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Memorial Plaque

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Mal Murray View Drop Down
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    Posted: 25 Nov 2011 at 10:26
There are several names in use for the Memorial Plaque, "Dead Man's Penny, Widow's Penny etc.
 
 
 
 
File:Memorial Plaque.jpg
 
 
The Memorial Plaque was issued after the First World War to the next-of-kin of all British and Empire service personnel who were killed as a result of the war.

The plaques were made of bronze, and hence popularly known as the "Dead Man’s Penny", because of the similarity in appearance to the somewhat smaller penny coin. 1,355,000 plaques were issued, which used a total of 450 tonnes of bronze,[1] and continued to be issued into the 1930s to commemorate people who died as a consequence of the war.[2]

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Description

It was decided that the design of the plaque, about 5 inches (120 mm) in diameter and cast in bronze, was to be picked from submissions made in a public competition. Over 800 designs were submitted[1] and the competition was won by the sculptor and medallist Edward Carter Preston with his design called Pyramus, receiving a first place prize of £250.

This token includes an image of Britannia holding a trident and standing with a lion. The designer's initials, E.CR.P., appear above the front paw. In her left outstretched left hand Britannia holds an oak wreath above the rectangular tablet bearing the deceased's name cast in raised letters. The name does not include the rank since there was to be no distinction between sacrifices made by different individuals.[1] Two dolphins swim around Britannia, symbolizing Britain's sea power, and at the bottom a second lion is tearing apart the German eagle.

Around the picture the legend reads (in capitals) "He died for freedom and honour", or for the six hundred plaques issued to commemorate women, "She died for freedom and honour".[1]

They were initially made at the Memorial Plaque Factory, 54/56 Church Road, Acton, W3, London[2] from 1919. Early plaques did not have a number stamped on them but later ones have a number stamped behind the lion's back leg.[2]

In December 1920 manufacture was shifted to the Royal Arsenal, Woolwich. Plaques manufactured here can be identified by a circle containing the initials 'WA' on the back[1] and by a number stamped between the tail and leg (in place of the number stamped behind the lions back leg).[2]

The design was altered slightly during manufacture at Woolwich by Carter Preston since there was insufficient space in the original design between the lion's back paw and the H in "HE" to allow an "S" to be inserted to read "SHE" for the female plaques. The modification was to make the H slightly narrower to allow the S to be inserted. After around 1500 female plaques had been manufactured the moulds were modified to produce the male version by removing the S.[2]

The plaques were issued in a pack with a commemorative scroll from King George V; though sometimes the letter and scroll were sent first.

Non-standard plaques

Smaller or miniature unofficial bronze plaques were produced by other manufacturers, for example Wright and Sons of Edgware, Middlesex, who sold them for 13 shillings and sixpence each.[3]

Modern replicas have also been made, and occasionally offered as genuine.

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Mal Murray Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 25 Nov 2011 at 10:38
It is interesting to note that the Memorial Plague attached to the above article was issued to the family of 4983 Private Ernest Horner, 1st Bn Lancashire Fusiliers who was killed in action at Ypres on 18/7/1917. Private Horner served at Gallipoli, entering that theatre of operations on 24/8/1915.
 
His CWGC page may be viewed here.
 
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