For many it’s hard to believe that it’s been 40 years since the Falklands conflict took place.
It’s a conflict our nation remembers only too well. It was one of the first military endeavours that had been televised, with daily reports being broadcast to our screens, reports of heroic fighting and of course, sadly, casualties.
Indeed, it’s to all those that served our country in the Falklands that we’re proud to dedicate a superb set of new commemoratives – issued for the 40th anniversary.
I’d like to talk you through each of the designs, and in doing so tell the story of the Falklands conflict…
Our battleships crossing the Atlantic
In a move condemned by the United Nations, in 1976 Argentinian forces occupied the Falkland Islands and South Georgia. In the weeks that followed, islanders were forcibly deported.
In response, for the first time since the Second World War, all branches of the British armed forces were deployed and within days a British task force set sail across the Atlantic.
Troops landing on the Falkland Islands
The Task Force landed 4,000 troops in the East Falklands. Goose Green was the first settlement to be taken by British forces. British troops then face a difficult journey through tough terrain, enemy minefields, and hostile weather conditions.
British troops ‘yomping’ across difficult terrain on the Islands
The design of this commemorative pays homage to one of the most famous images from the conflict, taken by Royal Marines photographer Peter Holdgate, showing a Corporal with a Union flag fixed to his pack.
British aircraft patrolling the skies
British aircraft played a key role in the conflict, most famously with the Harrier jets and the Vulcan bomber – two planes that are still strong in British consciousness because of their important role in defending the Falklands.
Although at the start of the conflict Argentina seemed to have an advantage in the air with over 100 aircraft of varying types, it was the strategy of the British Air Force that meant the British pilots were able to beat the odds and take control of the skies.
Returning to a Hero’s welcome
British troops were eventually able to make their way home, with huge crowds gathering in Portsmouth and Southampton to welcome them back – a well deserved hero’s welcome on their return.
This BRAND NEW set of commemoratives tells the story of the conflict and comes complete in a presentation pack to display and store them for years to come. I hope that you agree that it’s a perfect tribute to this important moment in British military history.
Did you serve in the Falklands or have memories of family or friends that were involved? As part of our remembering of the conflict 40 years since the invasion, we’d love to hear your stories in the comments below.
If you’re interested…
A brand new 50p is being released by The Royal Mint to mark the 50th anniversary of Pride!
Back in December 2021, The Royal Proclamation announced plans for a Pride 50p, and today the first details of this coin’s release have been revealed — including the design!
Designed by LGBTQ+ activist Dominique Holmes, this new 50p design features five rainbows — each accompanied with part of the inscription, “PRIDE PROTEST VISIBILITY UNITY EQUALITY”. It’s scheduled for release this summer, coinciding with Pride celebrations across the country.
A Collecting First
Collecting firsts are without a doubt some of the most popular coins released. They become much harder to source in the coming years, often seeing sell-outs across whole ranges! And, as the FIRST ever 50p released in honour of Pride, this coin is likely to be incredibly popular with collectors.
The coin will be available in multiple specifications, including the standard Brilliant Uncirculated and the stunning colour Silver Proof, adding apt depth and vibrancy to the design. For the ultimate collector’s item, it’s also available in Gold Proof too.
High Demand Expected
As well as being the very first UK coin to commemorate Pride, this coin also marks the 50th anniversary of the first UK Pride march, held in London, 1972. Pride in London 2022 will pay tribute to this by retracing the historic 1972 route around London.
Pride in London now attracts a huge crowd, with 1.5 million walking in the 2019 procession, with hundreds of thousands more attending other Pride events across the UK.
After a two-year hiatus due to COVID-19, this year’s Pride events are expected to be more popular than ever — and with so much interest in this year’s events, this UK-first 50p coin is expected to be in high demand.
If you want to ensure you don’t miss out on owning the very first UK Pride 50p, make sure you sign up below for updates on this coin’s release.
Each year, as many of you collectors may know, here at The Westminster Collection, we release a special Masterpiece coin in partnership with the Royal British Legion. A donation from the sales of our Poppy coins is made to the Royal British Legion, on your behalf.
2021 saw a special centenary year for the long-established charity, with many celebrations held, including the laying of a wreath at the Cenotaph by RBL National President Lieutenant General James Bashall CB CBE.
One such way we commemorated this important event was the gifting of our prized Remembrance Masterpiece Poppy Coin to D-Day veteran Jim Healy.
Jim is 97 and from Manchester – he was born in the Spring of 1925 and was called up to join the Armed Forces at the age of only 18. He served in the Royal Marines from May 1943 until August 1945, telling RBL he couldn’t even swim being a Manchester boy! His specific role was Coxswain of the Landing Craft Assault (LCA).
He landed on Juno Beach on D-Day 1944 and during his time in service, made several trips to land Canadian troops on the coast of Normandy. Describing one such trip he said, “I really admired these lads, I saw some wrecked craft, which must’ve copped a mine, but we were fortunate going in on a high tide, we avoided the mines in the water, going over the top of the obstacles.”
Jim is now a retired printer. He married his wife Marie at the age of 25 and they were married for 38 years, but she sadly passed 30 years ago. His brothers Tom and John also served in the Forces. Tom served in the Royal Air Force, and John worked in munitions.
With the Royal British Legion, Jim has been back to Normandy and took part in the D-Day 75 commemorations in northern France in the Summer of 2019. He has said “I’ve had a whole life before and since D-Day, and it’s only since the RBL started organising these trips that I’ve really started talking about those days.”
“…you’ve got in mind the lads you’ve lost – we lost ten of our boats and even mine was classified as lost, the family were told that I was missing in action, because our craft was disabled in the middle of the sea.”
Jim added “I still don’t know which of those soldiers we dropped off died and which ones survived, which is sad for me. I often think about them, we offer our condolences at various times each year and I know the Canadians suffered heavy losses on Juno Beach, but I never knew them really, which is quite hard.”
The Masterpiece which has been gifted to Jim is crafted from 1945 British Army Mess tins, a World War Two Spitfire and a D-Day Landing Craft, similar to the one piloted by Jim himself on June 6, 1944. Representing the three military facets of RBL, we have repurposed these important materials to create a three-dimensional ‘1921 style’ Poppy, which sits magnificently on the coin.
Jim has said “I’m very proud to receive this coin, it is a fitting reminder of my time in the Marines during World War Two and I am very grateful. I do get called a hero, but it is a word that’s over-used these days, even by my own family.”
We feel honoured that our 2021 Masterpiece Silver 5oz Poppy Coin has been gifted to Jim and what a fitting tribute that it’s one of our most historically fascinating pieces to have ever been released.
Our partnership, held since 2004, continues with the Royal British Legion who provide financial, social, and emotional support to members and veterans of the UK Armed Forces, their families and dependents.