Lawrence Alexander Lewis Fink MC

Rank Captain
Service No Unknown
Date of Death 05/10/1917
Age 26
Regiment/Service Befordshire Regiment 2nd Battalion
Cemetery Kemmel Chateau Military Cemetery, located 8 Kilometres south of Ypres, Belgium.

 

Lawrence was born on 10th August 1891 in Lucknow, India, to George Herbert Fink (1860-1953) and Edith Louisa Palmer. On 2nd December 1891, he was baptised, in a Methodist Episcopal Church. Lawrence had three siblings: Ralph (a twin brother), Joyce (b.1899) and Clive Ambrose Rogers (b.1908). 

His father, who was born in India, joined the Indian Medical Service in 1884, and retired as Surgeon Major in 1901, having served in the Tirah Campaign, 1897/1898. He afterwards practised in England, and wrote on tropical diseases. All his children, expect Clive, were born in Lucknow, India.

At the time of the 1901 Census, the family were back in England and living at 96 Kensington Park Road, Notting Hill, London.

Following a court case at the Old Bailey in October 1911, Lawrence’s father was found guilty but insane of forging a banker's cheque for £11,000 3s. 10d., (it was actually for £11 3s.10d.) with intent to defraud and declared a 'Criminal Lunatic'. The judge ordered that he be detained during His Majesty's pleasure, as a result of which he became an inmate of the Broadmoor Criminal Lunatic Asylum, where he lived until his death in 1953. In the opinion of the medical officer at Brixton Prison, he was 'insane and has been suffering from delusions for some years'.

After schooling at St Paul's School in West Kensington, Lawrence became a rubber planter until war was declared, when he returned to England to apply for a commission. Thereafter his address was 29 Elm Park Road, Finchley.

On 26th April 1915, he was appointed to the Special Reserve of Officers and posted to the 3rd Battalion of the Bedfordshire Regiment for training. On 23rd March 1916, he arrived in France as a Second Lieutenant and was attached to the 2nd Battalion of the Regiment. He survived several phases of the Battle of the Somme, and won the Military Cross for bravery on 12th October 1916, his citation reading: "For conspicuous gallantry in action. He led his company forward with great courage and determination under intense fire, and succeeded in capturing about 200 yards of the enemy's trench"

On 15 November 1916 he was promoted to Lieutenant, when he was already in command of C Company, and January 1917 saw him recommended and approved for a permanent commission in the Regulars. On 13th March 1917, when in the trenches at Agny, south-west of Arras, he was admitted to hospital sick, but nine days later he returned to duty. Having been acting adjutant from 3rd April to 29th May, he went on leave on 4th June. On 24th June, when in camp near Dickebusch, 5 miles south-west of Ypres, he took over command of "C" Company. He died while the battalion was in the Hollebeke sector of the line, a couple of miles south of Ypres. No further casualties are mentioned in the Regimental diary, so it is possible that he was killed by a sniper or stray shell.

On his death, Lawrence's medals and estate were issued to his mother. On 25th September 1920, she wrote to the medical officer at Broadmoor saying she wanted to use the sum of £63 that was due to her husband, which, she said he wanted to give to her, as she was proceeding to Australia to live with her married daughter and wished to have it to assist in defraying the expenses of travel. At the time, she lived at 46 Mountfield Road, Finchley, and later she moved to 38 Onslow Gardens, Muswell Hill.

Lawrence's twin brother, Ralph, fought with the Cheshire Regiment and was also awarded the Military Cross. He survived the war and emigrated to Kingston, Jamaica with his wife Lilian in 1920. He returned to Britain, having lived in Iraq, before moving again, this time to Singapore. He was awarded an OBE in 1929 New Years Honours where he is described as 'Captain and Brevet Major Ralph Havelock Lewis Fink, MC, The Cheshire Regiment, Headquarters Staff, Iraq Army.' Returning in 1937, Ralph changed his name by deed poll to Finch in 1938. His sister, Joyce, got married at St Mary-at-Finchley in 1919.