Death Penny for George William Oliver

Between August 1914 and January 1920 1,150,000 Memorial Death Plaques commonly called the 'Dead Man's Penny' were sent by the British Government to the next of kin of soldiers who lost their lives in the Great War. The penny was a 12-centimeter disk cast in bronze gunmetal, whose design incorporated an image of Britannia and a lion, two dolphins representing Britain's sea power and the emblem of Imperial Germany's eagle being torn to pieces by another lion. Britannia is holding an oak spray with leaves and acorns. Beneath this was a rectangular tablet where the deceased individual's name was cast into the plaque. No rank was given as it was intended to show equality in their sacrifice. On the outer edge of the disk, the words, 'He died for freedom and honor'.

This photograph of the Memorial Death Plaque for George William Oliver was submitted by Alec Oliver of Mexborough, South Yorkshire. Mr Oliver writes "My father Wilfred Oliver survived the war after serving as a Lewis gunner with the 2nd Royal Berkshire Reg in France and Belgium. He wore a black button on his uniform signifying the loss of his elder brother. My uncle George William Oliver of the York and Lanks Reg was killed in action on the 1st July 1916, in the Battle of the Somme, he is remembered on the Thiepval Memorial. This death penny was given to the family to commemorate his death."

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