The Adam Park Project

Virtual Museum

The Lenz Plaque p.252

Item Information:

Catalogue Number: 18/15/006 Source: TAPP Archaeology Surveys Location: No.18 Adam Park Report No: Report No.4 Artifact Type: ID tag Production Date: 2011-03-14 00:00:00 Dimensions of Item: 120mm x 55mm Copyright with The Adam Park Project

Other Description:

The most remarkable and personal artifact found to date only came to light at the cleaning stage. What appeared to be nothing more than a piece of scrap metal once cleaned revealed the first irrefutable link with the POWs at Adam Park. Item 18/15/6 is an engraved piece of worked brass 12.5cm long and 5.5cm wide with a semi circle cut out of the centre bottom edge and a notch 5.5cm x 3mm deep cut out of the top edge - each corner has a bolt or screw through it. The metal has been doubled up to add thickness. However a 28mm x 28mm slot has been left exposed in the rear plate. The inscription that has been roughly engraved on in 12mm high lettering across the top third of the face reads ‘ A.F.H. LEnZ. There are traces of more lettering around the circumference of the lower semi-circular aperture which is indiscernible. The inclusion of a lower case ‘n’ in the name where all the other letters were upper case suggests either that a template was being used where the ‘N’ was missing and an inverted ‘U’ was used in its place or that the inscriber had deliberately intended to personalize the name and perhaps inferring it was Lenz himself who had done the work. It is notable that the securing screws have clearly been made of two different metals – the lower two having higher iron content and therefore attracted the greater corrosion. A similar sized piece of plate (18/16/8) was discovered very nearby however this had been bent in two along the midpoint and only the two top holes drilled and traces of a washer mark were present. The notch in the top of the first plate had not been cut into the second. The semicircular aperture had been cut out.

Historic Context:

Research revealed that Private Alan Francis Henry Lenz NX32769 was listed missing in the Sydney Morning Herald 3rd August 1942 and then later noted as being a POW in Singapore in the edition dated Friday 1st October 1943. He was reported among the prisoners found in Singapore in the Argus dated 14th September 1945. Alan was born on 28th Aug 1919 in Parramatta NSW and enlisted on 12 Jun 1941 in Paddington NSW. His locality at the time of enlistment was Mortlake NSW and it was here that he returned to after discharging from the army on 12 Dec 1945 probably living with his parents, Mr and Mrs B Lenz, of 19 Braddon Street. The next of kin noted in his record card was Evelyn Firbank, yet he married Dorothy Margaret Clarke at Concord in Sydney in 1946. It didn’t work out for them – 18/1/1950 Sydney Moring Herald reported that they divorced. Alan Lenz died on 24/8/2001 and has been officially commemorated by OAWG at the Rookwood Crematorium, NSW. We continue to look for his next of kin.

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