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Death Penny – Thomas Allen

Date made: 1918

Maker / artist: unknown

Date collected: 1914-1918

Material: bronze

Period: World War 1

Accession number: F5875

After the war, the family of every British serviceman and woman killed in World War 1, received a bronze memorial plaque, commonly referred to as the ‘Dead Man’s Penny’ or ‘Death Penny.’ Over 1 million were issued, made from 450 tons of bronze. No rank was stated on the plaque, because the government wanted no distinction made between the sacrifice of individuals. The figure on the plaque is Britannia holding a trident, standing beside a lion. It was designed by Edward Arthur Preston. Can you find his initials E CR P? They are by the front paw of the lion. This death penny has been mounted in an impressive silver and beaten copper frame in the form of a cross. It commemorates the life of Able Seaman Thomas James Allen of Folkestone who was killed while serving in the Royal Naval Volunteer Reserve. His name is inscribed in the Folkestone Book of Honour.

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