Major Michael Lane BEM MM

{ Bronco }

22 Jul 1945 - 22 Mar 2024

  • British Empire Medal
  • Military Medal medal

Major Michael 'Bronco' Lane was a Gunner in 7 Parachute Regiment, Royal Horse Artillery and eventually a Major with 22 Special Air Service Regiment. 

Lane was born in Manchester on July 22, 1945 to John Edward Lane, a Sapper in the Royal Engineers, and his wife Ellen. He had a brother and two sisters. Lane joined the Junior Leaders Regiment of the Royal Artillery on leaving school on September 20, 1961. He was posted to 7 PARA RHA, passing P Company to become a Paratrooper in 1963. 

Lane served with 7 PARA in the Radfan mountains, engaging in a difficult campaign against the Quteibi tribe, who were known in the British press as the 'Red Wolves'. 7 PARA's 105mm Pack Howitzers were fired in support of the 'Radforce' efforts to remove the tribesmen from the hills, from where they had been attacking tradesmen on the Dhala road. After Radfan, Lane was selected (fittingly) at age 22 to join 22 SAS in 1967. 

One of Lane's first assignments was to help support the installation of a new Sultan, Qaboos bin Said, in Oman. This was a coup which Major-General John Graham, formerly a CO of 1 PARA, helped organise in 1970. Thereafter he helped defeat the Communist opponents of the Sultan in the Dhofar War, which eventually ended in 1976. In May of that year, Lane took part in a British Army expedition to reach the peak of Everest. He nearly died in the attempt, losing all ten of his toes and the fingertips and thumb of his right hand. He later donated the lost toes to the National Army Museum to be preserved. Nonetheless, he had already reached the peak of the mountain before having to be rescued. For his part in the expedition he was awarded the British Empire Medal, dated December 31, 1976. At this time he is listed as a Trooper (acting Sergeant).

Lane was later posted to Northern Ireland, where on January 24, 1979, near Maghera, he helped to prevent a pre-arranged IRA murder but was injured in the process. Lane was awarded the Military Medal, dated October 9, 1979, for his bravery in this action. He had the rank of Staff Sergeant (Acting Warrant Officer Class 2) at this time. 

Lane was present at the Iranian Embassy Siege, but was not part of the assault party. However, he was part of a secret SAS operation in Chile during the Falklands war, tasked with gathering information on the movements of an Argentine aircraft that was ready to attack the British fleet in 1982. Lane later became the RSM of 22 SAS throughout 1984 and 1985. He was granted a short service commission to become a Lieutenant on February 9, 1987, with seniority backdated to August 9th 1984. This was on his retirement from 22 SAS. 

Lane's first wife Janet Volpe sadly died but he remarried Sue Bufton in 2014. She survives him, together with a daughter from his first marriage. 

Major Michael 'Bronco' Lane died on March 22, 2024. 

Compiled with information from:

London Gazette

Obituary in the Telegraph, 10 April 2024

Airborne Network

Profile picture from the National Army Museum:

Article written by Alex Walker 

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Service History


Major Michael Bronco Lane BEM MM

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