Although shown on the Holy Cross Church war memorial at Cromer Street, London, WC1 as Lawrence Brocklebank, no such person can be found as having died in World War One. We can confirm that the correct spelling of his surname should have been Brockelbank.
Lawrence Seymour Brockelbank was born on 21 September 1892 at 9 Eliot Park, Blackheath, one of the five children of George Seymour Brockelbank, (1855-1927) and Julia Brockelbank née Turner (1857-1928). His birth was registered on 17 October 1892 in the Lewisham registration district.
In the 1901 census he is shown as living at 9 Eliot Park, Blackheath, with his parents, three of his siblings: Seymour Brockelbank (1882-1960), Evelyn Brockelbank (1884-1971) and Colin Turner Seymour Brockelbank (1889-1961), together with a cook, a housemaid and a nurse. His father was listed a stockbroker and his elder brother Seymour Brockelbank was shown as an accountants clerk.
When his father completed the 1911 census return form he was shown as residing in a twelve roomed property at Elm Lodge, 6 The Glebe, Blackheath, with his parents, two of his siblings: Seymour Brockelbank and Colin Turner Seymour Brockelbank, together with a cook and housemaid. His father continued to describe himself as a stock broker. Seymour Brockelbank was shown as a designer (artistic) working from home and Colin Turner Seymour Brockelbank as a surveyor's clerk.
He was educated at Lindisfarne School, Blackheath and from 1907 to 1910 at Tonbridge School, Kent, where he became a 2nd Corporal in their Officers' Training Corps. After he left school his first start was in the City, with a firm of East India merchants. He was offered a good position for his age but left them in order to read for Holy Orders. He had taken a great interest his Church work, and especially in the Boy Scout movement, more particularly the All Saints' troop at Blackheath. He also took a great and practical interest in the School Mission at Holy Cross, St. Pancras, where the Reverend F. E. Baverstock wrote ' He came to visit the Mission very soon after he left school and look a great interest in the Tonbridge School Boys Club, which he visited once a week and became responsible for his 'night" there. Later on, he came to live with us at the Clergy House and gave a great deal of his time to us during the six months he was there'.
He entered the Faculty of Theology at Kings College, London University in 1910, where he also served as a Cadet in the Officers' Training Corps.
On 21 March 1914 he applied to join the 3rd (Special Reserve) Battalion of The King's Own (Royal Lancaster Regiment) and was accepted on 18 May 1914 as a second lieutenant. He was attached to the regiment's 1st Battalion which was stationed at Dover when war broke out. On the 22nd August 1914 they left for France and arrived in Boulogne the next day.
On 26 August 1914 the regiment was at Hancourt, France, between Cambrai and le Cateau, where they were caught by surprise in the open by German machine guns while deploying and sustained 400 casualties. He was reported, aged 21 years, as missing, and consequently he was granted a promotion to Lieutenant with effect from 2 February 1915 and this appeared in the London Gazette on 29 March 1915. It was not until 19 February 1920 that his body was found near where he fell, exhumed and reburied in Plot 1, Row D, Grave 9, in the Naves Communal Cemetery Extension, Naves, France.
On 17 January 1916 his army effects totalling £99-14s-0d were sent to his father. He was posthumously awarded the 1914 Star with the 5th Aug-22nd Nov 1914 clasp, the British War Medal and the Victory Medal.
He is also commemorated on the Commonwealth War Graves Commission's website and the Imperial War Museum's Lives of the First World War website. The Lewisham War Memorial website also shows that is remembered on the memorials in St Margaret’s church in Lee and All Saints, Blackheath and also on the Roll of Honour of the University of London Officer Training Corps.
Credit for this entry to: Andrew Behan.