British coin marks 80 years since D-Day

The Royal Mint has issued a 50-pence commemorative to pay tribute to the fallen Allied troops and veterans who fought 80 years ago in Operation Overlord, the codename for the Battle of Normandy. This Allied operation launched the successful liberation of German-occupied Western Europe during the Second World War.

The reverse, designed by David Lawrence with support from the Imperial War Museums, depicts Allied soldiers disembarking from a landing craft onto the beaches of Normandy, with offensive aircraft in the sky above. The design is accompanied by the inscription “D-DAY 6 JUNE 1944 UTAH OMAHA GOLD JUNO SWORD,” the code names given to the five assault beaches that formed part of Operation Overlord.

In the early hours of June 6, 1944, troops from the United Kingdom, United States, Canada and other Allied nations stormed five beaches in Normandy, France, aiming to break through Adolf Hitler’s Atlantic Wall defences. Known as D-Day, this date marked the beginning of the liberation of Europe. To commemorate the coin’s release, French sand artist Jehan-Benjamin Tarain, with support from fellow sand artist Sam Dougados, recreated the D-Day 80 coin design on Gold Beach, where nearly 25,000 men of the British 50th Division landed. Scaled at 35 metres in diameter, the sand art took five hours and 30 minutes to create.

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