Archiver > WORLD-OBITS > 2005-07 > 1122135471

From: "Peter_McCrae" <>
Subject: LAURIE; David Alexander St.George-OCT/2004-UK
Date: Sat, 23 Jul 2005 17:17:51 +0100

Lt-Col David Laurie
(Filed: 11/10/2004)
The Daily Telegraph & the

Lieutenant-Colonel David Laurie, who has died aged 86, won an MC in North
Africa in 1942 and was the last commander of the 9th Queen's Royal Lancers
before its amalgamation.

Throughout the spring of 1942, the 8th Army and the Axis forces stood on the
Gazala Line west of Tobruk, gathering reinforcements. On May 26, Rommel
attacked, swinging his armour around the southern end of the heavily mined
Gazala front.

The next day, Laurie, then a captain, took command of B Squadron when his
squadron leader was wounded and led six separate attacks on German tanks and
anti-tank guns.

On May 30, under heavy fire, he pressed home an attack on a position which
was strongly held by enemy tanks and supported by many anti-tank guns. The
citation for his MC paid tribute to his vigour and determination and stated
that he had inflicted severe casualties on the enemy at close range.

David Alexander St George Laurie was born in London on March 30 1918. His
father, Brigadier Sir Percy Laurie, had reorganised the Mounted Branch of
the Metropolitan Police. Young David was educated at Canford and joined the
9th Queen's Royal Lancers from the Supplementary Reserve in 1937.

Laurie accompanied 9QRL, which had only recently exchanged its horses for
light tanks, to France as part of the BEF. At the age of 23, he was
commanding a squadron of Grant tanks in North Africa and fought in the
battles of Sidi Barrani, Sidi Rezegh, Ruweisat Ridge and Knightsbridge where
he and his men destroyed nearly 40 German tanks. At Alamein, he was
suffering from a severe attack of jaundice but went to the battle by
ambulance and transferred to his tank at the last moment.

In April 1943, at the battle of Wadi Akarit, Laurie's tank was blown up. He
was badly wounded, but when dragged out of the wreckage protested that he
wanted to go on fighting the battle.

After evacuation to England, he spent nine months at Sandhurst as an
instructor. In July 1944, he rejoined his regiment in Italy and took command
of his squadron again. His four troop leaders were all 20-year-old officers
with little battle experience and during the attack on the Gothic Line
Laurie would often be seen racing to help them, his tank turret traversing
as he fired on the move.

Far beyond his regiment Laurie was known for his courage and coolness in
action, but he also liked his creature comforts. After a day spent under
fire from the enemy's deadly 88mm guns, he would change his clothes and
receive his brother officers in his specially adapted tent, where there
would be a drinks tray and a copy of the Tatler.

After the war, Laurie commanded his squadron in Palestine and in Scotland
before spending two years as second in command of the Yorkshire Dragoons. He
returned to 9QRL in BAOR and commanded the regiment from July 1958 to
September 1960. He was the last CO before the amalgamation with the 12th
Lancers and on retirement in 1962 was appointed OBE.

He was a member of the Honourable Corps of Gentlemen at Arms.

Laurie married first, in 1949, Tessa Gilroy; they had two sons and a
daughter. He married secondly, in 1977, Peggy Hancock.

© Copyright of Telegraph Group Limited 2005.

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