VALE Major Michael ‘Bronco’ Lane (ret’d), ex 22nd SAS, Hereford, UK

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A life of service and unassuming self belief well lived, vale Major Michael ‘Bronco’ Lane, BEM, MM *2

FILE PHOTO: Michael ‘Bronco’ Lane (left) and his pal, John “Brummie” Stokes. Photo supplied to HIMALMAN’S WEBLOG by John “Brummie” Stokes.

By way of historical correctness and to raise awareness of the passing of a member of the SAS brotherhood, I wish to advise of the passing of a highly decorated, widely respected and formidable soldier, my English brother-in-law, Major Michael ‘Bronco’ Lane (ret’d), former member of 22nd SAS, Hereford, UK.

Bronco passed on March 22nd, 2024, aged 79, with advanced stage dementia.


Livestream of Major Michael ‘Bronco’ Lane’s funeral at Hereford Cathedral.

He is to be honoured with a full military funeral on April 25th, 2024, at Hereford Cathedral, home to England’s 22nd SAS regiment.

I write this reflection piece to document Bronco’s long association with Australia’s own SAS regiment, especially his appreciation of the camaraderie he experienced during his multiple visits to Swanbourne throughout his years of military service.

Bronco advised on selection and training procedures informed by his own battlefield experiences and his unique view of a life-long military career that saw him rise through the ranks from foot soldier to commissioned officer with the rank of RSM, 22nd SAS regiment along the way.

Bronco began his military service as a junior cadet, on the advice of his court appointed probation officer, following a misadventure to go rock climbing with the aid of a ‘borrowed’ bike.

He first joined the parachute regiment, soon discovered the appeal of the SAS (founded in 1956) and gained acceptance to the regiment.

Bronco’s strength of character, evidenced by his summiting Mount Everest together with his fellow SAS climbing partner, Sgt ‘Brummie’ Stokes (deceased), supported by the British Forces Mountaineering Club in 1976.

This feat, together with Bronco’s involvement in so many covert SAS operations, winning the Military Medal twice, demonstrates the incredible will and courage that is so characteristic of SAS soldiers, ready and willing to put their own lives at risk to back their mates.

Bronco gave far more to his military service than his dedication, loyalty and leadership skills.

His 10, frost bitten, amputated toes, suitably preserved, remain on display to this day, the legacy of an overnight stay in an ice cave on the South Col, before a very painful assisted descent the following morning.

Subsequently, Bronco was awarded the keys to the city of Manchester, his home county, together with the British Empire Medal (BEM).

Bronco was destined to return to the mountain at the invitation of the Nepalese government, charged with overseeing the operations at base camp, specifically to ensure visiting groups of climbers did their bit in the placement and maintenance of ladders and ropes to be shared by all.

This role was seen as necessary due to the commercialisation of Everest expeditions catering to the wealthy and adventurous.

Bronco took several bullets during his multiple tours of Northern Ireland’s troubles.

He told of a military surgeon preparing to operate following his medivac to the UK.

On observing Bronco’s toeless feet, the Major commented: ‘There is only one soldier in the British army with feet like yours, I’m humbled to meet you Bronco Lane’.

There is so much more to tell about the life and service of this amazing individual:

  • his friendship with Britain’s new monarch, King Charles III, patron of Britain’s 22nd SAS.
  • his post military service developing teams on North Sea oil rigs.
  • his new-found literary skills in writing ‘informed’ novels.
  • his involvement in expeditions to the Antarctic, employing team-building skills to meld a diverse group of young individuals whose culture and ethnicity puts them in conflict.

 

Vale Major Michael ‘Bronco’ Lane, BEM, MM *2


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Posted by Brian Hartigan

Managing Editor Contact Publishing Pty Ltd PO Box 3091 Minnamurra NSW 2533 AUSTRALIA

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