Archibald Frank Nicoll, Second Lieutenant H J Laurent, VC, 1920
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Harry John Laurent (1895-1987) joined the New Zealand Expeditionary Force in May 1915. Laurent, who at the time held the rank of sergeant, was awarded the VC for "conspicuous bravery, skill, and enterprise" at Gouzeaucourt Wood, France, 12 September 1918.
Leading a patrol of 12 men Sergeant Laurent and his men found themselves deep within the German front-line trenches, further than they expected to be. Taking advantage of the situation, Laurent led his men on a daring attack on the German position which saw them kill 20 of the enemy and capture a further 112. During the attack, one of Laurent's men was killed and 3 wounded. With only eight men, Laurent led his men and the prisoners back to the allied lines, fighting off a fierce rearguard action.
During the Second World War Laurent served in the Home Guard, attaining the rank of lieutenant colonel.
This portrait of Laurent was done after his First World War service when he held the rank of second lieutenant.
Oil, 1220 x 870mm
Medals: Victoria Cross