WWI Memorial Plaque – Dead Man’s Penny; 2013-008-001


WWI Memorial Plaque – Dead Man’s Penny

About this object

The WWI Memorial Plaque (Dead Man's Penny) were issued to the next of kin of the deceased who had died during WWI. This plaque was for William Henry Wilkes died in 1917 aged 28 years. William was a private (No. 4924) in the Australian Imperial Force.

William was the only child of William Henry and Helen Wilkes of Waimate. Initially Mrs Wilkes did not want to accept the plaque but when the authorities wrote again to Mr Wilkes in 1923, the plaque was signed for by Mrs Wilkes. Mrs Wilkes wrote to the Australian Forces questioning the delivery of her mail to William. “I wrote over 40 letters and posted twice as many papers. I want to know why they were never delivered. I can only find he received 6 all the time he was on Active service. He never got a letter there all the time he was in Egypt – I registered one in February, I still have the ticket – as far as I can find out – he never got that there is some neglect. I think when the Boys are Giving their lives to the Country they ought to get their mails when their parents pays the postage. The last advice I got from Australia I had to pay double rate so you might put a stamp on your side.”

The memorial plaque was donated by Mark Robinson. Mark purchased the plaque from an antique shop in Wellington with the intention of passing it on to someone who would treasure it on behalf of Henry and his family.

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