Honiton soldier death penny won at auction by town’s museum

PUBLISHED: 09:13 06 December 2017 | UPDATED: 09:17 08 December 2017

The plaque marking the death of Private 9755 William Samuel Stone

The plaque marking the death of Private 9755 William Samuel Stone

Archant

A plaque commemorating the death of the fourth Honiton soldier to die in World War One has been won at auction by the town’s museum.

The memorial plaque, known as a death penny, marked the death of Private 9755 William Samuel Stone, who was killed in 1914.

William, who was part of the 1st Battalion of the Devonshire Regiment, was a mason’s labourer and lived in Kings Terrace before he was sent to war and killed in action on the Givenchy - Festubert section of the front line.

He was just 24-years-old and is named on Honiton’s war memorial outside St Paul’s Church.

The medal was won by Allhallows Museum when it recently came up for auction at Chilcotts, in Silver Street.

Margaret Lewis, curator at the museum, said: “The town’s Armed Forces Committee has been commemorating every one of Honiton’s men who died in World War One on the 100th anniversary of their deaths..

“I only know of two other death pennies from Honiton, and they are both with the soldiers’ families.

“They used to be installed in headstones of the fallen, but many were stolen. It is nice to have such an item at Allhallows.”

William, son of Samuel Stone and Lucy (nee Turner), was the fourth of 146 men from Honiton who died in World War One - and is one of 66 names on the town’s war memorial.

He also has a familial links with Margaret - being her grandfather’s third cousin.

Margaret said: “Such items are becoming increasingly rare and for the penny to be displayed in the museum adjacent to the memorial is a fitting and lasting tribute to this former resident.

“What is a shame is that people who have an item like this do not come to the museum first, but take it to auction.

“This means we have to pay lots of tax if we want it.”

William’s death penny will be included in the museum’s World War One exhibition, which is available to view when it reopens for the 2018 season, on March 19, 2018.

More than 1.3million plaques were issued, using a total of 450 tonnes of bronze in the process.

They continued to be issued into the 1930s to commemorate people who died as a consequence of the war.

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