LANE, Humphrey William
(Service number 26/1094)

First Rank Rifleman Last Rank Rifleman


Date 23 February 1880 Place of Birth Peeress Town, Timaru

Enlistment Information

Date 13 October 1915 Age 35 years
Address at Enlistment Rose Street, Timaru
Occupation Labourer
Previous Military Experience
Marital Status Married (6 children)
Next of Kin Mrs C. LANE (wife), Rose Street, Timaru
Religion Roman Catholic
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.

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 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

Military Awards

Campaigns Egypt; Western Europe (Somme)
Service Medals British War Medal; Victory 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 Reason

Hospitals, Wounds, Diseases and Illnesses

Post-war Occupations


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
Memorial Reference
New Zealand Memorials On Memorial wall, Timaru; Basilica of the Sacred Heart

Biographical Notes

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 and John Patrick Frisby/Lane born in 1903; two or three children had died in infancy. 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 Two. An In Memoriam notice was inserted in the Timaru Herald by his wife and children in 1917, by his sons and daughters in 1921, and by his sisters and brothers in 1917, 1918, 1919, 1920 and again in 1921. “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.” Clara honourably recorded in 1917.

His medals – British War Medal and Victory Medal - were sent to his widow, now Mrs Dunn. In 1919 Clara married widower Martin Darby Dunn, who died in 1923. Clara 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, 24 September 1921 (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 ( [2013]; School Admission Record (South Canterbury Museum) [23 February 2016]

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Researched and Written by

Teresa Scott, SC branch NZSG

Currently Assigned to


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