100 years after his death - family reunited with Fife war hero’s ‘penny’

Great grandson Gavin Baxter reunited with the 'Death Penny' commemorating his great grandfather's death at the battle of the Somme 100 years ago. (Pic George McLuskie).
Great grandson Gavin Baxter reunited with the 'Death Penny' commemorating his great grandfather's death at the battle of the Somme 100 years ago. (Pic George McLuskie).

The plaque commemorating the death of a Fife soldier in World War I, which was found discarded in a Glenrothes shed, has finally been returned to the war hero’s descendants.

Thomas Blyth Peebles, a private in the 16th Highland Light Infantry, was killed 100 years ago in France on November 18, 1916.

Linda Ballingall chairman of Glenrothes Heritage Centre, with Ross and Gavin Baxter and historian Ian Nimmo-White. (Pic George McLuskie).

Linda Ballingall chairman of Glenrothes Heritage Centre, with Ross and Gavin Baxter and historian Ian Nimmo-White. (Pic George McLuskie).

The Kirkcaldy-born soldier, just 22 at the time, was killed during the assault on the Munich Trench at Beaumont-Hamel, during the last days of the Battle of the Somme.

The memorial plaque commemorating his death, which was issued to his family shortly after the war, was found languishing in a garden shed in Glenrothes several years ago.

Now, after months of painstaking work by local historian Ian Nimmo-White and Glenrothes Heritage Centre staff, they have returned the plaque - often referred to as a ’Death Penny’, back to the war hero’s direct blood descedants.

Ross and Gavin Baxter, two of Blyth’s three great grandsons, made the journey to Fife to be presented with the memorial plaque commemorating services to the Empire.

“We knew my great grand father served in the First World War but didn’t know anything else, not even that he was killed at the Somme,” said Gavin, who had travelled over from Paisley for the presentation.

“We were shocked to get a call about the plaque and we must express our gratitude to all those involved.”

“It’s fantastic and hugely satisfying that we are able to present this very poignant commemorative plaque back to the family,” said Linda Ballingall, chairman of the Heritage group.

“While tinged with obvious sadness, after all he made the ultimate sacrifice for his country, it’s fitting that we have been able to return it to its rightful owners.”