L/Cpl
Stanley Laurence

Information about birth

Date of birth:
31/03/1895
Place of birth:
Tariki, Taranaki, New Zealand

General information

Profession:
Linesman

Army information

Country:
New Zealand
Force:
New Zealand Expeditionary Force
Rank:
Lance Corporal
Service number:
8/3665
Enlistment date:
19/10/1915
Enlistment place:
Trentham, Wellington, New Zealand
Units:
 —  Otago Regiment, 2nd Bn.  (Last known unit)

Information about death

Date of death:
16/02/1918
Place of death:
Reutel, Beselare, Belgium
Cause of death:
Killed in action (K.I.A.)
Age:
22

Cemetery

Polygon Wood Cemetery
Plot: /
Row: C
Grave: 4

Distinctions and medals 2

Points of interest 3

#1 Place of birth
#2 Enlistment place
#3 ‘Place of death’

My story

Lance Corporal Stanley Laurence served in the 2nd Otago Regiment, of the 2nd New Zealand Brigade. Stanley was born in 1895 in Tariki, a small farming community near Mount Taranaki. Prior to enlisting he worked as a linesman, constructing and maintaining telegraph lines. Stanley enlisted in October 1915, aged 20. In April 1917 he was appointed Lance Corporal.

The New Zealand Division was in the Polygon Wood area, after the end of the Third Battle of Ypres. Much of the time was spent in wiring, repairing crumbling trenches and improving defences. The landscape was covered with waterlogged shellholes. The various battalions took turns in the line and in reserve. The opposing German forces generally held higher ground and movement in the New Zealand lines was often observed and shelled or machine-gunned.

At the end of January 1918 the Otago Regiment stayed in several camps, including Otago Camp and Walker Camp. On February 8th the Regiment was ordered to return to the line in Polygonveld. The 2nd Battalion proceeded via Westhoek and the Butte to the front line of the Reutel sector. They held that position until they were relieved on the 16th of February and returned to dug-outs in Albania Woods.

Lance Corporal Stanley Laurence, still only 22, was killed in action on the day of the relief. A total of six men of the 2nd Otagos were killed on the 16th. Four men were killed along with Stanley. Another man succumbed of his wounds on the same day. Stanley’s service record states that he was buried, by reverend Herron at the Butte (J.10.a.70.80.) in Polygon Wood. However, his service record also mentions his burial at Polygon Wood Cemetery (J.4.c.40.20.), where he still rests today.

Files 1

Sources 6

Auckland Cenotaph
https://www.aucklandmuseum.com/war-memorial/online-cenotaph/record/C8572?n=8%2F3665&ordinal=0&from=%2Fwar-memorial%2Fonline-cenotaph%2Fsearch
Sources used
Byrne, A.E., Official history of the Otago Regiment, NZEF in the Great War 1914-1918, Antony Rowe Ltd., Eastbourne, p. 265-271.
Sources used
CWGC
https://www.cwgc.org/find-war-dead/casualty/480041/laurence,-stanley/
Sources used
NZEF-Project
https://nzef.adfa.edu.au/showPerson?pid=144152
Sources used
Service Record
http://www.archway.archives.govt.nz/ViewFullItem.do?code=10929149
Sources used
The Long, Long Trail
https://www.longlongtrail.co.uk/army/
Sources used