Lawrence entered the Royal Canadian Naval Volunteer Reserve as a Midshipman in 1939, and was promoted to Sub-lieutenant while serving aboard the Armed Merchant Cruiser HMS Alaunia. He was awarded the Distinguished Service Cross for leading HMCS Oakville"s boarding party onto the sinking U-94 during the battle of convoy TAW-15. The citation reads:
"Lieutenant Lawrence was in charge of a boarding party of two which attempted to prevent the scuttling of a U-boat.
His spirited and determined conduct was worthy of the highest traditions of the Royal Canadian Navy."
Lawrence was subsequently promoted to Lieutenant and executive officer of HMCS Oakville.
Lawrence was next assigned as gunnery officer in the commissioning crew of HMCS Sioux. He was transferred from the volunteer reserve to the Royal Canadian Navy in 1945 and became executive officer of HMCS Sioux.
He received a Master"s degree from the University of Ottawa before retiring from the Navy in 1965. Lawrence taught at the University of Ottawa and the University of Victoria after retiring from the Navy.
He wrote three books concerning World World War World War II A Bloody War was published in 1979, Tales of the North Atlantic in 1985, and Victory at Sea in 1989.
He died in Victoria, British Columbia, in 1994. The University of Victoria maintains the Hal Lawrence fonds of 120 taped interviews with historical photographs and maps.