By L R H Anrdt.
Now Laurence is gone. He was due to figure in our series, to enlighten and uplift: his obituary has been written, and that other piece must now wait Editorial fiat.
The Magazine can have seldom given more prominence to an Old Boy than to this handsome embodiment of an ideal, Mens sana in corpore sano, who his school-mates once welcomed home in triumphal progress. Alas that his later contact with the pukka sahib of the I. C. S. should have fostered a reserve-some would call it hauteur-towards his countrymen: and family.
One wrote of him very recently "He was always a perfect gentleman and a charming Lost. Despite this one sensed it would have been hard to penetrate through a barrier of a sort of cold reserve which surrounded him... He was a man with a presence and very good-looking. I knew him best in my imagination via STC Magazines and his prowess in Cricket. L. was an old world island in a modern sea-but an interested one... He was a keen observer".
Someday more must be told of this figure-this legend!
Obituary notice in The Times(Nov. 3) recalled that he was 'one of the greatest products of St. Thomas' College', and with bis two brothers created "a recode unparalleled by any other Ceylon family" in the annals of the University Scholarships. Further, they not only excelled as scholars... but also were outstanding cricketers. The "memorable match" of 1906 was also recalled -when Laurence took 14 wickets for only 55 runs. -At Cambridge .... (he) did brilliantly and passed out into the ICU in which he served for over 25 years;. In fact, of course, he did not go to Cambridge, but to King's College London, and Gray's Inn.
The story of his movements from the Italian Riviera to Belgium and later, again, to England, just escaping from U-boats in World War II, makes stirring reading.
S P F in the Ceylon Observer, Oct. 28, wrote more in the same stain, stressing the brilliant scholastic recode and the equally brilliant cricketing prowess. He recalled Laurence's bowling feats, and the fact that he was in the victorious team in 1904, 1905, 1906. Incidentally in 1906 S. Joseph's alone prevented a win, and that, too, only barely-six wickets falling for only 11 runs from "sheer terror" (L A A, Royal vs St. Thomas'-E. W.Foenander 1918). Laurence in that year was the dominant star of a "redoubtable trio," with "Speldewinde the demon left hand bowler, and Sourjah the automatic stumper!" (ibidem). S P F remembers watching Laurence taking those 14 wickets-8 for 38 and 6 for 17, -watch is the best of its kind as a two innings performance in these contents.
The Ceylon Fortnightly Review Nov. 6, adds that he 'incidentally proved one of the most aggressive batsmen in school cricket during the years he turned out with his younger brother..' The writer of that note states he was happy to meet Laurence in 1912, in a London bus. He had come to witness the Test Match at Lord's between England and Australia.
His eldest brother-himself an outstanding all-rounder-survives him, the last of the brothers. His mortal remains were privately cremated in South London. He leaves his only sister, in Ceylon, and his window, in England.