Pte 18/1232 West Yorkshire Regiment, Prince of Wales Own. 15th Battalion, Leeds Pals

Lawrence Townend was the third child of William Birks Townend (a mineral water manufacturer) and Mary Hannah Hinchliffe. He was born in Pudsey in March 1895. Altogether, there were five children born to William and Mary – but only four lived to be recorded on the 1911 Census; Ernest, Walter, Lawrence and Laura. (Source: 1911 Census)

In 1891, they were living at 10 Fartown in Pudsey, but by 1901 they had moved to 107 Fartown and then again by 1911 they were at 18 Bankhouse Lane. When Lawrence joined the army, they were at 1 Hillthorpe Terrace and were still there when the war was over. (Source: 1891, 1901, 1911 Census)

He enlisted on the 8th May 1915 in Bradford and subsequently joined the Bradford Pals. At this time, he was 5ft 4, single and worked as a warp twister. His initial army training was undertaken in England until he sailed to Egypt at the end of 1915, arriving just before Christmas in the December. He remained there until March when the battalion moved to France. (Source: Army Form B. 2505: Short Service)

Presumably, Lawrence took part in the Battle of the Somme in 1916, but on the 27th July, 1916 he was reported as missing and subsequently confirmed as a prisoner of war. At some point before he was captured, he was posted to the 15th Battalion and became a member of the Leeds Pals. However, a record of the exact date this occurred does not survive on any records available. (Source: Descriptive Report on Enlistment, Section 3: Statement of the Services)

He was held on the Eastern front by the Germans in a camp named Schneidemuhl which was in what is now Poland. He remained there until the very end of the war and was only released on the 30th November 1918, almost twenty days after the armistice had been declared. (Source: Military History Sheet, POW records)

When returning to England, Lawrence was diagnosed with a fistula and on these grounds applied for a disability allowance. He was awarded 8/3 a week, which was to be reassessed after seven months. He was moved into Class Z and finally demobilised on the 31st March 1919. (Source: Army Form Z. 69)

He was awarded the 1915 Star, the Victory Medal and the British War Medal.

It is possible that he married Clara Marshall in June 1920 in Bradford and died in Buckrose in September 1958.

Researcher: Peter Taylor

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