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Lawrence Keough was born in Bolton in about 1892. He was the son of Lawrence and Mary Alice Keough (nee Upton) of 26, Horace Street, Halliwell, Bolton; and had seven siblings.

Lawrence enlisted in the Territorial Force on 23rd October 1914 at Bolton and was given the number 3007, later 241086. He was 22 years 10 months old and had been employed as an iron dresser in a foundry.

Lawrence was embodied into the 2/5th Battalion of the Loyal North Lancashire Regiment and whilst at Blackpool in December 1914 he signed Army Form E.624, the agreement that he would serve outside the United Kingdom in the event of a National Emergency. He was appointed acting Corporal on 25th June 1915.

His father died in the last quarter of 1915.

In February 1917, as Lawrence and the 2/5th Battalion sailed for France, he was promoted to substantive Corporal. He was appointed Lance Serjeant that April and substantive Serjeant in the May.

On the night of 5th / 6th July 1917 Lawrence was reported to be missing in action, it was later found out he had been killed.

The following report by Second Lieutenant Henry Drysdale explains the events that night;

Evidence of 2/Lieut H Drysdale

On the night of July 5/6th I was out on a reconnoitering patrol with Captain R. K. G. Marseille and Serjt. Keough, opposite the right sub-sector of the CORDONNERIE SECTOR. We left our lines at 11pm and at about 12 midnight, when we had passed the enemy’s support line, an enemy patrol was sighted, about 6 – 10 strong.

Our patrol lay down in the grass but the Boche threw bombs and fired rifles, so we separated from each other a few yards.

The Captain Marseille told me to make a dash for it; I then withdrew about 30 yards in rear of Captain Marseille and the Serjt. went off to the left. Captain Marseille going off to the right.

I waited 20 minutes, but heard nothing more, so concluded that Captain Marseille and the Serjt. had got away.

I then went back to my Coy. and reported the matter to my Coy.Comdr. who at once organised a fighting patrol which went out towards the spot, but could not find anything.

H Drysdale, Second Lieutenant

Brigadier-General F. G. Guggisberg, commanding 170th Infantry Brigade wrote;

Report of missing Officer and N.C.O

Captain Marseille was the officer in charge of a contemplated raid to be held later in the week and was desirous of personally reconnoitering the ground. He had arranged to go out with a reconnoitering patrol of 8 O.R. but on reaching our front line decided that the moonlight was too bright for so large a party.

He then formed a smaller patrol of himself, Lieut Drysdale and a Serjeant.

His Commanding Officer was with him at the time and approved of this formation, as he relied on Captain Marseille’s judgement, the latter being an expert and experienced patroller. He was particularly desirous of taking Lieut. Drysdale and the Serjeant with him, as the latter had duties in the contemplated patrol which, in his opinion and that of the Commanding Officer, necessitated their going over the ground personally.

I have pointed out to the Officer Commanding 2/5th L.N.L Regt. the mistake of forming a patrol of this nature, and have further informed him that I do not consider the circumstances of the case were such as to warrant the formation.

F. G. Guggisberg, Brigadier-General

Despite a letter in November 1917 stating that ‘unconfirmed information’ had been received about Lawrence dying in Germany, he was later found on the battlefield and buried in Cabaret-Rouge British Cemetery at Souchez, north of Arras.


German-born Captain Rudolph Karl George Marseille had been taken prisoner and was repatriated on 24th March 1918.

Lawrence’s mother would take receipt of her son’s British War Medal and Victory medal, she would also receive the Memorial Plaque that would later be mounted on a plinth in recognition of his sacrifice.


Lawrence is also remembered on the Loyal North Lancashire Regiment, 5th Battalion memorial (bottom right of panel).


Rank: Serjeant
Service No: 241086
Date of Death: 06/07/1917
Age: 26
Regiment/Service: The Loyal North Lancashire Regiment, 2nd/5th Bn.

Paul McCormick
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