Two $2 circulation coins commemorating the 75th anniversary of the D-Day landings, which began Europe’s liberation from Nazi occupation, were recently authorized by the Canadian government.
The two coins, which will have a shared design, will include a coloured as well as a non-coloured piece according to an article published in a recent Canada Gazette (Vol. 152, #26), which is a government publication that outlines new federal rules and regulations.
“The design depicts Canadians in a landing craft preparing to land on Juno Beach. They are supported by Royal Canadian Navy (RCN) ships and aircraft of the Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF),” reads the article, which adds the coins will “serve as tangible keepsakes of the contributions and sacrifices of those who have served Canada in a military capacity in order to foster remembrance.”
On the reverse, four Canadian soldiers and one Canadian sailor – all five donning helmets – will be depicted on the inner ring and overlap onto the outer ring. The soldier on the right of the inner ring will be holding a rifle.
“On the inner ring, above the Canadians in the landing craft are the words ‘D-DAY’ and ‘LE JOUR J.’ A banner on the lower part of the coin’s outer ring features the words: ‘REMEMBER’ and ‘SOUVENIR.’”
An RCN destroyer, two RCAF barrage balloons and a Supermarine Spitfire will also be depicted on the reverse alongside two virtual images of a maple leaf between two lines.
On the reverse of the coloured coin, the helmet of the middle soldier will be “olive green,”
“These coins would communicate the contributions and sacrifices of our veterans in order to foster remembrance among Canadians on the occasion of the 75th Anniversary of D-Day,” reads the Canada Gazette article, which adds coins will be distributed through financial institutions as well as through coin exchanges.
The obverse will depict the effigy of Queen Elizabeth II by Susanna Blunt and the inscriptions “ELIZABETH II,” “D G REGINA,” “CANADA” and “2 DOLLARS.”
Both pieces will measure 28.03 millimetres in diameter.
On June 6, 1944, the 3rd Canadian Division, as well as the 2nd and 3rd Armoured Brigades, landed on beaches at Courcelles, St Aubin and Bernières-sur-Mer on the Normandy coast as part of the invasions leading to Europe’s liberation from Nazi occupation.
Determined to end four years of often-brutal German occupation, Allied forces invaded Western Europe along an 80-kilometre front in Normandy, France. 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 1,074 casualties, including 359 deaths, during the landings in Normandy.
In 2014, to mark D-Day’s 70th anniversary, the Royal Canadian Mint issued a $10 pure silver commemorative coin with a first-person perspective of the peril faced by Canadian soldiers during the Juno Beach landing. The angled horizon recreates the rough sea conditions as the transport vehicle and its occupants are tossed by tall waves off the coast of Normandy.