LAWRENCE, Benjamin

No.G/351, Private Benjamin LAWRENCE
Aged 22

6th Battalion, The Buffs ( East Kent Regiment )
Died of his Wounds on Friday, 2nd March 1917

Benjamin Lawrence was born in Tarrant Rushton, Dorset (Blandford Q2-1894 5A:227). His parents are believed to be Henry and Mary LAWRENCE (née SMITH). Father, gamekeeper born Reydon, died in 1897, mother born Wenham, died in 1896.

1901 census... Aged 7 he was at The Cottage, Rayden Woodland, nr Hadleigh with his uncle William Smith [47] a tree feller born Wenham, and his cousins Ethel [12] and Harry [12], both born in Raydon. His place of birth is given as Crichel, Dorset.(next village to Tarrant Rushton) .

1911 census... Aged 17 he was a farm hand, still with his uncle and aunt, William and Sarah SMITH, cousins Harry SMITH, Anna MANN [36] born Raydon and her daughter Lilian Ellen MANN [12] born Marylebone, London

He enlisted on 29th August 1914 and was discharged on 31st May 1916 due to sickness, according to his silver war badge award. He was discharged on 3rd May 1915 and awarded a silver war badge #12487. The discrepancy in dates is decided by his actual Army records, and the registration of death (Newmarket Q-1 1917 3B:737) and parish records show 1917. "Soldiers Died" appears to have missed him altogether. His Army records say "Man died 2-3-1917"

Some of his Army records survive and tell us :- He gave his age as 20 yrs 5 months in August 1914. 5 ft 1 1/4" (155.5 cm) tall, chest 35 to 37 " (88.9 to 94 cm)brown hair, grey eyes. His occupation was gamekeeper.
His service was Home -29th August 1914 to 31st May 1915 then BEF France 1st June 1915 to 12th April 1915 and Home from 13h April 1915 until discharge on 31st May 1916 a total of 1 year 277 days.
On 5th April 1916 he was admitted to Field Ambulance (sick) and transferred via SS 'Stad Antwerpen' from No 16 General Hospital at Le Treport on 12th April 1916 back to England. He then spent 43 days in Wharncliffe War Hospital, Sheffield, until 25th May 1916 with "tubucle of Lung".
He gave his intended address on discharge as Keepers Lodge, Kennett, nr. Newmarket so possibly had obtained outdoor employment there.
His sister (A.Smith) signed for receipt of his medals in 1921. His uncle was William Smith from Raydon Woodlands, near Hadleigh. His father's address is ? Court,Faversham in 1914, which could account for his enlisting there.

In memory of Benjamin Lawrence of the East Kents - who was gassed near Hulluch in France March 14th 1916
departed this life at Kennett March 2nd 1917 aged 22 years
erected by parishioners of Kennett and relatives

Benjamin Lawrence is buried in the churchyard of St. Nicholas, Kennett (south of the church)

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