Deadman’s Penny returns home

Posted by WACMA on 25/02/2014

An amazing tale:

During WW1 the British Government produced a commemorative medallion for the family of every soldier who died Nicknamed the Deadman’s Penny, it was larger than a penny but of similar design. One point 3 million were manufactured.

Deadman's Penny

Last year one of our committee people realised that she had one such piece, after a visit to the Auckland War Memorial Museum and brought it in to us. It had been found in a gutter in Waihi town some years previously. Our researchers found out quite a bit of the history and found that the soldier Leonard Burnett West, originally came from the Marlborough region, but could not make a connection to any living family.

Deadman's Penny

The Penny went on show at the Museum and several months went by before a casual visitor in January came to us and said “that Penny was for my great, great uncle Len”. The family were amazed and excited, and so after validation of the connection, the Penny has been returned to it’s rightful family, to be treasured for posterity.

85 years missing in action, if only it could talk...

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