Renowned for their bravery and significant contributions, this 14 karat gold coin pays tribute to the Royal Canadian Air Force. Marking the 75th anniversary of VE Day, the coin recalls the RCAF motto of the era “Through Adversity to the Stars” (Per Ardua Ad Astra). Its squadrons defended the home front and its personnel trained more than 131,000 aircrew from Canada and other Commonwealth air forces. And its members played key roles in operational missions that continued after V-E Day. Mintage is extremely limited to just 1,200 coins.
The reverse design by artist Laurie McGaw is a V-E Day salute to the Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF). Against a “V” for Victory backdrop, a wing commander is flanked by a pilot on his right and a waving member of the RCAF Women’s Division on his left. The pilot flashes a Victory hand gesture and the commander raises his hand to salute as a Spitfire flies overhead. The obverse features the effigy of King George VI by T. H. Paget and a Victory privy mark.
Did You Know?
In 1939, the RCAF was the smallest of the three branches of the Canadian Armed Forces—it had just 4,153 personnel and 270 aircraft (and almost 90% of these were considered obsolete). By 1945, the RCAF had become the fourth largest air force in the world.
- About 249,600 men and women served in the Royal Canadian Air Force, including 17,000 members of the Women’s Division.
- In 1941, the RCAF became the first Canadian service to create a separate women’s division, the Canadian Women’s Auxiliary Air Force, which was re-named the RCAF Women’s Division in 1942. Its members began in a few administrative trades. By the end of the war, their roles had greatly expanded, including in traditionally male domains such as repairing aircraft instruments and engines, and maintaining safety systems; others maintained parachutes or were radio operators, weather observers or service police.
- An estimated 1,820 Canadians and Newfoundlanders also served in the Royal Air Force (RAF), including top ace George Beurling, aka “The Falcon of Malta.”