Lance Corporal 17789 George Percy Lane

Lane George 96 428x600

Killed in Action on Saturday, 13th March 1915, age 21.
Commemorated on Panel 17 and 18 of Le Touret Memorial, Pas De Calais, France.

1st Bn., Worcestershire Regiment. 24th Brigade of 8th Division.

of Burnt Tree, Tipton, Staffs.
Born: Dudley, Enlisted: Dudley, Resident: Tipton.

First landed France & Flanders, before 1st January 1916.
Medal entitlement: 1914-15 Star, British War Medal, Victory Medal.
Soldier's Papers at National Archives did not survive.

Commemorated on the Tipton Library Memorial.
Commemorated here because he appears on a Tipton memorial.

Link to Commonwealth War Graves Site: www.cwgc.org/find-war-dead/casualty/855997/

Genealogical Data

1901 Census
29 Nelson Road, Dudley, Worcs.
Harry Lane (48, Restaurant Keeper, born Kidderminster), his wife Margaret (32, born Arley), and their 6 children: Harold (11, born Kidderminster), Dorothy (10, born Arley), Harry (9, born Dudley), George (7, born Dudley), John (6, born Dudley), and Wilfred (under 3 months, born Dudley).

1911 Census
7 Gilbert Street, Burnt Tree, Tipton, Staffs.
Margaret Lane (42, Widow, born Dudley), and 3 of her 6 surviving children of 8: Harry (19, Engine Fitter, born Dudley), George (17, Woolen Merchant's Assistant, born Dudley), and John (12, born Dudley).

Personal Data

None Available.

Action resulting in his death

The 1st Worcsters were attached to 24th Brigade in 8th Division, and landed in Le Havre on 5th/6th November 1914. They moved to the Neuve Chapelle area, where the line had stabilised after fierce fighting in October. The Germans still bombarded the lines with regularity and ferocity, and the Worcesters suffered from the cold after the extremes of Egypt. The Worcesters had 40 men killed in the area by the end of 1914, and 100 men by the commencement of the Battle of Neuve Chapelle.

The Battle of Neuve Chapelle raged from the 10th to 13th March 1915; it was intended to eliminate a German salient into the British lines, to break through their defensive lines and capture Aubers Ridge. This was originally planned to be in combination with a French attack on Vimy Ridge, but this was not carried out due to their resource constraints.

The Worcesters were to have attacked at 9.30am on 10th March as the second wave of 24th Brigade, but this was not possible because of delays on their left in clearing the 'Moated Grange'. At 2.00pm they temporarily assisted the 23rd Brigade on their left and suffered a number of casualties, and then at 4.30pm advanced eastwards until they met resistance near Piétre, and entrenched for the night. The 25th Brigade on the right had successfully captured Neuve Chapelle village by 8.30am, and, had communication allowed, this may have been the key to a more general breakthrough. Twenty Worcesters men had died on the opening day.

The next day, the 11th, was a day of confusion. The artillery attempted a bombardment of the German lines in front of the Worcesters but did not have an accurate location, and during the afternoon shelled an advance party of the Worcesters with numerous casualties. There were locally organised attacks in the morning before a more general attack in the afternoon which failed due to heavy German opposition, and the failure of the battalion on the Worcester's left flank.

At daybreak on the 12th, the Germans launched an attack against the Worcesters who waited until the Germans were 70 yards away before opening a devastating volley of rapid rifle fire. This halted the attack, and the Worcesters rose from their trench and counter-attacked with bayonet. This was successful with the Worcesters taking some ruined buildings just beyond the German front line. Unfortunately no reinforcements arrived, and the buildings were intermittently bombarded by our own artillery. Despite fighting off numerous German counter-attacks, it was obvious that this isolated position was untenable, and at about 10.00am the order was given to fall back to the initial line. This was across open ground, and the Worcesters lost many officers men in this operation, including the Commanding Officer, Lt. Col Wodehouse.

What was left of the 1st Worcesters was to attack again alongside the 2nd Devons at 3.00am on the 13th, but this was cancelled. Thus ended the 1st Worcesters action at Neuve Chapelle.

The casualty numbers, not surprisingly, are not accurate by day. The records show 11 men being killed on the 12th, but 105 on the 13th March when the action was almost over. It is probably better to say that the 1st Worcesters action at Neuve Chapelle resulted in the death of at least 12 officers and 150 men.

Like all the Tipton men killed at Neuve Chapelle, George has no known grave, and is commemorated on the Le Touret Memorial.

Newspaper Cuttings

Tipton Herald 10th April 1915
Official information has been received of the death (killed in action) of Lance Corporal George Lane of the 1st Worcesters, whose home is at Burnt Tree, Tipton. Private Lane joined the colours soon after the war broke out, and had never been home. He was a member of St Michael's Church, Tividale, and a pathetic circumstance connected with his death was that the Vicar (Rev Geoffrey Wynn-Griffiths) sent him one of the palms that are distributed at Church on Palm Sunday. The death of Pte. Lane (who was terribly injured in the head with a shell) has caused much sorrow amongst his companions and friends at Burnt Tree and Tividale. He was very highly esteemed and he had a promising future.

Tipton Herald 17th April 1915
In our last issue we recorded the death of Lance-Corporal Lane, of Burnt Tree, Tipton. The following letter has been received from Pte F. Baker, of the Worcesters: "When I say that he had a gallant end I mean it, because he was shot dead charging with his platoon at Neuve Chapelle. Poor boy, he was one of the best. I knew him well and had many a talk with him. He joined us with the reinforcement draft. I have spoken with his platoon sergeant, and perhaps he will write also, because he was next to him when he fell. Every man who came through that battle scratchless was lucky. It was like "hell on earth", but one never knows; in the midst of life we are in death. I would do my utmost to gather all the information about a lad who fought and died within about 30 yards of me. We are all brothers in these grim times. I didn't actually see him fall, but I was in close proximity. To tell the truth, we were mad when we saw our boys falling. You might give my kindest regards to his poor mother, and express my deepest sympathy."
Three brothers of Lance-Corporal Lane are now serving with the Colours, namely: Corpl Harold, A.S.C., Sergt Harry Lane, R.F.A., and Pte John Lane, Worcesters. The latter joined last week.

Tipton Herald 18th March 1916
Roll of Honour
LANE: In affectionate memory of Lance-Corporal George Lane (Burnt Tree) killed in action at Neuve Chapelle, March 1915, aged 21. Ever remembered by mother, brothers and sisters and Alice. RIP.

Tipton Herald 10th March 1917
LANE. In loving memory of Lance Corporal George Lane, Burnt Tree, who was killed in action at Neuve Chapelle, 1915. Always remembered by his mother, brothers, sister and Alice.
"A sad time recalled".

Tipton Herald 12th May 1917
Private Jack Lane of Burnt Tree has been seriously wounded in France, but is now going on as well as can be expected in an English military hospital. Two other brothers are still on active service, and one (Lance Corporal George Lane) fell in the fighting at Neuve Chapelle.