THOUSANDS of people have signed petitions demanding that the
image on the new £2 coin, which features Lord Kitchener and his
First World War recruiting slogan "Your country needs you", is
replaced with an image commemorating the millions of war dead, or a
hero or heroine such as Edith Cavell.
The Royal Mint unveiled its range of new coins this month. The
£2 coin is to have the famous poster image of Kitchener pointing
his finger, alongside the slogan, to mark the anniversary of the
First World War this year. But two petitions are calling on the
Mint to drop the design, which, they say, which "glorifies
The first petition, which has been signed by more than 25,000
people, says: "We can mark the 100th anniversary of the First World
War by remembering the dead and working to prevent war. We call on
the Royal Mint to withdraw this coin design, and replace it with
one that truly commemorates those who died and suffered in the
First World War."
Suggestions for an alternative design have been offered by those
who have signed the petition so far, and include an image of Harry
Patch, the last surviving soldier who fought in the Great War, who
died in 2009, or the Tomb of the Unknown Warrior.
Another petition, launched by a Labour councillor, Sioned-Mair
Richards, from Sheffield, is asking for the Royal Mint to put Edith
Cavell on the coin.
Trained as a nurse at the London Hospital, Cavell became the
first matron of the Berkendael Medical Institute in Brussels. After
the German army invaded Belgium in 1914, Berkendael became a Red
Cross hospital for wounded soldiers, regardless of their
In August 1915, Cavell was arrested by the Germans, and charged
with helping about 200 Allied soldiers to escape to neutral
Holland. She was tried by court martial, found guilty, and
sentenced to death. Despite pressure for mercy, she was shot by a
"Kitchener epitomises rampant jingoism," Mrs Richards says. Her
petition has gathered more than 30,000 signatures online.
The Christian peacemaking group Fellowship of Reconciliation is
also concerned about the image. Its director, Millius Palayiwa,
said: "We are very concerned that the launch of the new £2 coin
design is in danger of glorifying war, and drawing public attention
away from the horrors of the trenches and the continuing need for
peace, healing, and reconciliation in the world."