War veteran to ‘come home’ to Spilsby

Victoria Atkins MP and  David Morris MP with the Dead Man's Penny of Private Charles Edward Woodward from Spilsby ANL-180409-082808001
Victoria Atkins MP and David Morris MP with the Dead Man's Penny of Private Charles Edward Woodward from Spilsby ANL-180409-082808001

A date has been set for a private who died in Ypres in the First World War to finally ‘come home’ to Spilsby.

Private Charles Edward Woodward’s Dead Man’s Penny was discovered last year - and the plaque is now to take pride of place in the Franklin Hall on Saturday, October 20.

The memorial to Private Charles Edward Woodward was found by David Morris, MP for Morecombe and Lunesdale in Lancashire, in a London militaria shop. and announced during a debate in the House of Commons.

A self-confessed ‘combative debater’ in the House, he described how he was moved to tears when he spoke at Westminster of his discovery.

Mr Morris later told the Standard: “I wanted to show what one looked like in the debate as most people in the country had no idea what they were.

“Pte Woodward’s memorial touched me as it had a hole drilled in the top as it was hanged on a wall at his parents’ home.

“The debate was moving for me. I’m known to be quite a combative debater and it shocked everyone in Westminster, including myself,”

The plaque was presented to local MP and Under Secretary of State Victoria Atkins during the debate, with the wish Pte Woodward should be ‘returned home’.

Mr Morris hopes to join Victoria Atkins for the unveiling.

Ms Atkins said: “It was a privilege to be part of the very moving debate in the House of Commons last year. David Morris MP wanted to draw attention to the significance of these plaques so that the memory of those commemorated continues to be honoured.

“I am delighted to presenting the Memorial Plaque along with David Morris MP to the Royal British Legion Spilsby and District Branch in October. It is an honour to be able to bring Private Charles Woodward home.”

Denis Chandler, of the Spilsby and District branch of the Royal British Legion commended “the Honourable Members for their understanding and sympathy.” Mr Chandler said: “I have my great uncle’s commemorative plaque. He was killed in 1917 at Ypres and is also commemorated on the Menin Gate and I understand the emotional attachment that is placed on these. The Royal British Legion Spilsby and District Branch will ensure that the installation in the Franklin Hall will be dealt with in an appropriate and fitting manner.”

Michael Lenton, of Spilsby RBL added: “The RBL ( Spilsby and District ) is delighted to have the Dead Man’s Penny returned ‘home’ so to speak. A welcome but sombre event is to take place on October 20 at the Franklin Hall where, thereafter, everyone will be able to read about the ultimate sacrifice made by Private Charles Edward Woodward.”