They came from the sky. Shortly after midnight on June 6, 1944, the paratroopers of the 1st Canadian Parachute Battalion began to drop behind enemy lines. Their mission: Destroy bridges, neutralize key targets and secure the flanks of the D-Day invasion area. On D-Day, Canada’s “maroon berets” were the first Canadian troops to set foot on French soil. Jumping feet first into peril, they had to overcome a flak barrage, wayward drops, heavy losses and all the dangers that come with being in the enemy’s midst. But they prevailed.
Our year-long journey of remembrance continues with a ½ kilo-sized commemoration of the 75th anniversary of Operation Tonga. On the tension-filled reverse, the finely sculpted image of Canada’s first airborne unit in action is a grateful acknowledgement of their contributions, for their courage and grit paved the way for D-Day. The mintage of just 600 pieces adds significantly to its collectability. GST/HST exempt.
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.