The Royal New South Wales Lancers

 
 
Lancers' Despatch 46
 
 

Lancers' Despatch

Bi Annual Journal of the
Royal New South Wales Lancers Association
ABN 50 361 228 724
and
The New South Wales Lancers Memorial Museum Incorporated ABN 94 630 140 881
No 46 - February 2024

Photos by Lancer Association members, text by the editor unless historical, submitted to the editor without attribution or otherwise noted. Thanks very much to all contributors.

 President's Report go to top of page

Len Koles

Again it would be remiss of me, on your behalf, not to recognise and thank our Secretary, John Howells for the excellent job he has done with this edition of the Lancer Dispatch. I also need to acknowledge the hard work of the Museum volunteers and the committees.

The period since the last Lancers' Dispatch has been a sometimes happy and often sad one, with the passing of several Lancer comrades. The Association/Regiment lost four Lancers. Their histories are listed further in this dispatch. I had the privilege of serving with Tony Beechy, Les Perry, Adrian Bonham and Scott Terry and, am deeply sadden by their passing. They each served well and contributed greatly to the training of our soldiers in the finest tradition of the Regiment.

On a more positive note, I would like to welcome several new members of the cadre staff to the Regiment. We welcome Captain William Hicks Adjutant, WO1 Shane "Moe" Smith RSM, WO2 Tom Wilson Operations Warrant Officer, WO2 Graham RQ, WO2 Mitchel Morrison TRGWO B Sqn and Sean Spackman TRGWO C Sqn.

I would especially wish to thank our previous RSM Bill Doodie and retiring Operations Warrant Officer Adam Keegan for their support, enthusiasm and friendship both to the museum and the Association. They developed a close relationship with both the Association and the Museum and contributed a great deal of their time and efforts to improve and advance the operations of both groups. Thank you.

On that note I hope to see you in Sydney for the ANZAC Day March.

Len Koles
As always
TENAX IN FIDE

 Coming Events go to top of page

Expect the following:

• Museum and Association AGMs, 1930, Wednesday 27 March 2024, Drill Hall, Lancer Barracks Parramatta.

• Anzac Day March in Sydney Thursday 25 April 2024 assemble 1000.

>• Lancer Band Concert, Lancer Barracks, Parramatta, Museum Open 1430.

• M113 60 Years of Service in Australia celebration, Sunday 26 May 2024, Lancer Barracks, Parramatta.

 The Regiment go to top of page

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

With the conclusion of 2023 and a move into 2024, the Regiment has bid farewell to a busy year, and welcomes in a new year that will hold changes, challenges and opportunities. Since our last Lancers' Despatch article, we have supported numerous large exercises, and rounded out our training year with EX LANCER RUN, SPRINT and ASSIST. Members of the Regiment have trained enthusiastically and with purpose, working to prepare for the 2nd (Australian) Division's new mission to defend Australia's northern areas.

The senior soldiers and officers of the Regiment welcomed in the second half of 2023 with the annual Balikpapan dinner. This dinner commemorated the Operation Oboe landings conducted by the Regiment during WW2, and also provided an opportunity for the senior members of the Regiment to build relationships with senior members of other units across the brigade. We were privileged to have the Assistant Minister for Defence, The Hon Matthew Thistlethwaite MP as a guest of honour.


The assistant minister addresses the room (left). The dinner is assembled (right)

EX LANCER RUN

August saw the Regiment conduct EX LANCER RUN. The exercise was a domestic security exercise centred around stability and security operations, with the theme of protecting a vital airfield. Conducted in conjunction with our colleagues at the 5th Combat Services Support Battalion and 9th Regiment, Royal Australian Artillery, soldiers and officers conducted presence patrolling, vehicle check points and localised vital asset protection. With drone overwatch provided by 9 REGT and replenishment provided by 5 CSSB, our soldiers were provided a realistic and challenging threat environment to rehearse and refine their higher level tactics and tasks. The exercise involved a deployment from Holsworthy Barracks to the Orchard Hills training area, where vehicle crews were able to practice their city driving while deploying into the AO.



A troop of bushmasters conducts a linear replenishment, supported by 40M trucks from 5 CSSB (Top). Members of the regiment conduct presence patrolling along a suspected enemy infil route (bottom left). Members of the regiment occupy a vehicle check point (bottom right).

EX LANCER SPRINT

In September, the Regiment conducted EX LANCER SPRINT. This exercise was the culmination of the year's foundation warfighting training, consisting of troop level mounted live fire ranges, as well as pair and fireteam dismounted live fire sneaker ranges. The members of the regiment honed their combat shooting skills, and troop leaders refined their ability to conduct engagement area development and fire control over radio in a simulated attack by fire. The conduct of E LANCER SPRINT saw troops from the Regiment certified to the required level to ensure readiness for deployment if required.



Bushmaster crew commanders link in while occupying their fire positions to commence an attack by fire (top left). A troop moves to occupy its attack by fire position (top right). A patrol commander indicates the position of his target to his fireteam (bottom left). A Lancer lieutenant checks his weapon after engaging targets (bottom right).

EX LANCER ASSIST

Once foundation warfighting training concluded for the year, the Regiment shifted targets to preparedness and assurance for the upcoming High Risk Weather Season. EX LANCER ASSIST is the conduct of training to prepare for disaster relief operations such as those conducted on Operation Bushfire Assist or Operation Flood Assist. Our people conducted route and bridge reconnaissance, as well as interoperability training with the SES and RFS. Our leaders received capability briefs from leaders within both organisation, and our soldiers conducted training alongside the members of both the SES and RFS to build relationships and understanding of the operating methods of our respective organisations.



Members of the Regiment receive a brief from NSW RFS leadership prior to conduct of joint training (top). Soldiers conduct sandbagging with members of the SES (bottom left). SNCOs and officers receive a brief from SES leadership (bottom right).

In addition to regular training, the second half of 2023 saw some other significant events. The regiment supported both EX TALISMAN SABRE and EX PREDATOR's RUN. These were major activities in which our people got to work with our multi-national and service partners. The Regiment supported the Parramatta Remembrance Day service, as well as the dedication of the Keith Payne VC rest stop. The band supported numerous community engagement performances, providing a great performance and excellent community outreach throughout the year.

Our People

C SQN has come under the new leadership of MAJ Elizabeth Lambert in September, and throughout the second half of 2023, TPR Ruby Olsson from B SQN has been representing the Regiment on an overseas exchange with the British Columbia Regiment (Duke of Connaught's Own) in Canada.


TPR Olsson with members of the BCR (DCO) on Remembrance Day in Canada (left). TPR Olsson on a field exercise in Canada (right).

Looking Forward

Moving into 2024, the Regiment will face new challenges and opportunities. The ADF is rapidly modernising and shifting priorities, and the 2nd (Australian) Division is no exception. We are preparing ourselves for a new vehicle platform, and a shift in the way the Regiment operates towards mounted light cavalry operations. We will increasingly be required to conduct training alongside our colleagues in the RAAF and RAN, and shift focus towards to stability and security operations. We will continue to retain our warfighting edge amongst all of these changes throughout the year. The pace of training and operations is ever increasing, and the Regiment is ready to face the challenges of a new year.

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

 The Army go to top of page

On 28 September 2023, LTGEN Simon Stuart, AO, DSC Chief of Army released the following statement to all soldiers:

"Today the Deputy Prime Minister announced significant changes to our Army's organisation and disposition in support of the Government's implementation of the Defence Strategic Review.

In 2011, our Army reorganised into 'like' brigades to best meet the requirements of the day. Today our circumstances are markedly different. The Defence Strategic Review of 2023 concluded that the ADF is not fully fit for purpose. It identified that our Army must be transformed and optimised for littoral manoeuvre operations by sea, land and air from Australia, with enhanced long range fires. It further identified that our Army’s combat brigades must be re-rolled with select capabilities postured in northern Australia.

On the 1 July this year, we implemented the first of the necessary changes for Army to deliver our part of the integrated force. Since then, the Government has provided further direction and we are moving quickly and purposefully to implement this direction.

Our purpose and mission are clear and enduring.

What is also clear is that we are experiencing 'hollowness' across our Army. I know every one of you and our teams is feeling the impact of having fewer people across our existing structure to meet the increasing demand for the many things our Army does for others, and must do for itself.

To faithfully implement the Government's direction and reduce hollowness, we are going to consolidate the way in which we are organised and build on our posture in northern Australia. These changes will deliver world class, relevant and credible combat capability, focused and optimised for operations in the littorals of our region. It will make the most of our resources and importantly, it will help to create units and formations in which our people are motivated to serve.

The 1st (Australian) Division will comprise three, largely full-time, manoeuvre brigades, each with a unique role:

• The 1st Brigade in Darwin will be our light combat brigade

• The 3rd Brigade in Townsville will be our armoured combat brigade. This will concentrate key capabilities of the combined arms fighting system in Townsville from current locations in Adelaide and Brisbane.

• The 7th Brigade in Brisbane will be our motorised combat brigade.

Pending further approvals, a new Littoral Lift Group will operate new littoral vessels from Darwin, Townsville and Brisbane to establish habitual working relationships with all three manoeuvre brigades.

The 9th Brigade in Adelaide will transition from a combat brigade to a security and response brigade and establish a dedicated innovation and experimentation team, based on the 1st Armoured Regiment, with a mission to fast-track new and emerging technology into our soldier’s hands. The changes in the 9th Brigade will also see the re-linking of the 5th Battalion and 7th Battalion of The Royal Australian Regiment. The 5th/7th Battalion, The Royal Australian Regiment, will be based in Darwin as part of the 1st Brigade.

A Fires Brigade will also be raised in Adelaide to introduce and operate our long-range fires, land-based maritime strike and Air and Missile Defence capabilities - working with the 1st and 2nd Divisions as part of the integrated Force.

The largely part-time brigades of the 2nd (Australian) Division will maintain their locations across the country, with a primary focus on security response and supporting integrated force manoeuvre across the north of Australia. In time, the form and scale of these brigades and the Regional Force Surveillance Group will be better aligned to their operational function.

Our Special Operations and Aviation commands will continue their transformations. They serve as examples of how we can achieve rapid, focused and successful change.

We will continue to support the ADF's analysis and planning efforts to determine how best to deliver the logistics, health, intelligence, cyber and space requirements of the integrated force. Our intelligence and information warfare, combat service support, and health capabilities are part of these considerations. However, they will remain unchanged until planning has matured.

These changes to our organisation and disposition are significant. We will implement them at best speed – and with the clear intent to limit the disruption to our people and their families. We will use the normal posting cycle to effect the movement of our people where this is required.

The changes announced by our Government today will mostly occur over the summer posting period of 2024-25. Some changes may occur earlier.

I am relying on each of you and our teams to leverage the opportunities in our transformation, work together, build trust, build readiness and importantly, play your part in writing the next chapter in our Army's story.

Thank you for your service in our Army. An Army in the Community. An Army for the Nation."

The video to your right is of an address by the Chief of the Defence Force General Angus Campbell AO CSC to the Defence Reserves Association conference in Brisbane on 19 August 2023. He discusses the implications of the 2023 Defence Strategic Review on Reserve Forces. A bit long at 56 Minutes and 9 seconds for those of us with short attention spans, nonetheless significant background to the Regiment's place in the world of 2024+.

Video is courtesy the Australian Defence Reserves Association and is taken from the conference live stream.

 

 Your Association go to top of page

In the late 1940s when members of the armoured corps returned to society after World War 2 many had not seen overseas or combat service. Only those units, including the Regiment that made it into the 4th Armoured Brigade saw service as armoured soldiers. The division that as formed in 1941 for deployment to Egypt and Libya never left our shores. Initially retained to counter the threat of Japanese invasion, the formation was found not to be required. Many individual soldiers managed to get transferred to the infantry and other corps and did see overseas deployment and combat. The majority were simply discharged back into the civil community as jobs became available.

Soldiers without overseas service received two service medals but were denied all other service benefits. The RSL at that time denied them membership. Their training had been as intense and dangerous, more so than other corps given the vehicles and weapon systems of the corps. It had not been their fault they were not sent.

To counter this problem, the Royal Australian Armoured Corps Association and the Armoured Corps Club in Sydney was established. The driving force was Major Norman Bent, Norm had served with the Regiment overseas, but saw the plight of those who did not and gradually moved into that time when age sapped the energy of youth. At one point Norm sent out a newsletter a week, postage covered by his advertising business, to help those who had given their all and were now spat out with no support from the DVA and RSL.

Today we are faced with a not dis-similar situation. Members of the Regiment, many with 30+ years of service, soldiers who held back during the Vietnam conflict, providing familiarisation training to the infantry in the forlorn hope that a squadron would be rotated to the conflict area. Some middle ranking officers did get two weeks battlefield familiarisation in country, some went to the extent of joining or attempting to join the ARA and be deployed. Most, as their WW2 comrades continued their intense and dangerous training at Holsworthy, Puckapunyal and Singleton.

Of recent date, many members of the Regiment have been able to see service as peacekeepers and aiding the civil power. At least today the RSL accepts all those who have served as members. And DVA will help with injuries suffered during training but that is where the support stops.

And that is where the Lancers' Association will help. A helping hand for those who have fallen on hard times or just going through the problems of old age. Brian Walters, the association treasurer is our trained counsellor. It might just be a 'phone call to a mate who has lost contact or assistance should official age discrimination remove your licence (only happens in NSW). All you have to get is a driving assessor on a bad day. By the way Terry Boardman recently passed his now annual driving test, congratulations Terry.

So if you or you see a mate who needs help, give us at the Association a call or drop us a line.


The Reunion

The main function we ran this year was the Reunion at Lancer Barracks on Sunday 5 November 2023.

A great day was had by all, it was great to see old faces like John McPhee, and for Tony Beechey to be there so shortly before the cancer he has been fighting for some years finally got him. Visits by the CO, Colonel Shadbolt and the Honorary Colonel Brigadier Bridie were also appreciated. Thanks to the RSM for organising the Sergeants' Mess to provide drinks and Dianne Barnes catering skills.

Just check through the photos and see who you recognise.







Staff Farewell

The Association and Museum have greatly appreciated the assistance of the Regimental staff over the past few years. It has been an era of cooperation and assistance.

With two key permanent staff members leaving, the RSM WO1 Bill Doddie off to be RSM 2/14 QMI and WO2 Adam Keegan, leaving the Army, the Association organised to have very rare 1985 posters framed with special engraved plaques attached. Both Bill and Adam were very supportive of the Association and Museum.


RAAC Corporation

Rob Lording, Association Vice-President represented the Association at the RAAC Corporation AGM, Canberra 14 October 2023.

Association members were invited to the RAACA-NSW Cambrai/Beersheba Dinner was held on 4 November 2023 at the Royal Automobile Club, Sydney; there were about 40 attendees. The Guest-of-Honour was MAJGEN Susan Coyle AM, CSC, DSM, Commander Forces Command. Allan Williams OAM, the very long-term honorary Auditor of the RAAC Association (NSW) was presented with his Honorary Life Membership of the Association by the President COL Rob Shoebridge (Ret'd).



Congratulations Rob Lording

Congratulations to our Association Vice-President Rob Lording on the award of the Conspicuous Service Cross in the 2024 Australia Day Honours list. For outstanding achievement as Commander Joint Task Group 629.1 on Operation FLOOD ASSIST 2022 from February to October 2022. Well deserved.

 Our Museum go to top of page

The Museum had a great year in 2023, with 1,669 visitors we exceeded by far the recorded patronage of any other Parramatta heritage site. The visitor stats can be viewed . The Museum also went out and about, taking part in All British Day in the grounds of the King's School and Parramatta Foundation Week at the Heritage Precinct. Many who saw us at the Heritage Precinct, came later to visit us at Lancer Barracks.

A highlight of the visits was one from General Sir Peter and Lady Cosgrove. Sir Peter told us stories of his time as a young boy at Lancer Barracks when his Dad was RSM.

A particularly poignant visit was made by Frank Tattersall's daughter and family down from Queensland. They were able to see "Tatts" our M113 that bears Frank's name and spend time with colleagues who served with Frank prior to the tragic accident in 1986 that took his life on Singleton range.

It is the "Tank Days" brainchild of the late Ian Hawthorn that draw patrons in. Tank Days only possible because of the hard work of our vehicle crews. ACE, our matilda has been operational for most of the year, a favourite with the visitors along with rides in the Champ and 106 Rover. As I mostly man the gate, I find it satisfying to see the young eyes light up when I ask if they enjoyed the ride. The vehicles have also had a coat of paint and look great.

We hope to have both ACE and the BEAST up and running in the first half of 2024.

There is also hope that we will get approval for our vehicle collection to have overhead protection with news that an EIR is in the system. Another bureaucratic path step taken.

Sadly our WW2 German flag has been taken down. The exhibit, part of the 2/2 MG Bn display was quite significant. The flag was captured by members of the 2/2nd in Libya. It was not a flag for flying on a flagpole, it was for tying over vehicles to allow for identification from the air. This made it rather larger than an ordinary flag, meaning that we did not display it under glass. The flag had over the years collected a lot of dust and dirt, cleaning is not easy requiring a professional touch so as not to damage the item. We have taken it down and put it through the standard vacuum packaging, freezing and storage procedure to ensure fabric is not attacked by silverfish. In its place we have put-up a poster to commemorate the service of the 2/2nd.

We have also applied for a grant to decorate the wall that hides our Museum Annexe work area. Once adorned with a magnificent mural by Bruce Sawyer, it has been plain white since the Bruce's effort deteriorated beyond repair. The proposed design, yet to be finalised will blend with the stone of Linden House and highlight achievements of the Regiment including NSWL, 1 LH, 15 LH, 2/2 MG and RNSWL.

The exhibits at the Museum are regularly changing and being enhanced. If you have not been for a while, come and check them out. 2024 will be another great year for us, a tribute to those who give up their Thursdays and Sundays.

 Tanks 1943 - 1972 go to top of page

In July 1942, the Regiment was first issued with the Matilda II Tank. Regimental designation was changed to the 1st army Tank Battalion (Royal New South Wales Lancers) the designation (AIF) being added in February 1943 by which time all members of the Regiment had volunteered to join the Australian Imperial Force. This meant there was no impediment to the Regiment's deployment to overseas conflict.

This tank was a development of the Matilda I Infantry Tank whose main armament consisted of no more than either a .303 or a .50 Vickers mg. Such was the thinking behind pre World War II tank development in many countries (including the UK) that it was considered that the fitting of larger calibre weapons was not warranted.

The Matilda Mark II arose out of a need to provide a better armoured and armed vehicle than those based on the Willie and Whippet designs of WW1, which could act in the role of an infantry support tank. For its time, the Matilda II was a heavily armoured vehicle and it was particularly successful in the early years of WW II at Arras, France 1940 and in the Western Desert during 1940-1941.

Unfortunately, its performance was hindered by its small calibre gun (40 mm firing a 1kg round) and relatively slow cross country performance. Despite its shortcomings, it was more than capable of being used aggressively. This was especially demonstrated in the Western Desert where it was virtually immune against anti-tank and tank guns of the day. In its early conflicts in the Western Desert, its value as a shock assault weapon was significant and it soon earned the title "Queen of the Battlefield". Unfortunately, it was soon outclassed by better enemy tanks and the Germans' 88 mm gun. However, it found a renewed operational life in the Pacific.

Although the design ideas were sound for their time, the Matilda could not be up-gunned as the turret ring was too small to accept a larger tank gun. However, it was found that a low velocity 76 mm howitzer could be fitted as a substitute for the tank gun. Such a weapon proved invaluable when operating against infantry, light skinned vehicles, bunkers and other fortifications.

Mechanically, the Matilda possessed a hydraulic, power operated turret. Its twin engines were linked through an epicyclic gearbox, which in turn drove a pair of rear sprockets. The suspension consisted of sets of bogies which were linked together and worked against horizontal compression springs. On 9 November 1943, C Squadron (SHQ and two troops, 6 tanks 3 Jeeps) of the Regiment with was deployed to support 20 Brigade in the battle to take Sattelberg Ridge on the Huon Peninsula, New Guinea. Another of the supporting units was the 2/2 Machine-Gun Battalion AIF that was formed mainly from the Regiment in 1939 and had seen service in Egypt and Libya 1940-42. The Japanese were surprised to see the ladies of the desert in jungle attire. Major Hordern OC C Sqn had some difficulties with infantry leaders who wished to use the tanks in unsuitable roles [Regt History p247].

All C Squadron, resources were gradually all drawn into the fight. C squadron supported the infantry until 12 December, soldiers were exhausted and vehicles were in need of maintenance. B Squadron was still waiting in reserve in Milne Bay. A Squadron was called forward to continue the task. A task completed in 24 January 1944 when it was accepted that the Japanese were defeated in New Guinea.

The Regiment was withdrawn to Queensland for training and refitting. On 1 July 1944 the Regiment was designated the 1st Armoured Regiment AIF (RNSWL).

1 July 1945 saw the Regiment make the largest deployment of Tanks made by the Australian Army. A and B Squadrons landed at Balikpapan, Kalimantan, Indonesia. The Regiment was to support the 7th Australian Division re-taking a Dutch Oil Refinery. C Squadron was on the water reserve, landing on 19 July. 5 more of the Regiment were to die in the fight, bringing to 15 those who died in combat in 1 ATB/1AR (RNSWL) and 66 in 2/2 MG Bn. By 23 July combat had ceased. Then came the long wait to be repatriated back to Australia, you had to have a job to go to to get a passage home.

In 1 July 1948 the Regiment was re-formed taking its wartime title of 1st Armoured Regiment (RNSWL) and equipped with war surplus Matilda tanks. On 7 July 1949 the Regiment's title was again changed to the 1st Royal New South Wales Lancers, this freed-up the 1AR title to be used by the newly formed Australian Regular Army. In 1955, the Regiment's aging Matildas were withdrawn and replaced with Staghound Armoured Cars. The Regiment was still regarded as a Tank Regiment. The Staghounds were a tank substitute Training Aid. At camp in March, the Regiment was introduced to the Centurion tank.

In 1956 on the disbandment of the 15th Northern Rivers Lancers, its traditions were passed to the Regiment. Designation became 1st/15th Royal New South Wales Lancers; it remains so in 2024.

In 1943, after a succession of unfortunate tank designs the British War Office commissioned a new specification calling for a tank with durability, reliability, a weight of 40 tons and the ability to withstand a direct hit from the German 88mm gun. Six prototypes were developed before the end of World War 2 but arrived too late to take part in the war on German soil. The Centurion Mark III purchased by Australia carried a crew of four: Crew commander; driver; gunner; and loader/operator. The weight, fully stowed, less crew was 55 tonnes. It was powered by a 485 kW Rolls-Royce "Meteor" (a de-tuned version of the "Merlin" used in the Spitfire). The main armament was a 84 mm rifled gun with a smoke arrester the shot was 9 kilos (20 pounder). The coax BESA MG of the Britt version was replaced by a US .30 MG (7.62 long, US rounds). There was also a similar flex mounted MG for anti-aircraft. The main armament was stabilised to 70% accuracy.

1956 the Regiment went to camp in Singleton NSW as a complete unit for the last time 'till the 1970s. Introduction of the Centurion where Australia had enough to equip a Regiment (1AR - ARA) the Armoured Centre, Puckapunyal, 4 home training vehicles per CMF/Ares unit (8/13 VMR and 1/15 RNSWL) and a full squadron of vehicles at Puckapunyal for Ares units to train. The Regiment also received a troop of Ferret Scout Cars to serve as "Recce Troop".

Annual camps were held at Puckapunyal, Victoria:

 

DAY

ACTIVITY

0

In the evening gather at Central Station and board the standard gage train for Albury changing at about 0400 for a local Victorian broad gage train to Seymour. The Lancers disembarked in the early morning trucks took them to Puckapunyal.

1

March-in and set up in barracks. Commence individual training by wings (radio, gunnery and driving and servicing).

2-4

Individual training and crew tasks.

5

Draw tanks and equipment, establish squadron laager on the range.

6

Open range gunnery practice.

7-8

Crew and troop training including night movement.

9

Vehicle maintenance.

10

Troop training: practice for battle runs.

11

Troop battle runs with live ammunition. Recce Troop and the LAD engaged in refresher training.

12-13

Field exercises at Squadron level, umpired and with an AFV mounted enemy.

14

Move back to barracks, service and return tanks, scout cars and equipment.

15

Complete servicing and handing back. Entrain for Sydney at about 1800 hours.

16

Arrive Central Station and disperse.

 

The 1960s was a time of National Service, the Regiment did not lack when it came to soldiers. Training standards were exceptionally high. But for a prejudice in permanent force circles, the Regiment would have rotated a squadron through Vietnam. As it was, the unit using home trainer vehicles was used to provide armour familiarisation training to infantry units heading to that conflict.

With the pull-out from Vietnam and the prospect of a replacement for the Centurion on the horizon, the Regiment lost its tanks. The change was imperceptible initially, a few M113s were used as tank substitutes just as the Staghounds had been. Legend has it that when the Army came to Lancer Barracks to remove the home training Centurions, the then Commanding Officer Lieutenant Colonel John Arnott had the locks to Lancer Barracks changed in a valiant futile attempt to keep the Regiment's tanks. Bolt cutters were as good as keys.

Then on 10 October 1971 the regiment's designation was changed to that of a RAAC Regiment consisting of:

• Regimental Headquarters
• A Squadron - Reconnaissance
• B Squadron - Armoured Personnel Carrier
• (C Squadron, nominally Tanks but not raised)
• Light Aid Detachment (RAAME).

The change to M113s did alter the Regiment's relationship with the other Ares units in NSW. The Regiment was no longer elite, never exercising with units of the Second Division. The demise of National Service saw many no longer with a service obligation seek discharge, others did not want to serve un a unit without Centurions. The unit changed, as did some soldiers, morale and training standards did not. There were more changes to come over the years 'till today where the Regiment is the largest unit in the Australian Army Reserve, still armoured, just with different mounts.

The Lancers' Museum has examples of most of the vehicles from the time the regiment was tank equipped. The two main ones, the Matilda and Centurion have been restored and maintained to the point where they can be driven.

Source: Regimental History
Photos: Lancers' Museum exhibits that commemorate the Regiment's vehicular heritage.

 The M113A1 ARN 133541 Tatts Update go to top of page

Steve Lesley

The conservation work on the Museums M113A1 continues to make progress after a significant effort by Dave Crisp who made a start on the internal fit out and installation of new fabricated floor plates and radio racks. The Museum has provided a full set of radios and headsets plus aerials. At this stage no attempt will be made to restore the engine. The vehicle was moved from under the tree across the parade ground with the RSMs permission to the hard standing close to the work shop.

As with all of the Museum's exhibits, we endeavour to trace the history and provide provenance as best as possible. After a little searching and putting the questions out there we have discovered quite a bit about M113A1 134541. First of all, Len Koles found a list of vehicles of the Regiment from the 1980s and there she was, so 541 is a home trainer with a strong link to the Regiment. 541 was built with a batch of 26 113s in August 1970 and we have also found out it was with B 3/4 Cav in a later life. It was also call sign 11 during OP Warden, East Timor and later as OG in Townsville 1998-2001. (thanks to John Myszka and Mick K Cecil)


Provenance showing 541 was a home trainer in the 80s - Interior fitout and conservation work

 The M113A1 Celebrates 60 Years in Australian Service go to top of page

Steve Lesley

From 1962 - 1963 Australia purchased 2 M113 APC for an extensive trial including hot dry and hot wet jungle conditions. The trials concluded in May 63 and by 1964 the Australian Government placed an order for 840 vehicles of 9 variants. The delivery of the production M113A1s arrived in 65 and by June 65 10 APCs had arrived in Vietnam.

As the 113 was the longest serving FOVs used by the Regiment it is appropriate the Museum celebrates the event with a special open day as part of our monthly Tank Day in May. As with the Track Drivers Union initiative that was so successful, we hope as many of you as possible can attend. More details will be announced closer to the event and we will put on a BBQ and there will special memorabilia available to celebrate the special event.


One of the last D&S courses run with the M113A1 and the end of an era.

 The Royal United Service Institute go to top of page

John Howells

As a young soldier my CO recommended, rather strongly as I recall, that I join what was then the United Service Institution of New South Wales. I was advised that membership would give me access to the best military library in NSW, I would receive a quarterly journal that would keep me up to date on defence and security matters; and should I have the time, I could attend lectures where I would make contacts that would foster my civil and military career.

The then USI still exists, now Royal, it has moved with the times, and offers what it did then only physically, now both physically and in cyberspace. The office is in the breathtaking new wing of the Anzac Memorial, Hyde Park Sydney and houses with over 30,000 references the largest military library in NSW. Monthly lectures by respected ADF members and academics are held in the Anzac Memorial Auditorium. It still produces United Service on a quarterly basis, a professionally edited journal that brings together lecture papers, book reviews, and other worthy articles.

In cyberspace the institute in addition to providing access to the library catalogue and United Service online publishes the lectures in video form, publishes monthly newsletters and has a monograph series that delves into issues historical and current of defence and security interest.

The cyberspace initiatives do not require membership, this includes being on the list for the monthly newsletter. Membership does have its advantages, and at $50 per annum it is not expensive. You get to attend the lectures for free, and are can participate in special interest group (SIG) projects (the Strategy SIG is currently very active). Links to the cyberspace initiatives and how to join are available below:

RUSI-NSW also has its own very well serviced Facebook, YouTube and Linked-in sites:

And as a tantaliser, I offer two of the recent videos below. On the left is a presentation by MAJGEN Duncan Lewis to the USI of the ACT on Australia Preparing for an Uncertain and Fractious World; on the right GPCAPT Steven Henry on Defence Space Command - an Introduction.

The Royal United Services Institute for Defence and Strategic Studies - New South Wales is Located in the Anzac Memorial, Hyde Park South, SYDNEY NSW Phone: +61 2 8262 2922

Yes there are United Service Institutes (most Royal) in all states and in the ACT. The button below takes you to the website of the Royal United Service Institute for Defence and Security Studies, Australia where you can find details of all the constituent body institutes. And at least in NSW, you will find fellow Lancers in the membership.

 Departed Comrades go to top of page

TONY BEECHEY

Warrant Officer Class Two Anthony Donald (Tony) Beechey of Bar Point Aged 61.

Tony joined the Regiment in 1980 having previously attempted to join the Navy as a junior recruit. Tony was an electrical tradesman, working for Telstra cabling for the expanding computer industry.

1985 saw Tony a qualified LRV crew commander, the ranks of Lance Corporal and Corporal soon followed. Tony was a skilled soldier. The technical complexities of armoured vehicles excited him, soldiers followed his lead, and he had that wild streak that makes a good cavalryman. It was the arrival of the 76 mm MRV, however, that really excited Tony's passion.

Albeit mounted on a 50 mm duralumin box, here was a real tank gun, requiring the skill of a gunner to work. Tony excelled as a 76 gunnery instructor.

Promotions to sergeant and warrant officer followed, Tony excelling on promotion courses. 1997 saw the MRV phased out. There was nothing wrong with the gun, just that the Britt Scorpion turret tended to crack, and the armour of the M113 was not designed for a light tank gun. With his passion gone, we lost a good soldier.

Tony's last posting in the Regiment was SSM HQ Sqn.

The photos below tell the story of Tony in and beyond the Regiment. His funeral was attended by a large number of his mates. The video of the funeral contains the story of his life as told by his children and his Army comrades. Well worth watching for an hour even if you were there.







Tony is survived by his children Anace, Damien, Madeline, Thane, and four grandchildren.

A life taken too soon by melanoma, lived to the fullest.


ADRIAN BONHAM

Trooper Adrian Bonham of South Windsor aged 60.

Adrian served in the Regiment in the 1970s. In civil life he had many jobs. At the time of his passing he was a delivery driver for a restaurant.

Adrian passed away on 5 October 2021. Thanks very much to Adrian's wife Lindy for letting us know.


LES PERRY

Sergeant Lesley David Perry of Cambridge Park aged 78.

Les Perry joined the Regiment in 1962 and trained as a Centurion Tank crewman. He progressed through the ranks reaching the rank of sergeant. When many left the unit when it changed role from Tank to Recon/APC in the early 1970s, Les stayed on.

With the arrival of the 76mm FSV/MRV in 1979, Les attended the units' first 76 mm Gunnery instructors' course. This was the first such course the Regiment conducted. Les continued to serve during the 1980s. With over 20 years' service, he was awarded both the Efficiency Madal and the Reserve Forces Medal with clasp.

When he retired from the NSW Railways he moved to Coffs Harbour until nine months ago when he moved to Cambridge Park to be closer to treatment for the cancer that ultimately claimed his life. In the last few months Les joined St Marys RSL Sub-Branch, meeting up with Tony Fryer who was to officiate at the RSL Tribue at his funeral at Pinegrove on 12 January 2024. A number of Lancers were there to say goodbye to a valued soldier.

Les had three children Karen, Craig and Grant and an array of grandchildren. The depth of emotion shown at the funeral said a great deal about Les as a family man.






SCOTT TERREY

Lieutenant Colonel Andrew Edward Scott Terrey, known to all as Scott Aged 71 of Pymble.

Scott enlisted in the Australian Army Reserve in 1971 as a private soldier, Army number 2147560. He served in the Royal Australian Infantry corps until 1973, in that time being promoted to the rank of Corporal. In 1973 he was selected to be commissioned, posting to the Officer Cadet Training Unit as an officer cadet.

In February 1974, he graduated from the Officer Cadet Training Unit. He was commissioned as a 2nd Lieutenant in the Royal Australian Armoured Corps and was posted to A SQN, 1/15 Royal New South Wales Lancers as a liaison officer noted for turning up for parade in a Lotus Europa. In February 1975 he took command of 1 Troop A SQN as troop leader. In August of the same year, he was promoted to Lieutenant and took command of the Regimental Training group, where he remained until August 1976.

In 1976, he travelled to the United Kingdom, where he transferred to the British Army. He attended the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst, graduating in 1977 into the Royal Armoured Corps and posting as a troop leader to the 1st Queens Dragoon Guards.

Scott Terrey served with the British Army for the next four years in various regimental appointments. He served overseas in Germany, Cyprus and Northern Ireland, and was attached to the 1st Battalion, The Royal Anglian Regiment, as well as 40 Commando, Royal Marines.

He returned to Australia in 1985, when he was promoted to the rank of Captain. He passed the Commando Officer selection course and posted to 1 Company, 1st Commando Regiment, where he served as a platoon commander and in a variety of regimental capacities on both full time and part time service. In 1990, he was promoted to the rank of Major and was posted as the second in command of the 1st Commando Regiment.

In July of 1993, he was posted back to 1/15 RNSWL as the Regimental Second in command. He posted to the second training group in January 1994, before posting back to 1/15 RNSWL in August of 1994, again as the regimental second in command, where he remained until January 1996, when he was promoted to Lieutenant colonel and took command of the Regiment. LTCOL Terrey served as the commanding officer until December 1997, when he was posted to headquarters special operations until September 2001. Scott Terrey then took on the role of projects officer at Army Headquarters, where he served until August 2002, when he retired from the Australian Army Reserve at the rank of Lieutenant Colonel.

In civil life he was employed by the Commonwealth Attorney General's Office and later worked as an independent security consultant.

Scott Terrey passed away quite suddenly on 21 October 2023; he was suffering from a heart condition. He was 71 years of age.


 Thank You go to top of page

Thank you all very much for your assistance in supporting the Museum and Association financially in the 2023/24 Financial Year so far. Our records (and they may not be perfect, human data entry has been involved) show the following supported by donation, the Association:

Douglas Black; Trevor Lord; John McPhee.

AND the Museum:

Douglas Black; Keziah Carating; Don Deakin-Bell; Ian Frost; Gilgandra Veterans; Alice Halloran; Steve Leslie; Trevor Lord; John McPhee; Mithendra Singh; Mick Visinko; Raymond Williams.

  HELP! go to top of page

Yes we really do need your financial assistance. No amount too large, no amount too small.

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

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

Don't forget your memorabilia. We have secure payment facilities available using your credit card or your PayPal account.  Use this button to access the online Museum Shop. Do note that if you visit the Museum you will find the goods cheaper (no delivery charges) and still able to be purchased using your credit etc card.

We also need Museum volunteers. All that is required is an interest in the Regiment and its history, we find everyone has a skill to contribute. If you have any questions about our volunteer programme, simply call the editor, John Howells on 0405 482 814.

 RAACA NSW go to top of page

Membership of the RAACA NSW is free to all applicants over 75. The RAACA NSW newsletter complements Lancers' Despatch, providing news of events in the wider corps community. If you wish to join the RAACA and receive the newsletter, drop a line to the Association at Victoria Barracks (Sydney), Locked Bag 7005, Liverpool NSW 1871, or visit the website: www.raacansw.com.au.

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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 under neath, supporting it, there is a great deal more." (These words, often quoted, were introduced by our Late Patron, Major General Warren Glenny, AO RFD ED, during his term as 2IC of 1st/15th Royal NSW Lancers in the 1960s)


Lancers' Despatch is Published in February and August each year by the New South Wales Lancers Memorial Museum Incorporated ABN 94 630 140 881 and the Royal New South Wales Lancers Association ABN 50 361 228 724. All material is copyright. John Howells - Editor, New South Wales Lancers Memorial Museum Incorporated, Linden House, Lancer Barracks, 2 Smith Street, PARRAMATTA NSW, AUSTRALIA, (Postal Address: PO Box 7287, PENRITH SOUTH NSW 2750, AUSTRALIA) Click to contact  Tel: +61 (0)405 482 814.


Lancers' Despatch is prepared and published on the ancestral lands of the Barramatta people of the Dharug nation whose stewardship for millennia is appreciated and acknowledged.


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