Mystery of a Dead Man's Penny

A “Dead Man's Penny” bearing the name Frederick Applebee mystified a resident of Jersey who had played with it there as a boy. His father could not remember how he in turn had come by it originally, according to The Luton News (April 28, 1999).Dead Man's Penny (WW1 Memorial Plaque)

Enquiries at the Imperial War Museum revealed that Frederick Applebee was the son of Alfred and Emily Applebee, whose address was given as 19 Oak Road, Luton. At the time of the 1911 Census the family was living in Robin Hood Street, Nottingham - Frederick was a 16-year-old errand boy.

It was also revealed that Private Applebee (service number 10124) had served with the 1st Battalion East Yorkshire Regiment and was only 19 when he died on Tuesday, October 27, 1914.

His name is included on the Ploegsteert Memorial in the Berks Cemetery Extension, just south of Ypres in Belgium. It was built by the Commonwealth War Graves Commission and commemerates 11,000 officers and men belonging to 36 different divisions and 100 regiments who died in the trenches of France and Belgium but have no known graves.

Exeter-born Frederick enlisted in Chelmsford, Essex, where his parents were married in 1885. His military record lists his home address as Luton at the time of his death.


(Based on Luton News stories by reporter, now Deputy Editor, Geoff Cox)