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Gunner Bailey

Value of Death Plaques?

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kenora

Thrown in the Clyde......unbelievable!

As an aside, I wonder were these plaques always made of the same metal / alloy ? I have a plaque for a Royal Dublin Fusilier who die at the Somme. It is worn over the years and quite shiny, like it was of brass. I have another for my Great Uncle who die fighting for the Canadians. It has been preserved behind glass and is in very good nick but the metal looks different, grey,less shiny. Were they made of different metals or is it more likely a case of wear and tear?

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303man

They are technically Bronze (Copper / Tin alloy) but they appear quite brassy and I expect there is the addition of Zinc to ease manufacture. The sand mix used at Acton differed to that at Woolwich and you tend to find a much finer finish on the early Acton Plaques the patternation varies across the spectrum of plaques from Chocolate a colour to an almost ginger colour. However in general the factory finish was pretty standard and much of the tonal changes has happened over the 90 odd years since issue. The first 2 pictures are Acton Plaques both to New Zealander's probably made around the same time. The bottom one is a Woolwich plaque the finish is totally different texture much coarser it looks like the molding sand was stickier

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Sepoy

The sand mix used at Acton differed to that at Woolwich and you tend to find a much finer finish on the early Acton Plaques.

303man

The difference in quality of some of the Woolwich plaques, can be quite marked when compared with the better finished Acton plaques. Did they use the same production methods, or was it a case of spending more time on quality at Acton, which in turn led to the quantity problems and the transfer of production to Woolwich?

Sepoy

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303man

At the Acton factory they used a combination of two specially selected sands and flour as a binder. Woolwich Arsenal used cheaper? sand that was most commonly used in the casting of steel not brass or bronze and used linseed oil to bind their sand hence the 2 types of finish. Take some time out and compare your Woolwich Plaques with Acton ones. In General Acton plaques were produced for the Army's first casualties 1914 on a lot of the Somme plaques are Acton made then the later casualties made at Woolwich The majority of Naval plaques were made at Woolwich very few naval plaques have a Wide H in He Died compare with early RMLI casualties that have Wide H. Like I say you can write a book on the subject.

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kenora

At the Acton factory they used a combination of two specially selected sands and flour as a binder. Woolwich Arsenal used cheaper? sand that was most commonly used in the casting of steel not brass or bronze and used linseed oil to bind their sand hence the 2 types of finish. Take some time out and compare your Woolwich Plaques with Acton ones. In General Acton plaques were produced for the Army's first casualties 1914 on a lot of the Somme plaques are Acton made then the later casualties made at Woolwich The majority of Naval plaques were made at Woolwich very few naval plaques have a Wide H in He Died compare with early RMLI casualties that have Wide H. Like I say you can write a book on the subject.

Very interesting, thanks for that. Looks like I've got one of each.

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The Clance

303Man,

re: post 92,

AB Diver John Barry 400, Royal Australian Navy Bridging Train, died in 11th AGH, Caulfield, Melbourne 7/8/1916 after returning from service in Egypt. His widow, Margaret Elizabeth, was issued Memorial Plaque no. 597130 on 19/2/23. Doesn't explain why someone knocked another up and transferred him to AIF!

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davidda16

Very interesting thread guys, I was thinking about buying a memorial plaque to add to my small collection , , definately food for thought some of your comments, however I lost at least 10 brave soldiers in my family tree so personally I think that medals and plaques should stay with the families but if they choose to sell or give them away that is there right alone to do so.

I collect for one purpose only and that is researching these men who gave so much for us,

Regards

David

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Guest Marmalademonkey

The fact that someone died on the first day of the Somme or the 21st or the 100th should not make the death more or less 'interesting'.

Collectors add values to things that are different to the values of the families and friends of the deceased soldier. To them a loved one has gone forever. This is where collectors with their desire to have collections by name, date, and type screw things up for every body else. If someone has a collection of hundreds of these plaques, they are essentially hoarding and denying the families a chance to get their family property back. Next year interest in the Great War will grow and many families will start looking for Grandad's plaque only to be frustrated that it is being locked away in a collector's 'black hole'. There is no justification for collecting such personal items on an industrial scale.

It's not about records, that's the collectors self justification. It's about people and you can't value the loss of one man above another just because of an accident of time and geography.

John

Hi John,

Thanks for your words, I think your sentiments are well placed. I have been searching for the memorial plaques of my two great uncles who died int he great war for some time now. I made the pilgrimage to cabaret Rouge this year on ANZAC day to visit one of the uncles. The memorial plaques did turn up on ebay a month ago, both of them together - but we were 10 days too late to purchase them. We contacted the seller who was able to shed a bit of light as to how he came to have them. It turns out one of my great great aunts had passed them on to the seller. They were framed together in a memorial plaque. We were able to get in touch with the buyer who kindly offered to repatriate the plaques with our family. But here is where it gets sticky. They arrived yesterday without the memorial frame they had been housed within for almost 100 years, we only received the plaques themselves.

The buyer had decided that although repatriating the plaques was a just thing to do ( for a higher fee than he paid I might add) he felt that the frame was best kept in his collection as it was a rare collectable item. This to us removed all provenance to the object. The frame would have been purchased by my family as a memorial shrine, hung on the wall to keep these men close. The patina on the brass is rubbed over the angle where people probably touched the memorial over the years in remembrance. Now we have only part of the tangible reminder of family members we have lost. The frame will now forever be lost to us, and what is worse is that we know it existed, and that a collector did not understand or value the provenance and meaning of material culture. I definitely support a listing of all plaques held in private collections. These plaques do literally embody an actual person - often the only familial tangible reminder of their existence.

The memorial plaques are more than just a collectable, they are a way to reconnect back to family, to understand our lineage and to acknowledge the sacrifice theses people made for our liberties. I only wish that we could have kept out tangible family memory intact.

Tanya

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Oz Ubique

I feel your pain over the frame Tanya, but you are indeed fortunate to have recovered the plaques to the family as so many still search without any result.

Stay in touch with the collector as he may be persuaded to part with the frame one day.

Oz.

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