Published 6th August 2021
Mark Lane, known as 'Bumble' to his friends had been an avid collector since his formative years, inspired by his uncle when relating stories of his time in the Army and of his own visits to museums and historical sites. At an early age he went on various holidays with his parents to Colditz, Oradour-Sur-Glane and Auschwitz. In later life, he spoke of his visit to Oradour-sur-Glane as a youngster, as it had quite a profound effect on him, which obviously instilled an interest and fascination of war.
As a businessman, he owned and ran a busy cycle shop in Tiverton and was enthusiastic in preserving and restoring vintage and classic bicycles. Passionate about vehicles too, Mark owned and restored many cars, especially MGs due to his family roots being in Abingdon near the MG car factory.
In his 40s Mark was diagnosed with diabetes and unfortunately lost his leg, which left him in a wheelchair. Even this could not stop his passion and enthusiasm of collecting and he acquired even more militaria including medals, uniforms and helmets. He even had a huge artillery shell and an air raid shelter in his back garden!
Not only did he collect military items, he also collected model cars, coffee grinders, matchsticks, stamps, biscuit jars, push bikes, picnic baskets... His obsession for collecting became so great his house became like a museum.
Mark was a really popular character, very bright, humorous and enjoyed surprising his friends with his latest purchase. This collection reflects one man's enthusiasm and passion for history.
Medals and militaria are the main focus of the collection and the variations of items included is quite astonishing. Many people will be familiar with the MK II steel helmet worn by ARP wardens, but the number of other emergency services, government ministries and factories that each had their own unique helmet is eye opening. The collection includes rarer examples like the London Country Council Tramways steel helmet (SS08/186) (Estimate £100-£200) as well as the more common white wardens steel helmets. The collection also included British and European fire service helmets, from the familiar Merry Weather pattern brass helmet (SS08/594), to the late 1980s fluorescent green German M35 pattern helmet (SS08/616).
The number of medals included in the collection is very impressive with examples of both British and foreign orders and decorations. Among the highlights are the George V Distinguished Flying Cross (SS08/249) and the WWI Military Cross (SS08/258) pair to Second Lieutenant Gilbert Hart, 173rd (Tunnelling) Company Royal Engineers.
Mark's passion for bicycles can been seen by his collection of over fifty bicycles that he restored or was in the process of restoring. From the early 20th century 26 inch frame bicycle, possibly a Sunbeam 'Golden' Roadster, to a group of 1970s Raleigh Choppers, there is something to bring back memories for any enthusiast.