Original German mounted post WW1 medal group: Honor and Remembrance Cross of the Navy Corps, Flanders (Das Ehren- und Erinnerungskreuz des Marinekorps Flandern), German Honorary Commemorative Medal of the World War (Deutsche Ehrendenkmünze des Weltkrieges) with Frontline Badge, War Honour Cross (Kriegsehrenkreuz) & Prussian (Weimar Republic) Fire Brigade Merit Medal (Das Feuerwehr Ehrenzeichen des Preußischen Landesfeuerwehrverbandes) for 25 Years' Service, 2nd Form (1930-1934), IN GOOD CONDITION, ON GENUINE RIBBONS, PERFECT PIN DEVICE, A REALLY NICE & UNIQUE GROUP INDEED
HISTORY OF THE AWARDS:
Commemorative Honour Cross of the Navy Corps Flanders (Ehren- und Erinnerungskreuz des Marinekorps Flandern, a.k.a. Flandernkreuz) - Flandernkreuz was instituted on September 13, 1921 by the post-war veterans’ association “Kamerdschaftsverband des Marinekorps Flandern”, and all German former military personnel who took part in battles in Flanders were eligible for a badge. Institutional document particularly stipulated: “In the days of September 1914, the newly raised Naval Division (Marinedivision) later known as the Naval Corps (Marinekorps) was baptized by fire during victorious five-day battles against the Belgian army at Löwen and Kampenhout north of Brussels. Encouraged by heroic deeds, it performed further feats of valour during the World War that lasted more than four years. Commemorative Honour Cross of the Navy Corps Flanders for former military personnel of the Corps is instituted this very day, on September 13, 1921 as a token of commemoration of those events that had covered Naval Corps with glory and fame on land and sea, in the air and under water, with an intention to perpetuate the memory of the fallen brothers in arms, to reward front fighters for their faithful duty and bravery in the field during the War 1914-1918 and to serve as a reminder for their descendants as well as for the whole German people”. Falndernkreuz had a shape of an equilateral Teutonic cross with beaded borders, with crossed swords between its arms and with a loop for ribbon suspension. An obverse had a rampant lion being a Flemish heraldic symbol situated on the upper arm of the cross and inscriptions “Naval” (“Marine”) and “Corps” (“Korps”) on the left and right arms as well as dates “1914/18” on the lower arm. A central circular medallion consisted of the 1903 pattern Imperial German Naval Ensign (Reichskriegsflagge) surrounded by a laurel wreath made of two branches tied at their bottom. A reverse bore an inscription “Invincible on land and sea” (“Unbe” – on the left arm, “siegt” – on the right, “Zur See” – on the upper and “Im Felde” – on the lower arm of a cross). A crowned naval anchor with a monogram of Wilhelm II (“W”) was situated in the middle of a central medallion surrounded by the laurel wreath, similar to the one described above. Flandernkreuz that measured 40,2x40,2 mm and weighed 22 g was made of bronze. Commemorative Honour Cross of the Navy Corps Flanders was worn either obverse or reverse outside depending on preference of its holder. It was worn on the left side of a breast suspended from a black silk ribbon with two thin white and yellow vertical stripes at both edges. Non-regulated device in a shape of crossed swords was sometimes attached to a ribbon to indicate former front fighter’s status. As all the other Weimar-era badges, Flandernkreuz had to be purchased at veteran’s own expenses upon presentation of an award document issued by Kamerdschaftsverband des Marinekorps Flandern. The cost of cross was 3,50 Marks, of miniature – 2 Marks, of a battle clasp – 50 Pfennigs. Approximately 30,000 crosses were issued. Battle clasps (Gefechtsspangen): ten battle clasps (Gefechtsspangen) commemorating combat experience of frontline soldiers were instituted as well. Those clasps were made of Buntmetal and were attached to a ribbon by two prongs soldered to reverse. Those wishing to buy a clasp worth 50 Pfennigs had to provide proof of participation in particular battle, in most cases a specific entry in a Soldbuch. It’s worth mentioning that no restriction was imposed on the number of battle clasps that could be worn simultaneously. The following battle clasps were issued: Antwerpen, Durchbruchsschlacht (for breakthrough battle), Durchbruchsschlacht 1918 (for the breakthrough battle fought at Momby-Cambrai on March 21-23, 1918), Flandernschlacht (for battles fought in Flanders between October 20 and November 18, 1914), Flandernschlacht 1917 (for battles fought in Flanders between July 31 and November 06, 1917), Luftkrieg, Seekrieg, Somme, Ypern & Yser. According to a Decree published on November 14, 1935 (Verordnung zur Ausführung des Gesetzes über Titel, Orden und Ehrenzeichen vom 14.November 1935) that put into effect a Supplement to the Law regarding state awards of April 07, 1933, wearing of a Flandernkreuz was prohibited. Nevertheless deliberate violation of this provision by military personnel was tolerated by Reich authorities.
German Honorary Commemorative Medal of the World War (Deutsche Ehrendenkmünze des Weltkrieges) - Unlike great number of various post-war commemorative badges that were issued by countless veterans associations all across the Weimar Republic thus gaining profit and fame, German Honorary Commemorative Badge of the World War boasts quite extraordinary origin. It might well be an official German decoration be it instituted as far back as autumn 1917, when necessity of introduction of a commemorative badge for front-fighters had been discussed by the great officers of the German Empire. Having enjoyed support from the Emperor Wilhelm II himself and several German rulers, the idea was put into life by a renowned German artist Franz Stassen (12.02.1869-18.04.1949) who elaborated design of the medal in July 1918. March of history was anything but favourable though, and the very idea was well forgotten amidst the worst crisis the Empire ever encountered – loss of war, abolition of monarchy, dissolution of a state and menace of revolution. Nevertheless, Ehrendenkmünze des Weltkrieges rose like Phoenix from its ashes due to efforts of the post-war Berlin-based Union of Nationalist Soldiers (Verband nationalgesinnter Soldaten) that had its own Council of the Order (Ordensrat) focusing on various aspects of introduction of that badge. Shortly before the Union was banned by the Weimar authorities, Council of the Order of the German Honorary Commemorative Badge of the World War (Ordensrat der Deutschen Ehrendenkmünze des Weltkrieges) managed to institute itself as an independent body, moved to the Bavarian city of Buxheim and set up its Charter on September 21, 1921. The Council was headed by the Honorary Marshal (Ehrenmarschall), a position held by the Generaloberst Karl Wilhelm Georg August Gottfried von Einem genannt von Rothmaler (01.01.1853-07.04.1934), former Prussian War Minister (1903-1909) and commander of the 3rd Army during the Great War. Another prominent leader of the Council was its chancellor, retired Hauptmann (Hauptmann außer Dienst) Rudolph Hering-Deutschwehr who held that position until his retirement in 1924. It’s worth mentioning here that it was Hering-Deutschwehr who took the lead in introduction of the Deutsche Ehrendenkmünze des Weltkrieges. Holders of a German Honorary Commemorative Badge of the World War could, if they wished so, be entered in the so-called German Legion of Honour (Deutschen Ehrenlegion), an organization which name was derived from the French La Légion d'honneur. Deutschen Ehrenlegion was divided into “Knights’ groups” and its members could call themselves “Knight of the German Legion of Honour”. Apropos, Generaloberst Erich Friedrich Wilhelm Ludendorff (09.04.1865-20.12.1937), Generalfeldmarschall Karl Wilhelm Paul von Bülow (24.03.1846-31.08.1921) and famous Freikorps commander Oberleutnant Gerhard Roßbach (28.02.1893-30.08.1967) were among its prominent members. Administration of the Council of the Order concurrently was a governing body of the German Legion of Honour. The Council moved to Mecklenburg in 1924 and finally returned to Berlin in 1927. According to the statute of the Deutsche Ehrendenkmünze des Weltkrieges that was published on December 01, 1922, it was instituted as “a token of remembrance of the fallen, a recognition of the surviving [veterans] and an example for the future generations”. It was awarded to veterans and civilians, men or women who faithfully served their Fatherland during the Great War. Combat experience wasn’t a compulsory condition for decoration with a badge, patriotic spirit and former merits for the benefit of Germany during war and peace were deemed sufficient. Interesting to know is that that being instituted after the Great War despite wartime efforts that failed, Deutsche Ehrendenkmünze des Weltkrieges was issued “on behalf” (“in Vertretung”) of the exiled German Emperor Wilhelm II, who, however, abstracted away from that noble initiative. German Honorary Commemorative Badge of the World War had a shape of a drop-shaped circular medal, 36x32 mm with a hole for suspension in its upper part. An obverse had an allegoric design showing a tunic-clad winged goddess of victory crowning a bareheaded German soldier in a filed uniform with an olive wreath. Soldier held a steel helmet in his right hand and a rifle in his left hand. It’s worth mentioning here that the initial design of an obverse created by Franz Stassen in July 1918 proposed an image of the Emperor Wilhelm II. A reverse had an image of an obverse of the Prussian Iron Cross 1st Class model 1914 surrounded by oak branches at its bottom. An inscription “For Fatherland” (“Fürs Vaterland”) in capital Gothic letters ran above in semicircle. Frontline veterans were issued with a special award document that allowed them to buy a commemorative combat emblem (Kampfabzeichen) that was attached to a ribbon. It had a shape of a circular gilt laurel wreath, 18 mm in diameter with a sword across pointing upwards measuring 34x1,5 mm. Those not able to present a proof of combat experience were allowed to swear solemnly. Deutsche Ehrendenkmünze des Weltkrieges was manufactured of gilt bronze and was worn on the left side of the breast on a silk ribbon that symbolized colours of the German Imperial flag. Thus, the ribbon was white with a central 8 mm wide black stripe flanked by two 1 mm wide red stripes and two 1 mm wide black stripes at its edges. As all the other post-war unofficial commemorative badges, German Honorary Commemorative Badge of the World War had to be privately purchased by veterans or those deemed eligible for a decoration upon presentation of an award document. According to a Decree published on November 14, 1935 (Verordnung zur Ausführung des Gesetzes über Titel, Orden und Ehrenzeichen vom 14.November 1935) that put into effect a Supplement to the Law regarding state awards of April 07, 1933, wearing of a Deutsche Ehrendenkmünze des Weltkrieges was prohibited. Nevertheless, those regulations were sometimes violated. As for the Ordensrat der Deutschen Ehrendenkmünze des Weltkrieges, it held its final meeting on July 28, 1934 after which it was disbanded, and Deutschen Ehrenlegion members were incorporated into the official veterans’ organization Kyffhäuser-Bund soon after.
War Honour Cross (Kriegsehrenkreuz) was instituted in one class only in 1925 by the Munich-based Registered Non-commercial Association “Honorary Union of German World War Participants” (Ehrenbund deutscher Weltkriegsteilnehmer E.V. [eingetragener Verein]), one of numerous post-WWI veterans’ organizations that mushroomed amidst the chaos of the Weimar Republic. The Union itself was founded on February 13, 1925 in Munich (Bavaria) and its headquarters was located at Ungererstraße 30, München 23. The very idea of creation of yet another new decoration for German veterans came as a reaction to the disassociation of the former Emperor Wilhelm II residing in Doorn in exile from the still existing and widely popular German Honorary Commemorative Badge of the World War (Deutsche Ehrendenkmünze des Weltkrieges). Thus, according to founders of the newly introduced decoration, it should have taken position of the main, but still unofficial, distinctive badge of the German Great War veterans. However, going forward, it should be admitted that “mission” of Kriegsehrenkreuz had failed. Decoration together with award certificate was issued by the so-called “Department of Grandmaster of the War Honour Cross” (Großmeisteramt des Kriegsehrenkreuzes). Those who aspired to mount one more “award” to their medal bar had to join the Honorary Union first, submit written application for the Cross and provide documented proof of military service during the Great War. Front-fighters (Frontkämpfer) were eligible for decoration with War Honour Cross with Swords (“Kriegsehrenkreuz mit Schwertern”), while those who had served in rear areas, in homeland or with auxiliary services (Kriegsteilhehmer) were given ordinary War Honour Cross, i.e. without swords. Like all the other unofficial badges issued during the Weimar era, Kriegsehrenkreuz had to be privately purchased by veterans who covered badge, ribbon and certificate production expenses. Kriegsehrenkreuz had a shape of an equilateral Maltese cross with pebbled surface and raised polished borders. Circular medallion with raised rim was placed in the centre of the cross. It was encircled with round oath wreath which fragments were visible between arms of the cross. Obverse of medallion bore image of an Imperial eagle with spread wings topped with a crown. Miniature black-, white- and red-enameled shield was superimposed on the breast of a bird of prey. Left arm of the cross bore the year the Great War started, i.e. “1914”, while the right one showed the date it ended, i.e. “1918”. Reverse of medallion bore name of the issuing authority executed in five horizontal lines in capital letters: “Ehrenbund deutsch. Weltkriegsteilnehmer – E.V. –”. Combat emblem superimposed on the upper part of the cross that consisted of two crossed swords pointing upwards and tied with threefold ribbon at the centre was the distinctive feature of the decoration for front-fighters, officially named “Kriegsehrenkreuz mit Schwertern” (“War Honour Cross with Swords”). Kriegsehrenkreuz measured 41,7x41,7 mm, while dimensions of crossed swords were 25x1,2 mm. War Honour Cross for Front-Fighters weighed 14 g, and version for non-combatants weighed slightly less – 13,5 g. War Honour Cross was manufactured of bronze with application of black, white and red enamel. It was worn on the left side of the breast suspended from a 30 mm wide silk ribbon representing two vertical rows made of black, white and red thin stripes, i.e. colours of German Imperial flag, placed symmetrically at edges. Centre of the ribbon was made of short alternate black and white horizontal stripes representing Prussian flag. According to a Decree published on November 14, 1935 (Verordnung zur Ausführung des Gesetzes über Titel, Orden und Ehrenzeichen vom 14.November 1935) that put into effect a Supplement to the Law regarding state awards of April 07, 1933, wearing of Kriegsehrenkreuz was prohibited.
Prussian Fire Brigade Merit Medal (Das Feuerwehr Ehrenzeichen des Preußischen Landesfeuerwehrverbandes) - instituted on May 25, 1922, awarded for 25 and 40 years of loyal service. Only active years of service were counted. The award for 25 years was silver-plated, the award for 40 years was gold-plated. The award was issued in two forms. The first shape was embossed in one piece and had the crossed fire hatchets or axes arranged under the helmet. The fire helmet has an older shape. The 2nd form made in 3 parts. The newer fire helmet has crossed ax and hatchet behind it. The exact time for the model change is not known. However, it is assumed that the 2nd form was awarded from 1930 to 1934. The illustration of the badge of honor on the documents is an indication of this. Deumer from Lüdenscheid is known as a manufacturer of decorations. Due to the years of service, the silver-plated badge of honor can be found relatively often for 25 years. Oval, silver/gold-plated, partly enamelled (front) award with a soldered eyelet with a ring for ribbon suspension.