Machine Gun Corps.


Died 22nd June 1917

Aged 21

Commonwealth War Graves Commission


In Memory of
Private A.W.ROSE


105103, 4th Sqdn., Machine Gun Corps (Cavalry)


Who died age 21 On 22 June 1917


Son of Thomas Rose, of Carterton, Clanfield, Oxon


Remembered with Honour


Research by Mrs. Jenny McBride with
information and use of the Dead Man's Penny from
the Rose family.



In the old census records illiteracy and officialdom often caused confusion. Ages were rounded up or down or changed to make a person younger than their spouse


Thomas Rose, born 1875 in Haddenham, Buckinghamshire, was a "hay binder", later called a "hay tier", but otherwise an agricultural labourer.


In the 1901 census Martha Jane Carr is two years younger than Thomas and from Marsh Baldon in Oxfordshire. However records only show a Martha Jane born in Malton Yorkshire in 1872. Martha had probably moved south to find work and was living at Marsh Baldon.


They married in the later part of 1895.

In the 1901 census they have two sons Albert William born 1897 and Arthur born 1900 in Haddenham.


In the 1911 census they had moved to

Oxfordshire and added Archie born 1902,

Ada born 1904 and Albury (Aubrey— a son ) born 1905, both in March Baldon Oxon.

Their address was Bushy Gound ,Minster Lovell Witney Oxon.


Albert William joined the army in 1914 and was just 17 when war was declared.

He joined the Machine Gun Corps which was only formed in 1915, when heavy machine guns and tanks were first used.

According to the family his younger brother Arthur also joined up after claiming to be older than he was. They were together in the trenches in the Battle of Cambrai, France in 1917. They were ordered to go to the front but as they moved out Albert was shot. Arthur wanted to go back to see if his brother was badly hurt but was ordered to go forward by his Sergeant. It was on his return to the trenches that Arthur was told that his brother was dead.

Albert William was killed in action on the 22nd of June 1917, aged 20 years and is buried in the Unicorn Cemetery in Vendhuile, a village about 19 kilometres north of St Quentin.

His brother returned home safely.

The Machine Gun Corps


(MGC) was a corps of the British Army, formed in October 1915 in response to the need for more effective use of machine guns on the Western Front in World War I. The Heavy Branch of the MGC was the first to use tanks in combat, and the branch was subsequently turned into the Tank Corps, later called the Royal Tank Regiment. The MGC was disbanded in 1922.

Some 170,500 officers and men served in the MGC with 62,049 becoming casualties including 12,498 being killed.



The history of the Dead Man's Penny began in 1916 with the realisation by the British Government that some form of an official token of gratitude should be given to the fallen service men and women's bereaved next of kin. The enormous casualty figures not anticipated at the start of WWI back in 1914 prompted this gesture of recognition. In 1917, the government announced a competition to design a suitable plaque with a prize of 250 pounds. There were 800 entries from all over the Empire, the Dominions, and even from the troops on the Western Front. Mr E. Carter Preston of Liverpool, England, was the eventual winner.


The selected design was a 12-centimetre disk cast in bronze gunmetal, which incorporated the following; an image of Britannia and a lion, two dolphins representing Britain's sea power and the emblem of Imperial Germany's eagle being torn to pieces by another lion. Britannia is holding an oak spray with leaves and acorns. Beneath this was a rectangular tablet where the deceased individual's name was cast into the plaque. No rank was given as it was intended to show equality in their sacrifice. On the outer edge of the disk, the words,

'He died for freedom and honour'

A scroll, 27 x 17 centimetres made of slightly darkened parchment headed by the Royal Coat of Arms accompanied the plaque with a carefully chosen passage written in old English script.'He whom this scroll commemorates was numbered among those who, at the call of King and Country, left all that was dear to them, endured hardness, faced danger, and finally passed out of sight of men by the path of duty and self-sacrifice, giving up their own lives that others may live in freedom.

Let those who come after see to it that his name be not forgotten.'


Beneath this passage, written in the same style, was the name, and rank and service details of the deceased. To accompany the scroll, again in old English script, a personal message from King George V.'



Albert William Rose

'I join with my grateful people in sending you this memorial of a brave life given for others in the Great War.             George R I.


The plaques were packaged in stiff cardboard wrapping folded like an envelope and sent to the next of kin. Production of the plaques and scrolls, which was supposed to be financed by German reparation money, began in 1919 with approximately 1,150,000 issued.


They commemorated those who fell between the 4th August 1914 and 10th January 1920 for home, Western Europe and the Dominions whilst the final date for the other theatres of war or for those died of attributable causes was 30 April 1920.

Unfortunately, the production and delivery of the plaques was not a complete success and the scheme ended before all the families or next of kin of the deceased received the official recognition they should have.


There were some relatives who returned the pennies to the Australian Government in protest as they felt it was insulting and it did not replace their loved one's life.

Of course, nothing can replace a life lost, but for those 'Dead Man's Pennies' that are in private or public collections, museums and national archives, they are a constant reminder of the ultimate price paid by the men and women of the armed services during the Great war of 1914-1918.



Marriages Dec 1895

Carr Martha Jane Aylesbury 3a 1178 Rose Thomas   Aylesbury 3a 1178

FREE BMD Births Dec 1896

Rose Albert William Aylesbury 3a 761


ROSE, Thomas Head Married M 38 1873 Hay Tier

Haddenham Bucks

ROSE, Martha Jane Wife Married 15 years F 40

1871 March Baldon Oxon

ROSE, Albert William Son M 14 1897 Hay Tier

Haddenham Bucks

ROSE, Arthur Son M 11 1900 School

Haddenham Bucks

ROSE, Archie Son M 9 1902 School Haddenham


ROSE, Ada Daughter F 7 1904 School

March Baldon Oxon

ROSE, Albury Son M 6 1905 School

March Baldon Oxon

Registration District:Witney Parish:Winston Lovell Address:Bushy Gound Minster Lovell Witney


These sites cover the ox18 area of Oxfordshire England, including  the following villages, OX18, Alvescot, Bampton, Black Bourton, Burford, Broadwell, Carterton, Clanfield, Kelmscott, Kencot, Langford, Lechlade, RAF Broadwell, Shilton, Parish Pump, Oxfordshire Events,