James Lance (Lance) TAPLIN

TAPLIN, James Lance

Service Number: SX9977
Enlisted: 2 August 1940, Adelaide, SA
Last Rank: Lieutenant
Last Unit: Not yet discovered
Born: Hamley Bridge, South Australia, 18 June 1918
Home Town: Balaklava, Wakefield, South Australia
Schooling: Dawson, Peterborough Primary and High , South Australia
Occupation: Stock and Station Agent, Goldsborough Mort and Company
Died: 12 February 1994, aged 75 years, cause of death not yet discovered, place of death not yet discovered
Cemetery: Not yet discovered
Memorials: Balaklava District WW2 Roll of Honour
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World War 2 Service

2 Aug 1940: Involvement Lieutenant, SX9977
2 Aug 1940: Enlisted Adelaide, SA
2 Aug 1940: Enlisted Australian Military Forces (Army WW2), Lieutenant, SX9977
10 Jul 1945: Discharged
10 Jul 1945: Discharged Australian Military Forces (Army WW2), Lieutenant, SX9977

Second Generation to Serve

James Lance Taplin
The Taplin family served in both World Wars. Initially an auctioneer with Elder Smith and Company, Lansley Edison Taplin (Lance) had been a member of the A Squadron, 3rd Light Horse Regiment for three years when he enlisted for WWI, aged 21 years, serving in Egypt, France and England. While serving, he married Evelyn Beatrice Dorrington in London on the 18th September, 1916.
Despite contracting a severe case of malaria and later, being wounded in action in November of 1917 he remained on duty. He rapidly rose through the ranks with his papers recording that he was ‘brought to the notice of Sec. of State for War valuable Services rendered in connection with the War’ to become Captain, serving in London at Administration Headquarters. It was there that he learned of the arrival of his son, James Lance who was born on the 18th June, 1918 at Sister Whitford's Private Hospital at Hamley Bridge. A second son, Colin was also born in January 1920 at the same hospital.
James Lance (Lance) and Bryan Holmes were born 7 months apart but were firm friends whose love of the outdoors created many memorable moments and escapedes.
1924 Post War, Lance (Snr) was the popular manager of Bagot, Shakes & Lewis Ltd based at Peterborough, the large mid-north Railway hub. He travelled extensively with his work, including the North-Eastern Pastoral country and Far North, 90 miles beyond Copley. Lance (Snr) was heavily involved in the community as an energetic and popular President of the Peterborough Racing Club and also as a Judge in these events and also as a golfer. He was also chairman of the Dawson School, arranging a popular dance, queen and euchre competition in his woolshed to raise funds to provide accessories for the school, including swings, see-saws and bars, for the children’s playground.
Young Lance was a talented athlete with the local paper reporting of the School Picnic in 1927 being held in Mr Renton’s paddock. Lance won the 9 – 11-year-old run and three-legged race with Wilbur Chapman. Brother Colin came second in the 6 – 9-year sprint group. Lance also performed creditably in the Grade 7 test where he attended Peterborough Primary School. Lance continued to excel at athletics at Peterborough High School in 1932, winning the Junior Champion trophy which included the 75, 100, 120- and 135-yard races as well as the running broad jump and high jump, scoring an impressive overall total of 27 points. (Coincidentally the older brother of Bryan, Ralph Holmes won the Senior Champion Trophy.) By 1934 Lance had also gained his Grade II Woodwork Certificate from the Peterborough Woodwork Centre.
Bryan and Lance learnt to refine their shooting skills on the Taplin farm, especially after the two boys were roundly reprimanded for shooting and spoiling the meat and skins of rabbits by using heart shots. Subsequent eye shots resulted in increased skin money to purchase more ammunition. Of course, the lads would also drink at the relatively isolated Dawson Hotel, where reputedly they could post a lookout at the high cutting from Peterborough to spot the lights of any police who may come across the creeks and flats. Leaving school aged 15 and a half, Lance (Snr) organised a job for Bryan a Stock and Station agency, Goldsborough Mort and Company in 1932. While Bryan owned and rode an Indian motor bike (frequently with a galah called Cocky on his shoulder) technically he could not have a licence until he turned 16. Lance (Snr) wrote to the Adelaide Office of Goldsborough for them to get Bryan’s licence (there were no formal driver testing requirements in those years). This was posted to Bryan after his birthday so he could then legally drive the company car or the powerful Indian Scout motor bike.
Lance (Jnr) had also been working on the staff of Goldsborough, Mort & Co. at Balaklava while Bryan was at Minnipa. For the two young men, starting pay was $80 per year, paid monthly. Working days were finished when all the tasks were done, not when the clock indicated.
It was inevitable that Lance (Jnr) would also become involved in local activities. He excelled at Golf, including winning the prestigious Stableford Bogey in 1936 with 391/4 points. The local Times and Northern Advertiser reported that ‘Starting with a "birdie" four at the first, he was one over leaving the third. He came home in par figures to be out in 39 (incidentally he scored points on every hole). The second nine were done in 41 and Lance only missed scoring at the 11th where he took 5.’
With the outbreak of war in 1939, the Goldsborough Mort Company quickly became short staffed as their young men enlisted. Bryan’s West Coast Supervisor asked him to delay enlisting and temporarily transfer to Burra, which he did. The Blyth Agriculturalist reported that Lance and Bryan had ‘Answered the Call of Duty’ finally enlisted from there in 1940. Officially Bryan is recorded as having enlisted in Adelaide on July 6th and Lance on August 2nd. Lance’s younger brother, Colin also enlisted in September of the same year. Lance became SX9977, serving in the 2/9 Aust Armoured Regiment, attending AIF camp in August 1940. Prior to going overseas, his parents travelled to Adelaide to see him depart. Balaklava, however, had not only been the work place for Lance.
A young resident, Joan Margaret Wreford was a very social, fun-loving young woman who had been involved in the organising of an annual ball for Balaklava Bachelor and Spinsters called the Nonnoms and was also on the Sport Queen’s committee 1940. Home on leave in July of 1942, Lance and Jean became engaged, then just two months later, the young couple married at St. Peter's College Chapel on September 21. Because of the war, the marriage was quietly celebrated.
While Lance (Snr) had a bout of illness in May of 1940, he was able to return to work at the Balaklava office of Goldsborough, Mort & Co. Ltd after convalescing for two and a half months. While Lance was home on leave in May of 1943 he stayed with his parents at Peterborough. By the end of that year, Lance (Snr) decided to retire as manager of Goldsborough Mort in November, purchasing the well-known sheep stud property, ‘Roachdale’ near Terowie. Lance’s involvement in golf and Evelyn’s executive membership of the Red Cross were some of the activities they had been heavily involved with at Peterborough.
Within 18 months of moving, and in a shock to the family, Lance (Snr) died suddenly at a private hospital in May of 1945 following an operation. He was just 51 years of age. Both sons, Lance (Second A.l.F.), and Colin R.A.A.F.), were serving overseas at the time. His remains were privately and peacefully laid to rest in the Centennial Park Cemetery.
After the war, Joan and Lance had three sons born on January 29th 1946, January 12th 1948 at Terowie and December 22nd at the Peterborough Soldiers’ Memorial Hospital.
Aged 75 years, Lance died on February 12th 1994
Researched and written by Kaye Lee, daughter of Bryan Holmes SX8133 2/48th

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