No.3162 Private Mark Walter Lane
Mark Walter Lane was born at Ararat in 1896 to Louisa Lane. His mother then married Edward Henry Thomas at Ararat in the following year.
At the time of his enlistment, he stated that his father was deceased, and his mother's name was completely different -from Louisa Lane to Mrs E. J. Pike. It may be that he was subsequently adopted.
Prior to enlisting in the A.I.F., Mark Lane lived in Rupert Street, West Footscray, and was working as a Driver.
At the age of 19 years and 3 months, Mark Lane swore his oath at Melbourne on 26 July 1915 and went into camp at Seymour for initial training. This was completed on 16 November 1915, and he was appointed as a reinforcement for the 24th Infantry Battalion.
Private Mark Lane embarked with the 7th Reinforcements for the 6th Infantry Brigade, 24th Infantry Battalion, per HMAT Commonwealth A73, at Melbourne on 26 November 1915.
The reinforcements sailed to Egypt where they continued their military training, prior to going to the Western Front.
On 7 February 1916, Private Lane was admitted to No 1 Auxiliary Hospital at Heliopolis, suffering with a hernia. His mother was sent a telegram by the A.I.F., advising that that her son had been admitted to the 1st Auxiliary Hospital in Cairo, with a mild hernia, on 7 February 1916. Unfortunately it could not be delivered because of insufficient address details on record.
March 1916 saw many troops preparing to leave Egypt and relocate to the Western Front in France. On 21 March 1916, Private Lane embarked from Alexandria per H.T. Oriana, to join the B.E.F. He didn’t travel with the 24th Battalion as they had sailed on the H.M.T. Michigan, H.M.T. Magdalena and the H.M.T. City of Edinburgh on the previous day, the 20 April 1916. Reinforcements for the 2nd & 26th & 28th Battalion and 2nd Light Horse also travelled with him on the voyage of the H.T. Oriana.
After disembarking at Marseilles on 27 March 1916, Private Lane joined the 24th Battalion at Rebecq, where they were training and refitting.
On 10 April 1916, the Battalion had relocated to Fleurbaix, and on the night of 15 April 1916, they went into the Front Line for the first time. They remained there until 29 April 1916, when they were relieved, and they relocated to L’Hallobeau. Their next move was on 29 May 1916, when they relocated to the Armentieres area.
After further training, the 24th Battalion went into the Front Line near Rue Marle on 23 June 1916. Prior to entering the line, Private Lane was transferred and taken on strength with the 1st Entrenching Battalion at Etaples in France. This unit had only been formed for a few weeks, and their role was to prepare soldiers for combat with the A.I.F.’s Infantry Battalions.
Private Lane returned to the 24th Batalion on 3 August 1916. At that time, they were resting at Sausage Valley, and he was one of 39 other ranks that arrived from 2nd A.D.B.D. (Australian Division Base Depot) on that day.
On the following day, his Battalion moved into the trenches at Poziers and remained there until 6 August 1916, when they were relieved. The fighting around the village of Poziers was part of the Battle of the Somme, and resulted in the gaining of extra territory.
Charles Bean, the Australian war correspondent, wrote that the "...Pozieres ridge is more densely sown with Australian sacrifice than any other place on earth." The 24th Battalion's War Diary stated that their casualties over those four days were 21 Officers Killed, 27 Other Ranks Killed, 121 wounded, and 79 missing.
The Battalion moved to Bellicourt on 11 August 1916, for a period of rest and training. Three days after arriving, Private Lane went to hospital sick with pains and vomiting.
He was treated by the 3rd Field Ambulance, the 5th Field Ambulance, the 4th Casualty Clearing Station, the Hospital train, and the 11th General Hospital at Camiers. He was admitted to hospital on 19 August 1916, as N.Y.D. (Not Yet Diagnosed), and remained there until 15 September 1916, when he was moved to England per the Hospital Ship Dieppe. He was diagnosed as suffering with an injury to his left groin and with Trench Fever. (This was an unpleasant disease caused by body lice. The fever was easily passed between soldiers, causing them to suffer from high fever, headaches, aching muscles and sores on the skin).
After arriving in England he was admitted to the 2nd Western General Hospital at Manchester, and remained there until he was discharged on 9 November 1916. After a short furlough he reported to the No 1 Commonwealth Depot at Perham Downs, where he was classified as "B1A" (Fit for light duty only, for four weeks).
On 13 November 1916, Private Lane marched-out from Perham Downs, and relocated to the No 4 Command Depot at Wareham until 6 February 1917. He then marched-in to the Infantry Draft Depot at Perham Downs and remained there until 28 March 1917, when he proceeded overseas back to France, via Folkestone.
The 24th Battalion were then camped at Favrevil, after being relieved from the front line. On 2 and 3 May 1917, the Battalion were engaged in heavy fighting in their area, while attempting to gain ground. This was part of the Second Battle of Bullecourt. After suffering heavy casualties, the Battalion was relieved on 3 May 1917, and withdrew to Noreuil.
Private Lane then reported sick to hospital, with a recurrence of his groin injury on 4 May 1917. He was treated by the 4th Australian Field Ambulance, the 9th Casualty Clearing Station, and the 2nd Australian General Hospital at Wimereux. In need of further treatment, he was returned to England per Hospital Ship St Denis, and admitted to the Fort Pitt Hospital at Chatham for treatment to a Contusion to his Left Thigh.
After a long hospitalisation, Private Lane was transferred to the 3rd Auxiliary Hospital at Dartford, on 12 July 1917, and remained there until he was discharged on 19 September 1917 to the No 4 Command Depot at Codford.
One month later Private Lane was admitted to the Camp Isolation Hospital at Codford, suffering with scabies, a skin infestation caused by mites. After treatment, he was released back to the No 4 Command Depot at Codford on 23 October 1917, before he marched-in to the Overseas Training Brigade at Sandhill Camp, Longbridge Deverell.
Private Lane remained at Longbridge Deverill for approximately six months, until he was ordered to proceed back to his unit in France. He sailed from Folkestone on 8 May 1918, and travelled via the Canadian Infantry Base Depot at Etaples in France. Two days later he re-joined the 24th Battalion, who were now at Pont Novelles, and preparing to go into the front line. They occupied a sector along the Amiens to Albert Railway line, until they were relieved on 15 May 1918.
Their next battle was at Ville-sur-Ancre on 18-19 May 1918, and then they remained in reserve until the end of the month. On 30 May, the 24th Battalion relieved the 7th Battalion at Heilly and Ribemont. Here they came under a heavy gas attack from the enemy, comprising of Mustard Gas and Phosgene Gas.
The Battalion was relieved from the front line for 10 days of rest on 16 June 1918, and they marched to Quierrieu. Private Lane was admitted to hospital instead, suffering from gastro enteritis. He was treated by the 15th Australian Field Ambulance and the 61st Casualty Clearing Station, before returning to duty.
During late July 1918, the 24th Battalion were in the front line around Villers Bretonneux. Here they came under heavy High Explosive (H.E.) and gas attacks, particularly on the night of 22 July. The unit War Diary has a chilling entry for 29 July 1918 - "During the night we sent over 20,000 rounds of gas onto Hun Lines. Next day his ambulances and stretcher parties worked overtime. Gas pays."
On 2 August 1918, Private Lane reported to hospital as sick, and was diagnosed with D.A.H. ** (Disordered Action of the Heart). A hospital train took him to a Lines of Communication Hospital*, and from there he was admitted to the 16th U.S. General Hospital at Le Treport for treatment. He was discharged from hospital on 23 August 1918, and sent to the Australian Convalescent Depot at Havre.
He rested there for almost a month before returning to duty at the Australian Infantry Base Depot (A.I.B.D.) at Havre on 19 September 1918. After a short stay there, he was able to re-join the 24th Battalion at La Chaussée on3 November 1918.
They were resting and did not go into action for the remainder of the war. On 10 November 1918, the unit war diary reported that excitement was high as to what the German reply to our armistice will be. "Most think that it will be over before Xmas."
News of the Armistice arrived on the following day. The Unit War Diary said – "About 10.30 am a message was received stating that all hostilities were to cease at 11 am, and that the Germans had accepted our terms. The news of the end of the war reached us in the little village of La Chaussée on a beautiful day. Everyone came to the centre of the village at 11 am, the band played the Marseillaise and God Save the King, while the soldiers stood at attention and the civilians bared their heads. Immediately flags began to appear on every house and every one preceded to celebrate this day of days."
On 2 February 1919, on a very cold and snowy day, a quota of three officers and 89 other ranks marched out from Nalinnes in France, to begin their trip back to Australia. They left France on 12 February and disembarked at Weymouth, where they marched-in to the 2nd Training Brigade Concentration Camp at Codford. After a ten-week delay, Private Lane embarked at Liverpool to return to Australia per HMAT RUNIC A54, on 27 April 1919.
Their ship travelled via Capetown and Adelaide, and arrived in Melbourne on 10 June 1919. Seven weeks later Private Lane was discharged from the A.I.F., through the 3rd Military District, on 2 August 1919.
In 1919, Mark Walter Lane married Violet May Frost in Victoria, and they moved into No 316 Barkly Street Footscray. He was then working as a labourer, and his wife maintained the home.
After their first child, Walter Michael John Lane, was born in Footscray in 1920, the family moved to 94 Abbotsford Street in North Melbourne, and remained there until 1925.
In 1931, the family moved to Abbotsford Street in North Melbourne, and Mark Lane began working as a shunter with the Victorian Railways. He remained with the railway until 1963 when the family relocated to 2A Bent Street in Moonee Ponds.
Mark Lane applied to the Department of Repatriation in Victoria for benefits under the Repatriation Act on 28 April 1966, but there is no record of any assistance given. He died later in the same year, at the age of 70 years, and was buried in the Footscray Cemetery.
Medals and Entitlements:
- British War Medal - received at Footscray on 13 April 1921
- Victory Medal
The name "Lane, M. of West Footscray" first appeared in the Roll of Honor, Werribee Shire Banner, 13 February 1919, p.3.
The name “Lane, M.” appears on the Werribee Shire Oak Board.
The 24th Battalion was raised at Broadmeadows north of Melbourne, in early 1915, to form the fourth Battalion of the 6th Brigade in the 2nd Division. Its colour patch tells the story - the diamond shape denoted the 2nd Division. The red lower segment indicates that it is the second Brigade in the Division and the white upper segment denotes that it is the fourth battalion in the brigade. Its soldiers were drawn from Victoria. https://rslvirtualwarmemorial.org.au/explore/units/75
* A hospital on the Lines of Communication rather than 'In the Field', and includes all General Hospitals and some Stationary Hospitals, but excludes all Casualty Clearing Stations and Field Ambulances. So 'ex L of C Hospital' is simply another way of saying 'from Hospital' without specifying which hospital in particular.
** DAH - 'Disordered Action of the Heart' otherwise known as 'Soldier's Heart' or 'Effort Syndrome' and was thought to result from a combination of over exertion, mental stress and fatigue.
Federation Index Victoria 1889-1901 CD
Death Index Victoria 1921-1985 CD
Unit War Diary