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War & Decline

The First World War

Letter

Description:

A letter written to accompany the First World War memorial plaque. It was sent on Buckingham Palace headed paper with King George V's stamped signature.

 

This letter was received by the family of Staff Nurse Jessie Jane Paterson.

She was named on one of only 600 plaques issued to the next of kin of women. Born in 1882, Jessie was the youngest daughter of a Dalbeattie grocer. A trained nurse, she enlisted in November 1914 and served with the Territorial Force Nursing Service in Macedonia. She died of dysentery aged 34 at Vertekop on 29 September 1916. She is buried in Mikra British Cemetery, Kalamaria, Greece and is remembered on the Scottish Nurses Memorial in St. Giles High Kirk, Edinburgh, and on Dalbeattie War Memorial.
Her memorial plaque was framed together with Jessie Paterson's nursing service badge and her War and Victory Medals. Her family also received the printed letter and a scroll. They were acquired by Dumfries Museum in 2005.

 

Soon after the war ended, the British government began production of individually named memorial plaques to be sent out to the next of kin - the closest living relative - of every serviceman and woman who had lost their lives. Bereaved families received them through the post in a cardboard envelope, with a printed message from the King. Commemorative scrolls were also sent.
An estimated 1,360,000 of these bronze plaques were issued from 1919 onwards. The design was by the artist Edward Carter Preston. It shows symbols of British identity, power and victory: the figure of Britannia holding a wreath, the lion, dolphins to represent British sea power and, at the base, a lion devouring the eagle of Germany. 
Each plaque was individually named. It was decided that no ranks or service units would be shown. Each life lost was represented as being of equal value.
Source:
Dumfries Museum & Camera Obscura
Accession number:
DUMFM:2005.54.31
Digital Number:
DMDR017n
Copyright:
Dumfries and Galloway Council