World War I Gallery
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Title: World War One Memorial Plaque

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Description: Also known as the 'deadmanís penny', this memorial was issued to Egerton Sayers, who was killed in World War One. The plaque was first issued in 1919 to the next of kin of those British and Commonwealth servicemen and women who lost their lives on active service during World War One. The manufacturer and distribution of the Memorial Plaque was undertaken by the Memorial Plaque Factory of 54/56 Church Road, Acton, West London, under the direction of Mr Manning Pike. Each plaque had the name of the soldier commemorated, individually embossed (although later some were engraved) as part of the design. The soldiers full name was given without any indication of rank or honours to show equality of sacrifice of all those who lost their lives.

History:Egerton Sayers (1890-1919) was the second son of Kate and Charles Sayers and was the brother- in-law to Annie Harris Sayers. At the outbreak of the War, Egerton Sayers was living in Clarkson working as a clerk in a bank. Unlike his brother Beverly, Egerton was free of family responsibilities and joined the army 10 November 1914. While undergoing training in Toronto, Private E. Sayers contracted the mumps and spent a month and a half in hospital. Sailing overseas in May 1915 Private Sayers was posted to the 19th Battalion and went into the trenches of the Western Front in September. During the Battle of the Somme, September 1916, Private Sayers was wounded by shrapnel in the arm. Returned to England, Egerton stayed in various hospitals until November recovering from wounds received in battle.

Granted a furlough, Egerton returned to Canada in February 1917. For two months Egerton Sayers stayed in Clarkson resting before returning to the Front in April. By January 1918 he had been promoted to the rank of Lance Corporal. Lance Corporal Egerton Sayers was killed in action 21 June 1918 while the 19th Battalion was occupying a defensive line. Egerton Sayers is buried in Bellacourt Cemetery, Pas de Calais, France.

See: Veterans Affairs Canada, Canada and the Great War, 1914-1918 (Veterans Affairs: Ottawa, 1998); Peter Simkins, World War I: The Western Front (London: Bramley Books, 1991); G.W.L. Nicholson, Canadian Expeditionary Force, 1914-1918 (Scarborough: Prentice Hall, 1978.

Items donated by Barbara Sayers Larson. Barbara Larson is the daughter of Annie Harris (1882-1986) and Beverly Sayers (1883-1976) and granddaughter of Arthur (1843-1932) and Mary (1859-1954) Harris. Barbara was born January 27, 1920 and was the youngest of three children. Barbara and her siblings, Geoffrey Sayers (1907-1997) and Dora Sayers Caro (1915- 2004) donated Benares to the Ontario Heritage Foundation in 1969 after inheriting it from their aunt, Naomi Harris (1883-1968). Many of the items donated by Barbara originally belonged to her mother or Aunt Naomi and came from Benares. Barbara lived in the log cabin, on land originally given to her parents by her grandparents, at 1723 Birchwood Drive. Barbara still maintains a close tie with Benares and is now living in Kelowna, British Columbia with her daughter.
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