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 (b.1860) and his wife Edith Louisa, nee Palmer. George held the rank of Major in the Indian Medical Service as a Surgeon. He also played some role in Queen Victoria’s funeral, the nature of which is unknown. Lawrence had a twin brother, Ralph, a sister, Joyce (b.1899), and a brother Clive Ambrose Rogers (b.1908). Lawrence's father retired as Surgeon Major in 1901, having joined the Indian Medical Service in 1884 and served in the Tirah Campaign, 1897/1898. At this point the family moved to live at 96 Kensington Park Road, Notting Hill, London and in 1911 Lawrence's parents were living at 185 Brompton Road, Kensington. After schooling at St Paul's School in West Kensington, Lawrence became a rubber planter until war was declared and returned to England to apply for a commission.

Appointed to the Special Reserve of Officers on 26th April 1915, Lawrence was posted, as a Second Lieutenant, to the 3rd Bedfordshires for training and attached to the 2nd Battalion on his arrival in France on 23rd March 1916. Surviving several phases of the Battle of the Somme, Lawrence won the Military Cross for bravery on 12 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 15th 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 5th October 1917, while the 2nd Battalion were in the line, Lawrence was killed. No further casualties are mentioned in the regimental diary so it is possible that he was killed by a sniper or stray shell.

Following a court case at the Old Bailey in October 1911, his father was found guilt 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 December 1947. In the opinion of the medical officer at Brixton Prison, he was 'insane and has been suffering from delusions for some years'. Accordingly, on his death, Lawrence's medals and estate were issued to his mother, who was in the process of arranging to move to Australia and live with her married daughter. At the time, his mother lived at 46 Mountfield Road, Finchley, and later of 38 Onslow Gardens, Muswell Hill.

His 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.