Henry William Lane
Service number 3429

The war ended for Private Henry Lane in April 1918, when he suffered gunshot wounds to the leg and upper arm as his battalion took on the Germans at Dernancourt.

Like his younger brother, Alf, who was also wounded in the arm during the fierce fighting of 1918, Henry was out of action for the remainder of the war.

Henry, known to his family and friends as Dick, enlisted with his two younger brothers Solomon Lane and Alfred Lane on June 5, 1916.

A son of James and Elizabeth Lane, of Canungra, Henry had just turned 24 and had been working as a musterer with Solomon at Longreach when they joined up.

The three brothers were initially part of the 4th reinforcements of the 41st Battalion.

However, when Solomon and Alf left Brisbane on the Boonah bound for England in October, Henry remained behind with the Compound Company at Lytton Camp.

On December 22, 1916, he was assigned to the 7th reinforcements of the 41st Battalion but was then transferred to the 9th reinforcements of the 49th Battalion on January 19.

Five days later, Henry embarked from Sydney on the Ayrshire, but not before assigning three fifths of his army pay – three shillings a day – to his friend, Mrs Ellen Williams, of Canungra.

The 49th Battalion, comprising mostly Queenslanders, and reinforcements from Australia like Henry and veterans of the Gallipoli campaign, had been raised in Egypt in February 1916.

Henry arrived in England at Devonport on April 12 and began training at Codford. It was almost five months before he left for the Western Front, joining his battalion just before it fought in the battle of Polygon Wood, in Belgium, on September 26.

“Enlisted on the same day with his two brothers.”

Suffered gunshot wounds to the upper arm and leg.

Illness and injury kept Henry out of action from November until February, when he rejoined his unit.

In late March, the German army launched a major offensive in France and the 49th Battalion was part of Australia’s 4th Division defending positions around Dernancourt.

It was there that Henry was wounded in action on April 5, 1918, when the 49th had helped to repel a large German attack, before launching a crucial counter-attack of its own later that day.

With gunshot wounds to the upper arm and leg, Henry was evacuated to England.

He was admitted to the Norfolk War Hospital, Norwich, on April 11, suffering not only gunshot wounds but also a compound fracture of the upper arm.

After being discharged from hospital two months later, Henry embarked on the HT Matatua on June 17.

He was back in Australia and had been discharged from the Army on September 24 when the war ended.

Henry married Mary Ellen Adams on June 2, 1919. He passed away in 1985, aged 93.

He outlived his younger brother, Solomon – who had died of influenza soon after arriving in England in 1917 – by almost 70 years.

The youngest of the brothers to serve, Alf, had suffered a gunshot wound to the right forearm during the last months of the war. He passed away in 1978, aged 81.

Henry married Mary ‘Nen’ Adams on June 2, 1919.


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