Five facts you didn’t know about World War II
January saw the release of some incredible coins marking the 75th Anniversary of VE Day, from the beautiful Silver 5oz to a Gold Proof Sovereign that’s 15 times rarer than the UK’s most recent Gold Proof Sovereign!
And it got me thinking about VE Day and World War II… so much so that I started to do some research and I very quickly discovered these INCREDIBLE five facts, that I knew I had to share with you in our latest video!
Actually the MBE is awarded by the British government, not the military, whose equivalent would be the Military Cross.
For an interesting fact, told to me by my great uncle who was involved in this incident, after being evacuated from Dunkirk, most rescued soldiers were immediately put on trains and sent to Wales and the West Country to reform their units and begin refitting. The last couple of boatloads though, were not so fortunate and were organised into four man parties which were dropped off at 100 yard intervals along the coast as a first line of defence against the German invasion which they expected would immediately follow the evacuation from Dunkirk. Having left almost all their heavy equipment, weaponry and ammunition behind in France all retained ammunition had been collected in on arrival off the boats and this was reissued to the four man groups, who received a mere 20 rounds each – an average of just five bullets per man. Strict instructions were given that care was to be taken to make sure that not a single round was wasted and the men were told the top brass would be carrying out a check of ammunition in the morning to make sure each group had what it had been issued with. Unfortunately during the night a group of artillerymen who had obtained a box of grenades set one off, leading to nervous men all along that section of coast panicking and shooting most of their ammunition out into the night, in the belief that the Germans had landed and had started firing.
The senior officers who carried out the promised inspection in the morning were extremely unhappy, understandably.
Of course, as we know now with hindsight, the Germans did not immediately follow up but instead spent the summer waiting while the Luftwaffe tried to knock out our air capacity. Immediately after the evacuation from Dunkirk, though, no-one knew that and so they expected that the Germans would waste no time in following the British boats across the English Channel, perhaps even the same day.
If you dont already know these historical facts then its shameful.
A mention of coin rarity reminded me that we hear a lot about the Kew Gardens 50p being the rarest coin in circulation 200k minted. Surely the earlier EU Presidency 50p, which in principle is still in circulation if you can find one, is the rarest with just 100k minted.
The Royal Mint quote the EU coin being the rarest 50p coin in circulation, while you say it is the Kew Gardens coin.
Why the anomaly?