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Lawrence McKeon (Service Record at PRO) was born in Sunderland, enlisted at Chester-le-Street on 8/12/15 under Lord Derby’s Scheme (according to the Chester Chronicle), and was resident at 1, Harraton Terrace in Lambton Park.  Lawrence was killed on Saturday 5th September 1918 and is buried in Dury Crucifix Cemetery, II.D.29. Separation pay of 7/9d was paid to his father Philip.


At the time of his enlistment Lawrence was 39, a gardener, 5 feet 3, weighing 115lbs, with a chest of 35 inches. He was Roman Catholic (and so his name was included on the Roman Catholic Memorial in Washington, his age given as 43). He signed a statement that said he was ‘enlisted subject to dental treatment’. Originally he was Private 4526, 6th DLI.

The 1901 Census finds the family at Lambton Park. Philip (54) was a gardener, born Ireland, and his wife was Sarah (43), born Yorkshire. Their children were Lawrence (23), a gardener, born Sunderland, Catherine (17), an apprentice dressmaker born in Durham and Sarah (14), born in Durham.

In the 1911 Census the family were still living at 1, Harraton Terrace. Philip and Sarah had been married 36 years and had had 7 children, of whom 6 were still alive. The only one still at home was Lawrence (34), who, like his father, was a “gardener worker”. He remained single.

Lawrence was placed in reserve on 8/12/15 and was then mobilised in March 1916. He arrived in Boulogne on 22/7/16 and on 5/9/16 he was transferred to the 1st Loyal North Lancashire Regiment. They were part of 2nd Brigade, 1st Division. There followed a short spell with the Cornwall Regiment after which he returned to the 1st Loyal North Lancashires and was given leave to the UK, 15/10/17 -25/10/17. He was awarded 6d proficiency pay. His army record states that his death was on 5/9/18.

Lawrence was killed during the 2nd Battle of Arras, part of the 100 Days Offensive that led to the defeat of Germany. Field Marshall Ludendorff admitted to the Kaiser in September 1918, “We have lost the war: poor Fatherland.”


The CWGC headstone of Lawrence McKeon at DURY CRUCIFIX CEMETERY

A parcel of Lawrence’s effects seems to have been sent home on 9/12/18 – a memo about his next of kin with ‘parcel’ and a tick written in the margin. Another memo stated that those articles consisted of 2 wallets, 1 religious book, 1 notebook, cards and letters. His father acknowledged receipt of these articles on 21/12/18.

On the St George’s Roll of Honour Lawrence appears as McEwan L – killed, on the Harraton Memorial he was McKeon L. He was awarded the War and Victory medals. The Electoral Rolls of 1914 and 1915 have his father at 1, Harraton Terrace and the latter includes Lawrence as a lodger at the same address.

Rank: Private
Service No: 26556
Date of Death: 03/09/1918
Regiment/Service: The Loyal North Lancashire Regiment, 1st Bn.

Thank you to Peter Welsh for sharing this article with our readers.

Paul McCormick
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One Response to 26556 PTE. L. MCKEON. L.N.LAN.R

  1. Philippa Day says:

    I’m interested to know where this photo came from- Lawrence is a relative of mine.

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