1914-1918 Memorial Plaque: ’Dead Man’s Penny’
The next of kin of soldiers, sailors and nurses who died while serving in the AIF and RAN during the First World War were presented with a Memorial Scroll, and later a Remembrance Plaque, a ‘Dead Man’s Poppy’, as a solace for bereavement and as a memento.
The memorial plaques were issued to commemorate all those who died as a result of war service from within the British Commonwealth.
Each plaque had the name of the soldier commemorated individually embossed as part of the design. The full name was given without any indication of rank or honours to show the equality of sacrifice of all those who had lost their lives.
The first plaques were distributed in Australia in 1922.
The Dead Man’s Penny is a commemorative medallion which was presented to the next-of-kin of the men and women who died during World War One. The bronze medallion features an image of Lady Britannia surrounded by two dolphins (representing Britain’s sea power) and a lion (representing Britain) standing over a defeated eagle (symbolising Germany). Around the outer edge of the medallion are the words ‘He died for freedom and honour’. Next to Lady Britannia is the deceased solider’s name, with no rank provided to show equality in their sacrifice. The Dead Man’s Penny was accompanied by a letter from King George V, stating ‘I join with my grateful people in sending you this memorial of a brave life given for others in the Great War’.