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2005 Sterling Silver 50¢ 6 Coin WWII Set

The Canadian quest for peace and freedom
during the Second World War

Canada faced a mammoth task when it entered the Second World War in September 1939. As a modest nation of 11 million people, Canada's military resources were dwarfed by the capabilities of its larger allies. Still, it rose to the challenge and prepared to go to war on the ground, in the air and at sea.

During those six perilous years between 1939 and 1945, more than one million Canadians joined the fight for freedom. Over 41,000 made the ultimate sacrifice. more than 75,000 were wounded, while thousands more remained scarred for life. But their struggles were not in vain every battle they waged, over inch of ground they gained, was an important step forward that ultimately led to victory for the Allies.


Battle of Britain

Standing with Britain during "its finest hour"
Battle of Britain (July - October 1940)

When France surrendered to Germany in July 1940, Britain knew it was only a matter of time before the Germans would be upon its shores.

The Empire had every reason to be nervous about this prospect. Although fortunately the Royal Air Force was strong, Britain was painfully under-equipped on the ground. Much of its equipment was left behind in the rush to evacuate Dunkirk. As a result, the 1st Canadian Division became an important part of British home defence forces.

On August 26, 1940. No 1 Fighter Squadron, Royal Canadian Air Force, became the first RCAF unit to engage enemy planes in battle when it met a formation of German bombers over southern England. The Canadians inflicted serious damage with minimal losses. Four days later, No 242 Fighter Squadron flew with the Royal Air Force. Taking full advantage of attacking from above, these nine planes managed to claim 12 of I00 enemy aircraft before escaping unscathed.

After an unprecedented nine months of bombing, the island still refused to give up the fight. In contrast, the Lufteawaffe was exhausted and Hitler was forced to abandon his invasion.

For the Allies, this was a significant victory. It was the first time air power had saved a nation, an accomplishment that breathed newfound energy into the development of the Royal Canadian Air Force.


Liberation of the Netherlands Beginning the final advance into Europe
Liberation of the Netherlands
(September 1944 - May 1945)

In early February. the 1st Canadian Army left Nijmegen to take over the Rhineland. For the first time since the war began, the fighting took place within Germany's borders and the fighting was particularly fierce. The Allies prevailed and by March they had control of the Rhine's left bank. Then, on March 23rd, after a day of intense fighting. they crossed the Rhine itself.

The liberation of the Netherlands was a critical final stage in solidifying the Allies' advance into Europe, a task that was assigned to the 1st Canadian Army. For the first time in history. two Canadian Army corps were going to fight side by side.

The 2nd Canadian Corps was responsible for clearing the northeastern Netherlands and the German coast. The 2nd Division would march north to Groningen while the 3rd Division and 4th Canadian Armoured divisions would liberate Leeuwarden and Almelo respectively.

At the same time, the 1st Canadian Corps was moving to liberate the western Netherlands and to open a supply route through Arnhem. By April 14th, the 1st Canadian Infantry Division and the 5th Canadian Armoured Division had cleared Anherm and were moving on Apeldoorn. The liberation of the western Netherlands at such a critical time forged a special relationship between Holland and Canada that still endures to this day.


Conquest of Sicily Gaining control of the Mediterranean
Conquest of Sicily (July - August 1943)

On July 10, 1943, more than 26,000 soldiers from the 1st Canadian Infantry Division and the 1st Canadian Armoured Brigade landed with the 7th US Army and the 8th British Army on the southern tip of Sicily. In the air was the Royal Air Force 244 Wing, including No 417 Fighter Squadron from the Royal Canadian Air Force. These Canadian pilots and their Spitfires were involved in all phases of the invasion.

Sicily fell to the Allies on August 17, 1943. In just 38 days, the troops had advanced over 200 km (125 mi) . The invasion succeeded through sheer determination. helped to a large extent by the courageous and daring efforts of the Canadians.


Battle of Scheldt Opening the Allied supply line into Europe
Battle of the Scheldt (October - November 1944)

Supplies are the lifeblood of any army and by the end of 1944, the Allies knew that a sustainable supply route was essential if their advance through Europe was to succeed. By early September, the Allies began liberating the seaports that had fallen to German hands. When the British Army seized Antwerp, they knew they had on a solution to their supply problems, but the critical port stood 70 km (50 mi) inland and the river that led to it was still controlled by the Germans. They were solidly dug in on both banks of the Scheldt and had full command of the three islands that provided a natural fortification where the river opened to the sea.

On October 6th the 1st Canadian Army waited as aerial bombings destroyed the dykes and flooded the area. Then, in the cold and wet misery of autumn, the troops began their ground assault. The Canadians suffered almost 6,300 casualties but after a month of gruelling battle, they cleared the waterway that would open up Antwerp to shipping and support the final advance into Germany.


Raid on Dieppe To capture a bridgehead
Raid On Dieppe (August 1942)

As the Allies pondered the full-scale invasion of Western Europe an important question emerged - would it he possible to capture a fortified seaport without completely destroying it so that the Allies could continue to use it as a bridgehead? Despite all the knowledge they had gained thus far, the officials knew they could not answer this question without launching an actual invasion.

The seaport of Dieppe was chosen as the most favourable test site. Troops would land at the first light of dawn. To maximize the surprise, there would be no aerial bombing the night before. The operation would he a raid in its purest sense, the troops would destroy the German installations and leave immediately before the tide rose.

There were 5,000 Canadians among the 6,000 troops. Two battalions would attack Dieppe from each side, followed by a main attack from the front. As the landing craft approached, they encountered a small German convoy and the battle that followed alerted the coastal defences. In addition, tanks were put ashore late and the infantry was left exposed during the first critical minutes of the attack. Having been spared the nighttime bombing, the German defences were able to respond with full force. Evacuation was impossible. The losses were staggering. Less than half of the Canadians returned to England, the greatest loss of any western Allied formation in a single day of fighting during the entire war.

While there were same pockets of success, Dieppe was an undoubted catastrophe. Claims made that the invasion of Normandy two years later would not have succeeded had the Allies not benefited from the lessons learned at Dieppe have been largely discounted by historians.


Battle of the Atlantic Supporting Europe's war effort
Battle of the Atlantic (September 1939 - May 1945)

As war raged in Europe, North America became an important source of supplies and Canada was destined to play a major role in meeting Europe's needs. In August 1939, the Royal Canadian Navy took control of all Canadian merchant ships and a month later, Canada's first convoy sailed from Halifix, Nova Scotia.

Shipping was still relatively safe as most German U-boats were concentrated in the British Isles, but when a submarine sank a Montreal-bound passenger ship on September 3. 1939, Canada knew war at sea was imminent.

Canada was ill prepared for such an offensive. Shortcomings in its long-range air support and anti-submarine warfare allowed the U-boats to claim a growing number of ships. In June 1941 alone, over 500,000 tons of shipping was lost.

As the navy raced to improve its anti-submarine capabilities. the Royal Canadian Air Force strengthened its air surveillance. By 1943, the Allies knew they had gained the upper hand when they destroyed or seriously damaged 110 U-boats over a period of just four months.

Despite the apparent victory of 1943, U-boats still posed a potential threat and Canada continued to perform Its duties with great diligence until the end of the war.


2005 Sterling Silver 6 coin Specimen quality 50¢ WWII set 2005 Sterling Silver 6 coin Specimen quality 50¢ WWII set
In a leatherette presentation case
Only 20,000 sets minted

$199.95 CDN

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