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Memorial Plaques with single names - Nationality?


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Hi all,

On Ebay there are a good many Memorial Plaques with unusual names that don't have surnames. Random examples are:






they are occasionally, but not always commemorated on CWGC.

My question is possibly a naive one, but is it possible to tie in the names on these plaques with a likely nationality? Searching the names online doesn't help me come to a conclusion.

Were these "One Name" plaques made in, for instance, Woolwich Arsenal, or were they manufactured overseas?

They are unusual items to my eyes anyway.



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Hi Dave

Not with any degree of accuracy - the above are Indian/Pakistani but given the size of the subcontinent and the diversity of race, religion and culture pinning down exactly where each man came form is going to be impossible. Linking it to a unit is the only real way I imagine of establishing ‘nationality’.

The CWGC does usually have a record of these men, but you have to try quite a few variations in spelling.. This reflects the fact that Indians of the period often spelled their own names differently on occasion and when their details were transcribed by imperial officials it could often be recorded slightly differently...

I do not know whether these were all manufactured in the Uk - the Calcutta and Karachi mints were certainly producing WW1 medals.

As to be being unusual? I do not know, but I suspect these Indian examples are perhaps more rare given many would have been melted down given the value of the metal.

All in all confusing!


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Very helpful. Thanks Tim,

The examples shown do show signs of perhaps not having been cared for over the years, and so your comment about the scrap metal value could be spot on.

Perhaps they were "rescued" from just such a fate


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I have three, Sadara Singh, Tilbir Thapa and If Kun Fook. First will be india at a guess second Nepal (Gurkha) and the third I have drawn a blank possibly a Chinese Laundryman on a ship? as previously stated all plaques were either made at Acton then Woolwich Arsenal. Anecdotal evidence is a large cache of these Indian ones turned up recently in a government office store and have got out onto the market. Research I have undertaken shows a lot of these plaques did not get to recipients next of kin in the first place, as payment was made for travel from home to point of enlistment and little fibs were told as to the persons home address etc. So they ended up return to sender or unclaimed. When I first started collecting plaques you rarely saw an Indian or Gurkha plaque.

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A previous member of this forum did extensive research into all aspects of plaque manufacture, there were some very interesting threads around 8 years ago.

He started off as 'Racing Teapots' but he later used his real name Pete Woods as I remember.

I am about to do a search to see if any info is still retained...

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Well that was simple

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303man seems to know a lot about the plaques

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I suspect that your "If Kun Fook" was Yep [also spelled Yip or Ip] Fook, who died in Colchester on 3rd (CWGC say 9th) November 1918 of lobar pneumonia, aged 53. He is buried in Colchester Cemetery. He had probably been employed temporarily in construction ar Orfordness. The CWGC have him as a member of the Chinese Labour Corps, but he wasn't (too old anyway). He was a member of the Chinese Labour and Seamen's Union.

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