Next of kin plaque : Private Reginald Henry Homfray, 63rd Company, Machine Gun Corps, British army

Accession Number REL47375
Collection type Heraldry
Object type Heraldry
Physical description Bronze
Place made United Kingdom: England, Greater London, London
Date made c 1921-1922
Conflict First World War, 1914-1918

Bronze next of kin plaque, showing on the obverse, Britannia holding a laurel wreath, the British lion, dolphins, a spray of oak leaves and the words 'HE DIED FOR FREEDOM AND HONOUR' around the edge. Beneath the main figures, the British lion defeats the German eagle. The initials 'ECP', for the designer Edward Carter Preston appear above the lion's right forepaw. A raised rectangle above the lion's head bears the name 'REGINALD HENRY HOMFRAY'.

History / Summary

Born in Tinonee, New South Wales in 1884, Reginald Henry Homfray moved with his family to Katoomba in 1890. By 1898 the family was living in Sydney, where Homfray joined the Posts and Telegraph Department as a messenger. In 1902 he joined the merchant navy and for the next thirteen years served first as a general hand, and then as a pantry man, waiter and steward on a wide variety of ships in Australian and Pacific waters, travelling as far as the west coast of America. On one occasion he travelled to Calcutta in India.

Homfray joined HMAT Kanowna in Melbourne in 1915, on her final voyage as a troopship. On reaching London the ship was put into dock to be converted to a hospital ship, and Homfray decided to enlist in the British army. He was first posted a private, service number 18977, to the Shropshire Light Infantry, before transferring to the Machine Gun Corps, where he was assigned the service number 5115. Early in 1916 Homfray wrote home to his mother describing his training in Wales, and at Grantham in England. He qualified as a gunner. On 20 February, shortly before he left for France, he wrote describing his duties - mounted on a mule as the lead driver, and in action acting as a range finder. A month later, on 18 March, Homfray was killed. He is buried in the Cite Bonjean Military Cemetery at Armentieres.

This commemorative plaque was sent to his widowed mother, Alexandrina (Alexa) Homfray.

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