Hours before the D-Day landings on the beaches of Normandy, the 1st Canadian Parachute Battalion was already dropping into position behind enemy lines. This ½ kilo coin continues our yearlong commemoration of D-Day and the Battle of Normandy with a heart-thumping, tension-filled scene. It is a grateful acknowledgement of Canada’s first airborne unit, whose courage and grit helped the Allies carry the day.
The reverse image by Pandora Young shows the 1st Canadian Parachute Battalion in action during the early hours of June 6, 1944. A first-person view captures the intensity of the moment during Operation Tonga, as one by one the paratroopers drop from the Douglas C-47 Dakota aircraft. Seen from above, the paratrooper is outfitted with a leg kit bag as he makes his descent, his static line still clipped to the cover of the backpack parachute. In the distance, open chutes float towards the cloud cover, where small breaks reveal glimpses of the Normandy landscape below. The obverse features the effigy of King George VI by T. H. Paget.