A Peaceful Place to Rest
West Hill Cemetery, Winchester
Captain Edward Lawrence MC DCM
16th The Queen's Lancers
The Royal Northumberland Fusiliers
Killed in Action 28 March 1918
The award of the Military Cross and the Distinguished Conduct Medal to the same person, while by no means unique, usually indicates a man of some interest and stature. The DCM was awarded to soldiers, non-commissioned officers and warrant officers and the MC, at that time, to commissioned officers of junior rank. Since 1993 it can be awarded to all ranks.
Lawrence started his military service in the 16th The Queen's Lancers but few details of his early service have been traced. His regimental number was '302' and by the beginning of WW1 he was a sergeant. The records of the 16th Lancers show that he was awarded the Medaille Militaire on 17 August 1914, Mentioned in Despatches 11 October 1914 and that he was wounded on 21 February 1915. He is not mentioned in the War Diary for this date when there was intense fighting and the detonation of three large German mines causing many casualties. His award of the DCM was made as the result of this event. His citation says "For gallantry and ability in command of his troop before and after being wounded". He was obviously not seriously wounded as he remained in the line with his regiment.
On 6 February 1916 he was commissioned as a Second-Lieutenant in The Royal Northumberland Fusiliers and on 13 February joined their 10th Battalion. The battalion War Diary of this period is a vivid record of events in the front line near Armentieres, from whence came the eponymous mademoiselle. On the night of 30/31 August 1916, two officers and 35 men carried out a raid on enemy trenches, the raiding party having been rehearsed by Lawrence. The other officer was Second-Lieutenant J.P. Loraine.
After some delay the raid commenced at 3.15 a.m. The left hand party led by Lawrence reached the wire undetected, but on getting through the gap in the defences, came under heavy fire. Lawrence was hit by a small shell splinter but was able to continue in command of his party who, "the enemy being very thick" he withdrew to their start point. The right hand party under Loraine had fared rather better and inflicted much damage on the enemy in their sector but were eventually driven off. After a second attack had failed, Lawrence ordered the whole party to withdraw. For their actions on this night both officers were awarded the MC. Lawrence's citation reads "for conspicuous gallantry and devotion to duty when leading a successful raid on the enemy's trenches. Though earlier wounded in the head he stuck to his command and assisted to remove the wounded under heavy fire".
He was subsequently transferred to the Battalion and was killed while serving with them. The circumstances of his death are, for the moment, a mystery. His name is recorded on the Arras Memorial (Bay 2-3) in the Faubourg-d'Amiens Cemetery on the Boulevarde de General de Gaulle in the western part of the town. Why he has a memorial in West Hill Cemetery is not known. According to the Commonwealth War Graves Commission he has `no known grave'.
(The Queen's Royal Lancers Regimental Museum, Grantham; The Fusiliers Museum of Northumberland, Alnwick; Commonwealth War Graves Commission, Maidenhead; The Archives of the DCM League.)
William Prendergast Mus. Doc. (Oxon) Cathedral Organist and Master of the Choristers 1902-1933
b. 4 November 1868
d. 20 February 1933
He was born at Burneston, North Yorkshire, and was educated at Wem Grammar School, in which town his father was the organist at the parish church. William's musical skills became apparent at an early age when he played the harmonium and trained the choir in a neighbouring parish. In 1886, aged 18, his father apprenticed him to Dr. George Arnold at Winchester Cathedral. The following year, conducted by Arnold, he played the organ in the Cathedral at a Jubilee Service for Queen Victoria. By 1888 he was the organist at St. Baldred's Church in North Berwick and In 1891 he was appointed to St. Paul's, Edinburgh where he set about reconstructing the musical scene and introduced a full Cathedral Evensong on Sunday afternoons. By 1902 he had moved to the Royal Blind Asylum School as senior music master, and also taught at Fettes College. By this time he had graduated B. Mus. from Queen's College Oxford and in 1904 gained his Mus. Doc.
In 1902 Dr. Arnold died suddenly. Prendergast was appointed as his successor, a post that he held for 31 years. He and his family lived at No. 5 The Close. He was an excellent Choir Master and composed much music, but was ever mindful of the precept of his illustrious predecessor, Samuel Wesley, who had said that "there was too much bad music written for the Church". It is much to his credit that a collection of attractive Antiphons written in 1931 are still sung today before most Choral Evensongs.
He was a strict disciplinarian and nothing less than perfection would suffice. He insisted that the choir should always " Get it right, what ever it is!" Those who worked under "The Doctor", as he was called, remember him with some awe and affection and were ever grateful to him for the early influence he had on their lives. Former Choristers who knew him were of the opinion that "Dr. Prendergast not only taught us how to play, but taught us how to live." Not only was he renowned for his expert musicianship and devotion to the Cathedral, but also for his active support of other choirs and charities concerned with the musical profession. In 1927 his contribution to music was marked by a reception at Abbey House at which the Mayor presented him with an inscribed Testimonial and a cheque equal to two thirds of his annual salary.
He died suddenly of pneumonia. His funeral service was held in the Cathedral, and although the Choir was present and robed, they did not sing. Too many of them were sick and it was thought that their depleted numbers would not manage to reach the high standards set by their former Master. His wife and their married daughter survived him. His grave in West Hill Cemetery is near the main path and halfway along it. His greatest legacy was to leave the Cathedral music in a sound and stable state, thus enabling it to grow under the guidance of his illustrious successors.
(Compiled from material provided by Mr Desmond Farley, a former Cathedral Chorister 1930-1935. See the Winchester Cathedral Record No. 71, 2002, for a full appreciation of this acclaimed Choir Master and musician.)