Aircraft technology was barely a decade old when the First World War began in 1914, but the needs of warfare quickly fueled incredible advancements in aviation. This 2016 $20 Aircraft of the First World War coin series set, celebrates the daring, pioneering spirit of Canadians who took to the sky and helped steer the course of aviation
history! Mintage for each coin is 7,500. HST/GST exempt.
The Curtiss H-12:
The reverse design by Canadian artist David A. Oram features an engraved
rendering of the fateful encounter on May 14, 1917, between a Curtiss H-12 (foreground) and the Zeppelin L-22 (background). Heavy cloud cover is evident in the engraved background, where a break in the clouds reveals the North Sea below. In the foreground, selective colour recreates the light colours of the H-12 piloted by Flight Sub-Lieutenant (later Air Marshal) Robert Leckie of Toronto, with an attention to detail that is made evident by the inclusion of the identifying number “8666” and the blue, white and red stripes and roundels used by the Royal Naval Air Service. The detailed engraving only adds to this, recreating the smooth lines of the H-12’s laminated wood veneer hull and sponsons, all while capturing the finer details on the wings and the twin mounted engines in the interplane gap. With two crewmembers manning the aircraft’s front and mid-ship guns, the H-12 banks away from the L-22 after opening fire. The engraved zeppelin can be seen with its rear exploding into flames, mere moments before the L-22 becomes the first zeppelin shot down by a flying boat.
The Royal Factory Aircraft S.E.5a:
The reverse design by Canadian artist David A. Oram features a richly detailed, engraved depiction of an airfield where a squadron prepares for takeoff. A Crossley Light Tender 20/25 truck is parked behind five Royal Aircraft Factory S.E.5a aircraft, which have lined up in front of several Bessonneau hangars; the foremost plane is particularly striking thanks to the use of selective colour, which recreates the biplane fighter’s dark green colour, as well as the blue, white and red roundel and tail cockade that identified the aircraft of the Royal Flying Corps. Seated in the open cockpit, a Canadian pilot wears the leather flying coat, helmet and goggles that offer him some protection from the wind and cold temperatures at higher altitudes. The reverse boasts an impressive amount of detail in its rendition of the wire-braced box girder, and close examination offers a glimpse of the fuselage-mounted .303 Vickers gun and the MK-II Lewis machine gun on the upper wing, which helped make this aircraft one of the most successful Allied fighter planes of the First World War.
The Sopwith Triplane:
The reverse design by Canadian artist David A. Oram features a detailed, engraved depiction of two Sopwith Triplanes flying above the Messines Ridge in June 1917. The use of selective colour recreates the distinctive appearance of the Black Maria flown by Flt. Lt. Raymond Collishaw of Nanaimo, B.C., while at rear is the engraved depiction of the Black Roger flown by Flt. S. Lt. Ellis Vair Reid of Belleville, Ont. The Sopwith Triplane’s reputation for exceptional manoeuvrability is on display as the Black Maria completes a sharp turn; this allows for a closer view of the plane’s markings, wing construction, even its .303-caliber Vickers machine gun atop the fuselage. The parting of the clouds reveals the tragic devastation of the Ypres area below, where there is little left of the village of Passchendaele save for the ruins of its church and the road that curves through the blast-scarred fields.