Battle of the Scheldt continues RCM’s ‘Second World War Battlefront Series’

The Canadian soldiers who helped the Allies gain control of the Dutch and Belgian shores of the strategic Scheldt river 75 years ago are commemorated on a Fine silver coin issued today as part of the ongoing “Second World War Battlefront Series.”

Fought from September to October 1944, the costly battle secured a vital supply line to help Canada liberate the Netherlands and make possible the Allied liberation of Western Europe. Royal Canadian Mint President and CEO Marie Lemay was joined by Netherlands’ ambassador to Canada Henk van der Zwan plus Second World War veterans and other Allied nations representatives to unveil the coin on July 31 in Ottawa.

“The Mint is proud to honour Canada’s veterans through coins that preserve incredible stories of courage and sacrifice in defence of Canadian values,” said Lemay. “Our newest collector coin shares the valour and determination that contributed to the hard-won success of Canada’s soldiers at the Battle of the Scheldt.”

The coin was unveiled by (from left to right) Major-General Stephen Whalen, Netherlands Ambassador Henk van der Zwan, Mint President and CEO Marie Lemay and Perley and Rideau Veterans’ Health Centre Foundation Chair Keith de Bellefeuille Percy. (Photo by CNW Group/Royal Canadian Mint)

COIN DESIGN

Canadian artist Mary McPherson designed the Battle of the Scheldt coin, which presents a realistic portrait of a Canadian Ojibwa soldier in action in the fall of 1944.

The insignia of the First Canadian Army appears above the infantryman, who wields a Bren gun while advancing past a tower mill. A Wasp MKII C flamethrower Universal Carrier backs the infantry advance from atop an embankment near the Scheldt River.

The obverse features the effigy of contemporary monarch King George VI by T.H. Paget.

“While victory at the Battle of the Scheldt ultimately helped pave the way for the Allied liberation of Western Europe, it came at a tremendous cost. More than 6,000 Canadians were killed or wounded during five weeks of intense conflict with well-fortified German forces along the Scheldt River,” said Lawrence MacAulay, minister of veterans affairs and associate minister of national defence.

“As time passes, it is critical that we not forget the contributions made by Canadians during the Second World War, and I am grateful that the Royal Canadian Mint is paying tribute to their eternal legacy of courage and sacrifice.”

The battle was “a significant milestone in the shared history of the Netherlands and Canada,” said van der Zwan.

“Led by Canadians, this fierce battle marked the beginning of the liberation of the Netherlands. We are proud that the Royal Canadian Mint, with this coin, pays tribute to Canadian soldiers who bravely fought to make 75 years of freedom possible. The commemorations of the Battle of the Scheldt will be celebrated in the Netherlands on Aug. 31. This will be the kick-off to a year full of celebrations to mark the 75th anniversary of the liberation of the Netherlands.”

For more information about the coin, which has a mintage of 8,500 pieces, visit mint.ca.

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