Laurence Digby

Surname: Digby
Other names: Laurence
Other people in this story:
Sidney William Digby
Lettie Digby née Lavis
Louisa Mary Agnes Sparham Rowse Etheridge
John Kenneth Digby
Locations in this story:
Shaftesbury, Dorset
Elham Kent
Arras, Flanders
Newton Abbot, Devon
Goland, St. Austell, Cornwall
Ashford, Kent

Laurence Digby was born in Shaftesbury, Dorset, on 23rd January 1898 and baptised at Holy Trinity Church on 28th February 1898, the son of Sidney William Digby and Lettie Digby (née Lavis). He spent his early years with his family at 35 High Street, Shaftesbury, where his father was in business as an ironmonger.  His father died on 31  Jan 1914 and the remaining family moved to 1 Belle Vue Terrace, Victoria Street, Shaftesbury.  Laurence had enlisted with the 4th Battalion of the Dorsetshire Regiment (Service No. P141655) and in time had been promoted to Temporary 2nd Lieutenant on 19 Jun 1918 with the 1st Battalion which rank was confirmed on 19 Dec 1916.  There is a pension record showing that he had been discharged due to Heart Palpitations and Defective Eyesight due to the effects of Mustard Gas.  It has subsequently been learnt that 6 officers (including Laurence) and 104 men had been subject to a gas attack near Arras, France, on 14 Apr 1918. Regrettably no medal records can be found but he would certainly have received at least the Victory and British War Medals.  He resigned his commission on 5 Jan 1920.   By the 1921 Census he was boarding at 10 High Street, Ashford, Kent, described as an Engineer and Contractor on his own account.   He married Louisa Mary Agnes Sparham Rowse Etheridge,  a widow, in Elham, Kent, during 1922.  By the time of the 1939 Register he was living at The Moorings, Goland, St. Austell, Cornwall, and was described as a Fisherman (Summer).  His death was recorded in St. Austell, Cornwall, in 1963.  His brother, John Kenneth Digby, also served and remained in the Army following the end of the war.   (Information on some of the Military period details have been kindly supplied by a former Volunteer at The Keep, Dorchester, based on Dorsetshire Regiment diaries.)


Links to related web content / sources:
The National Archives