Scroll, First World War illuminated scroll which accompanied the British Commonwealth Memorial plaque or "Widow's Penny", in memory of Pte. William Cunningham, Leinster Regt.


Scroll, First World War illuminated scroll which accompanied the British Commonwealth Memorial plaque or “Widow’s Penny”, in memory of Pte. William Cunningham, Leinster Regt. Printed on thick paper, illuminated black, red and blue British Royal Coat of Arms at top centre, letters GV and RI on either side of crown. Text beneath, first letter of text has blue coloured drop capital with the remainder of the text in black. The scroll reads “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/the sight of men by the path of duty/and self-sacrifice, giving up their own/lives that others might live in freedom./Let those who come after see to it//that his name be not forgotten.” Beneath this in red ink is the rank, name and regiment of the soldier commemorated, as follows “Pte. William F. Cunningham/Leinster Regt.”

Uncle of the donor, Frances Morrissey, married daughter of Patrick Cunningham and the donor subsequently inherited the medals. Initially the medals were loaned to the museum for an exhibition to mark the 90th anniversary of the Armistice, but were subsequently donated to the collection.

Private William Cunningham was the son of John and Margaret Cunningham from the Turnpike in Ennis. He was a married, pre-war regular soldier based in Cork with the 2nd Battalion, Leinster Regiment at the outbreak of the war. He arrived at St. Nazaire, France on 12th September, 1914, as part of the 6th Division, British Expeditionary Force.

Private Cunningham went missing in action, presumed killed, in Belgium on 20th October, 1914 and has no known grave. His battalion had been involved in some very heavy fighting in and around Armentieres and an entry in the battalion war diary on the 23rd October 1914 puts his battalion’s casualties from the 18th October 1914 (five days) at 434 of which 155 were killed. The Battle of Armentieres (13th October to 2nd November) was one of several actions in the Ypres sector which became known as the First Battle of Ypres (12th October to 22nd November, 1914). Private Cunningham is remembered on the Ploegsteert Memorial in the Berks Cemetery Extension, Belgium.

Tragically for the Cunningham family, William’s younger brother Lance Sergeant John Cunningham, age 25, 2nd Battalion, Royal Munster Fusiliers was killed in action at Rue-de-Bois on 9th May 1915 during the Battle of Aubers Ridge. He also has no known grave, and is remembered at the Le Touret Memorial

Reference: secondary ref to 2nd bn, Leinster Regiment’s war diary.

Collection: Frances Morrissey

Category: Funerary Equipment

2009.0005 (5195)