Alfred John Lane
Service number 2344

Private Alfred Lane was wounded in action in the last months of the war as the Allies launched their final offensive against the German army.

Alf, as he was known to his family, was 19 years old when he enlisted on the same day as his older brothers, Solomon Lane and Henry Lane – June 5, 1916.

All three were to have been part of the 4th reinforcements of the 41st Battalion, but Henry was transferred to the 49th Battalion.

With his brother Solomon, Alf embarked from Brisbane on the Boonah on October 21, arriving in England at Plymouth on January 10, 1917.

They were training at Durrington in Wiltshire when Solomon became ill with influenza on February 2. Nine days later he was dead.

Alf was left, literally to soldier on without either of his brothers, and embarked for France via Folkestone on April 19.

The next entry in his service record shows that on May 4 Alf forfeited five days pay – the considerable sum of 25 shillings – as punishment for talking without permission on the line of march.

In early May, Alf was finally sent to the front in Belgium. After playing a support role at the Battle of Messines in early June, the 41st Battalion was ordered to establish a new front line west of Warneton later that month and came under intense German shellfire for 18 days.

In August, the battalion endured continual rain and flooded trenches, as well as more heavy shelling, which all took their toll, reducing some of the platoons to fewer than 10 men.

Alf was with the 41st when it achieved its objectives at Broodseinde in October. The battalion was fortunate to avoid the carnage which occurred during the fighting at Passchendaele a few weeks later.

His service record shows that Alf was granted a week’s leave in England from February 16, 1918 and then returned to the front.

“Fortunate to avoid the carnage at Passchendaele.”

It was almost a year after the war before he returned home.

In late March, he reported sick and was out of action for months with dermatitis while his comrades in the 41st countered the Germans’ last major offensive of the war.

Alf rejoined his battalion on August 5, just days before the Allies launched their own offensive.

The 41st was part of the initial attack on August 8 and then the determined advance during August and September.

Wounded in action on August 24, Alf was evacuated to England suffering a gunshot wound to the right forearm.

He never returned to the front and was in England when the war ended, although it was almost a year before he could return home.

Alf left England on the HT Plassy on September 5, 1919 and arrived in Australia on October 30. He was discharged from the Army on December 12.

In 1922, Alf married Ida Adams. Their first child was born that year, a son they named Solomon in memory of Alf’s late brother. The couple also had two daughters, Constance born in 1926 and Esme born in 1932.

Alf passed away in 1978, aged 81.

Alf married Ida Adams in 1922. They named their first son Solomon, in memory of Alf’s late brother.


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