b. 09/11/1873 Bewdley, Worcestershire. d. 07/06/1949 Nakuru, Kenya
Brian Turner Thomas “Tom” Lawrence (1873-1949) was born on 9th November 1873 in Bewdley, Worcestershire, the eldest of five brothers, and the son of Hannah and John Lawrence, a timber merchant of 15, Lower Park in the town. He was educated in nearby Kidderminster at the King Charles I Grammar School.
He enlisted with the 17th (Duke of Cambridge’s Own) Lancers and was soon to see action during the Second Boer War of 1899-1902. By the start of the conflict he had risen to the rank of Sergeant, and would be recommended and awarded the Victoria Cross for his actions at Essenbosch Farm (London Gazette, 15th January 1901).
On the 7th August, 1900, when on patrol duty near Essenbosch Farm, Sergeant Lawrence and a Private Hayman were attacked by 12 or 14 Boers. Private Hayman's horse was shot, and the man was thrown, dislocating his shoulder. Sergeant Lawrence at once came to his assistance, extracted him from under the horse, put him on his own horse and sent him on to the picket. Sergeant Lawrence took the soldier's carbine, and wiih his own carbine as well, kept the Boers off until Private Hayman was safely out of range. He then retired for some two miles on foot, followed by the Boers, and keeping them off till assistance arrived.
Lawrence was presented with his medal on 12th August 1902 in London by King Edward VII. He then became a Riding Master in the 18th Hussars, and was promoted to Honorary Lieutenant and then Captain. He competed in the 1912 Summer Olympics for Great Britain in eventing. He did not finish the Individual eventing (Military) competition, and also the British team did not finish the team event.
He was later promoted to Lieutenant-Colonel by the time of his retirement and he emigrated to Kenya, where he spent the remainder of his life. He died on 7th June 1949 aged 75 in Nakuru, Kenya, and was cremated at Nakura Crematorium. His medals are held by the Ashcroft Trust and displayed in the Imperial War Museum.
LOCATION OF MEDAL: LORD ASHCROFT GALLERY, IMPERIAL WAR MUSEUM, LONDON.
BURIAL PLACE: NAKURU CREMATORIUM, NAKURU, KENYA.
Brian Lawrence's medals including VC on display at the Lord Ashcroft Gallery, Imperial War Museum, London (August 2014).
Replicas of Lawrence's medals at Thoresby Park.
Picture courtesy of Paul Reed
Medals prior to sale (Philip Wilson)