Old soldier Stan remembers

Stan Lane.
Stan Lane.

As the community gathers this weekend to remember those who have served in wars and conflicts around the globe, one Hucknall old soldier will be reflecting on his own experiences and those of his fallen comrades.

Stanley Lane of Herbert Buzzard Court turns 90 today but he was just 18 when he received his call up papers to fight for his country in the Second World War.

Stan joined the 6th Airborne parachute regiment of the Army and found himself dropped into France to fight the enemy.

“They were difficult times but we had to go and fight,” said Stan who was working at Bulwell’s Springfield factory with his father when he received his orders. “I was fighting for my country and I didn’t regret it- although I had little choice to go.

“But we were all in it together so there was a great feeling of camaraderie between the men on the battlefields.”

It was whilst he was fighting in France alongside a childhood friend, Charlie Freestone, that Stan was caught in enemy fire and got badly injured that took him away from the front line.

“I still don’t know whether it was a plane who shot at me or an anti-personnel mine,” reflected Stan. “But we were in a field and heard something and I dived into a river.

“I got hit all down my right side with shrapnel and bullets in my leg, arm, ribs, shoulder and neck, some of which still remain today.

“My mate who stayed on the bank ironically never got hit so if i’d stayed where I was I probably would have escaped injury.”

Stan was stretchered to safety and found himself on a hospital ship heading back to England.

“I can remember hearing a man shouting and screaming next to me for his mum and dad and I thought there can’t be much wrong with me.”

But Stan had to endure a number of operations to repair his body and it was touch and go whether he would survive.

“The parson wrote to my parents telling them to visit as I might not make it”

Against the odds, Stan did survive and continued in the Army on light camp duties working at Yeovil where he met his wife-to-be Joan. They were married in 1947 and Joan has remained at his side for 66 years.

“I had a close shave but compared to many I was lucky.”