2019 marks 75 years since the Normandy Landings which took place on 6th June 1944, also known as D-Day. It was the largest seaborne invasion in history. The operation laid the foundations of the Allied victory on the Western Front and the subsequent liberation of Nazi-controlled Europe.
Three of the most influential people during Operation Neptune (AKA D-DAY), and World War II in its entirety, were Winston Churchill, Field Marshal Bernard Montgomery and of course, King George VI. Each of these historical figures played a vital role in the Allied victory and delivering speeches that inspired the nation and boosted morale in the trenches and on the battlefield. Below we take a look at the part they played, as well as those monumental speeches.
For Winston Churchill, D-Day 6th June 1944 was the culmination of four years of struggle, hardship and frustration. Shortly after the evacuation of Dunkirk in 1940, Churchill had started planning for the invasion of Europe. At the time it was no more than a dream, with Britain expecting an imminent invasion by Germany. With the entry of the USA into the war, Stalin urging the opening of a second front and Britain’s growing military power and confidence, the dream became a reality. Churchill had rallied his stricken country. Now he was about to lead them to victory.
“We shall go on to the end, we shall fight in France, we shall fight on the seas and oceans, we shall fight with growing confidence and growing strength in the air, we shall defend our Island, whatever the cost may be, we shall fight on the beaches, we shall fight on the landing grounds, we shall fight in the fields and in the streets, we shall fight in the hills; we shall never surrender, and even if, which I do not for a moment believe, this Island or a large part of it were subjugated and starving, then our Empire beyond the seas, armed and guarded by the British Fleet, would carry on the struggle, until, in God’s good time, the New World, with all its power and might, steps forth to the rescue and the liberation of the old”.
Winston Churchill – 4th June 1944
Field Marshal BERNARD MONTGOMERY
By D-Day, Field Marshall Montgomery had proved to be a great and inspirational leader, one of the finest and most experienced battlefield generals of World War II. In 1942 he was made commander of the 8th Army and led them to victory in North Africa and on into the invasion of Italy. For D-Day, and the subsequent battle for Normandy, Montgomery was made commander of all Allied ground forces. Despite setbacks, he once again showed his outstanding qualities of leadership. On 4th May 1945 Montgomery accepted the German surrender at Luneburg Heath. He later served as NATO’s Deputy Supreme Allied Commander until 1958.
“On the eve of this great adventure I send my best wishes to every soldier in the Allied team. To us is given the honour of striking a blow for freedom which will live in history; and in the better days that lie ahead men will speak with pride of our doings. We have a great and a righteous cause. Let us pray that “The Lord Mighty in Battle“ will go forth with our armies, and that his special providence will aid us in the struggle. I want every soldier to know that I have complete confidence in the successful outcome of the operations that we are now about to begin. With stout hearts, and with enthusiasm for the contest, let us go forward to victory“.
General Bernard Montgomery – 5th June 1944
KING GEORGE VI
On 6th June 1944 George had been King just eight years, ascending the throne in December 1936. For almost five of those years his country had been at war. Despite coming unexpectedly to the throne and his pronounced speech impediment, he had proved a popular and inspirational leader. He remained in Britain to face the horrors of the blitz and the hardships of war with his people, a calming and steadfast figure through the years of peril. On the evening of D-Day, George VI spoke to the people of Britain and the Empire and Commonwealth of the need to pray, not now for survival, but for victory.
“At this historic moment surely not one of us is too busy, too young, or too old to play a part in a nationwide, a worldwide vigil of prayer as the great Crusade sets forth. If from every place of worship, from home and factory, from men and women of all ages and many races and occupations, our intercessions rise, then, please God, both now and in the future not remote, the predictions of an ancient song may be fulfilled: “The Lord will give strength unto His people, the Lord will give His people the blessing of peace”.
King George VI – 6th June 1944
To mark the 75th anniversary we are proud to announce we have issued a strictly limited Brilliant Uncirculated £2 Coin Set – click here to see more information on the D-Day 75th Anniversary Leaders Three Coin Set >>
Each year, The Royal Mint marks important British anniversaries, events or accomplishments on our coins and today we are delighted to reveal the UK’s new coin designs for 2019.
Scroll down for a first look at all five of the brand new designs…
The 200th Anniversary of the Birth of Queen Victoria £5
After ascending to the throne in 1838 Queen Victoria’s reign became the longest reign of a British monarch at the time. She oversaw a time of great change and expansion of the British Empire. This £5 coin has been issued to celebrate the 200th Anniversary of her birth and depicts some of the momentous changes in the British Empire witnessed under her rule, including advances in the industrial revolution due to the power of steam and the invention of the telephone and penny-farthing bicycle.
The 75th Anniversary of the D-Day Landings £2
On 6th June 1944 the largest seaborne invasion in history took place. The operation began the liberation of German occupied France during World War II, and D-Day, as it came to be known, laid the foundations of the Allied victory on the Western Front. This £2 coin has been issued to commemorate the 75th Anniversary of the Normandy Landings and its success which paved the way for the surrender of Nazi Germany. The coin features the 5 beaches codenamed Utah, Omaha, Gold, Juno and Sword, where the invasion took place.
The 350th Anniversary of Samuel Pepys’ Last Diary Entry £2
Samuel Pepys is recognised as the most famous diarist who ever lived, providing valuable first-hand accounts of life in 17th century London and the English Restoration period. His private diary, which he kept from 1660-1669, also provides important eyewitness accounts of landmark events in British history, including the Great Plague of London and the Great Fire of London. This £2 coin has been issued to mark 350 years since Pepys’ last diary entry and features one of his famous diary excerpts written in shorthand.
The 260th Anniversary of the Formation of Wedgwood £2
After Josiah Wedgwood founded the company in 1759, Wedgwood quickly became a pioneer for British pottery, taking it from a craft to an international industry. Largely taking inspiration from ancient cultures and mythologies the company was responsible for creating the ceramic bodies Queen’s Ware (1762), Black Basalt (1768) and Jasper Ware (1774) which remain famous today. This £2 coin has been specially designed by the Wedgwood designers to celebrate 260 years since the establishment of the company.
The 160th Anniversary of the Birth of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle 50p
The prolific writer Sir Arthur Conan Doyle is best known for his incredibly popular detective stories featuring the fictional Sherlock Holmes. It is said his works revolutionised the crime genre, and despite Doyle sharing an ambivalent relationship with his famous character, Holmes appeared in 4 novels and 56 short stories, resulting in Doyle becoming one of the best-paid authors of the time. This 50p coin has been issued to mark 160 years since the renowned author’s birth, and features his iconic character Sherlock Holmes.
All of these designs are stunning and there’s no doubt that these coins will only become more desirable in the years to come.
Let us know in the comments which coin is your favourite!
If you’re interested…
You can secure the brand new 2019 coins in the Brilliant Uncirculated coin pack.
Each coin has been struck to a superior Brilliant Uncirculated finish and is ready to display in an informative presentation pack. This pack features the definitive circulating coins and 5 new commemorative coins issued for 2019.
I was lucky enough to be in Normandy for the 70th anniversary of the D-Day landings.
For years veterans have travelled to Normandy on the 6th June to remember their comrades who never made it back from the beaches.
However for many of the veterans in attendance, it would be their last visit, as this year’s commemorations are the last to be officially marked by the Normandy Veterans Association which is disbanding in November.
I had previously visited the area ten years earlier for the 60th anniversary of the D-Day landings, when my family and I had taken my grandfather over to collect his 60th anniversary medal.
This time around, everything was on a much larger scale, there were events all along the Normandy coast and politicians and dignitaries from all over the world would be in attendance. With so many events and ceremonies taking place it was impossible to attend them all. Our first stop was Colleville-Montgomery, where a ceremony was to take place at Monty’s statue.
At 11am the veterans marched in with standards held high, the response they got from the crowd and townspeople was amazing.
After taking their seats, the Mayor of Colleville-Montgomery addressed the crowd and relayed his thanks to the veterans.
Next were speeches by George Batts and David Baines of the Normandy Veterans Association.
The following day we headed for Arromanches, site of Gold Beach, where British troops arrived on D-Day. When we arrived the town was packed, it seemed like the whole of Normandy had come out to show their gratitude to the veterans!
After a late lunch we made our way down to the square in front of the D-Day museum for another ceremony.
Unless you had a pass it really was standing room only, luckily my pass had arrived from the Ministry of Defence just a few days earlier and I headed for the seating area in the middle of the square.
Before the ceremony started, the crowds were entertained by flypasts by the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight. The planes looked spectacular with their distinctive D-Day markings.
Around 5pm, the Brass band started and the veterans marched once more into the square.
This was followed by a speeches by the Mayor of Arromanches and the Duke of Cambridge. Although it was a memorial service, the mood was upbeat and included sing-alongs like “We’ll meet again” and “Auld Lang Syne”.
We will remember them
As the ceremony came to a close, it dawned on me how lucky I was to be there for this historic event and to be able to show my appreciation to these brave men. And although the NVA will not be in attendance in the future, the people of Normandy, the family of veterans will continue to honour the memory of these men in the years to come.
To mark the 70th anniversary we are proud to announce we have worked with the Normandy Veterans Association to produce an exclusive brand new limited edition set of commemorative covers personally signed by 12 Normandy veterans.
NOW SOLD OUT