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James Robert Lane enlisted into the Territorial Force on 5th November 1914 and joined the 5th (Home Service) Battalion of the Loyal North Lancashire Regiment with the number 3246, later 241247.

At the time of his enlistment he was working as a bleacher and living in his father’s house at 81 Loxham Street, Bolton and had no previous military service. The medical officer described James as being 18 years 7 months old, 5ft 5in tall with a 34in chest.

James was initially embodied into the 2/5th (Territorial) Battalion but spent 3 months with the 42nd Prov. Bn between June and September 1915 before signing a declaration serve overseas and returning to the 2/5th to commence training.

He sailed to France with the main body of the 2/5th Bn. on 9th February 1917 and was wounded in action on 2nd April 1917 with a shrapnel wound to his back. James rejoined the Battalion on the 7th April.

Private James Robert Lane was awarded the Meritorious Service Medal (M.S.M), with 6d per day pension, for an act of gallantry on 6th May 1917. His citation explains;

For Conspicuous Gallantry

At ROUGE DE BOUT on the 6th May 1917 at 09.15 p.m.  Private Lane was unpriming Mills Hand Grenades at CHARRED POST. He had removed the igniters of a large number but found that one particular grenade presented a certain amount of difficulty when drawing it from it’s compartment in the box. When he had partially extracted it from the box the lever arm flew off and the grenade commenced to fire. This man immediately shouted to five others who were in close to him to ‘get down’. Private Lane managed the withdrawal of the bomb from the box and threw it away before it exploded. The grenade then exploded causing no casualties.

But for Private Lane’s presence of mind and coolness in giving the timely warning to ‘Get down’ and completing the withdrawal of the bomb from the box the grenade would have burst in the box of bombs which would have caused serious casualties to the men in the vicinity.

In July 1917 he was appointed Lance Corporal, unpaid.

On 26th October 1917, Lance Corporal James Robert Lane was killed in action at Poelcappelle.

At 05:40 hrs on 26th October three companies of the 2/5th Battalion began to attack the enemy. The ground was almost impassible and the Battalion struggled to use their rifles or Lewis guns and had to rely on the bayonet. In this manner the Battalion accounted for some 500 of the enemy and captured eight German machine guns. Casualties had been heavy and included Lance Corporal James Lane.

His father, John Lane, later took receipt of his late son’s M.S.M, British War Medal and Victory Medal.

James Robert Lane is remembered on the Tyne Cot Memorial.

Rank: Lance Corporal
Service No: 241247
Date of Death: 26/10/1917
Regiment/Service: The Loyal North Lancashire Regiment, 2nd/5th Bn.
Awards: M S M

Paul McCormick
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