Chirk family reunited with 100-year-old medallion for grandfather killed in action

Reporter:

Daniel Heald

A CHIRK woman has been reunited with a 100-year-old family memento she assumed had been lost forever.

Pat Owens is now the proud owner of the bronze plaque issued by the armed services following her grandfather’s death during the First World War.

Sgt Arthur Davies of the Royal Welch Fusiliers died at the Battle of Aubers Ridge on May 9, 1915.

Following his death, the army sent Pat’s grandmother the memorial plaque – which is also known as a ‘Death Penny’.

This was a customary gesture during the conflict, with thousands of the personalised six-inch plaques issued to the next-of-kin of all British and Empire service personnel who were killed as a result of the war.

Pat said: “It was sent to my grandmother and I believe she must have sold it after she remarried years later. 

“That’s the sad thing – so many of the widows who received the plaques were very poor and had to pawn them to make ends meet.”

Local historian Graham Greasley came across the medal when a collector took it along to one of his wartime exhibitions.

As a friend of Pat’s, Graham recognised the fallen soldier’s name and asked the collector’s permission to show her the piece last week. 

The collector was happy that a relative of Sergeant Davies wanted the plaque and he gifted it to Pat.

Graham said: “I took the piece to Pat who was delighted to see it for the first time. I was just the middle man but I’m delighted it’s been reunited with Pat and her family.”

Pat’s husband Wilfred, who is a carpenter by trade, plans to create a wooden display for the plaque to hang on a wall at their home.

She said: “My father was only two years old when my grandfather died, so I have done a lot of my own research into his history and have visited his grave and the battlefields on which he fought in France.

“To have my grandfather’s plaque means a lot to me; my father would have been proud that it is back in the family once again.”

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