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Category: Conflicts/WW1/Lt Horse

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1st/15th Royal NSW Lancers

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  • Sydney Light Horse, 
  • Australian Horse
  • 1st Light Horse Regiment AIF, 
  • 3rd Light Horse (Australian Horse)
  • 11th Light Horse
  • 21st Light Horse
  • 7/21st Australian Horse
  • 4th Battalion RNSWR
Melbourne, Vic, 1903-03-19. The 1903 pattern uniform for a Trooper in the 1st Australian Light Horse Regiment (NSW Lancers) in review order, full dress. 

The NSW Lancers added the following embellishments to the standard 1903 pattern uniform: a stable belt, scarlet plastron, white shoulder pads and white aiguillettes  (Donor: Department of Defence Library, Canberra). >>>>

This Regiment dates from the inauguration of the Sydney Light Horse and other cavalry troops in New South Wales in 1885. 

In those pre federation days, the raising of such units sprang from a public-spirited wish to give voluntary service, and was not sponsored or directed by the government of the day.

Click to enlarge In 1899, "A" squadron of the Regiment, which had been training in England, became the first colonial troops to arrive in South Africa for active service against the Boers in the South African War. 

This squadron, reinforced by further drafts from New South Wales, formed part of General French's Cavalry Division.

In the 1914-1918 war, the Regiment being militia, did not serve abroad, however, most of its pre-war members joined the AIF.

Subsequently the Lancers were designated as successors to the 1st Light Horse Regiment of the AIF. It had fought at Gallipoli and later in Sinai and Palestine as part of the Desert Mounted Corps. 

In 1956, the number "15th" was linked with the "1st" making the Regiment also the successor to the 15th Light Horse Regiment, AIF which had been formed in Palestine in 1918 from personnel of the Camel Corps.  

The Lancers were granted the title "Royal" in 1935. It was horsed until 1936, when it was motorised as a mechanised machine gun regiment.

In 1942, it was incorporated into the AIF as an armoured regiment.

Equipped with Matilda Infantry Support Tanks, it pioneered the use of tanks in the New Guinea jungle.

Click to enlarge Image above right: a Major in the New South Wales Lancers c.1900 as drawn by Mike Chappell in the Osprey Publishing book The Australian Army at War 1899-1975. ISBN 0-85045-418-2

Later in the seaborne assault by the 7th Division on Balikpapan in Borneo, the Regiment made the heaviest Australian tank attack of the war. 

It was the only armoured regiment of militia origin to go overseas, and the only Australian Armoured Regiment to be sent overseas twice.

After the war, the regiment was equipped first with Matilda then Centurion tanks Click to enlarge until 1971, when it was converted to a Reconnaissance Regiment, and equipped with the M113 family of tracked light armoured fighting vehicles.Click to enlarge

The Regiment with 21 battle honours, is the most highly decorated unit in the Australian Army. It celebrated its centenary in 1985, and looks forward to serving the nation in the 21st Century.

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Victoria Barracks, Melbourne, Vic. 1905. Group portrait of members of the Royal New South Wales Lancers. They were members of a team visiting Melbourne for a tournament. Left to right: Trooper B. Bailey, Sergeant E. W. Thompson, Trooper F. Ryan, Sergeant A. W. Whitney. (donor W. Thompson)



The Lancers train at Lancer Barracks where the museum building, Linden House also stands. The buildings form the oldest continuously used military barracks on the mainland of Australia. They were erected on the orders of Governor Macquarie to replace earlier barracks in Parramatta town.

Commenced in 1818, they were completed in 1820, the architect was Lieutenant John Watts of the 46th Regiment. They were to stand in an area of 3.25ha, and were designed for a company (approximately 100 officers and  men).

They served as a barracks for British regiments stationed here in convict days. Some of the men would have served under Wellington in the Napoleonic wars.

British Regiments with detachments stationed at Parramatta Barracks 1820-1850

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48th Foot
3rd Foot
57th Foot
39th Foot
17th Foot
4th Foot

The original buildings included the two-storey building overlooking the parade ground and the single storey "Bobs Hall" nearby. There was also a twin of Bobs Hall, equal and opposite to it. There were also stables, kitchens, and privies on the perimeter. The three main buildings form three sides of a square. The walls are of sandstock brick. The two storey building was of Georgian design; the balcony and verandah were added in the C1830s.

During the 1830s, the number of troops quartered in Parramatta grew to over 360, several additional buildings in the town had to be used for military quarters. One of these was Linden House, then known as the School of Industry. When the garrison was withdrawn in 1850, the Police and Military Volunteers occupied the barracks. The Lancers came to Parramatta in 1891 when K Troop was added to the Regiment and was based in what was soon to be known as Lancer Barracks. After the South African War, the remaining single storey building was re-named "Bobs Hall" after Lord Roberts VC, the Commander in Chief.

The Guidons of the 1st/15th Royal New South Wales Lancers

By this time land had been taken for railway and education purposes, and with the arrival of the Lancers, accommodation was provided for the permanent cadre. An Edwardian House for the Adjutant, and a cottage for the Staff-Sergeant. In 1910, a drill hall was added. The stables were converted to a Sergeants Mess, and an Officers Mess added in the 1930s.

In the 1980s, the Officers Mess was demolished, and the Sergeants Cottage renovated as a mess; the Officer's house was converted into offices.

The three principal buildings in the barracks grounds are now protected against demolition under the New South Wales Heritage Act 1977.

Royal New South Wales Lancers
Lancer Barracks
Smith Street (Opposite Railway Station)




Opening of the Suvla Training Depot, Goulburn NSW

22 June 2002


Commander 5th Brigade, Brigadier G. N. Oakley declared the depot open for armoured business
The NSW district centred on the City of Goulburn has a long association with Australian mounted troops dating back to the formation of a local militia unit, the Australian Horse. This unit was formed at Murrumburrah in August, 1897 and wore a distinctive myrtle green uniform similar to British Light Infantry Regiments. The Regiment’s motto was " For Hearths and Homes" and their distinctly Australian hat badge included the Southern Cross, a kangaroo and an emu.

The unit recruited from areas surrounding Goulburn including Harden, Murrumburrah, Yass, Bungendore, Michelago, Braidwood, Cootamundra and Gundagai. It also recruited in parts of northern NSW including Gunnedah, Boggabri, Scone, Mudgee, Rylstone and Quirindi.

Two detachments of Australian Horse were sent to South Africa in 1899 and 1900. Attached to the Royal Scot Greys, the Squadron served as part of General French’s Cavalry Division.

From 1900, B Squadron and the Regimental Band were based in Goulburn. With Federation, the unit was redesignated the 3rd Light Horse (Australian Horse). In 1911 they were redesignated the 11th Light Horse.

Following the end of World War 1, the unit was re designated the 7th Light Horse and inherited the battle honours of the wartime regiment, these include: South Africa 1899–1900, Anzac, Defence of Anzac, Suvla, Sari Bair, Gallipoli 1915, Romani, Egypt 1915–17, Gaza-Beersheba, El Mughar, Nebi Samwil, Jerusalem, Jordan (Es Salt), Jordan (Amman), Megiddo, Nablus and Palestine 1917-18.

1st/15th Royal New South Wales Lancers carry the same battle honours. In 1936, the 7th Light Horse were linked with the 21st Light Horse, a unit which had previously been linked with the 1st Light Horse (RNSWL). RHQ and Headquarters Squadron remained in Goulburn.

In 1948, the Regiment was reformed as the 7th/21st Australian Horse, a CMF armoured unit for the reconnaissance role, equipped with Staghound Armoured Cars and Canadian Scout Cars. RHQ was in Cootamundra, no sub-units were based in Goulburn.

In 1953 the unit was re-roled as an anti-tank Regiment and equipped with 6 pdr anti-tank guns. The Regiment was disbanded on 14 September 1956 with the units personnel being absorbed into the 4th Battalion (later 4/3 RNSWR). The Guidon of the 7th Light Horse was laid up in St Saviour’s Church, Goulburn.


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