Educated at St Mary's Convent School Hartley, at Sebright School, and at Gravesend Grammar School, John Lane spent 35 years in the Royal Navy, joining BRNC Dartmouth as a Cadet at 16 and subsequently serving worldwide in frigates, the guided missile destroyer HMS DEVONSHIRE, the commando carrier HMS ALBION, and onboard HM Yacht BRITANNIA. He saw operational service during the Malayan Emergency attached to the 1st Loyals (North Lancashire Regiment) based in the jungle around Ipoh, in Aden during the Radfan campaign, and afterwards in North Borneo (Confrontation with Indonesia). He commanded the Sultan of Oman's naval training centre at Sur (Ras al Hadd) on secondment in Muscat at the end of the Dhofar War, together with other additional duties, and then commanded HMS ROOKE in Gibraltar. He was on the British Naval Mission to Libya 1971-72, then as Cultural Attache attached to the British Embassy in Tripoli after eviction of the Mission from the country by Colonel Gaddafi. He also served in Chatham on the staff of Commander in Chief The Nore, in Malta on the staff of the NATO Commander in Chief Mediterranean, at the British High Commission in Ottawa, was Deputy Director of Naval Physical Training and Sport, and was the Commander of the then Royal Naval Hospital at Haslar, Gosport. He played rugby for Mediterranean Fleet and United Services Chatham, was in the RN Cresta squad in St Moritz in 1960, and later ran the successful RN Bobsleigh team for five seasons, 1986-90. He was awarded the OBE for his activities in Oman in the New Year's Honours List 1985.
After leaving the Royal Navy John Lane was Senior Administrator for the Armed Forces Hospitals Southern Region in Khamis Mushayt, Saudi Arabia during the First Gulf War, and then moved to the remote Katumba Rehabilitation Centre, Western Tanzania caring for physically and mentally disabled Burundi refugees with the Ryder Cheshire Foundation. During the civil war in Afghanistan following the Russian withdrawal he was Kabul Head of Mission for HALO Trust in-country operations 1992/3. He was then Project Coordinator for a major aid programme for refugees during the Balkans War, serving with the International Federation of the Red Cross in Croatia, followed by Head of the Red Cross Emergency Cholera Team immediately after the Rwandan genocide based in Goma, and then Head of the RC Delegation, Yerevan, Armenia including post-earthquake development programmes. John Lane has also undertaken humanitarian assignments in Nagorno Karabagh and Eritrea for Christian Solidarity International, and for the European Commission as Hospital Consultant Adviser in Belize 1997-98. For British Executive Service Overseas and for VSO he has served in Peru (Women's Healthcare Clinic, Lima), in northern Bangladesh (rural health development centre), Dodoma in Tanzania and Hargeisa in Somaliland (community development programmes), six months in North West Frontier Province, Pakistan following the SE Asia Earthquake, and in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia (Women in Small Enterprises).
Currently based in London, when not writing, playing his trombone or travelling John Lane tends a floral allotment on the banks of the lugubrious river Wandle and also has a botannical garden chacra smallholding with his wife near Iquitos on the banks of the mighty river Amazon. As a professional speaker, his cruise ship guest appearances are currently on Covid-hold, but his UK talks are nevertheless in full swing via Zoom (see next pages). He is Chief Executive Officer/Finance Director for Bella Lane's London Embroidery Club (www.londonembroideryclub.co.uk) & Bembroidery (www.bellalaneembroidery.com) and also serves as an Honorary Academic Advisor for the Peruvian Research and Education Network's 'Bicentenary Project'. He is a long-standing member of the Battersea Power Station Community Choir.
John Lane is Pageant Master, Production Consultant Adviser, Fundraiser and occasional compere for the José Navarro Andes Ritual Dance and Puppet Company with performances not only in UK but as far afield as China, Kazakhstan, Lithuania, Thailand, India etc (www.josenavarrotheatre.com)
Footnote: World Record Holder - Windsurfing Muscat to Demanyat/Dimaniyat Islands 27th Sept 1982 in 14hrs 30mins. Former UK National Record Holder - "Penny (Farthing) Stack" of 42 Ordinarys, Royal Victoria Park, Netley 5th Sept 1993 (since surpassed). Guinness Book of Records: Player (G sharp bell) in World's Largest Bicycle Bell Orchestra, London 9th Aug 2014 (639 participants for 5 minute recital - previous record 503 players, Germany 2003). Unofficial world record claimed as the only octogenarian to have ascended to Choquequirao (3050m/10,000ft), 'Last refuge of the Incas' in the Peruvian Andes 14th June 2018. World Record Holder: Number of solo transits of the Kabul Gorge/Khyber Pass: 7 (1992/93).