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Veterans inspect new Battle of Britain coin

Published 18/08/2015

Squadron Leader Tony Pickering inspects The Royal Mint's Battle of Britain 50p commemorative coin, with a Mark I Spitfire in the background
Squadron Leader Tony Pickering inspects The Royal Mint's Battle of Britain 50p commemorative coin, with a Mark I Spitfire in the background
The Royal Mint's Battle of Britain 50p commemorative coin, with a Mark I Spitfire at Humberside Airport

Battle of Britain pilots have inspected a new coin which will stand as a tribute to their bravery in the Second World War.

To mark the 75th anniversary of the Battle of Britain, The Royal Mint is releasing a new 50p coin showing a trio of airmen scrambling for their planes as a squadron of threatening aircraft appear to swarm overhead.

At a gathering of veteran pilots and planes at Humberside Airport, Battle of Britain veteran Squadron Leader Tony Pickering said: "I think it's a wonderful coin - it's something that I would be proud to pass on to my grandson. It captures the scene very well".

He was among nearly 3,000 brave and skilful young pilots and their crews - known as The Few - who helped fight off the threat of invasion in a battle for control of the skies in July 1940.

More than 500 people - one in six of those who fought - were killed, but Britain held strong. By October it was clear that Hitler's plans had been thwarted and the Battle of Britain had been won.

Designer Gary Breeze said: "In some ways the Battle of Britain appeals to our innate joy at winning against tremendous odds. I wanted to celebrate that in one sense. But I think that remembering the cost of war is more relevant today. I spent a good deal of time concentrating on the machines at first, but the aircraft didn't say enough about the sacrifice of life or the meaning of the Battle today.

"I've always recalled my grandfather talking of the skies being dark because there were so many bombers. I believe he was in fact talking about our own planes flying out, but I wanted to illustrate that threat and sense of danger. I would like people to be reminded of the selfless sacrifice of The Few. The airmen run away from us. They don't walk slowly to their fate, and we may never see them again."

Striking of the new coin will "soon commence," according to The Royal Mint.

Commemorative editions of the coin are available from www.royalmint.com in limited editions and various finishes.

Shane Bissett of The Royal Mint said: "This year marks the anniversary of one of the most important victories of the Second World War and we wanted to mark this momentous occasion, and the valiant efforts of those who fought in the conflict."

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