Lawrence Woodgate was the youngest son of Thomas and Annie Woodgate (nee Huntley), and was born at Tahuahua (Blackwood Bay) Queen Charlotte Sound on February 27 1907.

At the age of six years, tragedy struck his family, this was the 1911 influenza epidemic, for in October that year during the birth of her eleventh child, Mrs Woodgate contacted pneumonia and was taken to the Picton Hospital, where she passed away on October 10. Lawrence not only lost his mother, but his grandparents and an elder brother Thomas, who passed away on October 21.

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