LANE, Humphrey William
(Service number 26/1094)
|First Rank||Rifleman||Last Rank||Rifleman|
|Date||23 February 1880||Place of Birth||Peeress Town, Timaru|
|Date||13 October 1915||Age||35 years|
|Address at Enlistment||Rose Street, Timaru|
|Previous Military Experience|
|Marital Status||Married (6 children)|
|Next of Kin||Mrs C. LANE (wife), Rose Street, Timaru|
|Medical Information||Height 5 feet 5½ inches. Weight 133 lbs. Chest measurement 32-35 inches. Complexion dark. Eyes blue. Hair dark brown. Eyes both 6/8. Hearing good. Colour vision correct. Limbs well formed. Full and perfect movement of all joints. Chest well formed. Heart and lungs normal. Teeth good. No illnesses. Free from hernia, varicocele, varicose veins, haemorrhoids, inveterate or contagious skin disease. Vaccinated. Good bodily and mental health. No slight defects. No fits. Scar across right cheek one inch long, irregular scar one inch long middle of forehead just below hair line.|
|Served with||NZ Armed Forces||Served in||Army|
|Body on Embarkation||New Zealand Rifle Brigade|
|Unit, Squadron, or Ship||4th Battalion, D Company|
|Date||5 February 1916|
|Transport||Ulimaroa or Mokoia or Navua|
|Embarked From||Wellington, NZ||Destination||Suez, Egypt|
|Other Units Served With|
|Last Unit Served With|
|Campaigns||Egypt; Western Europe (Somme)|
|Service Medals||British War Medal; Victory Medal|
Award Circumstances and Date
Prisoner of War Information
|Date of Capture|
|Where Captured and by Whom|
|Actions Prior to Capture|
|PoW Serial Number|
Hospitals, Wounds, Diseases and Illnesses
|Date||24 September 1916||Age||36 years|
|Place of Death||Somme, France|
|Cause||Killed in action, in the field|
|Notices||Timaru Herald, 14 October 1916|
|Memorial or Cemetery||Caterpillar Valley (New Zealand) Memorial, Caterpillar Valley Cemetery, Longueval, Somme, France|
|New Zealand Memorials||On Memorial wall, Timaru; Basilica of the Sacred Heart|
Humphrey William Lane, a son of John and Julia (née Callaghan) from County Cork, Ireland, was born on 23 February 1880 at Peeress Town, Timaru, and baptized on 3 March 1880 at the Sacred Heart Church. He attended the Marist Brothers School at Timaru. He was the husband of Clara Bell Agnes Frisby (subsequently Mrs Dunn, 16 Buchanan St, Timaru), whom he had married on 10 June 1903 at Sacred Heart Church, Timaru.
Humphrey lived all his short life in Timaru, working as a labourer. Humphrey volunteered in Timaru on 11 June 1915, aged 35 years and in good physical health. He left Timaru in October 1915 to go into training camp and enlisted at Trentham on 13 October. He was one of a large group who received a very enthusiastic farewell when they assembled in the drill shed for afternoon tea. The Ven. Archdeacon Jacob said that they were going to answer the call of duty and to help the brave boys who had gone before them and who were doing such splendid work. They were going to fight for King and country, to fight in the cause of right. They marched to the railway station, with the 2nd South Canterbury Regimental Band playing some soul-stirring patriotic airs. "Brave lads," said the Mayor in a voice broken with emotion, ". . . . . We are proud of you for the gallant way you have come forward to assist the Empire in its time of need, .. . . . You are going forward to fight .. . for truth, liberty and justice. . . ." At this time he was working for the Shaw Savill Company.
Humphrey was killed in action less than nine months after embarking for Suez with the Rifle Brigade on 5 February 1916, and, it seems, unscathed until that fatal day in the Battle of the Somme, leaving at home a widow and eight fatherless children - Edward Humphrey born in 1906, William Ernest (Ernie) born in 1908, Arthur Thomas (Tom) born in 1911, Robert James (Jim) born in 1913, Julia Agatha born in 1915, and Francis George who was born in 1916, some seven months after his father had embarked, and was just 8 days old when his father died; in addition there were two step-children - Olive Emma Frisby born in 1900 (who attended school as Olive Lane) and John Patrick Frisby Lane born in 1903; and two or three children had died in infancy. Right until September 1915, Humphrey Lane’s name appeared in his children’s school admission records at the Sacred Heart School; from March 1916, the name is that of C. Lane (their mother).
The name of Humphrey William Lane is recorded on the Caterpillar Valley (New Zealand) Memorial, Caterpillar Valley Cemetery, Longueval, Somme, France. His wife received official notification of his death, with expressions of sympathy, from the Minister of Defence. He was a brother of Edward Timothy Lane who was also killed in action, in 1918, and of Denis Francis and Eugene Lane who both also served in World War I. His son Robert James Lane (Jim) enlisted in World War II. An In Memoriam notice was inserted in the Timaru Herald by his wife and children in 1917, and by his sisters and brothers in 1917, 1918, 1919 and again in 1920. In 1917 Clara honourably recorded:
“Only the grave of a hero,
Only a mound of earth,
Far from the land of the fern,
The land that gave him birth.
His king and country called him,
That call was not in vain,
On New Zealand’s roll of honour,
You will find our hero’s name.” .
His medals – the British War Medal and Victory Medal - were sent to his widow, who had become Mrs Dunn. In 1919 Clara had married widower Martin Darby Dunn, who died in 1923. Clara herself died in 1957, almost 41 years after Humphrey, and is buried in the Timaru Cemetery with her son John.
Rifleman H. W. Lane is remembered on the Timaru War Memorial Wall and on the Sacred Heart Basilica Memorial Tablet.
Auckland War Memorial Museum Cenotaph Database [21 July 2013]; NZ Defence Force Personnel Records (Archives NZ Ref. AABK 18805 W5541 0066093) [04 August 2013]; CWGC [13 August 2013]; Family records; Timaru Herald, 17 February 1908, 12 June 1915, 6 & 14 October 1915, 13 October 1916, 14 October 1916 [x 3], 21 October 1916, 24 September 1917, 24 September 1918, 24 September 1919, 26 August 1920, 24 September 1920 (Papers Past) [10 November 2013; 12 May 2014; 24 June 2014; 05 October 2014; 26 February 2016]; NZ BDM historical records (Department of Internal Affairs) [July 2013]; Timaru Cemetery records (Timaru District Council); NZ Electoral Rolls (ancestry.com.au) ; School Admission Record (South Canterbury Museum) [23 February 2016]
No documents available.
Researched and Written by
Teresa Scott, SC branch NZSG
Currently Assigned to
Licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License unless otherwise stated.
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