The Royal Mint commemorates anniversary of the end of World War II
21 Apr 2015
The Royal Mint has issued a limited edition Alderney £5 Platinum Proof coin to commemorate 70 years since the moment in May 1945 when Second World War hostilities in Europe finally ceased, and ‘Victory in Europe’ was declared.
The six-year wartime struggle had impacted upon many. Europe had been plunged into darkness as conflict raged across the continent over land, sea and air, touching the lives of billions of people across the globe, becoming a ‘world’ war in the true sense of the word.
Finally, at 7.40pm on Monday 7 May, 1945, the Ministry of Information in London issued a short statement confirming that war in Europe was over: “In accordance with arrangements between the three great powers, tomorrow, Tuesday, will be treated as Victory in Europe Day and regarded as a holiday.”
Tens of thousands of people flooded the streets of London to celebrate in an outpouring of relief and joy, congregating in Trafalgar Square, Piccadilly Circus and filling The Mall. The following day, Tuesday 8 May, ‘Victory in Europe’ day saw the festivities continue. Street parties were organised across the country, with people sharing food in the austere spirit of the times.
Each year, VE Day is marked as a reminder of the relief felt by so many as war in Europe came to a close, and a pledge to educate the generations that follow, in the hope that a repeat of the atrocities of the Second World War will be prevented.
The coin’s reverse design was produced by one of The Royal Mint’s senior engravers, Lee R Jones, who also designed the 70th anniversary of D-Day £5 coin, which captures the courage and sacrifice made by those ‘rank and file’ troops on the ground.
Lee said “The remembrance of the Second World War isn’t just about the great historical figures, the leaders, the politicians, the generals. It’s about the sacrifice and struggle of the ordinary people. This was a war with a terrible reach, extending far beyond the frontlines and battlefields. 50 million people lost their lives, millions more were injured. Every family experienced loss or hardship and contributed to the war effort in some way.
The design for this coin drills down to street level on that welcome day when war in Europe was finally over. I hope I have given a glimpse into a personal window, to a country that was battered and bruised, but finally able to erupt in a carnival of celebration and reclaim those bombed out streets for a party to end all parties, their freedom and identity secured.”
Director of Commemorative Coin and Medals, Shane Bissett, said “The end of the Second World War in Europe was a cause for celebration that touched every corner of the nation - from the people on the streets, to the armed forces returning to their loved ones. VE Day serves as a reminder to us all that wars such as this one must never be repeated.”