A bit player in Norwood’s stellar premiership year of 1907, Lance Dean proved his mettle a decade later on the battlefields of the Great War.
Lance was born to Brigadier-General George Dean and his wife Florence, née Smith, at Kensington Park on 4 April 1886. He had a sister and five brothers. He competed in football, cricket and rowing at St Peter’s College.
Young Lance found it hard to break into league ranks as Norwood gathered strength in 1907. He was given just three opportunities. In his debut match early in the season, Norwood showed its potential with a 10.18 to 5.7 victory over Sturt. He kicked a goal in the 11.7 to 2.6 demolition of West Torrens at Norwood on 22 June. He gained selection one more time, when leading ruckmen Charlie Gwynne and Lance Lewis were unavailable. In slippery conditions, sterling defence by Harold Stoddart was a key factor in Norwood‘s 5.12 to 3.7 defeat of West Adelaide.
Norwood dismissed minor premier Port Adelaide in the last two finals to take the premiership and then went on to beat Carlton for the Championship of Australia.
Lance married Ellice Tarlton Phillips at Norwood in 1911. They would have sons David and Robert and twin daughters, Biddy and Sue.
Lance trained as an NCO in Adelaide and in October 1915 was appointed to the 18th Battalion, 6th Brigade Field Artillery, as a bombardier. He was 29 years old, 172 cm and 72 kg when he disembarked at Suez in December 1915. Appointed a corporal in January 1916, he was promoted to 2nd lieutenant in Ismailia, Egypt, in March, and transferred to the 22nd Field Ambulance Brigade in France in May. Appointed lieutenant in the field in August 1916, he was sent to England for a short time to recover from neuritis before returning to France and joining the 2nd Division Artillery.
Lance was wounded in action on 4 August 1917. He convalesced in England, rejoined his unit on 6 October and was promoted to captain on 3 May 1918. At the end of hostilities, he arrived back in Adelaide aboard the Hospital Transport Shropshire and disembarked on 8 July 1919. The London Gazette of 5 April 1919 named Captain G. L. Dean as a recipient of the Belgian Croix de Guerre, awarded for “conspicuous services rendered by a member of the Australian Infantry Force” . . . decoration conferred by His Majesty the King of Belgians.
A grazier, Lance lived for a time in Victoria and later settled at Kalangadoo. He was 82 when he died on 26 October 1968. He is buried in the Kalangadoo Cemetery
P Robins, D Cox, G Adams May 2020