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Memorial Plaque (Death Penny)

1914 - 1918

This is a death plaque, also known as a Dead Man’s Penny because they looked like an old penny piece.

This Dead Man’s Penny was given to the family of Frank Hamer. Frank served as a Captain with the 9th Battalion of the Manchester Regiment. For his service in the army, Frank was awarded the 1914-15 Star, British War Medal and Allied Victory Medal. Frank was a member of the Ashton-under-Lyne Liberal Party.

Frank was killed in action, whilst leading a charge on a Turkish trench, on 7 June 1915, aged 35. Frank was a popular officer who received many tributes. Amongst them was one by his close friend Captain Okell who wrote in the Ashton Reporter, ‘he charged with fearless heart, and died for his country’. According to his obituary his, ‘tall, spare figure, his cheery smile, and his never failing courtesy were his chief characteristics’.

A Dead Man’s Penny was give to the families of soldier’s who were killed in the First World War. In1916 a committee was set up to investigate the most suitable form of recognition. In 1917, following the committee’s recommendations the Government announced a competition to design a suitable plaque. The competition had 800 entrants.

In 1918 the winning design was selected, its designer, Edward Carter Preston, a Liverpool medallist, received £250.