(Service number 24/2238)
|First Rank||Rifleman||Last Rank||Rifleman|
|Date||3 January 1874||Place of Birth||Lislehane, Cullen, Co Cork, Ireland|
|Date||23 November 1915||Age||41 years|
|Address at Enlistment||83 Roxburgh Street, Wellington|
|Previous Military Experience|
|Next of Kin||Miss N. BOWERS (niece), Gleniti, Timaru|
|Medical Information||Height 5 feet 5 inches. Weight 9 stone 7 lbs. Chest measurement 33-37 inches. Complexion dark. Eyes brown. Hair brown. Eyes both 6/6. Hearing and colour vision normal. Limbs and chest well formed. Full and perfect movement of all joints. Heart and lungs normal. Teeth - sufficient. 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. Fit.|
|Served with||NZ Armed Forces||Served in||Army|
|Body on Embarkation||New Zealand Rifle Brigade|
|Unit, Squadron, or Ship||5th Reinforcements 2nd Battalion, F Company|
|Date||1 April 1916|
|Transport||Maunganui or Tahiti|
|Embarked From||Wellington||Destination||Suez, Egypt|
|Other Units Served With|
|Last Unit Served With||New Zealand Rifle Brigade|
|Campaigns||Western European (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|
|Date||29 March 1918||Reason||No longer physically fit for War Service on account of wounds received in action.|
Hospitals, Wounds, Diseases and Illnesses
Wounded in Battle. 25 March 1917 admitted to Walton-on-Thames Hospital, suffering from gunshot wounds in right arm, received on 21 March. Soon after reported as improving and as a not severe case. 24 May 1917 transferred to Convalescence Depot at Hornchurch.
|Date||12 July 1941||Age||67 years|
|Place of Death||Home of Compassion, Wellington|
|Cause||Carcinoma of Stomach. Inoperable|
|Notices||Timaru Herald, 16 July 1941|
|Memorial or Cemetery||Karori Cemetery, Wellington|
|Memorial Reference||Soldiers Section, Plot 2 B/3|
|New Zealand Memorials|
Eugene Lane was born on 3 January 1874 at Lislehane, Cullen, County Cork, Ireland, the eldest son of Irish parents, John and Julia (née Callaghan) Lane. He was baptised the next day (4 January) at the Millstreet Parish Church, Eugenius - the Latin form of his name - being written in the parish register. In 1875 he came to Timaru, New Zealand with his parents. In Timaru he was educated at the local parish school and the Marist School where his was the third name in the register. On 21 December 1880 at the annual distribution of prizes at the Timaru Catholic Boys’ School, Eugene received a certificate of merit (a beautifully designed and lithographed card) in Class I upper. In 1886 he received the Standard IV reading prize at the Boys’ Catholic School. In 1894 Eugene was elected to the management committee of the Aloysian Society associated with the church in Timaru. He was re-elected secretary at the 1895 annual meeting. In late May 1895 he represented the society at the funeral in Dunedin of the late Bishop Moran. In the course of a social evening of the Aloysian Society in early June 1895, the hon. secretary (Mr E. Lane) was presented with a pair of beautiful gold sleeve links. He thanked the members for their valuable and unexpected gift. His father died in August 1894 and his mother.
E. Lane was selected as emergency in the South Canterbury Times/Timaru Herald office cricket team to play against the Government employees on 6 April 1895. He was selected in the Timaru Herald office cricket team to play a return match against the South Canterbury Woollen Factory employees in January 1897. After a stint as a compositor in Masterton in the mid-1890s, Eugene was back with the Timaru Herald by 1897 and may have been playing hockey for the Timaru Club and representing South Canterbury, as well as being elected secretary. In 1908 he moved to Wellington.
Eugene responded to the Call to Arms, registering with the Infantry of the 11th Draft, and was passed as medically fit in November 1915, in Wellington, where he was working as a printer for the N.Z. Times. The men called up from Wellington for the 11th Reinforcements, went into camp on 14 December. He was 5 feet 5 inches tall, weighed 9 stone 7 pounds, and had a chest measurement of 33-37 inches. His complexion was dark, his eyes brown and his hair brown. His sight, hearing, colour vision, heart and lungs were all normal, his limbs and chest well formed, and his teeth sufficient. Free from illnesses, diseases and fits, and vaccinated, he was in good bodily and mental health. He was single and Roman Catholic. When attesting (14 December 1915), Eugene gave his birthdate as 2 January 1870, instead of 3 January 1874 as shown in the baptism record. He was by this time 41 years old (although he stated 45 years) and had left Ireland as an infant. Eugene’s next-of-kin was his niece, a daughter of his sister Bridget - Miss N. Bower (Nellie, Ellen Elizabeth Bower), Gleniti, Timaru. Eugene’s address was 83 Roxburgh Street, Wellington.
It was with the New Zealand Rifle Brigade of the 5th Reinforcements that Rifleman E. Lane embarked, departing from Wellington for Suez, Egypt, on 1 April 1916. Having disembarked at Suez on 2 May, he embarked at Alexandria for Marseilles, France, on 20 May 1916, marched into camp and joined his battalion in the Field. For a few days in October 1916, he was attached to the Lewis (Stokes) Gun School; then briefly in February 1917 attached to the Sniping School. It was his sister, Mrs Bower of Gleniti, who received word that he had been wounded on 21 March 1917, then a cable advising of his admission to Walton-on-Thames Hospital, on 25 March 1917, suffering from gunshot wounds to his right arm. He had first been admitted to the No. 3 New Zealand Field Ambulance before embarking for England by Hospital Ship. His was initially reported as not a severe case, and, indeed, some ten days later he was improving. On 24 May he was transferred to the Convalescent Depot at Hornchurch. He had previously been through the Battle of the Somme without a scratch. But on 3 October 1917 he was classified unfit by the Medical Board in the UK.
Rifleman Eugene Lane was one of 442 fighting men from the Somme and Messines - wounded and invalided soldiers (no serious cases, all walking cases), who returned to New Zealand on the hospital ship “Tainui” (Draft No. 130), embarking at Plymouth on 2 November 1917, arriving at Auckland and reaching Lyttelton by ferry steamer on 5 January 1918. “The men have benefited very much from the trip home, and the medical officer’s report shows that there have been no cases of serious illness throughout the voyage. Good weather largely contributed to the comfort and happiness of the troops during the journey.” He was discharged on 29 March 1918, no longer physically fit for war service on account of wounds received in action. He received his medals – British War Medal and Victory Medal - in 1921-1922.
He went back to Wellington where he took up his former employment as a linotype operator and where he resided until his death. E. Lane was nominated as a board member of the Wellington Typographical Union in January 1920. At the annual meeting of the “New Zealand Times” Club in September 1925, a motion of sympathy Mr. E. Lane in his illness was passed, and the hope expressed that Mr. Lane would be speedily restored to health. Eugene was residing at Ewart Hospital in 1925, afterwards taking up residence on Marine Parade, Seatoun. Eugene may well have got into chess and draughts with the Working Men’s Club in Wellington.
Eugene Lane died on 12 July 1941 at the Home of Compassion, Wellington, from 77 Marine Parade, Wellington. He was 67 years of age and had suffered from inoperable carcinoma of the stomach for a year. He was buried in the Soldiers Section of Karori Cemetery, Wellington, a services stone making his grave. Although he had been away from Timaru for more than 30 years, Eugene was remembered fondly by his siblings – Mrs B. Bower, Mrs Taylor, Dennis and John - in a newspaper notice when he died. Three or four siblings died in infancy, and his brother Patrick, who had been called up but had not enlisted, died in 1939. His brother, Humphrey William Lane, was killed in action in 1916 and another, Edward Timothy Lane, was killed in action in 1918; and yet another brother, Dennis Francis Lane, also served in World War One, his brother, Patrick Lane, was called up in 1918. As Eugene died intestate, his estate was administered by the Public Trustee at the request of his brother Dennis, who informed the authorities that Eugene had left surviving him – Dennis Francis Lane of Titahi Bay, brother; John Lane of Temuka, brother; Bridget Bower of Auckland, sister; Mary Taylor of Campbell’s Bay, sister; a number of nephews and nieces. He also confirmed that Eugene was born in County Cork, Ireland.
Auckland War Memorial Museum Cenotaph Database [14 August 2013]; NZ Defence Force Personnel Records (Archives NZ Ref. AABK 18805 W5541 0066082) [29 June 2014]; Karori Cemetery headstone image, Wellington (Wellington City Council) [14 August 2013]; Family records; NZ BDM historical records (Department of Internal Affairs) ; South Canterbury Times, 22 December 1880, 22 December 1886, 5 April 1895, 14 January 1897, New Zealand Tablet, 8 June 1894, Timaru Herald, 6 April 1895, 23 & 29 May 1895, 6 June 1895, 5, 11 & 13 April 1917, 7 December 1917, 5 January 1918, Evening Post, 20 November 1915, 19 January 1920, 23 September 1925, Dominion, 22 November 1915, 2 & 15 December 1915, NZ Times, 22 November 1915, 5 & 11 April 1917, Evening Star, 5 April 1917, Sun, 3 January 1918, Auckland Star, 3 January 1918, Press, 4 January 1918 (Papers Past) [12 May 2014; 05 & 09 October 2014; 25 March 2020; 04 January 2021; 28 & 29 May 2023]; NZ Electoral Rolls (ancestry.com.au) [2013-2014; 28 & 29 May 2023]; Ireland, Births and Baptisms (ancestry.com.au) [07 October 2014]; Timaru Marist School admission register (South Canterbury Museum) [10 October 2014]; Timaru Herald, 16 July 1941 (Timaru District Library) [10 October 2014]; Probate record, including copy of death registration (Archives NZ/FamilySearch) [17 April 2017]
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