In preparation for our recent event which returned Henry Oscar Nelson's Dead Man's Penny to his family, members of the Ryde Goes to War project team did some research on exact what is the Dead Man's Penny. [ See previous posts for event details].
Officially named the World War I Memorial Plaque, it is a commemorative medallion or memorial plaque which was presented to the next-of-kin of the men and women who died during World War I. The plaques were designed and produced in Britain and issued to commemorate all those who died as a result of war service from within the British Commonwealth.
Elizabeth Nelson ( Henry's mother) of Parkes St Ryde signed a receipt
for the Memorial Scroll and King’s Message for her son, Henry Oscar Nelson, on 1 November 1921
and for his Memorial Plaque ( the above Dead Man's Penny) on 9 August 1922.
A scroll of thick parchment was designed to accompany each of the plaques. Officially named the World War I Memorial Scroll. The scroll, headed by the royal coat-of-arms, bore the following message:
Underneath the message, the serviceman’s or servicewoman’s name, rank, honours and unit were written by hand in red ink.