Edith Cavell honoured by Royal Mint in new First World War coin set

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01 June 2015
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imports_CCGB_coin2-2-_15306.jpg Edith Cavell honoured by Royal Mint in new First World War coin set
The heroic nurse Edith Cavell, who helped more than 200 Allied soldiers escape from German-held territories in the First World War, is to be honoured by The Royal Mint. ...
The heroic nurse Edith Cavell, who helped more than 200 Allied soldiers escape from German-held territories in the First World War, is to be honoured by The Royal Mint.

Edith will feature on one of a set of six coins released to mark the centenary of the First World War, telling stories from outbreak to armistice.

The coin depicts a scene with the Edith tending to a wounded soldier with a portrait-style design of the nurse in her uniform as the background. Inspired by the words of Laurence Binyon’s poem, 'Edith Cavell', the coin’s inscription reads ‘SHE FACED THEM GENTLE AND BOLD’.

THE HEROISM OF EDITH CAVELL

When war broke out in August 1914, Edith Cavell formed a Red Cross hospital in Brussels and nursed wounded soldiers, both German and Belgian.  Following the German occupation of the city, her institution was placed at the disposal of the invading army, and though she was offered the chance to return to Britain, Edith chose to remain with her nurses.

During the following year, Edith Cavell went beyond her nursing duties and was credited with helping some 200 Allied soldiers escape from the German occupied territory. On 5 August 1915, she was arrested along with five of her associates and brought to trial on 7 October. She was executed by firing squad just five days later, on the orders of the Governor General of Brussels.

THE FIRST WORLD WAR COINS

The design for the Cavell coin was created by sculptor David Cornell who has undertaken a number of commissions for The Royal Mint, including a coin honouring British Army officer Walter Tull which featured in the introductory First World War six-coin set which was released in 2014.

David also created the design for a coin to honour the flying ace, Albert Ball VC, which also features in the new six-coin set alongside coins paying tribute to the nerve of the Merchant Navy, the underwater menace of the submarine, and the devoted animals thrust into the horrors of war.

David said of his Cavell coin: 'This is a brave, devoted woman, who chose to sacrifice herself to help the injured and the dying. My design shows Edith caring for an injured soldier but also looking over her shoulder to make sure the coast is clear to help the wounded soldier escape. I captured a little sadness in her expression, as I am sure seeing so many young men suffering must have been an awful experience for her.'

Each year until 2018, a set of six coins will be released by The Royal Mint, covering a range of themes including key battles, the armed forces and support services, technological developments of the period, the cultural impact of war and stories of some of the heroes of the time, including Edith Cavell. The final set will be a reflection on armistice and the on-going legacy of the war.

The coins are struck to Royal Mint Proof standard and available in a choice of 925 sterling silver, limited to 1915 sets, or 22 carat gold crowns strictly limited to just 25 sets. To order, or for more information, visit The Royal Mint website.

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(Images copyright The Royal Mint)
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