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Tuesday, 19 March 2013

Henry Oscar Nelson's 'Dead man's penny' finally back with the Nelson family!

Wow! what a great afternoon we had.

On Saturday 16th March many members of the Ryde District Historical Society gathered with the community and Henry's great niece, Judy for the hand-over of Henry Oscar Nelson's 'dead man's penny'.

Kim presents Judy with Henry Oscar Nelson's Memorial Plaque
The event was the result of  the "penny" having been found in a box purchased at a garage sale more than twenty years ago by Lynne Crawford in Bingara, (in northern New South Wales). Lynne asked her neighbour to help research the owner of the plaque, and when it was discovered that Henry's address at the time of enlistment was Ryde, Lynne’s neighbour and researcher Helen Cornish contacted Angela Phippen at Ryde Library in the hope of returning the plaque to Henry’s family.

After some research of her own Angela passed the information on the Ryde District Historical Society, who she knew were researching the World War 1 servicemen and women from the Ryde district. The Society did have Henry Oscar on our list and in fact we were already working on his family as we had identified him as one of the missing soldiers who died at Fromelles.

So by a wonderful series of coincidences the Ryde goes to War project Coordinator, Kim Phillips was able to make contact with Henry's great niece, who described it as 'amazing to have it in my hand' and she thanked Lynne from Bingara 'for her selfless act and for going to the trouble of returning it to the family.'

The event was followed by afternoon tea where ANZAC biscuits were the main fare!
 More picture to come soon!


  1. That is a lovely gesture from Lynne to return the plaque to Henry's family, and great for the volunteers working on the project to have such a nice event. Congratulations.

  2. What an inspirational tale of compassion, diligent research and teamwork. Bravo Lynne Crawford, Helen Cornish, Angela Phippen, Kim Phillips and the folk at Ryde District Historical Society. A wondeful mark of respect for Henry Oscar Nelson one of our missing soldiers from the battle at Fromelles.