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Laurence was born at Wigan in late 1883 to James and Ann Fitzpatrick. When the census was taken in 1891 the family were living at 7 Bighams Yard, Wigan. Laurence had an older sister named Mary (b. c1881) and two younger brothers John (b. c1886) and Thomas (b. c1890). At the time of the 1911 census Laurence was boarding with the Charles family at 27 Elenor Street, Wallgate, Wigan.

Laurence had joined the Special Reserve in May 1911 having become ‘time expired’ after 10 years service in the 3rd Battalion (no. 7579) which he joined in 1901 and had reached the rank of Serjeant. He was at this time 28 years old and was working as a metal man in a coal mine. Lawrence had been imprisoned for 30 days in June/July 1910 for ‘willful damage’ yet was classed as having a good character.  He was a big man for the day standing at just over 6ft, weighing 196 lbs, with a 41 – 44″ chest.

Laurence recorded his next of kin as being Cpl Thomas Fitzpatrick, of the 1st Battalion Lancashire Fusiliers based in Chakrata, India. His youngest brother.

Laurence married Agnes Gibson in October 1914 at Houghton-le-Spring in the North East, after having been mobilized on 8th August 1914.

He landed in France on 16th March 1915 to join the 1st Battalion in the field and was killed in action just 10 days later when a shell burst in the trenches near RUE DE BOIS.

1st Battalion War Diary: 26th March 1915

A bright sunny day. All quiet until about 5.30pm when the enemy shelled our trenches and killed two serjeants and wounded one man. The men have worked hard on the breastworks. Officers from the 9th Liverpool Regt. have been sent up to our trenches for a tour of instruction. Captain Greenhill took over command of ‘D’ Coy, and Captain Hill of ‘B’ Coy.

Agnes later remarried and moved to Kinneil Bo’ness in Scotland. Laurence’s war medals were returned to sender.

Rank: Serjeant
Service No: 1687
Date of Death: 26/03/1915
Age: 26
Regiment/Service: The Loyal North Lancashire Regiment, 1st Bn.

Paul McCormick
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