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Military Service Record (1908-1911 and 1914-1919)

Herbert Alfred Lane, husband of Ellen Ann Fraser MacNiven Michie - Generation 2.

Herbert Alfred Lane Military Period 1.jpg
Herbert Alfred Lane Military Period 2.jpg

At the time of his original enlistment in the Royal Navy (R.N.), Herbert lied about his date of birth so he appeared to be 16 years old, the age for acceptance as a 'boy' sailor. He hated working as a porter, and saw the Navy as a viable alternative with a regular wage and three square meals at day. With his conduct consistently rated as 'very good' and his aptitude consistently rated as 'satisfactory', he had a promising career until he fell ill in Hong Kong, China. After 50 days' recuperation in Portsmouth, Hampshire, he was shore demobilised to the Royal Navy Volunteer Reserve (R.N.V.R.) as 'Service No Longer Required' (S.N.L.R.).

As a young, single, good looking 19 year old, Herbert was snapped up as a footman in a large household in Dorking, Surrey. He enjoyed this occupation for 3 years, until he was 'called up' for military service during World War I (1914-1918). Good fortune smiled on him, since he was not involved in anything more than minor actions.

He was based in Inverness, Scotland, for 3 years at the beginning of the war during which time he became acquainted with Ellen Ann Fraser MacNiven Michie. Although he was posted elsewhere for a short time in 1917, he secured his final posting in Inverness, and married Ellen there on 30 April 1919, 4 months before he was demobilised from the R.N.V.R. After his demobilisation, Herbert took advantage of a government training scheme to become a skilled carpenter, the trade in which he excelled for the remainder of his working life.

Mercifully, Herbert survived the war unscathed, unlike so many others.

Our Boys at War


In 1914 the world went to war

and few foresaw

the appalling cost

of millions lost.


With trenches for shields

across Flanders fields

the poppies of red

paid homage to the dead.


Our ancestors played their part

as their families were torn apart

whenever they sacrificed a son

before the war was won.


© Mel Hamson, 2013

Note: If you would like to know more, or have information that improves this history, we would love to hear from you.

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