A little bit of Canada’s plan to commemorate the First World War this year should have ‘Made in Lancashire’ stamped all over it.
A special set of coins will be minted for the 100th anniversary and one of them – the silver five dollar piece – has been designed by Preston-born Scott Waters.
Former soldier Scott, 43, was invited to submit a design after being awarded the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Medal last year for his work as a war artist.
His coin, showing a lone soldier looking into the horizon, commemorates the Canadian Expeditionary Force and their deployment to the Western Front in 1914.
“As the First World War was almost singularly defined by the foot soldier, it made the most sense,” he said. “I hope I have created a design which is at turns romantic and nostalgic, but also honest and factual, detailed and considerate.”
Scott, nephew of Preston city councillor Terry Cartwright, was born in Preston in 1970, but emigrated to British Columbia at the age of nine.
The bulk of his family still live in Bamber Bridge and Penwortham, including his 92-year-old grandmother who he last visited in April.
The competition to design coins for the Great War centenary was only open to invited artists. Scott, a former member of Princess Patricia’s Canadian Light Infantry, admits he is “honoured” to have been selected and is looking forward to seeing the finished coin when it is issued by the Royal Canadian Mint.
“It doesn’t come out until June next year,” he said. “Right now all I have is a mock-up. There is certainly a sense of nostalgia and romanticism in the coin design. Not necessarily what I would have done, but the Royal Canadian Mint set out the parameters.”
Scott’s time in Preston was short. He moved to South Africa at the age of two, returned at four and then emigrated to Canada at nine.
“With the exception of one cousin who lives in Michigan, USA, the family is almost exclusively in the Preston area: Bamber Bridge and Penwortham,” he said. “It had been some time since I was back, but I made a trip this April. My nan is 92 so I wanted to see her while I could.”
Canada lost 67,000 troops in the war and had a further 173,000 wounded. Their troops took part in numerous battles including the Somme, Vimy Ridge and Passchendaele.