In recognition of Newfoundland’s great First World War sacrifice, the Royal Canadian Mint held an event at Canadian Forces Station St. John’s to officially present the Royal Newfoundland Regiment and the Newfoundland and Labrador Command of the Royal Canadian Legion with framed silver coins commemorating the 100th anniversary of the Battle of Beaumont-Hamel.
This coin will also be featured at the Beaumont-Hamel Newfoundland Memorial Visitors Centre in France.
“Every July 1, Canadians celebrate the founding of their country and the democratic values for which it stands, but it is also a time to remember that on that day in 1916, the brave men of the Newfoundland Regiment fought and gave their lives for the same ideals at the Battle of Beaumont-Hamel,” said Seamus O’Regan, Member of Parliament for St. John’s South-Mount Pearl. “Beaumont-Hamel is a name that represents courage, sacrifice, and sorrow and the Government of Canada is proud that the Royal Canadian Mint has created a permanent reminder of this unforgettable chapter in the First World War and in the building of our nation through a beautiful silver collector coin.”
Canadian artist Silvia Pecota designed the 99.99 per cent pure silver coin, which poignantly captures the bravery and tragedy of the Battle of Beaumont-Hamel, where the soldiers of the Newfoundland Regiment participated in the first ground attack of the Somme Offensive on July 1, 1916. Only 30 minutes into this assault, all but 68 of the 801-man regiment were cut down by enemy fire.
“The Mint has a long history of honouring Canada’s veterans and their sacrifices through coins which share their incredible, inspiring stories with Canadians from coast to coast to coast and collectors around the world,” said Sandra Hanington, Mint president and CEO. “As Canada marks the 100th anniversary of the Battle of Beaumont-Hamel, the Mint is proud that we can play a role in honouring the memory of the men of the Newfoundland Regiment by crafting this very special coin.”
The reverse design of the coin shows a young soldier courageously advancing toward enemy lines across the battle-scarred terrain of No Man’s Land. The intensity of the artillery and machine gun fire that awaited the Newfoundlanders is evident throughout this intricately engraved scene that includes a background engraving of the gnarled “Danger Tree”, where they faced the most intense fire. Selective gold plating showcases the winged figure of “Victory” as it appeared on the Victory Medal, which was awarded to the allied soldiers of the First World War. The obverse of the coin features the gold-plated effigy of King George V, the reigning monarch during the First World War, who also granted the “Royal” designation to the Newfoundland Regiment in late 1917, in recognition of its battlefield achievements.
“We are proud to accept this special commemorative coin issued by the Royal Canadian Mint to honour the service and sacrifice of Newfoundland’s native sons on the battlefield near Beaumont-Hamel, France,” said Frank Sullivan, president of The Royal Canadian Legion, Newfoundland and Labrador Command. “It is through initiatives like these that our heroes are remembered and kept in the public eye in recognition of their bravery for the people of Newfoundland and Labrador.”