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From Outbreak to Armistice, the Royal Mint Continues to Commemorate First World War


As the world continues to remember the centenary of the outbreak of the First World War, The Royal Mint has honoured one of the most prominent female casualties of the First World War alongside a young flying ace in a new set of United Kingdom £5 coins.

Coins commemorating Edith Cavell and Albert Ball VC feature in the six-coin set which has been released as part of The Royal Mint’s five-year programme of commemoration of the First World War that will tell the story of the emotive journey from outbreak to armistice.

The designs have been created by sculptor David Cornell who has undertaken a number of commissions for The Royal Mint, including a coin honouring British Army officer Walter Tull, which featured in the introductory First World War six-coin set which was released in 2014.

David is one of five leading artists who have been selected by The Royal Mint Advisory Committee to design coins for The Royal Mint’s First World War commemorative collection.

Each year until 2018, a set of six coins will be released that cover a range of themes; key battles, the armed forces and support services, technological developments of the period, the cultural impact of war and stories of some of the heroes of the time. The final set will be a poignant reflection on armistice and the on-going legacy of the war.

Edith Cavell

The coin depicts a scene with the ever-vigilant Edith tending to a wounded soldier with a portrait-style design of the selfless nurse in her uniform as the background. Inspired by the words of Laurence Binyon’s moving poem, “Edith Cavell”, the coin’s inscription reads ‘SHE FACED THEM GENTLE AND BOLD’.

Albert Ball VC

ukballvcAlbert Ball has been depicted in a portrait-style design, in uniform, with his beloved flying machines around him. The coin’s inscription reads ‘BY FAR THE BEST ENGLISH FLYING MAN’ a quotation from his most renowned enemy, Manfred von Richthofen, known as the Red Baron, upon hearing of Ball’s death.

Animals at War

David Lawrence has created a striking design that places a mule at the centre of the composition depicting the heat of battle. The coin’s inscription, ‘PATIENT EYES COURAGEOUS HEARTS,’ is taken from Julian Grenfell’s poem “Into Battle”, inspired by nature and its comforting qualities during conflict.

David Lawrence also designed the coin exploring ‘propaganda’ during the war which featured in the introductory First World War Six-Coin Set released in 2014.


This design, created by Edwina Ellis, is dominated by the submarine with a perspective view that emphasizes the sinister, underwater threat of the vessels. The inscription ‘IN LITTLE BOXES MADE OF TIN’ is taken from Rudyard Kipling’s poem “The Trade”, one of his many maritime-themed poems. Edwina also designed the coin depicting a Howitzer which featured in the initial six-coin set.

Merchant Navy

David Rowlands designed this coin with its lone sailor poised upon the deck of a merchant vessel. The inscription ‘SEPULCHRED IN THE HARBOUR OF THE DEEP’ is taken from the poem “HMS Bulwark Britannia to Her Lost Seamen” by William Trend.

This is David’s fourth coin for The Royal Mint; two of his reverse designs were selected for the 2014 six-coin set and he created the Royal Navy commemorative £2 coin for 2015.


gallipoliThis design for Gallipoli was created by John Bergdahl, who has placed a strategic map as his background, with a scene in the forefront that depicts boats landing at the shores of the peninsula. The coin’s inscription, ‘HEROES THAT SHED THEIR BLOOD’, is taken from the Kemal Ataturk Memorial. Named after the commander who led the Turkish 19th Infantry Division when it repelled the Allied attack, the memorial honours those who fought gallantly in Gallipoli. John also designed the coin honouring the British Expeditionary Force which featured in the previous six-coin set.

Shane Bissett, The Royal Mint’s Director of Commemorative Coin and Medals said:

For over 1,000 years The Royal Mint has been producing coins that have recorded the passing of history, documenting changes in monarchs, customs and national events. We have a long association with military honours, having made medals for military campaigns since 1815 including those for the Great War, and believe that heroes should be acknowledged for their bravery. Edith Cavell and Albert Ball are just two of the worthy individuals who we will honour on £5 coins over the next couple of years, following the issue of the first six coin set that told the story of the outbreak of war.”

The six-coin sets are presented with detailed information on the theme, the design and the artist, helping to tell the story behind the coins. They are struck to Royal Mint Proof standard and available in a choice of 925 sterling silver, limited to 1,915 sets (priced at £450 per set), or 22-carat gold crowns strictly limited to just 25 sets (priced at £9,999 per set).

The Royal Mint
The Royal Minthttps://www.royalmint.com/
The Royal Mint has an unbroken history of minting British coinage dating back over 1,100 years. Based in the Tower of London for over 500 years, by 1812 the Mint had moved out of the Tower to premises on Tower Hill in London. In 1967, the building of a new Royal Mint began on its current site in South Wales, UK, to accommodate the minting of UK decimal coinage. Today, the Mint is the world’s largest export mint, supplying coins to the UK and overseas countries.

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