan.

On June 22 Lieutenant Colonel Granville went to hospital and Major Irwin took command of the regiment. The training regiment at Moascar was at this time in the charge of Major Lawry and the cadre was changed every three months.

On 29 June the regiment marched out to Fukhari, all spare gear and blankets being left in a dump at Khan Yunis. Every man now had a canvas bivvy sheet in addition to his waterproof ground sheet, so with a mate quite good bivvies were built for two. At Fukhari grazing was good enough to send the horses out daily, and they improved in condition; at the beach it had always been hard to keep the muzzles on the horses to prevent them from eating sand. On 3 July the 1st LH took over the strong posts at Gamli on the right flank of the British line, and from here a reconnaissance in force was made. Leaving Gamli at 0045 the regiment marched with the brigade to Imleih where the engineer survey party took forward observations. On withdrawing, a barrage of heavy shell fire was passed through, and enemy cavalry were seen to be advancing. A Squadron was detailed as escort to the guns, and two troops of C Squadron as right flank guard to the rearguard, which held the enemy in check. Gamli was reached at 2130 and camp two hours later, after watering the horses. Watering horses was always a long business here, and after a big day it meant another two or three hours before the horses were unsaddled.

The Turkish cavalry, seen on every reconnaissance, never showed fight, although many efforts were made to get at close quarters with them. They were armed with carbines, lances and swords, and rode small Arab ponies.

When the regiment was not on patrol it was carrying out entrenching work at Garbi under the command of the 3rd LH; a detached troop under Lieutenant Gray was on duty at divisional headquarters.

To be continued – in October/November 1917 – Gaza is finally take via a somewhat famous attack at Beersheba.

Regimental History (PV Vernon (Editor) The Royal New South Wales Lancers 1895-1985) Conversion to the Metric System, and additional notes by the Editor, Lancers’ Despatch. The Australian Light Horse by Roland Perry, 2009 used as a reference for the additional notes. Photos and Maps from the Museum collection and Google Maps (where noted) stills from the Lighthorsemen 1987.

 The Button Brothers go to top of page

In the August 2016 edition of Lancers’ Despatch, we noted the passing of NX212741 Rodney Rudolph Button. Rod’s daughter, Cheryl Kennedy, tells the story of Rod and his three brothers who all served in the regiment in World War 2.

The Button boys, left to right, Arthur, Mervyn, Easter, Rodney.

"Born in May, 1924 in Singleton, a small rural town in the Hunter Valley, NSW, Dad was the youngest of five children, having three older brothers and a sister. Dad's father was a saddler and, like so many kids of that era, Dad grew up in a family where he was much loved but which experienced financially tough times.

He began swimming at age six, and as he got older he ‘trained’ alongside his best friend who suffered from asthma and swam to help with the condition. Both young boys became very proficient swimmers over time. Dad won his first championship event at age eleven. By age sixteen, Dad was hailed as ‘The Sensation of the 1940-41 Swimming Season’ holding eleven swimming titles, being State Champion as well as holding Country and Northern District Titles.

Rod, aged 16, at a State championship meeting where he won six titles, 110 (100 m), 220 (200 m), 440 (400 m) yards, (intermediate and senior).

After leaving school, Dad worked as a grocer's assistant. When his three older brothers enlisted in the army, Dad wasn't about to be left behind, so he ‘adjusted’ his year of birth by 12 months, enabling him to join up in July, 1942. He served as a trooper in C Squadron, 1st Australian Armoured Regiment.

This is the family record of service: All were militia men serving with the 1st Machine Gun Regiment (RNSWL) who transferred to the second AIF with the unit when it became the1st Australian Tank Battalion and went with it to New Guinea. They were Easter Auburn (b. 31 March 1907), Arthur Arlington (b.8 March, 1918), Mervyn Manfred (b.13 October 1919) and Rod whose year of birth is shown on the nominal roll as 1923. All served in New Guinea. Easter was discharged in November, 1944, and Arthur (a sergeant) was discharged in September, 1944. Mervyn, a corporal, and Rod went on to serve in Borneo.

When the Regiment returned to Australia from New Guinea, Dad was one of the many stationed around the Gold Coast region in Queensland. He put his swimming prowess to good use by teaching many ‘non-swimmer’ soldiers to swim.

After his discharge in June, 1946, Dad returned to his home town of Singleton. In 1948 he married Catherine (Kit) and a little over a year after, had one daughter. They were married until Catherine passed away in 2007. Easter and Arthur were partners in a dry cleaning business in Nowra until retirement. Mervyn retired as a coal miner in Muswellbrook.

For many years Dad bred, trained and raced trotting horses in partnership with one of his brothers-in-law. However, this passionate hobby came to an abrupt end when he was thrown from his gig onto the racetrack during a harness racing accident in Sydney. He sustained multiple fractures as a result of this fall.

Dad resumed his swimming, doing up to one and a half kilometres daily in his training sessions and represented the Newcastle Diggers at many competitive swimming events. After retiring from his radiator repair business in Singleton, Dad continued with his daily swim routine as he found it an enjoyable form of exercise.

Anzac Day was a special event in Dad's year and not to be missed. He met up with his ex-army mates at the designated assembly point and from there would march proudly behind the Regimental Banner.

Following the march and Remembrance Service came lunch, a great many conversations to ‘catch up’ and reminisce with good mates before the time came to depart each other's company and hope to repeat the experience again the following year.

In March, 2015 Dad was diagnosed with having cancer and he passed away in March, 2016.

He is greatly missed by the remaining members of his family."

Our thanks to Bert Castellari for the article.

 Land 400 go to top of page

Land 400 is one of a number of projects seeking to upgrade the Army’s stable of Armoured Fighting and Protected Mobility Vehicles. The other projects are Land 907, upgrade of the Army’s M1 Abrams MBTs; Land 860, Armoured Engineering Vehicles, obtaining vehicles with bridging mine clearance etc capability; Land 116, upgrade of the Bushmaster fleet; and Land 121, provision of a fleet of 1 100 Hawkeye PMV-L vehicles.

Land 400 interests us as it is about replacing the current fleet of ASLAV Cavalry Reconnaissance Vehicles with 250 new ones and introducing a fleet of 450 Infantry Fighting Vehicles.

Cavalry Reconnaissance Vehicles

The Cavalry Reconnaissance Vehicle (CRV) tender process has produced a shortlist of two the Boxer CRV from Rheinmetall Landsystme and the AMV35 from BAE Systems. Manufacturer’s websites yield the following information about the vehicles. Each vehicle is reported to provide accommodation for 4 cavalry scouts. The project is tasked to deliver the 250 vehicles with initial operational capability in 2022 and final operational capability in 2024. Both suppliers have agreed to build the vehicles in Australia.

The Boxer

Rheinmetall BoxerThe Boxer is an eight-wheeled multirole vehicle, it has a combat weight of 36.5 tonn (heavy when you think a Leopard was only 42 tonn).

Most Boxers are equipped with a remote weapon station for self-defence. The vehicles are currently in service with the German and some other armies, German vehicles have a turret, which can be fitted with either a 7.62 mm MG3 machine gun, a 12.7 mm M3M HMG or a 40 mm GMW automatic grenade launcher. The turret system has dual-axis stabilisation and incorporates a laser rangefinder and a thermal imager. The Australian version may have a 35 mm cannon.

The Boxer is constructed from rolled steel plates. On top of the steel, composite armour is fitted with shock-proof mounting bolts. At some places on the turret and hull, the armour is fitted in a spaced armour configuration. The armour consists of ceramic tiles, composite materials and different types of metal alloys. The Boxer's armour is all-round resistant to 14.5 mm armour-piercing ammunition. The frontal arc of the vehicle has increased armour protection against medium calibre ammunition. The roof armour of the Boxer is designed to withstand artillery fragments and bomblets.

To increase the survivability in case of armour penetration, the crew compartment is completely covered a spall liner. The spall liner stops most of the fragments of the armour and projectile. The Boxer's design has improved acoustic stealth and reduced thermal and radar signature.

The Boxer is protected against anti-vehicle mines and large improvised explosive devices (IEDs) with heavy blast even at short distances. The floor of the Boxer is multi-layered. The seats in the Boxer are decoupled from the floor, which prevents the shock of a mine-detonation to be directly directed onto the crew. Provisions to mount additional passive or reactive armour have been incorporated into the Boxer's design. The design of the Boxer allows also to integrate an active protection system.

The AMV35

AMV35The AMV35 will be fitted with BAE Systems-Hägglunds’ E35 turret a two-man turret armed with a 35mm dual-feed automatic cannon Bushmaster III which has a rate of fire 150 - 200 rds/min. The CV9035 has 2 belts of 35 rounds each loaded in the main gun. A total of 140 further rounds can be stored inside the AMV 35 CRV. A 7.62mm coaxial machine is mounted to the left side of the main armament. The turret also carries six 76-mm grenade launchers, which are arranged in two clusters of three launchers mounted on each side of the turret. The grenade launchers are intended for smoke grenades, but can also be loaded with a variety of combat grenades. The turret can traverse 360° with an elevation from -8° to +37°.

The AMV35 is based on the chassis of the AMV Patria which has been developed by Patria Vehicles in close co-operation with the Finnish Defence Force. The hull of the AMV is of all-welded steel construction that provides the occupants with protection from small arms fire and shell splinters. To this, an additional layer of passive armour can be added to provide a higher level of protection. The AMV35 has the power pack front right, driver front left, the turret is in the middle and the troops compartment at the rear. The turret is a welded steel construction which is fitted with additional modules of composite armour and a SAAB Universal Tank and Anti-Aircraft Sight fire control system.

The AMV35 features full 8 × 8 drive with power steering on the front four wheels. Suspension is of the hydro-pneumatic type with height adjustment being an option. Steering is power-assisted on the front two wheels. The standard AMV35 has a dual power DI 12 Scania diesel engine produces 360kW and 1,974Nm torque coupled to a ZF Ecomat 7HP902 automatic transmission with 7 forward, 1 reverse gears, the Australian version may have a different power plant with similar characteristics. The vehicle can run at a maximum road speed of 100 km/h with a maximum cruising range of 800 km. The vehicle can negotiate gradients up to 60%, side slope of 30% fording depth of 1.5m without preparation. It can cross a trench of 2 m width and a vertical obstacle of 0.7m.

The E35 turret is fitted with a computerised fire control solution, new programmable ammunition, a commander's independent sight achieving hunter-killer capability, higher protection against top-attack munitions and mines through a new armour package, and a defensive aids suite with laser warning receivers and smoke launchers. Standard equipment on the AMV35 includes a fire detection and suppression system, NBC system, air conditioning system, central tyre inflation system, radios, intercom and night vision equipment.

Infantry Fighting Vehicles

The Infantry Fighting Vehicle (IFV) part of the Land 400 Project is at present only in the Request for Information phase. It is tasked to deliver 450 vehicles with an initial operational capability in 2024-2025, final operational capability before 2030. It is proposed that each of the vehicles will have a turret shared with the chosen CRV, and have accommodation on-board for at least 8 infantrymen.

It is understood that these new vehicles will replace the M113s, and require dedicated crews including dismounts. Meaning deployment as a mechanised infantry formation. The Armoured Cavalry Regiments would either lose their lift squadrons to a mechanised infantry battalion (possibly gaining another cavalry squadron) [current proposal as at end 2016], or gain and specially train the infantrymen for deployment in an IFV squadron (following the 1936 Machine Gun Regiment model developed when the Light Horse were 'mechanised').

Land 400 also includes delivery of 17 Manoeuvre Support Vehicles (sort of a combination ARVL and APCF in ancient parlance) before 2027.

Defence Technology Review September 2016
Rheinmetall and BAE Systems websites

 The New Russian Tank go to top of page

In the late 1930s and early 1940s the Soviet Union developed a revolutionary tank. It brought together the characteristics of their T-26 infantry tank, similar to our Matilda, and their BT series, a light tank with characteristics similar to an early Brit cruiser tank. The result was a tank German panzer formation commander General von Kleist called "the finest tank in the world". Revolutionary in design with an overhanging main armament (76 mm), sloped armour and a low silhouette, when encountered in Operation Barbarossa, 1941, it sent tank designers in Germany back to the drawing board. It would seem the technical innovation that gave birth to the T-34 is still alive and well in Russia.

Russian Armata MBT Russian Armata MBT
Russian Armata MBT Russian Armata MBT
Russian Armata MBT Russian Armata MBT

The Armata is a new Russian main battle tank project. It is also referred as the T-14. Its development commenced in 2011. The Armata was developed as a replacement to the cancelled T-95. The whole project was kept in high secrecy. First mock-up was revealed to Russian military officials in 2013. Trials commenced in 2014. The new MBT was first publicly revealed in 2015. A first batch of 12 to 32 pre-production tanks was delivered to the Russian Army in 2015. However soon after the 2015 Victory Day Parade these pre-production tanks returned to the manufacturer for improvements and further testing. Russian Army trials began in 2016. Full-scale production is expected to begin in 2017-2018. It is planned that Armata will replace the ageing T-72, T-80 and eventually T-90 tanks now becoming out-dated.

The Armata is a new-generation tank, a clean sheet design with a number of advanced features. It has little in common with the current T-90 and other older Soviet tanks. It is the first Russian truly new production tank since the T-72, adopted back in 1973. Design of the Armata focuses on heavier armour and crew survivability. Exact technical specifications of the new Armata MBT are not known.

The new tank is much bigger, than the T-90; nearly as large as the German Leopard 2A7.

The Armata tank is operated by a crew of 3, commander, gunner and driver. All crew members are seated in a well protected armoured cell. It is separated from automatic loader and ammunition. The tank has improved resistance to damage. It can operate even with penetrated armour, as long as the crew cell is intact. It is the first production MBT with such crew layout.

Inside the Russian Armata MBT Inside the Russian Armata MBT

The crew of 3 is in line with new Russian AFV policy; that vehicles should be operated by smaller crews in order to reduce dimensions and weight and improve crew protection. Armata lacks a loader, as the gun is loaded by an autoloader. It is worth noting that most Western MBTs including our M1 Abrams have a crew of 4.

The Armata is one of the most protected MBTs in the world. It has newly-developed base armour, made of steel, ceramics and composite materials. Armata has a new Malakhit add-on explosive reactive armour that is claimed to be of new generation. As usual this MBT is fitted with NBC protection and automatic fire suppression systems. It has been reported that Armata will be fitted with new Afganit active protection system. It also has a new countermeasures system that reduces the chance of being hit by enemy ATGW with semi-automatic guidance. This new Russian tank uses smoke grenade dischargers of a new type.

The Armata is also a world's first production MBT with completely unmanned turret. It is armed with a 2A82 125-mm smoothbore gun. This new gun has improved ballistics comparing with the 2A46M gun of the T-90 MBT. The gun is completed with an autoloader. This tank is capable of firing gun-launched anti-tank guided missiles in the same manner as ordinary rounds. These missiles have a range of about 5 km and can also target low-flying helicopters.

There is also a remotely-controlled weapon station, armed with a 7.62 mm machine gun. This weapon station also includes a commander's independent sight that gives the tank a hunter-killer capability.

AK 12 Individual WeaponThe Armata MBT is fitted with new fire control system. It is also equipped with a battlefield management system. Commander's and gunner's workstations are identical.

It has been reported that this new main battle tank is powered by an A-82-2 turbocharged diesel engine, developing 900 kw. It is a new-generation engine that is much more compact than previous Russian tank engines. Engine is located at the rear. The Armata tank has 7 roadwheels. It also has a built-in self-entrenching blade and can briefly prepare itself a firing position.

From the earliest stages the Armata was designed to be a versatile platform for a whole host of armoured vehicles. A number of specialised vehicles, such as self-propelled artillery system, heavy IFV, armoured recovery vehicle, heavy flamethrower system, engineering vehicle, self-propelled air-defence vehicle and other support machines are planned to be based on this platform.

The Russians have also been upgrading their individual weapons (IW), having designed an AK12 to replace the AK47. It uses small calibre high velocity ammunition with characteristics similar to that used by the Australian Styr, an advanced sighting system, folding stock and has a number of other advanced features.


 The Centenary of Beersheba go to top of page

Military History ToursLooking forward, October 2017 sees the centenary of the third battle for Gaza; an operation where victory was snatched from stalemate by the dismount on objective attack by the 4 LH Bde at Beersheba in the dying light of 31st.

On that day, the Regiment was in support, the rest of the 1 LH Bde (2 and 3 LHRs) spent the day with the NZMR securing Tel El Saba the main Ottoman defensive position on the east side of Beersheba. To quote the Regimental History: "At 1030 on 31 October. the regiment was detailed to take up a position on the left flank of the Inverness Battery, which had come into position two kilometres south-east of Saba. The advanced troops were heavily shelled, and all led horses had to be taken back some distance to the broken ground. Lieutenant Wright, with two sections, carried out a very daring reconnaissance of the enemy's position in Waddy Saba, bringing back much valuable information. The New Zealand Mounted Rifles materially assisted the attack by a flanking movement from the north, and Tel el Saba was occupied at 1500." The anticipated Turkish counter attack failed to materialise, the lightning attack by the 4LH Bde disorganised and demoralised the enemy.

The Regiment supported by the Association and Museum will commemorate this victory on the road to Jerusalem in a manner yet to be determined. Parramatta Council has already asked for a parade. If you want to be where the action took place, the Editor Lancers’ Despatch will be taking a tour to Israel and the Mayor of Beersheba has asked for our Band to be part of the official commemoration (Band members would like to be there, however, the Army is yet to agree – the Association has offers of sponsorship, that cannot be formalised without Army Agreement). If you would like to be part of the tour, CLICK HERE.

 National Boer War Memorial go to top of page

Photos courtesy Louis Laumen

We are pleased to note that the National Boer War memorial will be dedicated in ANZAC Parade Canberra on Wednesday 31 May 2017 (note this date may move to the nearest weekend).

Putting together the funding (some $4M), obtaining a site, running a design competition, organising for the four 1.5 size horsemen in bronze has been quite an undertaking. Colonel John Haynes OAM and his team of volunteers across Australia deserve commendation for a great effort. The photos below show the final horseman modelled in clay prior to casting in bronze; you can see the detail and marvel at the accurate depiction of an Australian horseman on the veldt 115 years ago.

the Last Horseman the Last Horseman

The ceremony will be very moving. Light Horse re-enactors will take part and the Lancers Association has suggested a guard by B Squadron 1/15 RNSWL supported by the Regimental Band. The Museum has offered a King’s Banner of the type awarded to Australian units who participated in the conflict for display as part of the ceremony (it cannot be ‘paraded’ that is against the rules for retired guidons banners and standards). It remains to be seen if the suggestion and offer are taken up.

The ceremony is planned to commence at 1100. The dedication will be by a prominent Australian.

Having been to the memorial dedication in 2017, you will certainly want to be at Melrose House in Pretoria where on 31 May 1902 the treaty that ended the second Anglo-Boer War was signed 116 years after the event CLICK HERE for tour detail.

 New 4/19 PWLH Guidon go to top of page

On 26 November 2016 at Puckapunyal 4/19 Prince of Wales’ Light Horse was presented with a new Guidon. The new single Guidon brings together the battle honours and traditions of the Victorian Mounted Rifles in the Boer War, the 4th 8th and 13th Light Horse Regiments in World War 1, 2/4 Armoured Regiment in World War 2 and A Squadron 4/19 PWLH in Vietnam. Today the Regiment as with other Army Reserve RAAC units is equipped with the G-Wagen and PMV Bushmaster. The illustration below shows a 4/19 G-Wagen on exercise, and the video shows the Guidon presentation.

 Promote Monash Campaign go to top of page

Monash for Field MarshalOur colleague John Moore (Lieutenant Colonel John Moore AM RFD ED Ret’d) who is responsible for organising Reserve Forces Day across Australia in July each year has joined the past Deputy Prime Minister The Hon Tim Fischer AC in his campaign to have General Monash promoted posthumously to Field Marshal. Monash was an Australian, born here. The son of parents who fled persecution and found in our nation an environment where their family could thrive; a story reflected in many of our family trees. There is good justification for the promotion Monash is recognised on all sides as the most innovative and successful General in World War 1. In the latter part of the war he showed the world how to deploy and coordinate Armoured and Air forces. He also developed the tactics for operation of his Light Horse Regiment, the 13th, in the way we use the SAS today. A true democrat, when offered the post of Führer by the Australian Fascist organisations (New Guard etc) in the Great Depression, he refused.

With dynastic change in the wind, we might also need an Australian head for our coins, who better than our greatest soldier. What’s more as he is no longer physically with us, he is exempt from further scandal.

CLICK HERE for more information on the campaign to promote General Monash.

 Departed Comrades go to top of page

RAYMOND HOOD Lieutenant Colonel Raymond William Hood ED 2149187 passed away on the 26 August 2014

Ray HoodThe funeral was held on 3 September 2014 at Macquarie Park Crematorium and the Lancers were represented by John Arnott and Graham Hodge.

Ray joined 1 Air Liaison Group on the 19 October 1949. He joined the Regiment around 1952/3.Was commissioned in 1956. Promoted to Captain in 1960. Posted OC B Squadron 1962. Promoted to Major and OC HQ Sqn in 1965. Awarded the ED on 28 July 1966. Did a short stint in South Vietnam as an observer in February 1967 attached to A squadron, 3 Cavalry Regiment. The photo of Ray was taken at Nui Dat. He was then posted to 5 Task Force HQ. Promoted 1 July 1972 to Lieutenant Colonel. His last posting was at HQ Comm Z before transferring to the Reserve List of Officers in 1973.

In civilian life he worked in advertising, many years at radio station 2KY as advertising manager then as station manager.

Ray’s son Andrew recalls fun times as a child visiting Lancer Barracks visiting the museum and playing on the old tanks that were there on static display. He even got a ride on a Centurion once. Also, many family friends were from the Lancers, the names Kirkpatrick, Roberts, Arnott and Drolz come to Andrew's mind, as well as David Laurence (or Lawrence) who was adjutant in the 1960's and John Dart from RNSWR. (Our thanks to Andrew Hood for this information.)

Mick LewinsMICHAEL LEWINS Aged 78 of Austinmer. Major Michael Lewins RFD served with distinction in 12/16 HRL, 1/15 RNSWL, 2IC UNSWR and in other postings. When he retired, his service did not end, he volunteered for the Lancers’ Museum, Parramatta, serving as President of the Museum’s committee of management in the 1990’s and on the committee of the Royal Australian Armoured Corps Association NSW Branch. In civil life Mick worked for the Commonwealth Bank; he was branch manager at Kingsgrove where he set up the Lancers’ Museum's bank accounts, they are still active.

Mick passed away Wednesday 14 December 2016 after a long illness.

His funeral was held at St Michael's Thirroul, Thursday 22 December 2016, followed by drinks and finger food at Thirroul Bowling Club. Association President Len Koles, Bryan Algie, Jim Gellett, Mark Gibson, Brian Walters and a number of other Lancers were at the funeral. Mike Butler representing the RAACA NSW and Michael Hough who served with him in UNSWR were also there.

Colin Baker, Phillip Bridie, Alan Chanter, Christopher Dawson, Rod Dixon, Tony Fryer, Warren Glenny, Frank Hollis, John Howells, David Huthnance, Chris Lawley, Lee Long, John McPhee, Terry Moore, and Barrie Rafter expressed condolences and indicated they could not attend.

Michael's wife Liz sent this meaasge: "I would appreciate it if you could pass on my sincere thanks to those who attended Mike’s funeral, and my apologies for not getting to chat with each of them. I was rather dazed and by the time I gathered my thoughts, I had missed a number of people. With thanks."

MICHAEL MARTIRE NX140880 Aged 93 (Reveille Last Post November-December 2016) Mick is shown in the army nominal roll as Michele Martire born in Molfetta, Italy. He joined the 1 MG Regt (RNSWL) in 1941 serving with the Regiment in New Guinea and Borneo. He was discharged in 1946. He was not an active member of the Association, Bert Castellari last remembers him at Dungog Showground. (Bert Castellari.)

EDWARD WATERHOUSE of Adelaide Aged 88.

On 19 December 2016, Ern Dennett tried to phone Ted Waterhouse. Ern always gave Ted a ring in the week leading-up to Christmas and again on his birthday in early February.

Unfortunately, he was informed that Ted had passed away in October. Ted had suffered a stroke at his home in the Adelaide suburb of Morphett Vale almost a year before. He had lived alone since his wife Marion was killed in a motor vehicle accident, some 20 plus years ago. Because of the stroke Ted had to be institutionalised at North Plympton SA.

Ern remembers that Ted was serving in the Unit before he joined in 1957. He was always employed in the Quartermaster’s Stores, throughout. Ern dosen’t recall Ted ever being below the rank of Sergeant. The Quartermaster in those days was Captain Cardy, followed by others such as Captain Harry Christensen etc. It was Ted who issued you your kit from the clothing store, weapons from the armoury, your vehicle’s ‘tote’ from the tech store, fuel, ammunition etc, and ensured that everything was signed for. He worked with and for such people as Freddy Fitzpatrick, Bill Boyton, Colin ‘Pixie’ Webster, Ray ‘Cheesy’ Thorncraft, and Bruce Sawyer.

Ted also had an extra Regimental duty during the 1960’s and 70’s. Older Officers will recall that Ted was the Officer’s Mess Steward, who served fermented and spiritual medications from behind the Mess bar after night and weekend parades.

Pill Prosser remembers Ted, they were Sergeants together. As far as Bill can recall,Ted was in the clerical / stores side of the Regiment. He was known as Ted Liquid hut, for reasons obvious to his contemporaries.

Terry Boardman remembers Ted Waterhouse as being in the Regiment when he transferred in 1953. He was one of those members who was ‘always there’ in either HQ Sqn or RHQ. Ted being the CO’s driver when the CO was mounted in an AFV. Terry remembers him driving the Saracen that 1/15 had for a period and the M577 when it replaced the Saracen; so he would have been one of the first to be trained to drive the M113 family.

HERBERT FERRES of Cessnock on 27 August 2017. Herbert joined the Regiment in 1948, having served during World War 2 in Egypt Libya and New Guinea. He won a MM at El Alamein and was featured in Peter Fitzsimmons book. Peter delivered the eulogy at his funeral. Max Carson attended the funeral with the Cessnock RSL Sub-branch Treasurer, Max Ferres, who is Herbert’s nephew and a Vietnam veteran. (Out thanks to Max Carson for this information.)

 Sick Parade go to top of page

Sadly we have been given news that our friend and colleague Barrie Hodgson has not been well at all, Get well Barrie.

 Thank You go to top of page

Thank you all very much for your assistance in supporting the Museum and Association financially so far in the 2016/17 financial year. Our records (and they may not be perfect, human data entry has been involved) show the following supported by donation, the Association:

Bryan Algie, John Arnott, Max Bell, Tony Blissett, Cynthia Booth, Kenneth Brown, John Carruthers, Bert Castellari, Alan Chanter, Paul Degiorgio, Trevor Forward, Tony Fryer, Chris Gammage, John Howells, Anthony Huntley, Danny Marriott, Don Morris, Kevin Regan, Margaret Sheppard, Richard Small, and Gloria Warham.

and the following the Museum:

Bryan Algie, John Arnott, Max Bell, Tony Blissett, Cynthia Booth, Phillip Bridie, John Carruthers, Bert Castellari, Paul Degiorgio, Trevor Forward, Tony Fryer, Chris Gammage, Bob Gay, Wally Hauseman, Bev Hill, Anthony Huntley, Steve Lesley, Neil Mangels, Danny Marriott, Don Morris, Paul Martyn-Jones, Kevin Regan, Margaret Reid, Margaret Sheppard, Richard Small, Bob Stenhouse, and Gloria Warham.

  HELP! go to top of page

Image loading please waitYes we really do need your financial assistance. No amount too large, no amount too small.

Donations to the Museum (the Museum is registered with the charity tick) and Association are now possible securely using PayPal from your credit card (Visa, Mastercard, AMEX) or PayPal account:

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

Don't forget your memorabilia, the online shop now includes stickers and 1 LH Centenary Mugs to show your support for the Regiment we have secure payment facilities using your credit card (now including AMEX)  or PayPal account.  Click Here for the Museum Shop.

 RAACA NSW go to top of page

Membership of the RAACA NSW is free to all applicants over 75. The RAACA NSW newsletter complements Lancers' Despatch, providing news of events in the wider corps community. If you wish to join the RAACA and receive the newsletter, drop a line to the Association at Building 96, Victoria Barracks, Paddington NSW 2071, or visit the website:

   go to top of page

"A regiment is not solely the men who presently comprise its strength. It is an entity stretching back in time to its beginnings. It is all the men who have served in its ranks, with their traditions and achievements. The serving unit, like the tip of an iceberg, may be the only part you see, but 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:
Click to contact
website designed and maintained by cibaweb Site Disclaimer

go to top of page

Find and compare hotels near The Royal New South Wales Lancers Memorial Museum through HotelsCombined for the cheapest rates.

Image loading please wait
Donate to the Museum
Image loading please wait Like us on Facebook RUSI of NSW The NSW Lancers Museum acknowledges Vergola for their generous assistance