Friday, 3 April 2015

Wounded Sailor Unconscious For Nine Weeks

Able-Seaman Albert Lane (Bedfordshire Times)

Saturday 3rd April 1915: Able-Seaman Albert Lane, wounded in the earliest days of the war, has finally returned home to Bedford, where he is staying with his mother at 31 Howbury Street. He was serving on HMS Kennet, a destroyer which was in action in an “insignificant” little fight in Tsing-Tau bay on August 22nd. During the fight the ship came within range of the heavy guns of the land forts, one of which hit the Kennet’s upper deck with a highly explosive shell, killing four men and wounding six. Seaman Lane was the most severely wounded; a piece of shell entered his skull, two more tore through his right arm, another two entered his chest, and he had five other wounds including a serious injury to the ribs.

He remained unconscious for nine weeks until October 22nd, during which time an operation had been performed to remove the piece of shell and some bone which was pressing on his brain. The Naval doctors at the Wei-Hai-Wei Hospital told him that he should have died. He survived, and was sent to Hong Kong in the hospital ship Delta where he remained in hospital until 9th Januaryl . He then left Hong Kong on the P and O liner Nanking, arriving in England on 8th March. After some time at Woolwich he has finally returned to Bedford. All his wound have healed remarkably, although he has been left with slight paralysis in his right hand. When he is fit he will report for duty again, but believes he may get his discharge as his service was completed in February. Seaman Lane also has an older brother serving in the Royal Navy, as Chief Petty Officer on board HMS Dominion in the North Sea.

Source: Bedfordshire Times, 2nd April 1915

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