He was awarded the, the highest and most prestigious award for gallantry in the face of the enemy that can be awarded to British and Commonwealth forces, for his actions in the Hundred Days Offensive during the First World War. After leaving school, he worked as a grocer"s assistant. He also served with the Territorial Force, having joined at the age of 16.
He enlisted with the New Zealand Expeditionary Force (NZEF) in May 1915, shortly after his 20th birthday.
Posted to the 2nd Battalion of the New Zealand Rifle Brigade, Laurent served on the Western Front from 1916. He participated in the Somme Offensive during which he was wounded.
By September 1918, Laurent had advanced in rank to sergeant. During the Hundred Days Offensive, the New Zealand Division, following the Second Battle of Bapaume, was in pursuit of retreating German forces.
Leading a patrol on 12 September in the area east of Gouzeaucourt Wood, France, Laurent was ordered to locate and regain contact with the German front lines.
The 12 man patrol inadvertently penetrated through the frontline and located a line of artillery. He then extricated his patrol, together with the prisoners, back to the New Zealand line, fighting off counterattacks along the way. Laurent later attended an officer training school and was duly commissioned in February 1919.
Within a few months, his service in the NZEF ceased and he returned to New Zealand.
Laurent also served with the New Zealand Military Forces during the Second World War, commanding a battalion in the Home Guard. He retired with the rank of lieutenant colonel.
His ashes are interred in the Memorial Wall at the Servicemen"s Cemetery at Hawera, in Taranaki. On 2 December 2007 it was one of nine es that were among a hundred medals stolen from the museum.
On 16 February 2008, New Zealand Police announced all the medals had been recovered as a result of a New Zealand$300,000 reward offered by Michael Ashcroft and Tom Sturgess.
Realising the patrol"s mistake, Laurent organised a swift attack which resulted in the capture of 112 prisoners, with one member of the patrol being killed and three others wounded.