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War memorial appeal: A promise fulfilled

Host_Ryan - One Show team | 14:43 UK time, Monday, 12 January 2009

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Back in November 2008 we were contacted by war veteran Michael Lyons asking if One Show viewers could help to find a war memorial for his local junior school. He was convinced that the One Show viewers would know of a plaque that had been hidden or forgotten. Michael had made a promise to find an unwanted memorial for a local school, to aid the remembrance of those who had died in WWI.

As Michael put it "these children are our future. They deserve to know more about their history and the sacrifices their great grandparents made so that they can be here today."

And you, our viewers, did not disappoint. We gratefully received many generous offers of memorials, to donate to the school, from all over the country.


Dead Man's Pennies

Michael chose three commemorative plaques, commonly known as 'Dead Man's Pennies'. Ninety years ago these plaques were presented to the next-of-kin of the men and women who died in action in the Great War (1914-18). These medals are made of brass gun metal and display the words 'He died for freedom and honour'.

The first Penny was donated by Jane Pascal in Bristol. Her husband Len had been doing some building work when he came across the plaque and medals wrapped in cloth. This penny commemorated the life of Frederick William Flook who served as a private Royal Warwickshie Regiment.

Another viewer Len Watts from Higham discovered the second dead man's penny, commemorating Lieutenant Edward Francis Thorburn, in a skip.

The third penny, which celebrated the life of Horace Henry Leigh, came from Malcolm Humphries who found it behind his Nan's boiler.


Presenting the pennies

Thanks to the generosity of these viewers, Michael was delighted to finally able to deliver on his promise. In December he visited Applegarth Junior School, New Addington to be able to present the pennies to the children.

The school were proud to adopt the medals, which will be displayed in the foyer. The pupils will research the lives, and deaths, of the soldiers named on the plaques.

The One Show would like to thank everyone who has been involved in this project.

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