The Royal New South Wales Lancers

The Museum's Founder

LTCOL PV Vernon OBE EDLieutenant Colonel Philip Venables Vernon OBE ED can be credited with founding the New South Wales Lancers Memorial Museum.

He is pictured as we will remember him, impeculously dressed, and a tireless worker, alongside the Regimental Memorial, at the Centenary Celebrations of the Regiment in 1985.

As treasurer of the Museum Appeal Committee, was responsible for raising the money and sponsorship which enabled relocation of our magnificent museum building, and assembly of the collection. Philip wrote and assembled both editions of the Regimental History, and was an active museum worker into the 1990s.

Philip died at his Lindfield retirement residence in May 1999, he had been frail for some time. There was a substantial regimental, museum and association presence at his memorial service. Those of us who worked with him over the years will miss him greatly.

Philip served his country well, his military career is well summarised in the Regimental History.

"A son of H. V. Vernon, [and Grandson of W L Vernon (both former COs of the Regiment)] he was taken on the strength of the regiment, at Parramatta, 18/7/27; lieutenant, 26/8/31; resigned, 12/1/33; lieutenant, 4/9/35; temporary captain, 28/12/39; captain, A.I.F., 1/2/41; major, 23/12/42.

On 6/6/40 he was detached to Eastern Command Training Depot on full-time duty. After being seconded to the A.I.F. he became a squadron leader successively in the 2/11th Armoured Car Regiment and the 2/5th Armoured Regiment, which, being in the 1st Armoured Division, were held in Australia due to the threat of invasion by the Japanese. Interspersed with regimental duty were periods of staff service: G.S.O.3 (Operations), 1st Armoured Division; Acting G.S.O.3 (Operations), 3rd Australian Corps; D.A.A.G., Land Headquarters. On 27/7/45 he was transferred to the 2/4th Armoured Regiment; by the time he reached the unit in Bougainville hostilities were over and he was sent to New Britain with a detached squadron on garrison and security duties, being transferred to the Reserve, 8/2/46. Rejoining the Lancers in 1948, he was in command from 1/1/51 to 21/2/52 as a provisional Lieutenant-Colonel.

In civil life he was an accountant, and Honorary Secretary/Treasurer of the Museum Appeal Committee. [He was] awarded [an] O.B.E. in 1968." (Regimental History).

One event in Philip's career was celebrated by an exhibition in Sydney in 2000. Phillip as a young Lieutenant, had been the commander of the guard to the Governor General, Sir Isaac Isaacs during the opening of the Sydney Harbour Bridge in 1932. This was the guard that the then Captain de Groot a former member of the 15th Hussars (in World War II, de Groot served in the Australian Army, reaching the rank of Major) tagged along behind. de Groot was a member of a neo-fascist organisation the "New Guard", which had taken exception to the fact that the bridge was to be opened by a local politician. de Groot, wearing his wartime uniform, and mounted on a horse that was reputed to be "ill groomed"' was able to break away from the guard and gallop past the official party, slashing the opening ribbon with his sword before the Premier JT Lang could cut it with the official golden scissors.

The de Groot Exhibition 1999

The contribution of the Vernon family to the Regiment and Defence of Australia is commemorated by the restored turn of the century Staff Officer's House at Lancer Barracks. This was named "Vernon Hall" in 1987, as a memorial to all three Vernon family members who commanded the Regiment.

Vernon Hall

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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