Unit: 1st Battalion
Service Number: 13777
Date of Death: 12 July 1916 – Killed in Action
Age: 20 years
Cemetery / Memorial: Thiepval Memorial
Grave / Panel Ref.: Pier and Face 1.C.
John was born in the June quarter 1896 in Oasby, Lincolnshire, the son of John (Agricultural Labourer) and Louisa (née Burton) Lane. He had an older sister, Mary, born in 1895, and a younger brother, Frank, who died in 1901, aged 3.
John’s mother, Louisa, died in the June quarter 1899, aged 35, and in 1901 father, John, and the three children were living in Haydor, Oasby (Census RG 13/3056).
John’s father was quite a lot older than his mother had been, having been married before to Sarah (née Rollings) who had died in 1893. He died, aged 69, in the March quarter 1905. The 1911 Census (RG 14/19655) John and his sister, Mary, were living at Stroxton and Wyville, Lincolnshire, in the home of their uncle and aunt, Frank and Alice Elizabeth Creasey and their three young children. Alice Elizabeth (née Rollings) was the sister of his father’s first wife Sarah Rollings. John was working as a “Farm Labourer”.
In reporting John’s death “The Sleaford Gazette” read: “ROLL OF HONOUR. News has reached Ruskington that Pte. John Edward Lane, of the Lincolnshire Regiment, was killed in action in France on July 12th last. He was the nephew of Mrs. Alfred Couling, Sleaford Road. Although not a Ruskingtonian, being born at Oasby, he spent a deal of time here, being employed by Mr. Read and later by Mr. Charles Flintburn in Ruskington Fen.”
“Mrs Alfred Couling” was Margaret (née Creasey), another aunt, the sister of Frank Creasey, whose family John was living with in 1901 (above). She was married to (George) Alfred Couling and in 1911 (RG 14/19618) they were living at Jubilee Street, Ruskington, with the youngest two of their five children. “Mr. Charles Flintburn” has not been found, but “Mr. Read” is probably Charles Thomas Reed, a Farmer, who the 1911 Census shows living at Ruskington Fen with his wife, Fanny, their two young children, and three farm servants.
In November 1916 John’s ‘effects’ totalling £5 16s 11d (£5.85 – equivalent in value to about £630 today – 2023) was returned to his sister, now Mrs Mary Ogden. In December 1919 she received a further £9 (about £375 today) as a War Gratuity.
When reporting John’s death “The Sleaford Gazette” gave this detail about his War Service: “ROLL OF HONOUR. …………. He joined the Lincolns in 1914, soon after the War broke out and was drafted to France, May 4th, 1915. He contracted rheumatic fever, and was sent to Springboro Hospital, near Glasgow.
When fit for service again he was sent to Gallipoli in October 1915. While there he was unfortunate enough to get frost bite in his feet, and sent to Egypt for treatment, and afterwards sent home on to Old Mill Hospital in Scotland to recuperate. When better he again went to France in June last and soon into action again where he received his fatal wounds.”
John’s Medal Index Card shows that he was posted to France on 4 May 1915. However, the 1st Lincolns did not serve in Gallipoli, so after his rehabilitation in Springboro Hospital, it seems he was transferred to the 6th Battalion.
The 6th Battalion Lincolnshire Regiment was raised in August 1914 and sailed for Gallipoli in July 1915. Upon arrival, the Battalion was almost immediately thrown into action at the Suvla Bay landings on 6 August 1915. The 6th Lincolns continued to serve at Gallipoli until the evacuation of Suvla. On 17 June 1916 they were ordered back to France, arriving on the front line on 29 July – two weeks after John was killed.
The ‘Service Medals and Award Rolls’ confirm that after again being treated in Scotland, after his return from Egypt, this time at the Old Mill Hospital, John re-joined the 1st Battalion and was posted back to France to be ready for The Somme Offensive.
The Battle of Albert (1–13 July 1916) is the British name for the first two weeks of British–French offensive operations of the Battle of the Somme. The Allied preparatory artillery bombardment commenced on 24 June and the British–French infantry attacked on 1 July. It was towards the end of this Battle that John was killed. He has no known grave and is now commemorated on The Thiepval Memorial to the Missing.
It is clear why John’s name was not included in the various Ruskington War Memorials, as he never really lived in the village. He is commemorated on the Lincolnshire Regiment WW1 Roll of Honour (right), held in Lincoln.
- “History of the Lincolnshire Regiment 1914-1918″ by Maj. Gen. S.R. Simpson CB. [Reprint: ISBN 9781843423553]
- “The Sleaford Gazette” 19 August 1916