LANE, Denis Francis 
(Service number 47155)

Aliases Dennis (Francis Denis). Known as Din
First Rank Rifleman Last Rank Rifleman


Date 18 April 1895 Place of Birth Timaru

Enlistment Information

Date (1) 3 January 1916; (2) 25 January 1917 Age (1) 20 years 8 months; (2) 21 years 8 months
Address at Enlistment Gleniti
Occupation Blacksmith
Previous Military Experience 2nd South Canterbury Regiment - serving
Marital Status Single
Next of Kin Mrs P. C. BOWER (sister), Gleniti, Timaru
Religion Roman Catholic
Medical Information Height 5 feet 4½ inches. Weight 112 lbs. Chest measurement 30½-32½ inches. Complexion fair. Eyes grey. Hair brown. Sight and hearing both good. Colour vision correct. Limbs and chest well formed. Full and perfect movement of joints. Heart and lungs normal. 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.

Military Service

Served with NZ Armed Forces Served in Army
Military District

Embarkation Information

Body on Embarkation New Zealand Rifle Brigade
Unit, Squadron, or Ship Reinforcements, G Company
Date 5 April 1917
Transport Devon
Embarked From Wellington Destination Devonport, England
Other Units Served With
Last Unit Served With Rifle Brigade, 24th Reinforcements

Military Awards

Service Medals British War Medal
Military Awards

Award Circumstances and Date

No information

Prisoner of War Information

Date of Capture
Where Captured and by Whom
Actions Prior to Capture
PoW Serial Number
PoW Camps
Days Interned
Liberation Date


Date 13 January 1918 Reason No longer physically fit for War Service on account of Pre-enlistment Disability.

Hospitals, Wounds, Diseases and Illnesses

Medical report at Codford, 31 July 1917 - flat feet - pre-enlistment condition

Post-war Occupations

Blacksmith; gardener; labourer; wire mattress weaver


Date 2 October 1954 Age 59 years
Place of Death Silverstream, Wellington
Memorial or Cemetery Taita Lawn Cemetery
Memorial Reference Block 11, Row M, Plot 36
New Zealand Memorials Old Gleniti School Honour Boards

Biographical Notes

Denis Francis Lane was the youngest son of John and Julia (nėe Callaghan) Lane, who came out from County Cork, Ireland, in 1875. Denis was born at Timaru on 18 April 1895, more than seven months after his father died at his home at Cullmantown, Timaru, in August 1894, and was baptized on 28 April 1895 at the Sacred Heart Church, Timaru. He attended Sacred Heart and Marist Brothers’ schools in Timaru with two spells at Gleniti School, from August 1906 to December 1908 and from June 1909 to October 1909. It is not apparent who was Mrs Mary Lane, his parent/guardian at Gleniti; perhaps his sister Mary who married in 1908; while his sister, Mrs Bridget Bower, did live at Gleniti. His mother died in February 1908. At the annual picnic and distribution of prizes for Wai-iti (Gleniti) School in December 1908, D. Lane received a special prize for arithmetic. In early June 1911, only one completed roll for the Boy Scouts had been handed in, and that was for No. 5 (Gleniti) Troop. It showed that the Troop was in a healthy condition. Among those who had completed their second-class test was D. Lane. Dennis was a witness to the marriage of his brother Edward in December 1915 at Timaru.

Dennis Francis Lane first attested on 3 January 1916 at Trentham and was posted to the 12th Reinforcements. He was serving with the 2nd South Canterbury Regiment. An apprenticed blacksmith, residing at Gleniti, single and Roman Catholic, he named his sister as next-of-kin – Mrs P. C. Bower, Gleniti, Timaru. Bridget Cecilia Lane had married Peter Charles Bower. He was medically examined on 4 January 1916. He was 5 feet 4½ inches tall, weighed 112 pounds, and had a chest measurement of 30½-32½ inches. His complexion was fair, his eyes grey, and his hair brown. His sight, hearing and colour vision were all good, his limbs and chest well formed, and his heart and lungs normal. Free from illnesses, diseases and fits, and vaccinated, he was in good bodily and mental health. Private D. F. Lane was discharged from camp on 4 February 1916, being medically unfit (flat feet and unfit for marching).

Denis Francis Lane, a blacksmith at Gleniti, was drawn in the first military ballot for No. 10 (South Canterbury) recruiting district in November 1916. He then enlisted for the 24th Reinforcements on 25 January 1917 at Timaru. At the time, he gave his address as Gleniti but he was working as a blacksmith at Hakataramea. D. F. Lane was one of the men who left Waimate by the first express, en route for Trentham, on 13 February 1917. Posted initially to the 25th Reinforcements, he was transferred to the on 24th on 4 April 1917. Rifleman D. F. Lane embarked with the New Zealand Rifle Brigade, departing from Wellington for Devonport, England, per the “Devon” on 5 April 1917. After disembarking, he marched in to Sling from the 24th Reinforcements on 11 June 1917, he marched out to the Command Depot at Codford and was taken on Strength on 14 July and was transferred to the Discharge Depot at Torquay on 8 August. Denis did manage to incur a few misconduct penalties in a relatively short time - 5 shillings pay deducted for loss of puttees in May 1917; two days punishment for absence from parade also in May 1917; three days confined to barracks and all fatigues for absence without leave at Torquay in August 1917.

Following a medical report on his disability carried out at Codford on 31 July 1917, he was classified unfit (flat feet). He returned from the Front in later, leaving from Devonport on 15 August and reaching Wellington on 13 October by the “Tofua” which was conveying invalided soldiers. About 45 sick and wounded soldiers arrived in Christchurch late on the afternoon of 14 October and were given a hearty welcome. The Railway Department had not arranged any special train from Lyttelton but they went up by the ordinary ferry train and, while the Canterbury Automobile Association arranged to convey the Christchurch men to their homes, men living outside Christchurch were to be accommodated at the People’s Palace until 15 October. It is not clear whether he was one who came on to Timaru on 15th October. There had also been a break-down in communication with regard to the return of the contingent.

He was granted sick leave from 15 till 21 October 1917, at Gleniti, Timaru. A Medical Board was assembled on 10 December 1917 at the Timaru Drill Hall to examine and report upon 47155, Rifleman Denis Francis Lane, N.Z.R.B. He was recommended for three months of treatment as a hospital outpatient at Timaru, subsequent to discharge. Denis spent all his very short time abroad in England, maybe because of his pre-existing disability. He had suffered with flat feet since 1906; his arches had practically gone; while he could raise himself up on his toes, marching caused pain after about 4 miles without a pack. He did only four weeks training at Featherston and Trentham and one week at Sling. His disability was attributed to his occupation in civil life. It was not noted in his medical examination, although it was later stated that he should not have been enlisted. His disability was likely to be permanent, rendering Denis unfit for Territorial Service and unfit for two months for civil employment.

He was discharged on 13 January 1918, as recommended, no longer physically fit for war service on account of pre-enlistment disability (flat feet) and was awarded the British War Medal in 1921. Initially he returned to blacksmithing at Woodbury, but soon turned to gardening which he did at Gleniti, Mount Peel, Bayfields in Canterbury and Christchurch. At the annual meeting of the Sydenham Suburban Committee of the Christchurch Returned Soldiers’ Association in May 1933, Mr D. F. Lane was elected to the committee.

He did serve for two years in the National Military Reserve Guard in World War II, when his next-of-kin was a friend, Mrs J. Gibbs of Christchurch, with whom he had been residing in 1938. By then he was 45 years old, still single, and employed as a wire mattress weaver in Wellington. There was little change in his physical condition since World War I enlistment. He had had quinsey in 1925 and occasionally suffered from discharge from the right ear. His flat feet were no longer considered as a disability. Yet in November 1941 and February 1942 he was treated at Wellington Hospital for his flat feet disability. The treatment was ineffective. He attributed his disability to Guard Duty at Titahi Bay Camp in October 1914. In addition, he suffered with eye trouble (chronic conjunctivitis) and could not see very well at night; and also a type of eczema on his back and “nerves”. His condition had been poor for some months. In 1942 he was classed as permanently unfit for active service and unable to perform Guard Duty to which he had been attached (both arches down) but fit for duties (clerical) which did not require standing or marching. He served from 30 July 1940 to 2 June 1942. For this second time of service, he was issued with the War Medal and the N.Z. War Service Medal. In March 1942, Dennis applied for special leave (five days) to go to Christchurch to wind up the estate of his late brother. Eugene had died in July 1941.

Dennis Frances Lane died on 2 October 1954 at Silverstream, aged 59 years. He was buried at Taita Lawn Cemetery, a services plaque marking his grave He had made a Will on 4 July 1917 and appointed the Public Trustee executor. He bequeathed his al to his niece Mary Bower of Gleniti. Mary was the younger daughter of his sister Bridget. As of February 1955, there was £100 in his bank account. He had initially returned to his home district of Gleniti, before working as a gardener at Mount Peel and in Mid-Canterbury, then as a labourer in Christchurch, moving to Petone before World War Two, then Wellington.

Denis was a brother of Humphrey William Lane who was killed in action in 1916, of Edward Timothy Lane who was killed in action in 1918, and of Eugene Lane who also served in World War One. Another brother, Patrick Lane, was called up in 1918. He is remembered (“Also Served”) on the Gleniti War Memorial, erected between the two main doors of the Gleniti School, and unveiled on 27 December 1919. The unveiling ceremony commenced with the singing of the National Anthem and closed with all singing “God Save the King”. The Ven. Archdeacon Jacob, who had come out from Timaru with Rev. Father Bartley, spoke of the great object lesson of duty which had been taught to future generations by those who had made such great sacrifices in the war. The schoolchildren, whenever they looked at the tablet, would remember and be proud of those who had fought to keep their country free from the horrors of invasion. The Rev. Father Bartley spoke of the great sacrifices of those who had fought for their country. The greatest heroes were those who had made the supreme sacrifice and who were now sleeping in the distant fields of Gallipoli, Egypt and France. His brother Edward who was killed in action in 1918 is remembered. Both names were recalled in July 1939 at the Diamond Jubilee celebrations of Gleniti School.


Auckland War Memorial Museum Cenotaph Database [14 August 2013]; NZ Defence Force Personnel Records (Archives NZ Ref. AABK 18805 W5922 0066078) [29 June 2014]; NZ Defence Force Personnel Records (Archives Collections Record Number 10046581) [30 May 2023]; Taita Lawn Cemetery burial record (Hutt City Council) [14 August 2013]; Taita Lawn Cemetery headstone transcription (South Canterbury Branch NZSG microfiche) [10 October 2014]; Taita Lawn Cemetery headstone image (Find A Grave) [29 May 2023];Family records [14 August 2013]. Timaru Herald, 26 December 1908, 7 June 1911, 25 November 1916, 12 February 1917, 16 October 1917, 27 December 1919, 29 July 1939, Waimate Daily Advertiser, 12 February 1917, Sun, 13 October 1917, Star, 13 October 1917, 27 May 1933, Temuka Leader, 16 October 1917, Press, 29 May 1933 (Papers Past) [18 November 2013; 05 October 2014; 02 November 2015; 02 December 2017; 28 & 29 May 2023]. NZ BDM historical records (Department of Internal Affairs) [July 2013]; NZ Electoral Rolls ( [2013-2014; 30 May 2023]; School Admission records (South Canterbury Branch NZSG) [2014]; Timaru Marist School admission register (South Canterbury Museum) [10 October 2014]; Probate record (Archives NZ/Family Search) [29 May 2023]

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