As we mark the 100th anniversary of the midpoint of World War I this year, The Royal Mint has honoured ‘the Boy Hero of Jutland’, alongside a battle that has become one of the most defining images of the First World War in a new United Kingdom £5 six-coin set.
Coins commemorating Jack Cornwell VC and the Battle of the Somme feature in the latest six-coin set which has been released as part of The Royal Mint’s five-year programme of commemoration of World War I that will tell the story of the emotive journey from outbreak to armistice.
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.
Anne Jessopp, The Royal Mint’s Director of Commemorative Coin said: “The Royal Mint has marked occasions of national importance for over 1,000 years. We have a long association with the military, having made medals for military campaigns since 1815, so are honoured this year to tell the story of Jack Cornwell and the Battle of Jutland, as well as reflecting on the centenary of the Battle of the Somme with the coins in this collection.”
Jack Cornwell VC
John Cornwell, commonly known as Jack Cornwell or simply Boy Jack, has been depicted in a portrait-style design, but at his post, the last surviving gunner aboard the stricken HMS Chester. The coin’s edge lettering reads ‘MOTHER, DON’T WATCH FOR POSTIE’ a quotation from “The Ballad of Jack Cornwell” by Charles Causley.
This design was created by sculptor David Cornell who has undertaken a number of commissions for The Royal Mint, including a coin honouring the flying ace, Albert Ball, which was included in the second First World War six-coin set in 2015.
The coin depicts the debut of a new piece of military hardware – the tank – with infantrymen advancing behind it. The coin’s edge lettering, ‘DEAD MEN CAN ADVANCE NO FURTHER’, is a quotation taken from Major-General Sir Beauvoir de Lisle, Commander of the British 29th Division.
This design was created by John Bergdahl who has undertaken many commissions for The Royal Mint, including the coin honouring the British Expeditionary Force, which featured in the introductory First World War Six-Coin Set released in 2014.
David Rowlands’ design depicts a group of soldiers in a state of readiness, holed up in their trench. The edge lettering ‘MEN WHO MARCH AWAY’ is taken from the poem of the same name by Thomas Hardy.
This is David’s fifth coin for The Royal Mint; two of his reverse designs were selected for First World War Six-Coin Set released in 2014, and for the 2015 set he designed the coin honouring the Merchant Navy.
Poetry and Language
David Lawrence has embodied poetry, a broad and intangible concept, with a simple and familiar image: a line of marching men. The coin’s edge lettering, ‘THE TRUTH UNTOLD, THE PITY OF WAR’, is taken from Wilfred Owen’s poem ‘Strange Meeting’, one of his most famous works.
This is David Lawrence’s third coin design to feature as part of The Royal Mint’s First World War Six-Coins Sets, his others being designs exploring propaganda and the role that animals played during the conflict.
This design, created by Edwina Ellis, is testament to the technology and firepower of the Dreadnought. The edge lettering ‘WATCH DOGS OF THE NATION’ is taken from Augustus H Cook’s poem, “For England’s Sons in Danger”.
Edwina also designed a coin depicting a Howitzer, which featured in the introductory First World War Six-Coin Set released in 2014 and another for the submarine in 2015.
The Battle of Jutland
John Bergdahl designed this coin to depict the full fury of the Battle of Jutland, the only major naval confrontation of the First World War. The coin’s edge lettering, ‘OUR CHILDREN SHALL MEASURE THEIR WORTH’, is taken from Rudyard Kipling’s poem, ‘The Verdicts’.
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. Developed in association with Imperial War Museums, this Royal Mint Proof standard six-coin set is available in 22 carat gold strictly limited to just 25 sets (priced at £10,500 per set) and as a 925 sterling silver edition limited to 1916 sets (priced at £450 per set).
World War I Commemorative Coins Currently Available on eBay