About Henry John Laurent
Laurent was born in Tarata in 1895, attending Ha¯ wera District High School before working in a cheese factory.
When war broke out in 1914, Laurent joined the NZEF and was send first to Egypt and then to France to serve with the NZ Rifle Brigade. While in France he showed great leadership and was promoted to sergeant.
“During the Allied advance toward the end of the war, the New Zealanders came up against a strong German position at Gouzeaucourt Wood.
“On September 12, 1918 during confused attacks on this objective, Sergeant Laurent was sent out with a 12-man patrol to probe the enemy defences.
“Finding a heavily fortified trench system, he immediately attacked. After hand-to-hand fighting, the 12 Kiwis killed 30 of the enemy, captured the trench and took 112 enemy soldiers prisoner. When the Germans countered, Laurent managed to retreat in good order, keeping his prisoners under control and fighting a rear-guard action.”