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Silver $20 Salutes Battle of the Scheldt

On July 31 the Royal Canadian Mint unveiled a silver $20 to commemorate the 75th anniversary of the Battle of the Scheldt. For Canada this was to be one of the more costly conflicts of WWII but it would secure a vital supply line and significantly contribute not only to the liberation of the Netherlands but the eventual Allied liberation of all of Western Europe.

The battle consisted of a series of military operations from October 2 to November 8, 1944. It involved Canadian, British and Polish units under the command of Canadian Lieutenant-General Guy Simonds opening up the shipping route to Antwerp along the River Scheldt.

The ceremonial unveiling of the silver $20 proof commemorating the 75th anniversary of the Battle of the Scheldt. From left: Major-General Stephen Whalen, Kingdom of the Netherlands Ambassador Henk van der Zwan, Royal Canadian Mint CEO Marie Lemay and Perley and Rideau Veterans’ Health Centre Foundation Chair Keith de Bellefeuille Percy. Image courtesy & © Royal Canadian Mint.

The well-established Wehrmacht defenders proved remarkably stubborn. They mounted an effective delaying action that included flooding large areas of land in the Scheldt Estuary that effectively slowed the Allied advance.

It took five weeks of difficult fighting before the Canadian First Army was successful in clearing the Scheldt and opening the route to Antwerp. The cost was 12,873 Allied casualties half of which were Canadian.

At the launch Henk van der Zwan, Ambassador of the Kingdom of the Netherlands to Canada, made his nation’s gratitude plain: “The Battle of the Scheldt is a significant milestone in the shared history of the Netherlands and Canada. Led by Canadians, this fierce battle marked the beginning of the liberation of the Netherlands. We are proud that the Royal Canadian Mint, with this coin, pays tribute to Canadian soldiers who bravely fought to make 75 Years of Freedom possible. The commemorations of the Battle of the Scheldt will be celebrated in the Netherlands on August 31. This will be the kick-off to a year full of celebrations to mark the 75th Anniversary of the Liberation of the Netherlands.”

The proof $20 has been struck on a 38 mm, 31.39 g .9999 fine silver flan.

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