Royal Canadian Mint coin shows soldier from D-Day
- Published: Jan 28, 2019, 5 AM
A soldier shown on a new silver dollar from Canada is now identified.
The Royal Canadian Mint announced Jan. 22 that Pvt. George Herman Baker, a member of No. 3 Platoon, A Company, of the North Shore Regiment, appears on the Proof 2019 silver dollar.
Pvt. Baker landed with his comrades at Juno Beach, between Courseulles and St-Aubin-sur-Mer, France, on June 6, 1944, the scene depicted on the coin.
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The RCM worked with local historians and officers of the North Shore Regiment, headquartered in Bathurst, New Brunswick, to discover the identity of the soldier in the scene on the Proof 2019 silver dollar marking the 75th anniversary of D-Day.
Pvt. Baker survived World War II and returned home to Liverpool, Nova Scotia, where he raised a family in peace time. He is survived by his daughter Karen McLeod, to whom the Mint presented an example of the coin in honor of her late father.
“Like so many other brave Canadians on D-Day, Private Baker risked everything to help restore an Allied foothold on the Western Front and eventually win the Second World War for Canada and its allies,” the RCM said in a press release.
Pvt. Baker’s image was adapted from several frames of archival film footage loaned to the Mint by the Juno Beach Centre in Normandy France. The 75-year-old film provides a rare and unique perspective of the North Shore Regiment landing at the Nan Red sector of Juno Beach.
In consulting a number of experts to ensure the accuracy of its coin design, the Mint learned of Pvt. Baker’s identity, thanks to the assistance of Brandon Savage, historian and teacher at Miramichi Valley High School; Dr. Marc Milner, military historian at the University of New Brunswick; historian Bruce Morton of Barrie, Ontario; and North Shore Regiment commanding officer, Lt. Col. Renald Dufour.
Baker was born in Nova Scotia on Aug. 31, 1923, and died in South Brookfield, Nova Scotia, on July 23, 2003. He was only 20 years old when he participated in making history at Juno Beach.
“The North Shore men fought valiantly securing their landing objectives at the end of D-Day but suffered heavy losses which totaled 120 casualties, of which 33 were fatal,” said Lt. Col. Dufour. “The D-Day landing was one of the most significant events in Canadian military history and our regiment was at the centre of it, with three other assaulting units.”
Savage said: “Helping to solve a 75-year-old mystery has been an exciting and humbling experience. As the grandson of a soldier of the North Shore Regiment who braved that fateful day, I am truly honoured that the Mint decided to pay homage not only to the regiment, but to the families who lost loved ones and those who supported the ones who came home.”
Designed by Simcoe-area artist Tony Bianco, the 2019 silver dollar depicts Canadians swarming ashore under enemy fire.
According to the RCM, “It is a poignant testament to the brave soldiers who risked all to help Canada and its allies win the Second World War. Multiple engravings of the letter ‘V’ for victory in Morse Code further illustrate the magnitude of an incredible moment in the life of Private George Baker and of all those who fought alongside him at Juno Beach.”
The .9999 fine silver dollar weighs 23.17 grams, measures 36.07 millimeters in diameter and has a mintage limit of 20,000 pieces.
The coin retails for $59.95 Canadian and is available from the RCM website.
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