Lane, Bertram Charles. Died 13th Oct 1917

An Apology – this article was originally scheduled to be posted on 9 November 2017, but the subsequent discovery of an article in the Rugby Advertiser published today, showed that Bertram Lane died somewhat earlier than originally believed. That article also provided some further information which allowed the biography to be updated before its tardy publication.

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Bertram Charles LANE was born in Watford in 1892/3, near Rugby, but in Northamptonshire. His birth was registered in Q1, 1893 in Daventry [3b, 113].   He was baptised on 26 February 1893 in Watford. His father was a ‘wagoner’.

He was the third of three sons of William and Fanny, née Collett, Lane, and he also had two younger sisters. His parents were both from Kingham in Oxfordshire and had married in mid 1888, and had moved to Watford before 1889 when their first son was born.   In 1901 they were living in Home Lane, Watford and William was a ‘Timber wagoner’

Bertram’s father died before 1911, when Bertram was with his widowed mother and the family and they were living at 76 Bath Street, Rugby. He was then working as a ‘clerk’ for an ‘electrical engineering company’, probably BTH, as just before the war he was working in the BTH Drawing Office.

A later memorial notice suggested that he joined up ‘… at the beginning of the War, …’[1] This was not clear in the Service Records that survive for Bertram. He enlisted as a Rifleman, No.Z2331 in the Rifle Brigade.

It is not known into which Battalion he was initially posted.   However, the date of 30 April 1915 on one Medal Card, for his Silver War Badge, was probably his last date on ‘Home Service’, as he went to France on 1 May 1915. Three Battalions of the Rifle Brigade all went to France in May, and it seems likely that Bertram was in either the 7th, 8th or 9th Service Battalion which were in the 41st, 41st and 42nd Brigades respectively and all in the 14th (Light) Division.

The 7th, 8th and 9th Service Battalions were all formed in Winchester on 21 August 1914, went to Aldershot, moved elsewhere for training and then back to Winchester. In May 1915 they moved to France and landed at Boulogne. At some date Bertram was promoted to Lance-Corporal.   In 1915 the three Battalions were all involved when the Germans made their gas attack at Hooge, and the 9th Bn. also took part in the Battle of Loos. In 1916, the 7th and 9th Bns., took part in the Battle of Delville Wood (15 July – 3 September 1916), and the Battle of Flers-Courcelette (15 – 22 September 1916), both during the Battle of the Somme – the 8th Bn. was also involved at Flers-Courcelette.

A later article records ‘…On September 11, 1916, he was severely wounded in the head by shrapnel, and after spending a considerable time in a base hospital in France and King George’s Hospital, London, …’.[2]   This suggests that he was wounded during the constant ongoing actions and shelling on the Somme, between the dates of the above two main battles.

He survived, and as confirmed above, would have been evacuated through the casualty clearing system, to a French Base Hospital and then to UK. On 25 April 1917 he was discharged under ‘King’s Regulations Para 392 (xvi) – No longer physically fit for service – Wounds’.   A note on his Medal Card refers to ‘see B E Lane for SWB’ – that was the Silver War Badge which was awarded to injured soldiers who could no longer serve and this avoided the harassment that was received by those men out of uniform that the public thought should be joining up and serving their country.

Bertram Charles Lane was awarded the British War and Victory Medals and the 1915 Star. His War Medal had to be returned for correction as it had been incorrectly stamped. As mentioned, he also held the Silver War Badge as he had been wounded.

Bertram had ‘… enjoyed fairly good health until a fortnight before his death, …’ which occurred on Saturday, 13 October 1917, at St Cross Hospital, Rugby,[3] his death being registered in Q4 1917 [Rugby, 6d, 681]. He was 24, ‘the son of Mrs. Lane, Eardaley House, Bath Street’. He was buried in grave ref: J552 at Clifton Road Cemetery.[4] As he had died later and in UK, it seems that his grave was not marked nor his death listed by the Commonwealth War Graves Commission, although he probably should have been on the CWGC lists as he was reported to have ‘died as a result of wounds received in action’ and he should perhaps still be included.[5]

A memorial notice in the Rugby Advertiser noted,
LANE.—In ever-loving memory of our dear friend, BERT, who died 13th October, 1917, from wounds received in France.—Nell and Ernie.

Bertram Charles Lane was also commemorated on the Rugby Memorial Gates in Hillmorton Road, Rugby; on the BTH List of ‘Employees Who Served’; and on the BTH War Memorial.[6]

 

RUGBY REMEMBERS HIM

– – – – – –

 

This article on Bertram Charles Lane was researched and written for the Rugby Family History Group [RFHG] project, by John P H Frearson and is © John P H Frearson and the RFHG, July 2017.

[1]       Rugby Advertiser, 20 October 1917.

[2]       Rugby Advertiser, 20 October 1917.

[3]       Rugby Advertiser, 20 October 1917.

[4]       From a list of names on the RFHG CD of Monumental Inscriptions and the RFHG website.

[5]         http://www.infromthecold.org/war_grave_criteria.asp

[6]       The List is that published in the Rugby Advertiser, 4 November 1921.

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