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Grossherzogtum Hessen-Darmstadt, Decorations

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Photos, obverse and reverse:

 

Felddienstauszeichnung (Campaign Medal), 1840-1866, made of cannon bronze. The obverse bears the crowned L Monogram of Ludwig III. of Hessen-Darmstadt within a wreath of laurel to the left and oakleaves to the right and over the inscription: GESTIFTET AM 14. IUNI 1840 (obsolete style of Latin inscription), the date of its inauguration. Reverse with inscription "Für Treuen Dienst im Kriege" within a wreath of oak leaves. Awarded for service in one of the campaigns, either 1848/49, 1864 or 1866 for the last time.

 

Allgemeines Ehrenzeichen für Tapferkeit, (General Service Medal for Valour) Silver, 1893-1918

Bust of Ernst Ludwig II., Großherzog von Hessen. Reverse has the inscription "Für Tapferkeit" within a wreath of laurel and oak leaves. There were several variations of this medal with differing inscriptions, this being the most frequently found.

 

Militär-Sanitäts-Kreuz, 1914 Copper bronze. First awarded in 1870, the inscription,

Für Pflege der Soldaten 1914, for care of the soldiers, reverse bears the date "Den 25 ten August 1870" (no longer written in this style) and the crowned monogram of Ludwig III. The style of the cross could be described as "Victorian Gothic".

It was awarded to civil and military medical personnel for the care of the wounded and sick.

 

Kriegsehrenzeichen 1916-18 (for distinguished service in war) Could be awarded to both military and civil personnel on the home front. small copper bronze disc,

obverse with the crowned monogram of Ernst Ludwig II of Hessen-Darmstadt. The reverse has a narrow laurel wreath around the inscription "Kriegs Ehren-Zeichen"

Not to be confused with the "Ehrenzeichen für Kriegsfürsorge", which was identical, apart from the inscription.

 

All shown on modern replacement ribbons, apart from the trifold Austrian style ribbon, which is an old original. The Sanitätskreuz had a ribbon woven in silver metallic thread, which has been very well copied. Original decorations from the small state of Hessen-Darmstadt are quite rare and usually turn up without a ribbon. The most commonly found decoration is probably the silver General Service Decoration, which is still reasonably priced.

 

The Hessen-Darmstadt contingent was a part of the XVIII Armee Korps (Frankfurt/M.). In peacetime it held 5 infantry regiments, 2 Dragoon regiments and 2 artillery regiments.

 

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A medal from 1916. Up till now this has not been mentioned in any publications as far as I know. It is said to have been given as a commemorative award to the Hessian troops on Christmas Eve, 24.December 1916 by the Grand Duke and Grandduchess Ernst Ludwig and Eleonora. It could also have been awarded to members of the Court. The medal is made of wartime zinc and of very plain design. Missing is the attachment ring. Most of these items turning up recently, one on an oval ring with a ladies bow, a narrow, half pale blue half white ribbon, proving that it was not only awarded to the troops. Apparently unresearched and remaining a mystery till present.

Hessen-1916.jpg

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Some improved pictures and a further decoration:

 

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Allgemeines Ehrenzeichen, 3 similar examples in good silver. In the latter war years, the silver content was reduced, later examples were of silvered brass or zinc with a thin silver coating

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Two very similar decorations
Ehrenzeichen für Kriegsfürsorge and
Kriegsehrenzeichen, latter on not very accurate copy ribbon

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