Laurence was born on November 5th 1894 in Oregon, USA, the son of English artist Charles Chidson and his wife Norah, and spent the first several years of his life in the States. By 1902 the family was back in England, and Laurence spent three years at school in Streatham before taking a choral scholarship at Westminster Abbey Choir School in 1905, then subsequently in 1910 coming to Dulwich. Whilst at the College he became a senior prefect and was a member of the cricket 1st XI in his final year; he earned a place at St. John’s College, Cambridge, upon leaving.
As this was the summer of 1914 however Laurence forewent the scholarship in order to volunteer, at first as a private in the East Surreys. Within a month however he had been given a commission in the King’s Royal Rifle Corps, and by January of 1915 had already been promoted to Lieutenant. The regiment went over to France in July 1915, and went on to see significant service on the Somme the next summer.
On November 14th 1916 he was awarded the M.C. for “conspicuous gallantry” in command during the Battle of Ancre, and the following month was promoted to Captain. “Chidders”, as he was known, was leading an attack near Arras on April 23rd 1917 when he was hit in the head by a machine gun bullet, killing him instantaneously.