LAWS, Selwyn Vernon

2nd Lieutenant, Selwyn Vernon LAWS
Aged 26

9th Battalion, Cheshire Regiment
Died of his Wounds on 25th April 1918

He is not named on the Newmarket War Memorial but is on the Exning Memorial

Born in Stowmarket on 15th January 1892 [Stow 4a:796], 3rd son of Edward Warner and Mary Aves LAWS (née PITCHES) of Bond Street, Stowmarket.

1901 census...Selwyn [9] was at Bond Street, Stowmarket with his father Edward W [39] an engineer/fitter born Norwich, his mother Aves [37] born Exning, his brothers Victor E [15], Archie A [13] and sisters Elsie R [11] and Joy L [8 months]. All the children were born in Stowmarket.

1911 census...Selwyn appears to be LAWES, 20 yrs old chauffeur for Alfred Sadler, the trainer at Freemason Lodge, Newmarket. His parents and sisters were living at the Outfall Works, Exning Road, Newmarket. None of the sons were there, Archie was lodging in Stowmarket, Victor was lodging in Leiston.

A sister Gladys Minnie LAWS was born 1897 died 1898. His grandparents were in Exning from at least 1871 onwards but his parents moved to Stowmarket in time for the 1891 census, were there for 1901, but returned to Newmarket by the time of the 1911 census. Records frequently have the family name as LAWES.

His fianceée, Elsie Collier, was the sister of Fred Collier. click here

His entry in "Our Exning Heroes" reads:
" Selwyn Vernon Laws joined up as a dispatch rider in the Motor Transports in January,1915. He went out to France in the following month, and was there till Easter, 1917. He then came home to prepare for his Commission, and received his training in the Cadet Camp on the Brickfields, Exning. He was gazetted in August of the same year, and went back once more to France.
His stay there, however, was short, as he was sent to Italy, where he remained till the beginning of April, 1918. He then returned to France, and was severely wounded in the stomach on the 24th of the same month. He died the following day. His orderly writes:
"He was highly respected by his men and they all miss him very much. They would do anything for him, as he was so good to them as a soldier and a gentleman. I really cannot express in words how we all miss him, but you and we have one consolation, he died doing his duty, which he did very well"
He was buried in the British cemetery at Aire. He was fond of lawn tennis and a member of the Exning Club."

The 9th Cheshires had been in heavy fighting at Kemmel a few days earlier but do not appear to have been in front line action around the 24th. It could have been a sniper or a shell which wounded him. 54 C.C.S. was at Aire at this time, about 20 miles from Kemmel.

photo:Rodney Giobson

Selwyn is buried in Aire Communal Cemtery, France .Ref: II.F.30
and also commemorated on the Exning War Memorial
and is also commemorated on the Roll of Honour in St Philip & St Etheldreda's Church, Exning Road.

click here to go to the Commonwealth War Graves Commission website for full cemetery/memorial details