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The Battle of Passchendaele - 1 oz. Pure Silver Selectively Gold-Plated Coin: First World War Battlefront Series (2017)

The Battle of Passchendaele - 1 oz. Pure Silver Selectively Gold-Plated Coin: First World War Battlefront Series (2017)

Archived
$112.95 CAD
Mintage: 10,000
STATUS:
Canada and US only
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A poignant tribute to the fallen—and to all who endured. Order today.

I died in hell—
(They called it Passchendaele). My wound was slight,
And I was hobbling back; and then a shell
Burst slick upon the duck-boards: so I fell
Into the bottomless mud, and lost the light.
-Siegfried Sassoon

Passchendaele or the Third Battle of Ypres: a battle that is synonymous with mud-soaked valour, and some of the most nightmarish fighting conditions of the First World War. Just a few months after Vimy, the four divisions of the Canadian Corps were sent north in October 1917 to take part in the defining campaign of the Third Battle of Ypres. Near the Belgian town of Passchendaele, Canada's soldiers would fight for higher ground once more—this time, across a shattered landscape of mud and rain-filled craters that claimed machine, beast and man.

A beautiful and poignant addition to your coin display. Order today.

Special features:
  • SIXTH COIN IN SERIES: The multi-year First World War Battlefront series continues its exploration of Canada's participation in the First World War with a poignant design that reminds us of the tragic cost of the war.
  • BEYOND THE BATTLEFIELD: More than just a history lesson, your coin is a powerful tribute to Canadians who took part in the Passchendaele offensive of 1917.
  • THE WEIGHT OF THE WAR: Engraved in incredible detail, the devastated landscape is a chilling reminder of the harsh realities at Passchendaele—especially viewed from the reverse's first-person perspective.
  • A DEDICATION TO THE FALLEN, AND TO THOSE WHO ENDURED: The reflections in the water are a particularly stirring sight, since the spirits of fallen colleagues joins the four soldiers in their advance.
  • ART MEETS HISTORY: A standout collector piece thanks to world-class craftsmanship, outstanding artistry, and a high degree of historical accuracy that extends to the effigy of King George V on the coin's obverse—much as it appeared on Canadian coins issued during the war.
  • ONE OUNCE OF 99.99% PURE SILVER WITH A TOUCH OF GOLD: Selective gold plating puts special emphasis on the winged figure of "Victory," as depicted on the Victory Medal awarded to members of the Allied forces after the First World War. Your coin has no GST/HST!

Design:

Designed by Canadian artist Pandora Young, your coin features a powerfully evocative scene that captures the spirit of Canada's participation in the Battle of Passchendaele. A first-person perspective immerses you in the action for a closer connection to this important chapter in our past. The setting is a chilling one: highly detailed engraving re-creates the devastated landscape in the background, where months of heavy artillery fire and relentless rains have transformed the once-fertile terrain into a quagmire. Four Canadian soldiers move across the muddy battlefield, their silhouettes mirrored in the rainwater at their feet. A closer look at the water reveals several more reflections that represent their fallen comrades, whose memory is carried forward by their surviving brothers in arms—and a nation.

Triumph and tragedy in the mud

Fresh off its successes at the Battle of Vimy Ridge and Hill 70, the Canadian Corps arrived at Passchendaele in mid-October 1917. Upon surveying the morass of mud and rainwater-filled craters, the Corps' Canadian commander, Lieutenant-General Sir Arthur Currie, raised strong objections to the battle. He predicted any victory here would likely come at a cost of 16,000 casualties; but British commander Sir Douglas Haig was determined to take the ridge in order to salvage the campaign—all four divisions of the Canadian Corps would fight at Passchendaele.

Canada took its place on the front lines and carefully prepared for battle. On the rain-soaked morning of October 26, 1917, a rolling barrage marked the start of the offensive. Mortars fired upon the enemy's pillboxes and machine-gun strongholds that lay beyond No Man's Land. But mud and water slowed the infantry's movements to a crawl, and they struggled to keep up with their protective cover.

The next three days were marked by counterattacks, intense hand-to-hand combat and heavy losses; still, the Canadian Corps dug in. In a second assault launched on October 30, they reached the outskirts of Passchendaele under the cover of a heavy rainstorm and held on, despite being immersed waist-deep in muddy water. On November 6, both the town and the ridge were secured; and with the final phase of the assault on November 10, Canadians captured the last remaining high ground overlooking Ypres.

During the 14 days of battle, Canada's troops had endured misery in the mud and unimaginable obstacles as they brought the Third Battle of Ypres to a close. Their reputation as effective shock troops was cemented; but Currie's predicted casualties proved to be chillingly accurate: 15,654 Canadians were killed and wounded at Passchendaele, including an estimated 1,000 lost forever to the mud of Flanders.

Did you know…
  • Born near Strathroy, Ontario, Sir Arthur Currie was the first Canadian-born corps commander, and the first Canadian to attain the rank of a full general. He remains one of this nation's most famous military figures.
  • The Battle of Passchendaele is synonymous with the Third Battle of Ypres, the Allied offensive that began with the Battle of Pilckem Ridge on July 31, 1917 and concluded with the Second Battle of Passchendaele.
  • Prior to Passchendaele, the Canadian Corps fought at the Battle of Hill 70. Launched on August 15, 1917, the Canadian assault managed to capture the strategic position overlooking the heavily fortified French city of Lens.
  • The Passchendaele battlefield was reclaimed swampland that had been kept dry by drainage systems, which were destroyed by prolonged shelling. The area also experienced unusually wet weather in 1917, with the heaviest rains recorded in 30 years.
  • A high water table and the impact of millions of artillery shells transformed the ground into a thick mud that clogged rifles, ruined food, prevented trenches from being dug and weighed down all movements. Wooden duckboards helped move personnel and equipment across the terrain, but the mud claimed many who could not be attended to or retrieved until the following spring.
  • To prepare for Canada's assault, pioneer units and engineers moved quickly to lay down new communication lines, duckboards, roads and drainage systems. But preparation was dangerous work too: the difficult terrain and the constant danger of enemy fire and bombardment resulted in 1,500 casualties before the attack was launched.
  • Horses and mules were used to transport artillery to the front lines. They often suffered the same fate as soldiers, with many vanishing in the mud.
  • Nine Canadians were awarded Victoria Crosses for their actions at Passchendaele.
  • After three months of fighting, the Allies claimed victory at a cost of over 260,000 casualties. But the few territorial gains were all lost by the following spring during the German offensives of 1918—further fuelling the belief that the Third Battle of Ypres, and Passchendaele in particular, exemplified the horrors and futility of trench warfare.

Packaging:

Your coin is encapsulated and presented in a Royal Canadian Mint-branded maroon clamshell with a graphic beauty box.

Order today!

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Specifications

  • No.147830
  • Mintage10,000
  • Composition99.99% pure silver
  • Finishproof with selective gold plating
  • Weight (g) 31.39
  • Diameter (mm) 38
  • Edgeserrated
  • Certificateserialized
  • Face value20 dollars
  • ArtistPandora Young (reverse), T. H. Paget (obverse)

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