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Unearthed WWI relic sparks family search

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Percy Toplis

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BerichtGeplaatst: 17 Mei 2010 19:14    Onderwerp: Unearthed WWI relic sparks family search Reageer met quote

Unearthed WWI relic sparks Dover family search
Monday, 17 May 2010 17:45 UK

Experts are trying to trace relations of a World War I soldier whose death was commemorated on a plaque that has been unearthed in Kent.

Digger driver Tom Page found the 12cm (4.7in) round bronze death plaque when he was clearing topsoil and rubbish from waste ground in Dover.

The item, is inscribed with the name Lewis Baden Holyman and the words "He died for freedom and honour".

White Cliffs Countryside Project wants to reunite it with his relatives.

Paul Wilmot, from the project, said: "We've found out from the census that he was born and bred in Dover and from the War Graves Commission that he served as a Trimmer on HMS Caledonia.

"He died of pneumonia in Haslar Hospital [Gosport, Hampshire] following a bout of influenza which probably was the pandemic of 1918."

He added: "I'm reluctant to say that it was probably thrown away because it isn't the sort of area that it could have been lost.

"It's vaguely possible that someone had a garden shed with their allotment and it was kept there and became forgotten."

Hundreds of thousands of death plaques, known as a Dead Man's Penny, were sent to the families of those who died in the Great War.

The plaque would have originally been accompanied by a letter from King George V.

Mr Page said: "I don't think I've ever found anything quite as unique. You might find a nice spanner or a screwdriver but something that has some sentiment to it is very rare to come across."

If relatives cannot be traced, the death plaque will go on show at Dover Museum.

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