The Royal Canadian Mint have launched a commemorative coin which remembers the Canadian contribution to the allied invasion of Normandy on the 6th June 1944. The allied invasion was to spell the beginning of the end for Nazi forces and their siege on the continent of Europe and eventually lead to their unconditional surrender eleven months later.
Canada, along with the United Kingdom, entered the fight in September 1939 after an ultimatum delivered by then-Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain to the Chancellor of Germany Adolph Hitler after German forces invaded Poland from the north, south, and west went unanswered. Chamberlain had declared that if troops were not withdrawn by the end of 2nd September, that war be declared forthwith and authorized the British Embassy in Berlin to deliver this ultimatum to Hitler. Chamberlain’s now famous address to the British people on the morning of the 3rd September stated the following:
This morning, the British ambassador in Berlin, handed the German government, the final note, stating that unless we heard from them, by 11 o’clock, that they were prepared at once, to withdraw their troops from Poland, a state of war would exist between us. I have to tell you now, that no such undertaking has been received, and as a consequence, this country is now at war with Germany.
Seven days later, on the 10th September 1939, the Canadian Parliament also declared war on Germany which was the country’s first independent declaration of war and the beginning of Canada’s participation in the largest combined national effort in its history. From the start of hostilities, Canada’s military was active in every theater of war and over the course of the war, 1.1 million Canadians served in the Army, Navy, and Air Force. By the time of D-Day, the 6th June 1944, the landings at Normandy were accomplished by two beachheads made by the American forces at Omaha and Utah, two by British forces, Sword and Gold, and a final one at Juno made by the 3rd Canadian Infantry Division. The actions of this invasion by the three allied forces is regarded by many historians as literally – the beginning of the end for the Axis forces and the Nazi army for within eleven months, the war in Europe would be concluded with the unconditional surrender of the Third Reich on the 6th May 1945 – Berlin had been invaded by Soviet forces, Hitler had committed suicide and the command structure of the Third Reich had disintegrated.
The coin, designed by artist Maskull Lasserre, features a unique first-person perspective. The design depicts Canadian infantry soldiers in full battle gear as they disembark from a Landing Craft Assault vehicle and make their way to what’s become known as Juno Beach. The angled horizon in the background recreates the rough sea conditions, as the transport vehicle and its occupants are tossed about by tall waves just off the shores of Normandy. Appropriately, the obverse of this exceptional coin includes a portrait of His Majesty King George VI – father of the present Queen of Canada, who was head of state during the war. This portrait was the very same one used on both Canadian and British coinage from 1937 to 1952.
The coin is now available to order with a limit of three pieces per household – the coin is also available in-store at several locations. View this and other recently released coins from the Royal Canadian Mint in the new releases section of their website. Information offered in English & French – international orders dispatched.