Samuel George Laurence
1089 Cpl. S.G. Laurence, Devonshire Regiment.
Queen’s South Africa Medal clasp Relief of Ladysmith.
Wounded in action Vaal Krantz 5 February 1900
& invalided.

With a CD-ROM containing 183 pages of pension
invalidity papers, seven photocopy pages of
service documents and a photocopy of the medal
roll page. Samuel George Laurence enlisted at
North Walsham 10 December 1884 aged 19 years
10 months. Born Cromer. Occupation labourer.
Accidentally wounded while on duty at Jhansi 21
November 1887. Transferred to Army Reserve
26 February 1893. Re-engaged 11 December 1896
and rejoined colours 12 December 1899. Between
1885 and 1899 had 15 entries in the defaulter
book for a variety of offences including irregular
conduct, neglect of duty and unauthorised
absences.

Sustained a gunshot wound to the left leg. The
bullet entered the upper part of the calf and was
not removed. Admitted to No. 4 Stationary
Hospital, Mooi River 11 February 1900. Also
suffered from sunstroke at Pietermaritzburg in
June 1900. A medical report in November 1901
stated that he had pain in the leg and that
sunstroke had left him with head pains and
giddiness.
His degree of disability was assessed at 50%. Discharged medically unfit for further service at
St. George’s Barracks, London 1 February 1902. Conduct ‘good, steady & sober’. Re-enlisted 18
November 1914 serving in the Norfolk Regiment (1 year 171 days), Royal Defence Corps (1 year
337 days) and Royal Air Force as 41960 sergeant disciplinarian (360 days) until demobilised 26
February 1919. Appears to have served only in the U.K.  

In 1922 he applied for commutation of his pension to enable him to buy his house following notice
to quit from the owner who gave him first refusal to purchase. He had his wife and eight children
living with him including two sons who were incapacitated as a result of service in WW1. The
Chief Area Officer recommended commutation of 50% of his pension but this was rejected by
the Ministry of Pensions. A second application was made in 1924 which dragged on for months due
to bureaucratic inefficiency, repeating questions that had already been answered and the
apparent inability of the Ministry of Pensions to grasp the serious negative effects another
refusal would cause. Once more the Chief Area Officer gave his full support for commutation and
this time it was granted. He soon changed the name of the building from Luton House to Vaal
Krantz House.

Several medical reports in the 1920s leading up to the commutation of his pension reconfirmed
that he suffered pain in the leg and that sunstroke had left him with very bad headaches and
occasional insomnia and giddiness. His degree of disability at this time was assessed at 30%. Died
of lobar pneumonia at Cromer 24 March 1935 aged 69. Served in ‘H’ Company, 2nd Battalion in
South Africa. Medal and WO 97 papers incorrectly named to ‘Lawrence’.