Obituary: David G. Lance

On April 14 2014, former IASA President David Lance passed away in Canberra, Australia in the presence of his partner Lorraine Thomson, his two sons Bill and Andy, and their mother, Kay Chee.
David was Keeper of the Department of Sound Records of the Imperial War Museum in London when some of us met him for the first time at an Oral History Conference in Leicester in 1972. In the UK he was one of the pioneers of oral historical research which became part of the efforts of several IASA member archives throughout the world. David’s project of interviewing survivors from the Battle of Jutland  (1916) was remarkable. It made clear the suffering and endurance of those common seamen who play so little role in official war histories. His interviews with war survivors can still be heard in the sound archives of the Imperial War Museum.
David LanceIn IASA David´s role soon took another turn. In 1975 in Montreal he was elected Secretary General of the Association, succeeding Rolf Schuursma in that function. Indeed, after the first six years of getting things off the ground  IASA was ready for the more professional approach of the three ‘angry young men’: the new President Dietrich Schüller, Treasurer Léo LaClare and David Lance. Amongst many other things David was active in building a network of National Branches that soon became one of the pillars of the organization. After serving six years as secretary he was elected as IASA´s fifth President. In 1984 in Como, Italy, David ended his outstanding career in the Association moving his field of action to the Far East in 1979, where he was instrumental in setting up the Oral History Unit in the National Archives of Singapore. The program recorded interviews with Singaporeans who had memories of significant historical events and included information from a large spectrum of Singaporean society.  
In the mid-1980s, David and his family moved to Canberra, Australia, where he became the Curator of Audio-visual records at the Australian War Memorial, moving on to the Assistant Directorship. His last professional position was as Manager of Policy Development at the Museum of Australia.
After his retirement, David pursued many volunteer roles, such as working with the Red Cross, Lifeline (a telephone counseling service for people with emotional problems), and broadcasting for Print Handicapped Radio. He became involved with the local Quaker community. Throughout his life, he maintained friendships with his IASA colleagues, and many of us will remember him as a truly great President of the Association. Vale, David.
Rolf Schuursma and Grace Koch

* Photo courtesy and copyright of the Imperial War Museum, London, England. Image ID: IWM/83/31/12. Caption: Reception to mark the departure of the Keeper of the Department of Sound Records, Mr David Lance, 29 July 1983.  Mr David Lance with the clock presented to him by the Museum.