In 1917 British forces were engaged on many fronts, in an increasingly global conflict. On the Western Front the war became industrialised and remain deadlocked. The life of a soldier in the trenches was threatened by artillery, machine, guns, gas and disease. Despite the lack of breakthrough on the ground, the war proved to be a catalyst for innovation. Advancements in areas from equipment to medicine were vital to ending the war the following year, while many of the innovations, such as blood banks and plastic surgery benefit public healthcare to this day.
In 2014, we began a five year programme of commemoration to mark the centenary of the First World War, a six-coin set began a story in coins, ‘from Outbreak to Armistice’. This year, our First World War Centenary series continues with the 2017 First World War six-coin set. ‘Social and cultural impact’, ‘Armed Forces and Support Services’, ‘technology’, ‘conflict and battles’ and ‘heroes and famous figures’ are all subjects that have been captured on coins, each coin presenting a visual reminder of the innovation and fortitude that arose throughout the war.
Noel Godfrey Chavasse VC and BAR was a medical officer in the British Army and one of only three people to be awarded the Victoria Cross twice. 100 years after his death, his story remains truly inspirational, – Charlotte Czyzyk, from Imperial War Museum tells us more.