Appendix_3 to 'The LANE/LAIN(E)s of Ulster, Ireland'

The "LANE Family" section of this site is divided into 8 chapters and 8 appendices. Please read in sequence by following the links at the bottom of each page or use the "Quick Nav" at top right. Please note the companion photo galleries which show the LANE family house ruins in Co. Tyrone, Ireland; the LANEs' Parish church in Lissan; the homes and graves of the LANEs in Jarrow, Newcastle-upon-Tyne & Joseph LANE's employment and death at Palmers Engineering Works. Note the styles: links to individual images: …#35 ; citation of sources: …ix) If you wish to select individual chapters, please click on the top left link to the Sitemap page.

Do you have information, opinion or a question relating to either this site’s contents or its copyright? Please use the e-mail link available at the bottom of each page. I look forward to corresponding with you.


Appendix 8: Robert Strong LANE

Personal aside…

The following man was my first cousin, 2X removed. His name showed me that his branch of my family knew who they were… descended from my great grandfather Robert STRONG. His mother Jane LANE (née STRONG) was a daughter from Robert's first marriage, which made Jane my half great aunt. His father Joseph was my great great uncle, the sister of my great grandmother Jane LANE. Joseph's father James LANE was my great great grandfather! Does all this sound complicated? You're right! I spent years looking for Jane LANE (née STRONG) and her family, and pursued red herrings in New Zealand The old people said she married a Captain Joseph Lane with 2 daughters and could be related to Lane family with Timber Yards up north in the North Island NZ. By 2002 we found that she was living in Jarrow all this time! At least the story of the two daughters was correct, and Joseph was close to being a captain. The moral of the story? Never give in!

Back to the story

Robert Strong (Bob) LANE was the son of Joseph LANE (c1848-15 Jun 1915) & Jane STRONG (23 Sep 1854-21 Jul 1927). He was born on 6 Oct 1880 in 8 Edgar St, Jarrow, Durham, England …r/i) and died in the St Mary's Rest Home, Whitley Bay, Northumberland South, England, on 15 Dec 1967 at the age of 87.…r/ii) His parents' family home was at 8 Edgar Rd Jarrow (1881) and then at 25 Bede Burn Rd, Jarrow (1901),…r/ix) where he lived until he was married 6 Nov 1909 in the Wesleyan Chapel Brighton St Seacorube to Mary Wilhilamina Armstrong (Willa) PLAYFAIR.…r/v)


Image of Robert Strong LANE Uni gown.Robert Strong LANE attended Armstrong College Durham University. Photo: Courtesy of Pat Rooney (d. 2011).

Willa was the daughter of David PLAYFAIR (1852-) & Dorothy ARMSTRONG (1855-).…r/ix) She was born c1884…r/iii) and died on 23 Jul 1960 at the age of 76…r/iv). In 1891 she lived at 108 Albert Rd Jarrow Durham England…r/ix) and at the time of her marriage to Robert in 1909 she lived at 28 Clarendon road Seacombe, Co. Cheshire.…r/v)

Robert and Willa's family home was 12 Wansbeck Rd, Jarrow (see photo below), and they were both recorded living there in the 1911 Census…r/ix) and also in the 1939 Register.…r/xiii) Bob's sister Josephine (Cissie) died in 1956 leaving a bequest to Robert Strong LANE retired schoolmaster of this address.…fb/i) Willa died here in 1960.…r/xiv)


The 1901 Census recorded Robert as a school teacher at age 20 in 1901.…r/ix) Pat Rooney said he attended Armstrong College Durham University and sent me a photo of him in his academic gown (see left).…fb/ii) He had completed a two year undergraduate teacher training course leading to a certificated teacher position,…r/xviii) ands commenced teaching at Hebburn Newtown Primary Council school in 1903. This date assumes that his years of miltary service were counted in his total teaching service of 42 years at the Newtown School.…r/xxi)…p249 When he married in 1909, his rank or profession was elementary school master (assistant).…r/v)

In 1920 he registered as a teacher with the Teachers Registration Council,…fb/vi) with the professional address of New Town Council School, Hebburn-on-Tyne. He listed his attainments as the Board of Education Certificate, and his training in teaching at Armstrong College, Newcastle-on-Tyne. His experience was described as Assistant Master: New Town Council School, Hebburn-on-Tyne. 1902→ …r/xii)

Photos were found…fb/iv) of Robert and his school in Norman Dunn's photographic site "Old Hebburn, Jarrow, South Shields".…w/vi) Thumbnail images below are from L to R: Robert (named) as a teacher/football coach with the New Town School (Hebburn) football team in 1927-8 Season, Robert with a group of boys, outside view of the school and an aerial view. Please click on these images, for the full images in the LANE photogallery. Thanks again to Norman for his kindness. The 5th image is of the Park which replaced Newtown School.

Image of Robert Strong LANE with football team. Image of Robert Strong LANE with boys. Image of Hebburn Newtown School on Station road.. Image of aerial view of Hebburn Newtown School. Image of view of Park replacing Hebburn Newtown School.

What happened in his later career? Pat Rooney said Robert S. was a head teacher (around) the outbreak of WWII…fb/iv) I have kept looking for a later photo of him in a Hebburn school as a headmaster or at least a mention in a newspaper?

In 1939 he hadn't achieved his promotion. The National Register…fb/vi) recorded him merely as a schoolmaster, living at 12 Wansbeck road Jarrow with his wife Mary W., daughter Dorothy (school teacher) and son Robert P. (clerk constructional stocktaker).…r/xiii)

When his daughter Dorothy (Doreen) was married on 10 Aug 1940 Robert was described as a teacher:

Three Teachers From Hebburn School. Three teachers, all from the Clegwell Senior School Hebburn, were married to-day. At St. John’s Methodist Jarrow, the bride was Miss Doreen Lane, of Wansbeck Road, teacher in the girls' department of the Clegwell School, whose father Mr. Robert S. Lane, is also a teacher under the Hebburn Education Committee. The groom was Mr. Lancelot G. Thompson, son of Mr and Mrs. J. J. Thompson, of Breamish Street, Jarrow, a teacher in the boys’ department of the Clegwell School. Miss Madge Dixon was bridesmaid and Mr. Roy P. Lane best man. The Rev. J. W. North(?) officiated. …n/iv) Note: Lancelot lived with his parents in 1 Breamish street, next to Wansbeck road.…r/xiii) He taught at Hebburn Newtown school with Robert Lane and was then transferred to Clegwell by 28 Aug 1939 under the school re-organisation scheme.…r/xxiii) Lancelot was listed in the 1939 register as a "Trained certificated teacher", but on the accompanying page he had the note "First aid- Ambulance driver"… a part time occupation during the war?…r/xiii)

At last… on 4 Dec 1940 it was announced:

HEBBURN SCHOOL HEAD RESIGNS The Education Committee has received the resignation of Mr. E. P. Watson, headmaster of the Newtown School, which will take effect at the end of the year. Mr. Watson has completed 40 years’ service under the authority. Mr. R. S. Lane, senior assistant, has been appointed temporary headmaster at the school. …n/iii)

The school management committee minutes gave details:

‘Report of staffing sub-committee– 7 November 1940
Headmaster New Town School.

304. (a) Resignation of Mr. Watson.
The Clerk submitted the resignation of Mr. E.P. Watson, Headmaster at the New Town School, on his retirement, and a request from Mr. Watson to be released at the end of the year.
AGREED that Mr. Watson’s resignation be accepted, his appointment to terminate on the 31st December, and that the Clerk convey to him the Committee’s appreciation of his services during the past 40 years, and their good wishes in his retirement.
(b) Temporary Headmaster.
AGREED that in the present unsettled conditions the definite appointment of a new Head Master be postponed and that in the meantime Mr. R. S. Lane, Senior Assistant in the School, be appointed as temporary Head Master, with the salary appropriate to the position of Head teacher.’ …r/ix)

Near Retirement Age.

He was aged 60 when he received the promotion to temporary headmaster of Newtown School Hebburn. I wondered if his appointment was confirmed? He may have had 5 years before he retired, since in the UK in the 1940’s the state pension age was 65. Could not find any further mention of Robert S. Lane in the newspapers.

Schools and Evacuations

Robert's promotion must have been a “poisoned chalice” since In 1939 the Government Evacuation Scheme (Operation Pied Piper) listed places in England and Wales which were “designated as evacuation areas, from which young children and vulnerable people were to be removed to safer locations.”…r/xvi) Students were being evacuated and some subsequently returning to Hebburn. Bombing or the threat of bombs was traumatising the students. Teachers were leaving on enlistment or accompanying students on their evacuation. Planning within a school could only be on a day-by-day basis!

John Simkin made this general comment (unsourced) about the effect of Operation Pied Piper in England:

As all the children and their teachers living in urban districts were expected to move to the rural areas, most schools in the towns were closed down. Of these, around two-thirds were requisitioned by the government and were handed over to the Civil Defence Services.
However, only around 50 per cent of the children living in the towns became evacuees. This meant that around a million children were now without schools. There were soon reports of increased acts of hooliganism. Public air raid shelters were often the target of their attacks and in many areas the authorities were forced to keep them locked. …w/viii)

Returning to our local area. Towards the end of 1939 a number of children had returned home. Several teachers said that “in many cases children have no wish to return home.” Also the children “would prefer to stay in the country if they were not induced to return by parents unable or unwilling to make billeting payments.”…n/v) Next year the Ministry of Health announced the evacuation of a further 1,600 school children who have been registered by their parents would begin on 7 Jul 1940 from Jarrow, Hebburn, Whickham and Felling. This was out of a total of 40,000 for NE towns in this announcement.…n/vi) This advertised movement seemed a bit chaotic.

MANY ABSENTEES. Minds Changed at Jarrow and Hebburn. Many Jarrow and Hebburn children who had been registered for evacuation did not turn up at the railway stations to-day. Yesterday, 71 of 101 children registered at Hebburn went. This morning 293 children out of 359 left Jarrow station by special train for rural area and at Hebburn 125 children joined the train. The number of children short at Hebburn was 53. Later in the day about 190 children from Jarrow schools and about 90 from Hebburn schools left by another train. The children were all in charge of teachers, some of whom will return. …n/vii)

The Newtown School building may have been closed at various times during WW2 and the children remaining in Hebburn were taught in the community. Eric Flack sent me his 1938 Newtown class photo with 23 students. By 1940, he was a 6 yrs old student. He cannot remember any of the staff at his school and he cannot confirm if the school was partially or fully closed. However, he does remember:

the school was used as an ambulance station when he was 6, he was taught in his own home with other children, and his teacher came to his house.…fb/vii)

Eric’s account of local home visits and school closures was verified in 1939:

A system of visits by teachers to the homes of children and the assembly of small groups for short periods in homes was approved, as was also the decision of the (Hebburn) School Management Committee to make an appeal to the Board of Education for permission to re-open other schools in the area.…n/x)

This appeal must have caught the attention of the neighbouring county. A Yorkshire newspaper reported in 1940 that "Hebburn parents had agitated for the reopening of their schools", however their efforts may have been undone— "the attendance has been so poor" at the schools such as Clegwell Senior which remained open.…n/viii)

Local reports gave more details on attendance:

So low have attendances dropped at Clegwell Senior School, Hebburn —Tyneside’s most modern school of its kind, built at cost of more than £60,000 —that warning notices to parents have been issued today by the Hebburn Education Committee. The committee has instructed the school attendance officer to pay more frequent visits to the homes absentees. The headmaster, Mr. G. Kellett, reports that attendances for week ended January 19 reached only 65 to 75 per cent. This school, officially opened after the outbreak of war, has shelter accommodation for 800 children, each shelter being complete with electric light, seats, duck boards and an electric pump that automatically operates when the draining well needs emptying.…n/ix)

The Hebburn Forum gave names and details of a number of children evacuated from Hebburn in WW2.…w/ix) This included Lilian Flack's important information:

I remember Hebburn being devoid of children. Most of them were sent into the countryside to live on farms. My sisters and I were waiting for the transport with the other children to take us too, but our mother changed her mind about letting us go. Some children were evacuated to Canada from Hebburn it was very worrying for their families when one of the convoy of ships was torpedoed and many of those poor children were lost.…fb/vii)

Air Raid Shelters and Schools

School re-opening may have been contingent on provision of adequate air raid shelters for the pupils. A 1946 aerial view of Clegwell Senior School (these buildings were then Bedewell Primary which closed Jul 2012), showed at least 10 shelters behind the school facing onto its large playing area and Victoria road East and another three next to its playground which faces Byron avenue.…w/xii), fb/ix) Even prior to WW2 on 23 Nov 1938, the Hebburn Urban District Council advised enrolled air raid wardens of a meeting in the Newtown School to form classes for their training.…fb/v ) Perhaps later, the Civil Defence assumed a wider use of the school buildings since it was not open for students.

A press report on 1 Mar 1940 showed that it was as late as about Feb 1940 that a tender had been awarded for the construction of air raid shelters at Newtown School to permit reopening. The report pointed out the importance of the Civil Defence first aid facilities at this school.

To protect children: air raid shelters at five Hebburn schools. The contract for the construction of 23 air raid shelters five Hebburn schools has been divided between Messrs. J. M. Black, Junior, Ltd for 13 shelters a cost of £1.809 13s, and Messrs. S. and H. Oake for 10 shelters at a cost of £1.545 13s 3d. These shelters, under an amended scheme, are to be provided at the Colliery. R.C. Infants, R.C. Boys’ and Girls’, Newtown and Quay Schools. The Hebburn Education Committee is making arrangements for all schools to be re-opened for the full-time attendance of all children as soon as protective measures are sufficiently advanced to available to the children. As the first-aid post at the Newtown Infants’ School is considered essential and is the only such post in Hebburn at which cleansing facilities can be provided, arrangements are to be made for the children to be accommodated in the junior department of that school. …n/xi

Robert’s School Bombed

The restricted playground area in the Newtown School shown in the 1950's photogallery view…#64 …w/vi) may have made the adequate provision of air raid shelters impossible? It shows the result of near misses by two HE bombs at 9:25pm, on 22 Oct 1941 which could have contributed to a decision not to re-open? The bombing damaged the first aid post at the school.…w/x) Eric Flack’s information (above) showed that Civil Defence had housed ambulances in this first aid post and Lilian Flack stated that the ambulances were parked in the playground at the southern end of the school.…fb/vii)

A copy of the War Office Daily Report transcribed by Roy Ripley & Brian Pears describes this bombing:

Tuesday, 21st / Wednesday, 22nd October 1941. Hebburn… Two HEs. A Rescue and Demolition squad were buried in their demolished depot in the Council yard on Glen Street killing twelve of the squad, three others died in Charles Street, a First Aid Post at Newtown School was damaged. Twenty houses were demolished and forty damaged. Twelve were seriously injured and twenty-four slightly injured. …w/x

If you have familiarised yourself with the image and street names in …#64, you can easily find the school etc in a high definition aerial photo on “Britain from Above” (see here). The school is just above the left hand section of a white band at the bottom of this image.…w/xvii) After free registration you can zoom into the required area to see the location and extent of the damage to the Council Depot and Charles St and also demonstrate that that the First Aid Post was probably damaged by air-born debris from the Charles St bomb, since the intervening houses were still standing. We can speculate whether the Depot was bombed because it looked like an industrial target attracting a larger bomb, or rather that the bomb fell short of the real target… the rail line from Newcastle to South Shields.…w/xvii)

James Pasby has listed the fatalities in “The NE War Memorials Project”.…w/xi)

Stewart Anderson’s g-uncle William Finwick Anderson was seriously injured in the raid. Stewart kindly gave permission to quote a letter to his g-uncle from Ellen Wilkinson who was a very prominent campaigner and politician:

Ministry of Home Security Whitehall, S.W.1     29th October 1941.
Dear Mr Anderson,
I am very sorry indeed to hear that you were seriously injured in the blitz of October 21st. People have written to me from Hebburn of the great heroism you and your comrades of the Rescue and Demolition Services showed on that awful night. As you M.P. and as one of the Ministers for Civil Defence, I am especially proud of the work you did, and the way our Civil Defence men rose to the occasion.
I hope you will soon recover from your injuries… Ellen Wilkinson …fb/x)

Events in other Schools

The following entries in the St Aloysius School (Hebburn) Log…b/iv indicate parallel events to the Newtown School?

Life was difficult for the LANEs at 12 Wansbeck road during WW2. Cecilia Brennan lived in a terrace house just across the back lane from the LANEs, in 74 Bedeburn road. (It's difficult to establish if it is exactly behind, but it is pretty close.) If you walk a few houses north up Bedeburn from Cecilia's house, turn left down Beaumont Terrace, go past the unnamed lane on the left, then turn left into Wansbeck road, a short way south on the left, just past the terrace housing and to the first house in the first duplex semi-detached house, you are at the LANEs home. Cecilia and Robert were both school administrators and presumably would have known each other. Cecilia (or Cissie) was a prolific letter writer and wrote about the war in Jarrow and was the headmistress of the Grant Street Infants School. Patrick Brennan has placed excerpts from her correspondence on his website.…w/vii) He has kindly approved my use of his material.…fb/vii) The relevant letters are:

Tyne & Wear Archives searches and Robert's school in WW2

Files of interest include the Hebburn New Town Primary School returns, registers & logbooks and also the Minutes of the Hebburn U.D.C Education Committee.…r/xvii) .

We needed information about Robert and also confirmation of anecdotes that the school buildings were closed to students and school tuition was made possible through community visitation.

The Boys Log Book did not answer the question of community visitation, and the archivist tried the Infants Log Book.…r/xxii) She struck gold!! I should have thought of this from my own experience… the female teachers are usually the best record keepers! On 1 Apr 1940 this entry was made:

School re-opened; full staff present. On the outbreak of war 40 of the 229 children on registers were evacuated.
Those children remaining have been taught for one hour daily in 18 groups, accommodation having been found in 22 private homes and 2 halls from each of which children could reach their own homes within 5 minutes, in the event of an air raid warning.
As this Infants Dept is being used now as a First Aid Post, only 2 of these class rooms can be spared for teaching. Consequently 3 classes have to be taught in 3 rooms in the Junior Boys Dept: and 1 in a room in the Junior Girls Dept.
The Committee has ordered the war time abandonment of the Nursery Class.
Since only a small part of the school yard is now at our disposal, to relieve congestion times of recreation have been altered.
In accordance with instructions, air raid drill will be practised twice weekly. …r/xxii)

This re-opening date of 1 Apr 1940 matches the press report that a tender had been awarded about Feb 1940 for the construction of air raid shelters at Newtown School to permit reopening.

The Boys Log Book gave details of scripture examinations, pupil’s entrance tests to other schools, inspections and visits of medical personnel to the school.… but no mention of community visitation.” …r/xxi), fb/xi All of this would relate to the older boys. Perhaps more time searching might settle the school closure / community visitation question. Especially when a comparison of staff numbers in 1 Apr 1945 with 31 Mar 1925 pointed to a downsized staff which could have handled an out-reach program, but not a fully operating school. Even though the school was reopened on 1 Apr 1940, perhaps a later decision was made to close the school after the 22nd October 1941 bombing?

The following staff records show that Robert's appointment as headmaster was never confirmed and he remained temporary headmaster.

Hebburn Urban District Council
Newtown Council School No. 3 Dept Boys.
Teachers employed on 31st March 1925 …r/xviii)
Head Teacher. Priestland, Tom
Assistant Teachers
Fleming,  (nka Wilcox) Mary Teresa, Class V.
LANE, Robert Strong, Class IV 
LOONEY, Robert Mitchell,   Class III.
McCONWAY, John Stanley Raymond, Class IIa.
NOTMAN, Andrew Cuthbert, Class VI.
OWEN, Phebe Hill , Class I     Single Woman.
SMYTH, Mary Ann, Class IIb  Single Woman.
WATSON, Ernest Percival,  Class VII
BARCLAY, Martha, Class Ih  Single Woman.
LAWSON, Rowland Raddolph, Class -
Teaching Staff as on Apr 1st 1945 …r/xxi)…p248
Name                                   Status
Mr. Robert S. Lane             Temporary Head
Mr John S. R. Mc Conway  (Permanent) C.A.
(Widow) Mrs Annie Riches Temp C.A.
Miss Kathleen M. Kerr        (Permanent) C.A.
Mrs Martha Howes            Temp U.A.
Miss Isabella Wardele       (Permanent) C.A.

The above Hebburn Newtown School staff information should be compared with school accommodation and average English attendance figures shown below.…w/xiii)
Paul Bolton's official English average figures show the pupil/teacher ratio dropping progressively from about 40 in 1900 to about 30 in WW2.…w/xv) Newtown school photos collected by Norman Dunn in his Hebburn Forum…w/ix) and his photographic site…w/vi) give an indication of school class sizes while Robert taught there. Infants' class photos were not included. Primary class sizes observed in the photos in the 1910's were: 32. The 1920's seemed a bad decade: 30, 30, 32, 36, 36, 38, 40, 50. The 1930's: 31, 32. Significantly no 1940's photos were found.
When I started teaching Science in NSW Australia in 1960, I taught secondary classes of 45 in a raked (tiered) demonstration laboratory. It looked like wall-to-wall students!

Image of Robert Strong LANE Uni gown.NSW Teachers Federation poster in 1964, following the Union statement in June 1963: "No teacher should accept the responsibility of teaching any class greater than 45". …n/xii)

Now, in England, average classes are less than 30, with the expectation of about 20.

Hebburn Newtown School Statistics
# Year School Accommodation Average Attendance Class Size? Classroom Teachers
1 1890…w/xiii) 850 800
2 1910…w/xiii) 1,442 1,135 30…w/ix)-xv)
2 1925…r/xviii) 40…w/ix)-xv) 10 (boys' department only)…r/xviii)
3 1945…r/xxi)…p248 In community? 5 (Whole school)…r/xxi)…p248

Considering these statistics, Newtown school was operating with a skeleton staff by 1945. The staff were probably employed teaching in the community at that time.

What did Robert do during his period of promotion? The “Boys Log Book” showed on 7 Jan 1941:

Miss K Kerr commenced duties as a Trained certificated Teacher to fill the vacancy caused by the retirement of Mr. E. A Watson and the subsequent promotion of Mr R. S. Lane. Miss Kerr was transferred from the Girl’s Department. Mr R. S. Lane commenced his duties today as Temporary Headmaster. …r/xxi)…p220

It would appear that Robert attended the Education Committee. The name ‘Lane’ was present in the list of attendees of some of the meeting associated with the school. However there were no initials or other information which could confirm if it relates to Robert Strong Lane.…r/xx)

Robert was still the temporary Head Teacher on 1 Apr 1945. …r/xxi)…p248 However, after the school re-opened after the Easter Holiday on 10 Apr 1945, he was absent with "nervous debility". It was noted that he was still on leave on 16 Apr and 23 Apr.…r/xxi)…p248 Then there was the note that Robert had retired on 30 Apr 1945, a week before VE Day or the end of the war in Europe (8 May 1945). He had retired 5 months before he was aged 65 on 6 Oct 1945.

The Headmaster, Mr. R.S. Lane, retired to-day after 42 years service in this school, the last 4 years as Headmaster. Mr. J. S. R Mc Conway is acting as Headmaster. …r/xxi)…p249

Robert's distinguished wartime experiences detailed below in WW1 changed to dangerous responsibilities in WW2, still with the constant threat of enemy bombs and strafing! Our sympathies must lie with Robert for his “nervous debility”… at the end of his career!

Military Service

Service with the Tyne Electrical Engineers, Royal Engineers.

While Robert was a teacher, the Jarrow Absent Voters October 1918 showed he did military service with the Tyne Electrical Engineers, Royal Engineers. He was clearly identified with his full name and residential address.…r/viii)

Image of Wilhilamina  LANE with daughter Dorothy (Doreen).Wilhilamina LANE with daughter Dorothy
Photo: Courtesy of Pat Rooney (d. 2011).

Robert's motivation for military service could have been the death of his father Joseph on 15 Jun 1915 in a Zeppelin raid on Palmers Works Jarrow. These circumstances are described in detail in Chapter 8. Morris described local and national feeling:

The raid… on the Tyne demonstrated the defencelessness of the industrial establishments of England. It was represented by prominent citizens that Zeppelins apparently could come when they liked and go when they felt inclined without let or hindrance from anyone on our side.…b/iii)…p39

On the other hand, at that time teachers were not usually exempt from military duty:

A meeting of the Hebburn Military Tribunal was held last night (23 May 1916). The Hebburn Education Committee appealed for exemption for the headmaster of St Oswald’s School and it was stated that that was the only teacher they were appealing for. Exemption was granted. …n/i)

Short’s History of the Tyne Electrical Engineers, Royal Engineers (TEE)…b/ii)tells us that the TEE were responsible for anti aircraft defence, and the first A.A. searchlight was erected on Tyneside in Feb 1915.…b/ii)…p47 Robert may have been a member of the TEE at the time he lost his father and friends in the Jun 15 raid. He would have keenly felt anger at the ineffectual effors of TEE in defence and communications. Perhaps he then volunteered for overseas service the next month in Jul 1915, even though he was aged 35 at the time.

Late in July, volunteers were called for service with oxy-acetylene searchlights a the Front and on August 20th a draft of 60 corporals, second corporals and sappers left Haslar Barracks… The detachment reached Rouen the following day. The lights were intended for the detection of raiding parties crossing “no man's land” during the hours of darkness. So dangerous indeed was this work regarded, that these detachments of the Tyne and London Electrical Engineers earned the universal sobriquet of the “suicide brigade”.…b/ii)…p81

Regrettably, the account of the TEE mentions names of officers but not the sappers which may have included our Robert!…b/ii) I was also disappointed in the book National Union of Teachers war record 1914-1919… no serial numbers. All it gave was confirmation that Robert enlisted as a member of the Hebburn teachers association. …b/i…p152, w/iv)

Overseas Service with the Royal Engineers??
Image of Robert Strong LANE and his wife Wilhilamina.Robert Strong LANE and his wife Wilhilamina.
Photo: Courtesy of Pat Roone (d. 2011).

So far we have not found a service number definitely linked to our Robert S. LANE. Forty percent of WWI personnel records were lost due to bombing in 1940 in WWII, and the Royal Engineers were particularly affected. How can we prove that the following awards are relevant to OUR Robert? There are military service medal and award records for a Robert S. LANE, in the Royal Engineers (service # R.E. (T) 1762, sapper in the Royal Engineers 466293).…r/vi), r/vii Usually the British War Medal and Victory Medal were only awarded for overseas service…w/ii).

Then there is a Serjeant RS LANE in the Royal Engineers with a varied and distinguished military career. On 5 Jan 1917 Serjeant RS LANE (service # 65630) Royal Engineers was gazetted receiving the Military Medal for bravery in the Field. This military decoration was awarded to R S LANE for acts of gallantry and devotion to duty under fire or for individual or associated acts of bravery. See here. …w/v), n/ii) He (the same soldier?) was commissioned as a "Temporary 2nd Lieutenant with the seniority date of 15 Dec 1917.…w/v) He was then in the Middle East theatre, attached to the Canadian Royal Engineers in Aleppo, Syria. Finally in 1919 he was evacuated from Riyaq (Arabic: رياق ), in English… Rayak. Rayak was Lebanon's most important railway centre on the Beirut–Damascus line built in 1891. He was recorded with Benign Tertian Malaria (Primary), and received 3 days treatment in the No. 31 Casualty Clearing Station, located at (?). … r/x), w/v)

The National Union of Teachers (NUT) War Record 1914-1919 did not include a RS LANE in its lists of the Military Medal awards. …b/i…p87 However, our Robert could still have received this award. NUT explains the incompleteness of their "gallant services" lists:


one of the greatest difficulties in compiling (these lists) has been of ascertaining which teachers were honoured for gallant services, and if in the records any names are omitted it is, we believe, due not to any lack of inquiry and research, but to reluctance on the part of those honoured to give any details unless actually confronted with a definite request.…b/i…p206

Note: Service numbers were not standardised until 1921, thus many records did not include a service number and many were duplicated.…w/v This makes our WWI research a little harder!

Military records with Robert's relatives?

Regrettably Robert Strong LANE's descendants have no knowledge of his military records or medals. At the moment I am not sure how to proceed further since there are multiple service numbers [(T) 1762, 466293, 65630], one or more could apply to RS LANE at the same time. Each number could involve separate applications and £30 administration fees for separate searches by the Ministry of Defence (MOD).…w/xvi) Deep pockets would come in handy here!

Image of Robert Playfair LANE liberated in Venice.Robert Playfair LANE (centre)
Photo: Courtesy of Pat Rooney.

Son’s military record.

Robert Strong LANE's son Robert Playfair (Roy) LANE followed the family tradition, both in having his mother's maiden name as his second name, and also in receiving a military commission. In WWII on 15 Feb 1941 Robert Playfair was commissioned 2nd Lieutenant in the Royal Artillery (service # 170811).…w/v) Next year on 17 Dec 1943 he was reported missing in the Middle East—Aegean location from an action on 16 Nov 1943.…w/v) He had served in the heavy anti-aircraft artillery. Next year on 7 Jan 1944 he was reported a prisoner of war in German hands. Further details followed that he was in the camp Oflag 9a/Z at Rotenburg an der Fulda Germany (120km S of Hannover), service# 170811.…w/v) Oflag is an abbreviation of the German word "Offizierslager" and was the label for camps that housed officers. On 3 May 1945 it was reported that he was liberated,…w/v) which was just prior to the German surrender on 7 May 1945 (VE Day). See the photo of Robert Playfair in uniform, when he was liberated in Venice in May 1945.…fb/ii)

Robert S. & Willa’s final years

The Probate Calendar listed:

LANE Mary Wilhilamena Armstrong of 12 Wansbeck Road Jarrow county Durham (wife of Robert Strong Lane) died 23 July 1960 Administration Newcastle-upon-Tyne 20 September to Dorothy Thompson (wife of Lancelot George Thompson). Effects £1569 16s. 7d. …r/xiv)

Willa died intestate and Robert declined / was unable to act as administrator, perhaps due to his health and/or age? Dorothy Thompson lived at 46 Grosvenor Ave, Jesmond, Newcastle-upon-Tyne.…r/xv) The clue to Robert's health might be in his death certificate which tells us he spent his final years in St Mary's Rest Home, South Parade, Whitley Bay… a seaside holiday resort, which gave a good view of the sea front from South Parade until his death on 15 Dec 1967.…r/ii) Robert left an estate of £12,905.…r/xiv)


Image of Robert’s home at 12 Wansbeck road.Robert Strong LANE’s home at 12 Wansbeck road, Jarrow (centre). The first house in the first semi-detached duplex on the left from Beaumont Terrace. Another photo is here. He lived there at least from 1911 to 1956. His son Robert Playfair STRONG lived at 12 Wansbeck road until he died in 30 Jan 1981. …fb/i)

Descendancy Report:

An earlier chapter has a LANE descendancy report, commencing with James LAIN b. 1817. See here.
See an alternate report below which commences from Robert Strong LANE's wife Willa's ARMSTRONG maternal ancestors. This is done to give an opportunity to share material from an ARMSTRONG Bible which gave exact DoB of each of Willa's mother's siblings. This Bible was kindly posted to me by Gladys LANE and Tony APPLETON.…fb/iv) The ARMSTRONG data was verified and augmented by christening records and the various censuses.…r/ix), r/xi)


Appendix 8: Sources.

      Newspapers and Periodicals.
n/i)The Tribunals: Hebburn. Shields Daily Gazette and Shipping Telegraph; 24 May 1916.
n/ii)  Award of the Military Medal. Supplement to the London Gazette; 5 Jan 1917: 346.
     See here, then use pull-down menu to go to page 346.
n/iii)   Hebburn school head resigns. Newcastle Evening Chronicle; 4 Dec 1940: 3.
n/iv)   Three Teachers From Hebburn School Newcastle Evening Chronicle; 10 Aug 1940: 6.
n/v)   Evacuees do not want to return. Newcastle Journal; 21 Nov 1939: 7.
n/vi)   40,000 evacuees. Liverpool Echo; 5 Jul 1940: 6.
n/vii)   Children to go off to new homes. Newcastle Evening Chronicle; 8 Jul 1940: 5.
n/viii)   School attendance posters: Northern News. Yorkshire Post and Leeds Intelligencer ; 27 Jan 1940: 12.
n/ix)   Shelters but few scholars. Hebburn parents get warning notices. Newcastle Evening Chronicle;
      26 Jan 1940: 7.
n/x)   School reopening. Newcastle Evening Chronicle; 27 Oct 1939:7.
n/xi)   To protect children: air raid shelters at five Hebburn schools Newcastle Evening Chronicle; 1 Mar 1940.
n/xii)   History Lesson: Battles won in class warfare. Education: Journal of the New South Wales Teachers Federation; Sept 2018: 19.
      Archives, Registrations and Lists:
r/i) Birth of Robert Strong LANE. Year & quarter: Dec 1880. District: South Shields. County: Durham. Volume: 10A. Page: 687.
r/ii) Death of Robert S Lane. Death Registration Month/Year: Oct-Nov-Dec 1967. Age at death: 87. Registration district: Northumberland South. Inferred County: Northumberland. Volume: 1b. Page: 447.
r/iii) Birth of Mary Wilhelmina A Playfair. Year & quarter: Apr-May-Jun 1884. District: South Shields. County: Durham. Volume: 10A. Page: 841.
r/iv) Death of Mary W A Lane. Death Registration Month/Year: Jul-Aug-Sept 1960. Age at death: 76. Registration district: Durham North Eastern. Inferred County: Durham. Volume: 1a. Page: 380.
r/v) Marriage of Robert Strong LANE & Mary Wilhilamina Armstrong PLAYFAIR. Month/Year: Oct-Nov-Dec 1909. Registration district: Birkenhead. Inferred County: Cheshire. Volume: 8a. Page: 949.
r/vi) AncestryCom. British Army WWI Medal Rolls Index Cards, 1914-1920. 2008.
r/vii) AncestryCom. UK, WWI Service Medal and Award Rolls, 1914-1920. 2014.
r/viii)  Jarrow Absent Voters October 1918: Jarrow Polling District F (Grange Ward). Durham County Record Office; CC/Cl 1/203: page 56.
r/ix) UK Census… 1881, 1891, 1901, 1911.
r/x) First World War Representative Medical Records of Servicemen from No. 31 Casualty Clearing Station. The National Archives in Kew. MH106/597. Transcribed by Forces War Records.
r/xi) AncestryCom. England & Wales Christening Records, 1530-1906
r/xii) Findmypast. Teachers' Registration Council Registers 1914-1948 See here.
r/xiii) Findmypast. National Register: National Registration Act. (National Registration Day 29 Sept 1939). See here.
r/xiv) AncestryCom. England & Wales, National Probate Calendar (Index of Wills and Administrations),1861-.
r/xv) Tyne and Wear Archives; Newcastle-Upon-Tyne; Collection: Newcastle Electoral Registers; Reference Number: MD.NC/D/2/3/1959.
r/xvi) National Archives. How to look for records of evacuees. See here.
r/xvii) Tyne and Wear Archives. Records of Hebburn New Town Primary. Ref: E.HB3 Description: Hebburn New Town Primary: log books, minutes of managers meetings, admissions registers. Date: 1920-1974. See here.
Also: Ref: T17 Description: Hebburn U.D.C Education Committee Minutes. Date: 1903- March 1945. (Particularly items #44, Jan 1936 - Nov 1941 and #45, 27 Jan 1942 - 25 Mar 1945).
r/xviii)  Ibid. Hebburn Newtown primary; Teachers employed in the Department on 31st March, 1925. Inspectors' reports, salary scales. 1890 -1945. Reference E.HB3/5, E.TY/9/21, item 10.
r/xix)  Ibid. Meeting of the School Management Committee 30 Nov 1940. Education committee minutes, Jan 1936 - Nov 1941. Reference T17/44, pp 505-506.
r/xx)  Ibid. Education committee minutes, 27 Jan 1942 - Mar 1945. Reference T17/45.
r/xxi)  Ibid. Hebburn Newtown primary; Boys log book, 30 Aug 1920 - 20 Mar 1964. Reference E.HB3/2/3, pp 219, 220, 248, 249, et seq.
r/xxii)  Ibid. Hebburn Newtown primary; Infants log book, 26 Aug 1907 - 6 Jul 1962. Reference E.HB3/11, p 338.
r/xxiii)  Clegwell Senior School Boys Log Books. 28 Aug 1939. Forwarded by Robert Noble from material obtained by Val McGregor business manager of Clegwell School in about 2012. Notes: 28 August 1939. School opened this morning with 436 boys on roll of which 427 were present. The boys were all of the age of 11+ more being admitted who were born on or after 1st August 1928 and as part of the re-organisation scheme, were drawn from the Hebburn Newtown Council School, Quay Council School, Colliery Council School, Methodist Day School and St Oswald's C of E School. The teachers were then listed with their school of origin… in that list was Lancelot G Thompson Newtown C.S.
      Wills & papers, Correspondence:
fb/i)   England & Wales, National Probate Calendar (Index of Wills and Administrations),1861-1941.
fb/ii)   Pers. Comm: Pat Rooney (d. Jun 2011), of Co. Durham, a direct descendant of Robert Strong LANE. 2003.
fb/iii)   Pers.comm: Vin Mullen of Co. Durham, UK. 2009-2018.
fb/iv)   Pers.comm: Tony Appleton of Co. Durham, UK. 2002-2018.
fb/v)   Pers.comm: Norman Dunn of Co. Durham, UK. 2002-2018.
fb/vi)   Pers.comm: Vera of Co. Durham, UK. 2018.
fb/vii)   Pers.comm: Eric & Lilian Flack of Co. Durham, UK. 2018-2019.
fb/viii)   Pers.comm: Patrick Brennan of Co. Durham, UK. 2010-2018.
fb/ix)   Pers.comm: Barry Cram of Co. Durham, UK. 2018.
fb/x)   Pers.comm: Stewart Anderson of Co. Durham, UK. 2018.
fb/xi)   Pers.comm: Zoe Walter, Archivist, Tyne & Wear Archives, UK. 2018.
fb/xii)   Pers.comm: Robert Noble of Bristol UK. 2018.
      (Bob was previously a student at Clegwell School Hebburn and a school-evacuee in WW2.)
m/i)1917 OS Survey map of Jarrow etc. Durham Sheet III. 12.
b/i)  National Union of Teachers. National Union of Teachers war record 1914-1919 : a short account of duty and work accomplished during the war. Naval & Military Press; Uckfield, East Sussex: 1920.
b/ii)  (Major) O.M. Short. The History of the Tyne Electrical Engineers, Royal Engineers : from the formation of the Submarine Mining Company of the 1st Newcastle-upon-Tyne and Durham (Volunteers) Royal Engineers in 1884 to 1933. R. Ward & ​Sons; Newcastle-upon-Tyne: 1935.
b/iii)  (Captain) Joseph Morris. German Air Raids on Britain 1914 to 1918. Sampson Low, Marston & Co Ltd; 1925; 37-39.
b/iv)  Fr. James Walsh. St Aloysius Hebburn 1888-1988. Published as an e-book here. See quotes from the St Aloysius School Log Vol 1, pp 277, 280, 281, and 306.
w/i)  South Tyneside Council. South Tyneside remembers World War one: Search WW1 records. See here.
w/ii)  Durham County record office. Researching First World War British soldiers. See here.
w/iii) Welcome to the Hebburn website. Here.
w/iv) North East War Memorials Project (NEWMP). Extracts from “Teachers who served in 1914-1918”. Regional content— County Durham. See here.
w/v) Forces War Records. See here.
w/vi) Norman Dunn’s photographic site "Old Hebburn, Jarrow, South Shields".
w/vii) Cecilia Brennan. Wartime letters from Jarrow. See Patrick Brennan’s site here.
w/viii) John Simkin. Education during the Second World War. See Spartacus Educational here.
w/ix) Norman Dunn’s message board. Hebburn Forum. See here.
w/x) Roy Ripley & Brian Pears. North-East Diary See here. This is a copy of the War Office Daily Report
w/xi) NE War memorials Project. List of people killed by bombing in Hebburn on 21 Oct 1941. See here.
w/xii)  Britain from Above. See here. Zoom the top left of this view to see the 10 shelters behind Clegwell Senior School.
w/xiii)  Hebburn 1890 and 1910 Directories. See here.
w/xiv)  Classrooms in UK Victorian and Edwardian schools. See here.
w/xv)  Paul Bolton. Education: Historical statistics; SN/SG/4252. House of Commons; 27 Nov 2012: 6. See here.
w/xvi) Request records of deceased service personnel from the Ministry of Defence (MOD). See here.
w/xvii) Britain from Above. EAW033923 ENGLAND (1950). Hebburn New Town, the Reyrolle Electrical Engineering Works and environs, Hebburn, 1950. See here. Free registration will allow you to zoom in on this high definition image.

The Story Continues

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