Nov 112016
 

To honour those who have died as a consequence of war, Australians are encouraged to observe one minute’s silence as the clock strikes the 11th hour on the 11th day of the 11th month – the moment the guns fells silent on the Western Front in 1918.

The observance takes place in other Allied countries, including New Zealand, Canada, South Africa and the United States. But how did the tradition originate?

Edward George Honey has been credited as the first person to suggest a period of silence in which to remember the fallen.

Born in St Kilda, Melbourne, Honey was an Australian journalist who worked in Fleet Street after World War I. In May 1919, he wrote to the London Evening News appealing for a five-minute silence to mark the first anniversary of the Armistice.

A few months later, Sir James Percy FitzPatrick suggested to the British Cabinet a complete suspension of normal activity for two minutes during which everyone could focus on reverent remembrance.

King George V responded to Sir James’ call by asking countries of the British Empire “to stand still in solemn remembrance of the dead, who died that the world might be free.”

Armistice Day was renamed Remembrance Day in 1946 to commemorate those who were killed in both World Wars. The custom of a short silence remains integral to Remembrance Day ceremonies throughout the Commonwealth, and in Australia on ANZAC Day.

Honey is recognized in Australia as the originator of the idea on a memorial plaque in central Melbourne, which records “Edward George Honey… A Melbourne journalist who, while living in London, first suggested the solemn ceremony of silence, now observed in all British countries in remembrance of those who died in war”.

Australian-War-Memorial-logoThe Australian War Memorial logo is a registered trademark of the
Australian War Memorial TM & © 2016

The emblem and logo of the Returned & Services League of Australia Limited (RSL) are owned by the RSL and may only be used with the written consent of the RSL.

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Jul 012016
 

Today marks the 100th anniversary of the Battle of the Somme. The first day of fighting on 1 July 1916 was the most costly in the history of the British army. By mid-November, when the bloody First World War battle had run its course, more than 1 million men from both sides had been killed or wounded.


The Battle of the Somme refers to a series of battles that took place between 1 July and 18 November 1916, during the First World War, in which more than 1 million men from both sides of No Man’s Land were wounded or killed. During the battles, the British and French armies fought against German troops alongside in the Somme region of northern France in an effort to break the deadlock of trench warfare and restore the fighting to fluid, mobile warfare.

Howitzer

The gun crew of an Australian Howitzer Battery, in an emplacement behind a steep bank near Lavieville in the Somme area. Image courtesy Australian War Memorial.

The first day of fighting on 1 July was the most costly day in the history of the British army with almost 60,000 casualties, a third of whom were killed. Despite enormous losses, the offensive continued on for another four and a half months. Australian troops consisting of men who had fought at Gallipoli, as well as new volunteers from home, arriving on the Somme to take part in the fighting from late July.

GeorgeV

King George V, holding telescope, observing the fighting at Pozières from captured ground. The Prince of Wales is behind the King talking to two officers. Image courtesy Australian War Memorial.

Australia’s contribution

The Australian contribution to the Somme was the capture and defence of the fighting around Pozières and Mouquet Farm between 23 July and 3 September. Like their British allies, the Australians also suffered great losses with 24,000 casualties, including 6,741 who were killed. Such heavy losses on an all-volunteer army put pressure on the recruiting system and resulted in a referendum for the government to try and introduce conscription. Narrowly defeated at the polls in October 1916, the issue polarized the Australian nation along political, sectarian and class lines. A similar strain was felt in Britain, which was forced to rely on conscription after the bloody battles of 1916.

Memorial

Troops of the 24th Battalion gathered at a memorial erected in memory of members killed at Pozières and Mouquet Farm. Image courtesy Australian War memorial.

The Battle of the Somme resulted in 430,000 British and Dominion causalities, plus 200,000 French troops. Heavy losses were also felt by the German army with 650,000 casualties resulting in a tired and dispirited force that would never fully recover.

The ANZAC Spirit 100th Anniversary Coin Series
Be Worthy Of Them – 2016 1oz Silver Proof Coin

This significant addition to The ANZAC Spirit 100th Anniversary Coin Series depicts a group of soldiers as they charge out of the trenches along the Somme Valley in France and the inscription ‘Be Worthy of Them’.

BeWorthyOfThem_Somme1916

The Perth Mint will release no more than 7,500 of these coins, each accompanied by a numbered Certificate of Authenticity.

Australian-War-Memorial-logoThe Australian War Memorial logo is a registered trademark of the
Australian War Memorial TM & © 2016

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Apr 262016
 

Of the more than 60,000 Australian men and women who lost their lives serving in the First World War, more than 46,000 died in France and Belgium. Approximately 11,000 of these have no known grave. Tens of thousands more were wounded, some more than once. For those who survived the Western Front, the sights, sounds, and smells of the battlefield would be remembered for the rest of their lives.

The 2016 1/2oz Silver Proof Three-Coin Set from The ANZAC Spirit 100th Anniversary Coin Series is dedicated to the remembrance of their courage and sacrifice.

Brothers in Arms

Brothers_in_ArmsMore than 1,000 Indigenous Australians, those of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander descent, served in the First World War. People of non-European descent were initially not permitted to enlist, and Indigenous Australians in particular were excluded. In fact, despite the fact that before the War all Australian males between the ages of 18 and 60 were required to serve in the Militia, those ‘not substantially of European origin’ were exempt.

Many men of non-European descent still managed to enlist however, and as a result it is impossible to say exactly how many Indigenous Australians served in the War. In 1917, as the number of Australian casualties increased, the government relaxed enlistment standards to enable those labelled ‘half-castes’ to join the Australian Imperial Force as long as they could provide certification proving that one of their parents was of European origin.

Those Indigenous Australians successful in their enlistment found that they were almost always accepted without prejudice, and were paid the same as other soldiers. On returning home to Australia after the War, however, they no longer enjoyed the same equality. In areas such as education, employment, and civil liberties, former Indigenous service men and women found that discrimination remained, or indeed had worsened during the War years.

Photographs from the Louis and Antoinette Thuillier collection, uncovered 95 years after the war, include images of Indigenous Australian soldiers alongside their white peers. The coin’s reverse depicts a representation of one of the original Thuillier photographs featuring a white Australian soldier alongside an unknown Indigenous Australian soldier, taken at the Thuillier’s farmhouse in Vignacourt.

Lost But Not Forgotten

Lost_But_Not_ForgottenOn 19 July 1916, Australian soldiers from the 5th Australian Division and soldiers from the 61st British Division attacked a strong German front-line position near the French village of Fromelles. It was the first major battle fought by Australian troops on the Western Front, and was intended as a feint to prevent German troops from moving south to the Somme, where the Allied offensive had begun on 1 July.

The operation failed, and the loss of Australian troops was significant. More than 5,500 Australians became casualties. Almost 2,000 of them were killed in action or died of wounds and some 400 were captured. Fromelles remains one of Australia’s greatest military disasters.

When the battle had ended, the Australians began the grim and dangerous task of recovering the wounded from no man’s land. One of those charged with the recovery effort was Sergeant Simon Fraser, a 40 year old farmer from western Victoria and a member of the 57th Battalion. Shortly after the battle Fraser wrote home, detailing the battle and its aftermath.

For three days Fraser and his fellow soldiers ventured into no man’s land between the German and Allied trenches, searching for and retrieving the wounded troops. As he dragged one man to safety he heard another calling from the trenches, “Don’t forget me cobber.” On reaching safety, Fraser went back into no man’s land to save this second soldier.

The coin’s reverse depicts a representation of Peter Corlett’s 1998 ‘Cobbers’ sculpture of Sergeant Fraser carrying a fallen comrade, which can be visited in the Australian Memorial Park in Fromelles.

Australia’s First Anzac Day

Australias_First_Anzac_DayAustralia’s first Anzac Day took place on 25 April 1916, one year after the landing of Australian and New Zealand troops on Gallipoli.

The first anniversary was marked by a variety of ceremonies and services held across Australia, a march through London, and services and a sports day in the Australian camp in Egypt. For the remaining years of the War, Anzac Day was used on the home front as an occasion for patriotic rallies and recruiting campaigns, and parades of serving members of the AIF were held in most cities.

Today, Anzac Day is a day on which we remember all Australians lost in war and on operational service. The Anzac spirit embodies the qualities of courage, mateship, and sacrifice demonstrated during the Gallipoli landing. Anzac Day is a time for reflection and, as such, many different services and memorials are held every year across the country.

The coin’s reverse depicts an image of the Roll of Honour at the heart of the Australian War Memorial building in Canberra, which records the names of over 102,000 fallen members of the Australian armed forces.

Limited Mintage & Presentation

No more than 5,000 2016 Three-Coin Sets will be released. Each set is presented in superb display packaging and is accompanied by a booklet containing information and imagery from the Great War, as well as a numbered Certificate of Authenticity.

TheANZACSpirit-100thAnniversaryCoinSeries-1_2oz-Silver-Proof-3-CoinSet-InTray

Subscription With Free Billy Tin Storage Case

Billy_Tin_thmbA limited number of 2,500 subscriptions are available for collectors who wish to guarantee availability of all five Three-Coin Sets issued between 2015 – 2018. Subscribers will receive a limited edition replica billy tin in which all 15 1/2oz silver coins can be housed.

Previous releases:

Download your Subscription Order Form.

Australian-War-Memorial-logoThe Australian War Memorial logo is a registered trademark of the
Australian War Memorial TM & © 2016

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Apr 222016
 

2016AnzacDay-coin-montage_Large

Pillars of Australian culture and society, Anzac Day and the Returned & Services League (RSL) are both 100 years-old in 2016. Marking this shared milestone, these coins from The Perth Mint were developed under license with the Australian War Memorial (AWM) and the RSL as official numismatic tributes through which the community can honour the service and sacrifice of our Defence Force personnel.

From left:

The ANZAC Spirit 100th Anniversary Coin Series
Anzac Day 100 Years 2016 1/4oz Gold Proof Coin

Australian-War-Memorial-logoThe Australian War Memorial logo is a registered trademark of the
Australian War Memorial TM & © 2016
+
RSL Centenary Coin Series
2016 1oz Silver Proof Coin

The emblem and logo of the Returned & Services League of Australia Limited (RSL) are owned by the RSL and may only be used with the written consent of the RSL.
+
Anzac $1 Coin Series
2016 Aluminium Bronze Coin in Card

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Apr 082016
 

The Siege of Tobruk commenced 75 years ago.

A small town on the Libyan coast, Tobruk was central to much of the fighting that took place in the Western Desert during World War II. A key naval outpost due to its location on a sheltered, deep water harbour, Tobruk was vital for the Allies’ defence of Egypt and the Suez Canal.

More than 14,000 men from the Australian 9th Division and the 18th Brigade of the Australian 7th Division, commanded by Lieutenant General Leslie Morshead, together with 12,000 British and Indian troops, held Tobruk until September 1941. Their objective was to prevent German forces from accessing the port, delaying their advance by forcing them to bring their supplies overland, and therefore buying the Allies more time to prepare a defence on the Egyptian frontier.

Rats-of-Tobruk_blog-image

Struck from 1oz of 99.9% pure silver in proof quality, this commemorative Australian coin portrays two Australian troops in the trenches during the Siege of Tobruk. No more than 5,000 75th Anniversary of WWII – The Rats of Tobruk coins will be issued.

Surrounded by German and Italian forces, the men of the Tobruk garrison withstood tank attacks, artillery barrages, and daily bombings for eight long months. At no point did they surrender or retreat. Their determination, bravery, and humour, combined with the aggressive tactics of their commanders, became a source of inspiration during some of the war’s darkest days.

As the siege ground on, Nazi propagandist Lord Haw Haw (William Joyce) broadcasting from Berlin, said the Allies were caught like “rats in a trap”. The derisive term was embraced by the Australian troops who took great pride in calling themselves the ‘Rats of Tobruk’.

In September and October, the 9th Australian Division was relieved by the British 70th Division which continued to defend Tobruk until the siege was eventually lifted in December 1941. According to the Australian War Memorial, between 8 April and 25 October 1941, Australian casualties from the 9th Division numbered 749 killed, 1,996 wounded, and 604 prisoners.

The 75th anniversary of the Siege of Tobruk will be commemorated at a national service to be held at 11.00 am on Sunday 10 April 2016, at the Rats of Tobruk Memorial on Anzac Parade  in Canberra.

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Mar 212016
 

Anzac Day is commemorated on 25 April each year on the anniversary of Australian and New Zealand troops landing on Turkey’s Gallipoli peninsula during the First World War. One hundred years later, it has become a time where both nations pause to commemorate the service and sacrifice of tens of thousands of their servicemen and women during times of war and other operations. In 2016, The Perth Mint is honouring all Australian service personnel past and present with an Australian commemorative gold coin marking 100 years of Anzac Day.

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Australia’s first Anzac Day took place on 25 April 1916, one year after the landing of Australian and New Zealand troops on Gallipoli.

1916

Anzac Day 1916: Australian soldiers visit the old Cairo Cemetery where many comrades who died of wounds or disease resulting from their service on Gallipoli are buried. Image courtesy Australian War Memorial.

By the 1920s Anzac Day ceremonies were held throughout Australia, with 25 April designated a public holiday in all states and territories by 1927.

1927

Anzac Day 1927: Australian Victoria Cross (VC) winners prepare for the parade. Image courtesy Australian War Memorial.

Less than two decades later, veterans of both the First World War and the Second World War were participating in parades in capital cities and regional centers across the country. Today, servicemen and women from conflicts in Korea, Malaya, Indonesia, Vietnam, Iraq, Afghanistan, as well as peacekeepers and veterans from other allied countries, also play a prominent role in national commemorative events.

1945

Anzac Day 1945: Brigadier General L.C. Wilson participating in Brisbane’s march past. Image courtesy Australian War memorial.

Anzac Day services are held before dawn at war memorials, and at the sites of some of the most well-known episodes in Australia’s military history. This is done to commemorate the very moment Australian and New Zealand troops landed on Gallipoli, as well as the hour of ‘stand to’ in the trenches of the Western Front. Today, thousands of Australians commemorate the fallen in the pre-dawn darkness all over the world, including the former battlefields of the First World War on Gallipoli and at Villers-Bretonneux in France.

Services are also held elsewhere around the world, to commemorate Australian service in other conflicts. There are events held at Hellfire Pass in Thailand, where Australian prisoners of war endured captivity, on the battlefields of Vietnam, in Papua New Guinea, and wherever Australian service personnel are found on current overseas deployments.

100th Anniversary Coin Release

Struck from 1/4oz of 99.99% pure gold, the centenary coin depicts the representation of an Australian First World War soldier leaning on his rifle with his head bowed in remembrance. The design includes a red poppy, the inscriptions ANZAC DAY 100 YEARS and PRIDE RESPECT GRATITUDE.

An exceptionally low mintage of no more than 1,000 Anzac Day 100 Years 2016 1/4oz Gold Proof Coins from The ANZAC Spirit 100th Anniversary Coin Series will be released by The Perth Mint.

Australian-War-Memorial-logoThe Australian War Memorial logo is a registered trademark of the
Australian War Memorial TM & © 2016

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