Private Lawrence John Horsley

Date of Birth c. 1890
Age at Death 26
Date of Death 8 January 1916
Service Number M2/103066
Military Service 605th Mechanical Transport Company Army Service Corps
Merton Address Red Lodge, London Road, Mitcham
Local Memorial Mitcham War Memorial

Additional Information

Born c. 1890, Lawrence was the youngest son of Arthur and Christina Horsley. He had two older brothers, Arthur and Reginald. The family lived at Red Lodge, London Road, Mitcham. Prior to the war, Lawrence worked as a motor driver – possibly for one of the wealthier families in the area, as car ownership was still limited at this time.

Lawrence volunteered for military service at Grove Park on 3 June, 1915. At the time he was described as being 5 feet, 4 inches tall, weighing 129 lbs and sporting false teeth. Possibly due to his pre-war career, he became a private in the 605th Mechanical Transport Company, part of the Army Service Corps.

The British had the most mechanised army of the Great War in terms of motorised transport. A large number of Mechanical Transport Companies were formed with responsibility for carrying supplies, fuel, troop, munitions, communications equipment and repair squads. They also operated field ambulances.

Lawrence had only been serving with the British Expeditionary Force in the Mediterranean for about a week when he was killed. The SS Citta di Palermo, a ship carrying Commonwealth troops off the coast of Brindisi hit a mine on 8 January 1916 and sank. Of the 200 men on board, nearly half drowned, including Lawrence. He is commemorated on the Hollybrook Memorial, Southampton and his name also appears on the Mitcham War Memorial on Lower Green West.


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