OTD: 75th anniversary of D-Day

Today’s date marks the 75th anniversary of the Allied landings in Normandy.

Canada was a “full partner in the success” of the landings, which are also known as “D-Day,” according to the Canadian War Museum.

“Determined to end four years of often-brutal German occupation, on 6 June 1944, Allied forces invaded Western Europe along an 80-kilometre front in Normandy, France,” reads a post on the museum’s website.

“Of the nearly 150,000 Allied troops who landed or parachuted into the invasion area, 14,000 were Canadians. They assaulted a beachfront code-named ‘Juno,’ while Canadian paratroopers landed just east of the assault beaches. Although the Allies encountered German defences bristling with artillery, machine guns, mines, and booby-traps, the invasion was a success.”

Canadians suffered 1074 casualties, including 359 deaths, during the landings in Normandy.


In 2014, to mark the 70th anniversary of D-Day, the Royal Canadian Mint issued a $10 pure silver coin with a first-person perspective of the peril faced by Canadian soldiers during their landing at 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. The detailed reverse – designed by Canadian artist Maskull Lasserre – serves as a tribute to the Canadian veterans of the Second World War and their legacy of service and sacrifice in Normandy and beyond.

The coin’s obverse (shown above) features the effigy of King George VI, the reigning monarch during the Second World War.

“On June 6, Canadians from coast to coast to coast will pause to remember the 70th anniversary of the Allied landing in Normandy, which was an important offensive which allowed Allied forces to establish a foothold in Western Europe and open up another battlefront, thus paving the way to Allied victory,” said Julian Fantino, then veterans affairs minister, in 2014.

“Lest we forget the 340 Canadian heroes who gave their lives on this day, ensuring that future generations would enjoy peace and freedom.”

The coin’s obverse, designed by Susanna Blunt, also features a rare twist: typically, the obverse of a coin features the reigning monarch, but this coin features the reigning monarch during the Second World War, King George VI.

The coin has a weight of 15.87 grams, a 34-millimetre diameter and a mintage of 8,000 pieces.

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