As the centenary of the outbreak of the First World War approaches, The Royal Mint begins a five-year programme of commemoration with an official £2 coin that recalls the now famous ‘Your country needs you’ image of Lord Kitchener. Though many posters encouraged the men of Britain to enlist, the image of Kitchener himself has come to stand for Kitchener’s call for men to fight for King and country, a campaign that saw men respond in their thousands.
It is to this instantly recognisable image that the experienced artist John Bergdahl turned to create his stirring reverse design. The Outbreak 2014 UK £2 Silver Proof Coin is presented in a Royal Mint display case with a Certificate of Authenticity and a fascinating booklet that explores the story behind the design and the country at the outbreak of war. Whether you wish to honour someone in your family who played their part, or pay your respects as the nation remembers, you will want to secure one of these £2 coins – produced by The Royal Mint, as were the medals presented to those who fought so long ago.
Your coin’s edge inscription reads, ‘The lamps are going out all over Europe,’ recalling the words of Foreign Secretary Sir Edward Grey on the eve of war. Although no veteran who lived through the First World War is here today to receive the thanks of a grateful nation, a full century Britain remembers and marks this important anniversary.
This evocative commemorative coin was designed by John Bergdahl, creator of the coins struck to celebrate the christening of His Royal Highness Prince George of Cambridge. For the designer, Kitchener’s image perfectly reflected the sense of optimism that was shared in those first days of war, an optimism that today can also be viewed with sadness. It is a moving reminder of those young men who answered Kitchener’s call to arms.