The battle honours of the 12th ALH Regiment are as
|South Africa, 1899-1900
||The Great War
||Jordan (Es Salt)
The battle honours of the 16th ALH are:
|South Africa 1899-1900
||Anzac Gallipoli 1915
"South Africa" was awarded to the 4th ALH Regiment
and was passed on through various redesignations of the Regiment. The
other four honours were awarded in 1936. Although the Regiment did not
in fact take part in the actions as a Regiment, many members served in
other units during the campaign.
Regimental/Corps Miscellaneous Information
Motto of the 12 LH 'Virtutis Fortuna Comes' (Fortune is the Companion
Motto of the 16 LH 'Tenax et Fidelis' (Steadfast and
The honours won by the 12th ALH Regiment AIF were awarded in 1928.
This unit is affiliated with the Royal Scots Dragoon Guards (Carabiniers
and Greys). 12/16 HRL allied unit is the 16/5th the Queens Royal
Lancers. Elements of HRL served alongside the 6th Dragoons
and the 2nd Dragoons (Royal Scots Greys) in the Boer War on 25
A BRIEF HISTORY OF 12TH/16TH HUNTER RIVER LANCERS
By D. Lennox OAM
1. On the 1 May 1948, two Light Horse Regiments, the 12th
Light Horse (New England Light Horse) and 16th Light Horse (Hunter
River Lancers) amalgamated to form a unit known as the 12th/16th
Armoured Regiment (Hunter River Lancers). The first commander of the
Regiment was Lieutenant Colonel K.M.H. Arnott DS, ED.
THE BEGINNING - PRE FEDERATION
2. 12th/16th Hunter River Lancers can be traced back to the days of
the NSW Lancers, New South Wales Mounted Rifles and the 1st Australian
3. The 16th Australian Light Horse can be traced back to the NSW
Lancers. After the conversion of the Sydney Light Horse to the NSW
Lancers in 1885, interest soon stirred and it was not long before half
Squadrons (Troops) were organised at Grafton, the Upper Clarence, the
Murrumbidgee and the Hunter River district. Half Squadrons (Troops) of
the NSW Lancers were located at:
4. A Corps of Mounted Infantry was raised in 1888. In 1889/90
several companies were recruited in country centres and the whole
unit, became known as the New South Wales Regiment of Mounted Infantry
and Half Squadrons (Troops) were located at:
5. In August 1893 the New South Wales Lancers and the Mounted
Infantry Regiment (now renamed New South Wales Mounted Rifles) were
constituted into a Mounted Brigade. By 1897 a third Regiment was added
to the Brigade, this was known as the 1st Australian Horse. Half
Squadrons (Troops) were located at:
a. Murrumburrah Cootamundra Gundagai
b. Goulburn Braidwood - Araluen Michelago - Bredbo Bungendore
c. Mudgee Rylstone Lue
Scone Belltrees Muswellbrook
Armidale Tamworth Gunnedah Boggabri
6. The following establishments and distribution of Cavalry units
are those of the military forces in NSW and may be considered to be
the final organisation of the NSW Military Forces before the enactment
of the Australian Military Force.
7. The South African War broke out in October 1899. The outbreak of
this war was the signal for enthusiastic volunteering in all
districts, civilians were eager to enlist. The NSW Lancers were in the
first contingent to fight in the South African War. Another contingent
of the NSW Lancers was soon mobilised and sent to South Africa to make
up a complete Squadron.
8. In addition, other contingents of the NSW Mounted Rifles and the
Australian Horse were soon mobilised and sent to the South Africa War.
FEDERATION TO WORLD WAR I
9. After the South African War, the three Commonwealth Regiments in
NSW were expanded into two Light Horse Brigades consisting of six
Regiments of Light Horse. The 2nd Australian Light Horse Brigade
Regiments were grouped as follows:
2nd Australian Light Horse Brigade
(Col H.B. Lassetter C.B. from 1904)
a. The 4th Australian Light Horse Regiment (NSW Lancers) Maitland
(Lt Col W.C. Markwell)
b. The 5th Australian Light Horse Regiment (NSW Mounted Rifles)
Lismore (15 LH)
(Lt Col C.E. Taylor)
c. The 6th Australian Light Horse Regiment (Australian Horse)
Armidale (12 LH)
(Lt Col H.B. Lassetter C.B.). (Lt Col The Hon Rubert
10. By 1907 new territorial titles were given to units of the 2nd
Brigade Regiments, they are as follows:
a. The 4th Regiment:- The 4th Regiment was raised from old
units in the Hunter River area and given the title of:
Australian Light Horse (Hunter River Lancers).
b. The 5th Regiment:- The 5th Regiment was raised from old
units in the Northern Rivers area and given the title of:
Australian Light Horse (Northern River Lancers).
c. The 6th Regiment:- The 6th Regiment was raised from old
units in the New England area and given the title of:
Australian Light Horse (New England Light Horse).
11. During 1912 saw another title change to the Regiments. They
a. The 4th Australian Light Horse (HRL), became the 6th ALH (HRL).
b. The 5th Australian Light Horse (NRL), became the 4th ALH (NRL).
c. The 6th Australian Light Horse (NELH), became the 5th ALH (NELH).
12. The Mottoes and Regimental Badges remained the same.
WORLD WAR I
13. At the out break of WW I New Light Horse Regiments were raised
to serve overseas with the A.I.F, while the existing Regiments were
given the task of home security. As the young men, whose youth was
such a factor in the rejection of the mobilisation of the militia,
joined the A.I.F., the 4th, 5th and 6th Regiments were soon drained of
their men as they enlisted in the A.I.F.
POST WORLD WAR 1
14. By 1919 the of Order of Battle for the Regiments were:
a. The 12th Light Horse (NELH) became part of the Divisional Troops
with the 27 Light Horse (North Queensland Light Horse).
b. The 16th Light Horse (HRL) was part of the 3rd Light Horse
Brigade with the 6th Light Horse (New South Wales Mounted Rifles) at
Orange and 22 Light Horse at Bathurst.
15. In 1927/8 saw the reorganisation of the Order of Battle. This
seen the reorganisation of the 2nd Cavalry Brigade in NSW, the
Regiments to form the 2nd Brigade consisted of:
a. 12th Light Horse (NELH) with its HQ located at Armidale
b, 15th Light Horse (NRL) with its HQ located at Casino
c. 16th Light Horse (HRL) with its HQ located at West Maitland
16. Little appears to have changed between the two World Wars in
training, however, there were a few changes to the organisation and
names, they were:
12 ALH (NELH);
(1) Designation the 12th Light Horse Regiment (NELH) MO 95/1921
(2) 12th LH Regiment and 24th Light Horse Gwydir Regiment linked to
12th/24th Light Horse Regiment effective 1 October 1936. AAO
(3) 12th/24th Light Horse Regiment unlinked, now 12th Light Horse
b. 24th Light Horse Regiment (Gwydir Regiment);
(1) 24th Light Horse Regiment (Gwydir Regiment). Although the
Gwydir Regiment was
not to appear until 1937, mounted troops were raised from the
districts of Armidale,
Inverell, Glen Innes and Moree from 1897.
b. 16 ALH (HRL);
(1) 16th Light Horse Machine Gun Regiment (HRL) AAO 83/1937
17. By 1938 saw yet another change to the reorganisation of Cavalry
in NSW. The 12th, 24th and 15th Light Horse Regiments remained part of
2nd Cavalry Brigade with the 16th Light Horse (MG, HRL) as the Machine
Gun Regiment for the 2nd Cavalry Brigade.
WORLD WAR II
18. With the outbreak of World War II, the 12th, 16th and 24th
Regiments were called up for one month training and raised to their
war establishment. Towards the end of 1941 the Regiments were placed
on full time duty with new designation, they were:
a. The 12th Light Horse Regiment (NELH) now 12th Motor Regiment (NELH)
March 1942. ALHQ A08/1942
b. The 16th Light Horse (MG) Regiment (HRL) now 16th MG Regiment
(Hunter River Lancers)
effective 1 December 1941.
19. The 12th Regiment, after being a Motor Regiment for a period
without motors, was again reformed in 1942 as the 12th Australian
Armoured Car Regiment (NELH), effective 21 September 1942. The 16th MG
Regiment (Hunter River Lancers) was also reformed to become the 16th
Motor Regiment (HRL) effective 14 March 1942. ALHQ A08/1942
20. By 1942, with the threat of Japanese invasion passed and island
warfare not generally suited to armour, it was apparent the two
Australian Armoured Divisions, the 1st and 3rd, would be disbanded. By
July 1943 the 16th Motor Regiment (HRL) was disbanded. The 12th
Australian Armoured Car Regiment (NELH) followed in October 1943 with
the last men being marched out in March 1944. The 24th Light Horse
Regiment amalgamated with the 165 Aust General Transport A.I.F. in
THE CITIZENS MILITARY FORCES
21. In 1948 with the reformation of the CMF, the 12/16 Armoured
Regiment (Hunter River Lancers) was formed incorporating the
traditions of the 12th, 16th, 24th and their past regiments. It was
redesignated the 12th/16th Hunter River Lancers in 1949, AAO 55/1949.
The Regiment was equipped with Matilda Tanks. The disposition of the
Regiment at this time was, Regimental Headquarters at Muswellbrook and
Tank Squadrons at Maitland, Muswellbrook, Tamworth and Armidale.
22. During the 1950s Regimental Headquarters was moved to Tamworth
and the tanks were replaced with Staghound Armoured Cars and Ferret
Scout Cars. The 1960s saw another change to the role and equipment.
The Regiment was re-rolled as an Armoured Personnel Carrier Regiment,
its main equipment being Humber 4x4 one-ton trucks, White Scout Cars
and Ferret Scout Cars. By 1967 some of these vehicles were replaced
with the M113A1 Armoured Personnel Carrier.
23. In 1972 the role was again changed to an ‘Australian Armoured
Corps Regiment’ this included all three Armoured roles,
reconnaissance, Armoured Personnel Carriers and Tank. Regimental
Headquarters, Headquarter Squadron and Technical Squadron were located
at Tamworth, A Squadron (Reconnaissance) at Armidale and B Squadron
(APC) at Muswellbrook. C squadron would become the Tank squadron when
24. The Regiment was again reorganised in 1976 to a Reconnaissance
Regiment and equipped with the 76mm Fire Support Vehicle (FSV) and
later the Medium Reconnaissance Vehicle (MRV) as well as the M113A1.
25. The role was again changed in 1987 to its present role, as an
Armoured Personnel Carrier Regiment. The disposition of the 12th/16th
Hunter River Lancers Regiment (APC) at present is:
KING’S COLOURS - SOUTH AFRICA
1. During 1903, in recognition of their valuable services to the
Empire during the South African War, the Secretary of State for the
Colonies informed the Commonwealth Government that "Colours"
had been specially designed and prepared for presentation to various
Colonial Contingents that had served in the South African War.
2. At Melbourne, on Monday the 14 November 1904, in commemoration
of the Birthday of His Majesty King Edward VII, 18 Light Horse
Regiments, the Royal Australian Artillery and the Australian Army
Medical Corps were presented "King’s Colours" (actually
King's Banners). Detachments
of one Officer and two others selected from each Regiment attended as
representatives of their respective Units to receive the Banners.
3. The 4th Australian Light Horse Regiment (NSW Lancers) (16 LH HRL)
a. Captain C. E. Nicholson, RSM T. Watson and Sgt-Major
4. The 6th Australian Light Horse Regiment (Australian Horse) (12
LH NELH) representatives were:
a. Lt Colonel The Hon Rubert Carrington, RSM R.D. Faser and
Sgt-Major A.J. Bollard.
5. The 4th Light Horse Banner was laid up at St Paul’s Church
West Maitland, however, it was destroyed during the 1955 Maitland
6. The 6th Light Horse Banner is laid up at the Holy Trinity Church
KING’S COLOURS - FIRST WORLD WAR
7. Like the South African War, King’s
"Colours" (Banners) were again
presented to Light Horse Regiments that had served in the First World
War, however, unlike the Infantry battalions they were not to be emblazoned. The 12th Light Horse (NELH) was presented their King’s
Banner by H.E. Sir Ronald Munro Fergusson on the 14 August 1920. The
location of this Colour/Banner is unknown.
8. From 1913, Light Horse Regiments were entitled to bear Guidons,
but it was not until 1926 that the Military Board Instructions was
published giving design details, the regiments and Battle Honours for
the First World War to be presented.
9. The 12th Light Horse (NELH) was presented with their first
Guidon at Tenterfield in 1928, by Mr N.N. Danger Esq of Armidale, and
paid for by Regimental Funds. It was laid up at St Peters Cathedral
Armidale in 1991.
10. The second 12th Light Horse Guidon was presented by General
P.C. Gration A.O., O.B.E. on the 31 October 1987. The 12/16 Hunter
River Lancers is the Custodian of this Guidon.
11. The Guidon of the 12th Light Horse Regiment bears the following
South Africa 1899-1900
12. Although the 16th Light Horse (HRL) did not serve overseas
during the First World War it was given a Guidon in recognition of the
many members from the regiment who served with other units. The first
Guidon was issued at Dungog in 1928 and was laid up at St Paul’s
Church West Tamworth in 1960. In 1976 it was transferred to the
Australian War Memorial.
13. The second 16th Light Horse Guidon was present by HRH Princess
Alexandria in 1959 at Tamworth NSW. The 12/16 Hunter River Lancers is
the Custodian of this Guidon.
MOTTOS OF THE REGIMENTS
15. Each Regiment acquired its own badge and motto. The mottoes of
each Regiment are as follows:
a. The 4 ALH (HRL) used the motto of the New South Lancers
et Fidelis", translated meaning 'Steadfast and Faithful'.
b. The 6 ALH (NELH) initially used the motto of the Australian
Horse 'Hearth and Homes'.'Hearth and Homes'. However, in 1907 the 6 ALH (NELH)
adopted the motto of " "Virtutis Foruna Comes",
translated meaning 'Fortune is the Companion of Valour'.
c. "Virtutis Foruna Comes" "Virtutis Foruna Comes" Is the motto used by
the 12/16 HRL today.
16. The 12th/16th Hunter River Lancers is affiliated with the
a. The Royal Scots Greys (2nd Dragoons);
b. The 16th/5th The Queen’s Royal Lancers. Last re-confirmed AAO
17. The Regiment March "Our Director"
18. The Regiment Flag was authorised MBI 22/1955
FREEDOM OF ENTRY