The First World War Battlefront series has now released the third silver coin in the relatively new series of commemorative coins. The subject of this coin is the Battle of Beaumont-Hamel that took place on the 1st of July 1916.
The coin pays tribute to the selfless courage and sacrifice of the men of the 1st Newfoundland Regiment on that day. The regiment was comprised almost entirely of recruits from Newfoundland and Labrador. The battle formed a part of the opening attack of the battle of the Somme. This regiment suffered a devastating number of casualties during the Battle of Beaumont-Hamel. Of the approximately 820 men from the 1st Newfoundland Regiment who advanced that day, only 68 were able to answer roll call the next day. According to the official war records 324 men were listed as killed or missing and presumed dead, a further 386 were noted as wounded.
The reverse design by Canadian artist Silvia Pecota manages to capture the chaos of trench warfare along with the bravery of the men who fought on that day. In the foreground, a young soldier advances in formation across no man's land toward enemy lines. The battle-scarred terrain provides little protective cover for the soldiers, who are in full view of the enemy as they contend with the tangle of barbed wire defenses. The intensity of the artillery and machine gun fire that awaited the Newfoundlanders is evident throughout this intricately engraved scene, particularly in the foreground where the soldier assumes a slightly crouched stance while he courageously moves forward with his rifle and bayonet. In the background, the gnarled appearance of the "Danger Tree" is particularly symbolic as its remnants marked the spot where the Newfoundlanders would face the most intense fire, and where so many of them would fall.
At the bottom of the coin is a reproduction of an allied victory medal, that was awarded to all allied troops at the conclusion of the war in 1919. The figure of winged Victory is based off of earlier French medals of similar design. The figure of Victory is selectively clad with a gold finish. The inscription at the bottom reads : “THE BATTLE OF BEAUMONT-HAMEL”, “LA BATAILLE DE BEAUMONT-HAMEL” and “1916” “2016”. “CANADA” is engraved along the top of the coin.
The obverse is based on the Sir Edgar Bertram Mackennal, KCVO, effigy of King George V who was the reigning British monarch at the time of the First World War. The obverse legend reads: “GEORIVS V DEI GRA : REX ET IND : IMP” and “20 DOLLARS”. The left facing portrait of King George V is also treated with the same gold gilding as the figure of Victory on the reverse.
The 99.99% pure silver coin with selective gold cladding is 38mm(1.5 Inch) wide and weighs 31.39grams(1.009oz). The mintage will be limited to 10 000 coins. Like the other coins in the First World War series the Royal Canadian Mint is listing the Battle of Beaumont-Hamel silver coin for $109.95 CAD (US$86.30). The coin is issued in a standard RCM red clamshell case with numbered certificate of authenticity.
The full series will contain eight coins and is expected to run until 2018. The coins in the First World War Battlefront series are :
- The Battle of Neuve-Chapelle
- The Second Battle of Ypres
- The Battle of Beaumont-Hamel
- The Battle of the Somme (July 2016)
- The Battle of Vimy Ridge (expected April 2017)
- The Battle of Passchendaele (expected November 2017)
- Canada's Hundred Days (expected 2018)
- First Armistice at Compiègne (expected 2018)