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Lawrence David Jose Nathan

Portrait (kindly provided by family) - This image may be subject to copyright

Portrait (kindly provided by family) - This image may be subject to copyright


  • Title
  • Forenames
    Lawrence David Jose AWMM
  • Surname
    Nathan AWMM
  • Ingoa
  • Also known as
  • Service number
    23544 AWMM
  • Gender
    Male AWMM
  • Iwi
  • Hapū
  • Waka
  • Rohe
  • Religion
    Jewish AWMM

Civilian life

About birth

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  • Birth
  • Date of birth
  • Place of birth
  • Birth notes
  • Address before enlistment
    Unknown AWMM C/o L.D. Nathan, Auckland, New Zealand AWMM
  • Post war occupation
  • Next of kin on embarkation
    Mr David L. Nathan (father), C/o L.D. Nathan, Auckland, New Zealand AWMM
  • Relationship status
    Pre 1941 AWMM Single AWMM


Wars and conflicts

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  • War
  • Campaign
  • Armed force / branch
    Army AWMM
  • Service number
    23544 AWMM
  • Military service
  • Promotions/ Postings/ Transfers

Military decorations

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Training and Enlistment

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  • Military training
  • Branch Trade Proficiency
  • Enlistment
    WW2 Unknown AWMM Merchant/Civilian AWMM
  • Occupation before enlistment
  • Age on enlistment

Prisoner of war

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  • Capture details
  • Days interned
  • Liberation date
  • Liberation Repatriation
  • POW liberation details
  • POW serial number

Medical history

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  • Medical notes
    • Hospital Diseases , Wounds, WWII AWMM
      Wounded Tripoli 1943 AWMM
    • Hospital Diseases , Wounds, WWII AWMM
      Invalided to Auckland, New Zealand 1943 AWMM
    • Died of Disease, Cause of Death AWMM
      Died of complications during an operation for an aneurysm AWMM

Last known rank

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  • Last rank

Biographical information

Biographical information

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  • Husband of Anne Louise Brendon, they had 4 children Sarah, twins Dinah and Judith, David.

    His brother, Frank Nathan (2281) married the younger sister Jill Brendon.

    He attended Croydon School in Wellington and Heretaunga School in Hastings for his primary education. Then he went to Nelson College for his secondary years before leaving for Cambridge University, England, where he received a BA and MA (Hons) in History while attending Emmanuel College.

    Lawrence was an outstanding Fencer while at Cambridge University, and in the war represented New Zealand and England in many tournaments. He won many medals including the Epee Medal whilst fighting for New Zealand Army in Egypt. He was invited to represent New Zealand at the Olympics but he did not go as New Zealand did not, in the end, send a Fencing Team.

    Prior to the war he developed an interest in yachting owning the C Class Keeler Kotiri and the famous A Class Keeler Iorangi. Post war he had the beautiful and highly successful 12 metre A Class racing yacht Kahurangi which was built in 1952. Lawrence sailed her in New Zealand and overseas for 30 years and eventually sailed her for over three years on a voyage from Auckland to Turkey and then back to America. His interest in sailing stayed with him until the day he died.

    In the book "As Old as Auckland" Dad [Lawrence] says the following - "The Second World War broke out in 1939 and my brothers Frank, Dennis, and I, joined the New Zealand Forces. We were all commissioned and reached the rank of Lieutenant. Frank was with the 1st Echelon in Egypt and Dennis (616080) in the 3rd Division in the Pacific. I went to the Middle East with the 5th Reinforcements of the 2nd NZEF, and was with the 2nd NZ Division and the 8th Army on the trek across the Western Desert".

    Lawrence was Mentioned in Despatches for bravery. He continues in his book "I was badly wounded in Tripoli and returned to hospital when my father died. I had to arrange my discharge from the Army in a hurry, and take over the Chairmanship of L.D. Nathans."

    Lawrence's biography reads as follows: Lawrence David Jose Nathan (1910 - 1987) was President of the Auckland Hebrew Congregation from 1952 - 1976, during which time the new synagogue and communal centre in Greys Avenue was built. He was a member of the Auckland Harbour Board from 1947 - 1976, and Chairman in 1956 and 1957. He succeeded his father as Consul for Portugal. He was Mentioned in Despatches during the war and awarded OBE for services to Symphonia of Auckland Orchestra (now the Auckland Philharmonia) of which organisation he was Chairman and a major benefactor for many years. He was also Chairman of the Auckland Observatory Trust Board and organised the collection of funds and building of the Observatory in the One Tree Hill Domain. He was President for several years of the Auckland Provincial Public Relations Office and its Visitors Bureau. He was Chairman of the Guardian Royal Exchange Assurance Company and a Director of The New Zealand Wool Topping Board.

    As well, of course, he did his day job running L.D. Nathan and Co. Ltd.

    He described himself as a grocer but was, in fact, Chairman of Directors of quite a large Auckland General Merchant - L.D. Nathan and Company from 1944 until he retired in 1977. He remained a Director until 1980.

    L.D. Nathan, by the time of his retirement, had 17,000 staff and a turnover in excess of one billion dollars. It owned, amongst many other operations, Coca Cola New Zealand, Woolworths New Zealand,

    Associated Wholesalers (AWL), Bond and Bond, Waikato Breweries, Consolidated Hotels, Stars Travel, Choysa and Roma Tea (Quality Packers) and a number of other New Zealand companies.

    This information was given by David Nathan to Evelyn Jaffe, Auckland Museum Volunteer

    Three sons, brothers Dennis Raoul Nathan (616080), Frank Albert Nathan (2881) and Lawrence David Nathan (23544) served in WW2

    New Zealand Jewish Soldiers Project, biographical histories, family visits by Evelyn Jaffe, Auckland War Memorial Museum AWMM
Read more


About death

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  • Death
    21 April 1987 AWMM
    Age 78 AWMM
  • Date of death
  • Age at death
  • Place of death
  • Cause of death
  • Death notes
  • Cemetery
    Waikumete Cemetery, Glen Eden, Auckland, New Zealand AWMM Hebrew A Row 4, Plot 3 AWMM
  • Cemetery name
  • Grave reference
  • Obituary
  • Memorial name
  • Memorial reference



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  • Memorial name
    • Roll of Honour, Freemasons, Te Awamutu Lodge No. 2221 E.C., Ellerslie Masonic Centre, 9A Robert Street, Ellerslie, Auckland AWMM
    • Roll of Honour, Auckland Jewish Community, WW2, Auckland Hebrew Congregation, 108 Greys Avenue, Auckland AWMM

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  • External links
    Auckland Council. West (Waikumete) burial and cremation records search
    Sources Used
  • Documents
    • Second New Zealand Expeditionary Force. (1941). Nominal Roll Second New Zealand Expeditionary Force No. 4 (Embarkations from 1st April, 1941 to 30 June, 1941). Wellington, N.Z.: Govt. Printer. AWMM
      WW2 4: WW2 259 AWMM
    • Nathan, L.D. (1984). As old as Auckland : the history of L. D. Nathan and Co. Ltd. and of the David Nathan Family, 1840-1940. Auckland, N.Z.: Benton Ross. AWMM
    • Information kindly provided by family AWMM

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