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Col Charles Speir Lawrence
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Birth: Dec. 22, 1892
Effingham County
Georgia, USA
Death: Jun. 12, 1970
Hampshire County
West Virginia, USA

Charles Speir Lawrence was the son of David Lawson Lawrence and Minnie Wilma Speir. Husband of Margaret Parker.

Lawrence enlisted in the United States Army in 1915 as a Private. He would eventually receive a commission as a Second Lieutenant and enjoy a long and fruitful career.

During World War II, Lawrence was stationed in the Philippines as a Quartermaster, Luzon Force, Department of the Philippines, and was present in that capacity when Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, was attacked by the Empire of Japan. Soon the Japanese would be attacking the Philppines as well and the General Staff and every enlisted man on the island new it. The Army Quartermasters (including Lawrence) attempted to purchase as much food as possible to outlast the invaders, but were stopped by their own commanding generals. This accounted for a loss of 10 million pounds of rice in one instance as a result of Macarthurs' staff officers poor decision making in making supply preperations for the eventual attack. In Lawrence's case at Tarlac where he served as depot commander, he had planned on seizing about 2,000 cases of canned food, mostly fish and corned beef, and a large amount of clothing from Japanese firms stationed in the Philippines. But his plan was disapproved by General Douglas MacArthur's headquarters who claimed that Lawrence had no right to confiscate these items. In fact, MacArthur's staff threatened the Lawrence with court martial if he disobeyed their orders and attempted to take those supplies. The supplies were not taken and as a result they were later destroyed during the Battle of Bataan. Bataan fell on April 8, 1942 and Lawrence was among the 15,000 Americans who surrendered along with 60,000 Filipinos. He suffered through the infamous Bataan Death March. Lawrence survived the march and would spend the next 3 1/2 years as a prisoner of war (POW). He was one of 179 Americans sent from Manila to Takao, Formosa (Taiwan), aboard Nagara Maru in August 1942. They were then placed aboard a much smaller ship, the Suzuya or Otaru Maru, which they knew as #107, and transported to Keelung, Formosa. After disembarking, the POW's were taken to Karenko POW camp. After a period of time in Formosa, Lawrence was transferred to Hoten POW Camp, Mukden, Manchuria. He was repatriated in August, 1945 by Russian forces at the end of the war. He departed the POW camp by train on September 7, 1945 and traveled to Dairen, Manchuria where he was placed on a boat and returned with other POW's to United States military control.

After retirement from the Army, Lawrence agreed to become the first Executive Secretary of the Institute of Food Technologists (IFT) in 1949. He took over the secretary's role from Carl R. Fellers, head of the food technology department at the University of Massachusetts Amherst and moved the national offices to its present location in Chicago. Lawrence's tenure as Executive Secretary would see IFT grow from 3,000 members in 1949 to 6,000 members by the time of Lawrence's retirement in 1961. Following IFT, Lawrence served as adviser to the president of the National Florasynth Laboratory in Chicago until he retired for good in 1963.

Colonel Charles Speir Lawrence, Sn # O-014799, earned the following badges/decorations for his service during his 33 year career in the United States Army:
- Legion of Merit
- Bronze Star Medal with Oak Leaf Cluster
- Purple Heart with Oak Leaf Cluster
- Prisoner of War Medal
- Mexican Border Service Medal
- American Defense Service Medal with device
- Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Medal with one bronze battle/campaign star
- World War I Victory Medal
- World War II Victory Medal
- Presidential Unit Citation Ribbon
- Philippine Defense Medal and bronze campaign star
- Philippine Presidential Unit Citation Ribbon
Family links: 
  David Lawson Lawrence (1842 - 1928)
  Minnie Wilma Speir Lawrence (1870 - 1917)
Arlington National Cemetery
Arlington County
Virginia, USA
Plot: Sec: 2, Site: E-476
Maintained by: Rick Lawrence
Originally Created by: John C. Anderson
Record added: Mar 06, 2010
Find A Grave Memorial# 49245085
Col Charles Speir Lawrence
Added by: Loretta Castaldi
Col Charles Speir Lawrence
Cemetery Photo
Added by: James Seidelman
Photos may be scaled.
Click on image for full size.

- L. Patton
 Added: Jan. 19, 2014
In honored remembrance of your valiant service and sacrifice for our great nation and the Allied cause during World War II. May it not have been in vain.
- Rick Lawrence, MSgt., USMC/USAFR (RET)
 Added: Jul. 10, 2013

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