2018 $20 FINE SILVER COIN – SECOND WORLD WAR BATTLEFRONT SERIES – THE BATTLE OF THE ATLANTIC
Throughout the Battle of the Atlantic (1939-1945), Canada and its rapidly expanding fleet of aircraft and ships were on the frontlines, shepherding vital convoys through waters fraught with danger from above and below. After periods of devastating losses, an Allied offensive in May 1943 dealt a significant blow to the U-boat fleet in the North Atlantic; on the 75th anniversary of this pivotal year, the fifth coin in our Battlefront Series reflects on the hardships endured by thousands of Canadians who served in the longest continuous campaign of the Second World War.
Item Number: 147821
Composition: 99.99% pure silver
Weight: 31.39 g
Diameter: 38 mm
Face Value: $20
Artist: Neil Hamelin
Packaging; Maroon clamshell with a graphic beauty box
- A key chapter in the story of Canada in the Second World War: This coin reflects on the 75th anniversary of a pivotal year, 1943, which marked a turning point in the deadly struggle to maintain transatlantic shipping during the Second World War.
- Thought provoking by design: This tribute piece highlights Canada’s prominent role in the Battle of the Atlantic, but also reminds us of the courage of all who braved untold dangers onboard Canadian ships and aircraft in the Atlantic between 1939 and 1945.
- A split perspective: This fifth coin in the Second World War: Battlefront series continues with a first-person perspective that places the viewer at the heart of the action—this time, with a view above water and a glimpse of the danger that lurks below.
- Like all Canadian coinage issued throughout the Second World War, the obverse features the effigy of King George VI by T. H. Paget.
The reverse design by Canadian artist Neil Hamelin captures the intensity of the Battle of the Atlantic and conveys a real sense of the dangers faced by those who sailed the seas between 1939 and 1945.
Split between an above-water and an underwater perspective, the ominous scene re-creates the moments before the tragic sinking of HMCS St. Croix on September 20, 1943. In the skies overhead, an angled B-24 Liberator is representative of the Very Long Range (VLR) anti-submarine aircraft that provided air support and helped turn the tide of war in the mid-Atlantic. Bearing the markings of Royal Canadian Air Force Squadron 10, the aircraft patrols the waters south of Greenland and Iceland, where it has signalled the presence of a U-boat to the St. Croix.
From beneath the rolling waves, U-305 surfaces to periscope depth and spies the St. Croix sailing towards them bow, a trail of smoke emitted by the aft exhaust stacks. The Royal Canadian Navy destroyer has pulled away from escorting the ONS-18/ON-202 convoy to investigate the potential threat; but the U-305 would waste little time in firing GNAT torpedoes that would strike the St. Croix’s aft, and another later on that would cause the ship to sink in just three minutes. Sadly, from a complement of 143 crewmembers and 10 officers, 81 survivors of St. Croix were rescued by HMC Itchen, which was herself sunk by a U-boat just three days later.
The reverse includes the engraved words “THE BATTLE OF THE ATLANTIC – LA BATAILLE DE L’ATLANTIQUE”, the commemorative dates “1939 – 1945”, the word “CANADA” and the year of issue, “2018”. The obverse features the effigy of King George VI by T. H. Paget.