The Royal Mint has released a range of limited edition precious metal coins to mark the 75th anniversary this year of the Battle of Britain.
In July 1940 Britain faced the imminent threat of invasion. Although supported by many others working tirelessly on the ground the successful defence of the nation was due in no small part to the immense courage and sacrifice of those pilots and aircrew we have come to know as “The Few”.
In total less than three thousand pilots and aircrew from Britain, the Commonwealth and its allies, including those from occupied nations such as Poland and Czechoslovakia, fought tenaciously during the summer of 1940 for control the skies above Britain.
The eventual victory by the RAF enabled the Western Allies to later launch the liberation of Western Europe and compel the Nazis to fight on two fronts leading to their consequent defeat.
The 50p coin, which commemorates the 75th anniversary of the Battle of Britain, incorporate a design by renowned sculptor Gary Breeze.
Although he has produced many major commissions, including for example the Bali Bombing Memorial at Horse Guards Road, this is his first coin for the Royal Mint.
Speaking of his design on the reverse of the coin he said, “In some ways the Battle of Britain appeals to our innate joy at winning against tremendous odds.
“I wanted to celebrate that in one sense. But I think that remembering the cost of war is more relevant today.
“I spent a good deal of time concentrating on the machines at first, but the aircraft didn’t say enough about the sacrifice of life or the meaning of the Battle today.
“I’ve always recalled my Grandfather talking of the skies being dark because there were so many bombers. I believe he was in fact talking about our own planes flying out, but I wanted to illustrate that threat and sense of danger.
“I would like people to be reminded of the selfless sacrifice of the Few. The airmen run away from us. They don’t walk slowly to their fate, and we may never see them again.”