In 1914, conscription went against the principles of Liberal Prime Minister Herbert Asquith, as well as being alien to a British Army traditionally formed of volunteers. So the call went out to enlist. General Sir Henry Rawlinson believed men were more likely to volunteer if they could serve alongside those they knew, a concept used by Lord Derby in Liverpool with astonishing success. Other towns and cities quickly followed suit in a recruitment drive fuelled by civic pride. Men were organised into Pals Battalions – friends, neighbours and workmates serving shoulder to shoulder – a decision that would wrench the heart out of so many communities on that first fateful day at the Battle of the Somme, 100 years ago.
This magnificent coin struck in 22 carat gold, finished to our enviable Proof standard, is the only official UK £2 coin commemorating the British Army. Created in association with Imperial War Museums and featuring an original design by creative agency Uniform, this moving coin is a lasting tribute to the camaraderie of those men, and the unity and pride of the communities they volunteered to defend.