Robert E. Wyllie.

Orders, decorations and insignia, military and civil; with the history and romance of their origin and a full description of each online

. (page 10 of 19)
Online LibraryRobert E. WyllieOrders, decorations and insignia, military and civil; with the history and romance of their origin and a full description of each → online text (page 10 of 19)
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number of them to lay down their arms, having already re-
ceived the Military Medal in the course of the campaign.

About three hundred Military Medals were awarded to
Americans. (Fig. 9, Plate 16.)

Croix de Guerre

This decoration, the third in order of precedence, was
instituted by law on April 8, 191 5, to reward acts per-
formed by officers and men in the theatre of operations
and for which they were cited in orders. This does not
correspond exactly with any of our decorations. Our
Distinguished Service Cross is given only for acts of valour.
The Croix de Guerre is more extended in its application
as it includes any acts. On the other hand it is limited to
the theatre of operations and therefore is of less extended
scope than our Navy Cross which, while it can be awarded
for acts of valour and other distinguished services, has no
limitation as to place.

The origin of the citation is shown by a device worn on
the ribbon, a bronze palm for a citation in orders of the
army, a gold star for a citation in corps orders, a silver
star for division orders and a bronze star for orders of a
brigade, regiment or equivalent unit. For a subsequent
citation, instead of awarding another cross, the appropriate
9 129

ij^rbetja;, Becoraticmsf, anb SnsJignia

device, palm or star, is placed on the ribbon. These palms
and stars are worn on the service ribbon also but the palm
is then in miniature.

The difference between this system and ours should be
carefully noted. With us a Distinguished Service Cross
with an oakleaf cluster means two distinct awards but in
the case of the Croix de Guerre a ribbon with but one palm
or star indicates one award only, the total number of
palms and stars being the same as the total number of
awards. A Croix de Guerre should never be worn with-
out at least one palm or star. Then again these stars
must not be confounded with our silver and bronze stars.
A silver star with us means a citation for gallantry not
warranting the award of the Distinguished Service Cross
and a bronze star simply means participation in action,
not necessarily of a distinguished character, while a star
with a Croix de Guerre shows an award of that decoration
in division orders if silver, in a brigade or regi-
mental order if of bronze. When there is but one palm
or star, it is placed on the centre of the ribbon, the palm
being slightly diagonal with the stem lowered. When
there are several palms, they are placed one above the
other and parallel. Five bronze palms are replaced by one
silver one ; however, it is noted that this is seldom done,
the general preference seemingly, is to wear five bronze
palms rather than one of silver. The stars are always
below the palms; if there are two they are placed in a
horizontal line, three in the form of a triangle, four or five
as a lozenge. The star distinctive of the highest citation
is placed on the right, that of the lowest on the left. Gold


jFrance, ?Selsium, anb jWonato

stars, for instance, are placed to the right of silver and
silver to the right of bronze. On a service ribbon the
palms and stars are placed in one line, palms to the right,
then gold stars, then silver, and lastly bronze.

When the Legion of Honour is conferred for services
rendered in the theatre of active military operations, it
generally carries with it the Croix de Guerre, unless the
person already has the decoration, so when an officer is
seen wearing the Legion of Honour badge and no Croix
de Guerre, it means that the services for which he received
the Legion were not rendered at the front.

Nearly twelve thousand awards of the Croix de Guerre
were made to Americans.

A medal was presented by Napoleon HI to the special
guard which accompanied the body of the great Napoleon
in 1840 from St. Helena to its wonderful resting place in
Paris, and the ribbon of that medal was reproduced for the
Croix de Guerre. (Fig. 6, Plate 16.)

Colonial Orders

These are orders pertaining to, and established by, the
native rulers of the various colonies and protectorates of
France. They are recognized by the French government
and are awarded for services rendered in or for the differ-
ent colonies. In time of peace ten years of service for a
colony is required before admission to one of the orders.
Time spent in Tunis or Algeria counts half as much again,
and actual service in the other colonies is multiplied by
three in computing the necessary years for admission to
a colonial order.


0xiitxsi, Betorationsf, anb SnisJignia

They have the same classes as the Legion of Honour,
and no one can be given a grade higher than Officer in any
of them unless he is a member of the Legion, neither can
he be made a Grand Officer if he is not at least an Officer of
the Legion, nor can he be given the Grand Cross of a
colonial order, unless he is a Commander of the Legion.

The most important of these orders is the Black Star,
which has been conferred on about five hundred Americans.
It was originally simply a colonial order, from the colony
of Benin, French Congo, but recently the French Govern-
ment has adopted the policy of using it as a French order,
junior to the Legion of Honour, but for the same class of
services. It is therefore now given in cases where the
person is too junior in rank, or where the services were not
of sufficient importance to warrant admission to the Le-
gion ; also where the individual is already a member of the
Legion, but is not eligible for promotion therein. By using
the Black Star of Benin in such cases, the French can now
reward services that they could not previously without
violating the rules established for the Legion of Honour.

This order was instituted by Toffa, King of Porto-Novo,
Dahomey, under the protection of France, in 1889, and
was recognized by the French government in 1894. The
badge is a maltese cros^, of silver for Chevaliers, gold for
the higher classes, enamelled white with a blue border,
and rays between the arms of the cross. In the centre is
a black five-pointed star. A closed wreath of oak and
laurel surmounts the decoration. (Fig. 7, Plate 16.)
The ribbon is light blue.

The Order of the Dragon ofAnnam pertains to the Asiatic


jFtance, JJelgium, anb jWonaco

country of that name, which became a French protector-
ate in 1883. In 1886 this order was estabHshed by Dong-
Khang, the Emperor of Annam. The badge is an eight-
pointed star of rays emanating from a central medaUion
of blue enamel bearing four characters in the Annamese
writing ' ' Dong-Khang Hoang-D^" in gold, and four figures
representing radiant suns, also in gold, surrounded by a
band of red enamel tricked in gold. The badge is sur-
mounted by an imperial crown, and above that is a dragon of
green enamel forming the ring for suspension. The ribbon
is green with orange edges. The star for Grand Officers
and Grand Cross has the dragon in the centre of the rays
holding the medallion before it in its four claws.

The Royal Order of Cambodia was established by King
Norodom in 1864, the year after Cambodia became a pro-
tectorate of France. This badge also is an eight-pointed
star of rays emanating from a central medallion, and sur-
mounted by a royal crown. The medallion carries the
royal coat of arms of Cambodia in gold on a violet field,
and is surrounded by a band of red, edged in gold. The
ribbon is white with orange edges.

The Order of Nichan-el-Anouar pertains to the French
colony on the African coast of the Gulf of Aden, known as
Tadjourah, which became a French protectorate in 1884.
The Order was established by Sultan Hamed-ben-Ma-
hommed in 1887 as "a perpetual reminder of the happy
moment when the Sultan of Tadjourah placed himself and
his people under the protection of Glorious France." The
badge is a ten-pointed star of silver, with small gold stars
between the points. The central medallion is enamelled


blue and bears a five-pointed silver star. All is sur-
mounted by a royal crown having a small crescent on the
top. The ribbon is blue with a white band down the
centre. The word * ' Nichan" i's Turkish for ' ' order. ' '

On the west coast of Africa near Madagascar is the
French protectorate of Anjouan, consisting of the place of
that name, the Camorro Islands, and the Island of Moheli.
Each of these three has its own sultan, and each sultan has
established an order. The Star of Camorro has three
classes, known as the star, double-star and triple-star,
the ribbon is red with a white star in the centre. The Star
of Moheli was reorganized in 1888, and has the usual five
classes. The ribbon is red, and on it is a white crescent
and two white stars. However, neither of these orders is
recognized by the French government, but the Royal Order
of the Star of Anjouan was authorized in 1896 as a Colonial
order. It was established in 1892 by the Sultan Said
Omar. The badge is an eight-pointed star of white
enamelled rays emanating from a central medallion.
This medallion is enamelled white and bears a hand issuing
from a crescent, and over it in Arabic characters "The
Sultanate of Anjouan." This is surrounded by a white
band on which is the inscription "Ordre Royal de I'Etoile
d' Anjouan. Comores." The ribbon is light blue with
two narrow orange stripes near each edge.

The Order of Nichan Iftikhar is a Tunisian decoration,
established in 1837 by Ahmed Bey. The ribbon is green
with two narrow red stripes near each edge. The badge
is a ten-pointed star, with rays between the arms. The
points are enamelled alternately red and green. In the


jFrante, ?§elsium, anb illonato

centre, surrounded by a band of white, is the cypher of the
reigning Bey. The whole is surmounted by a knot in the
form of a trefoil.

The Order of Ouissam Alaouite is a comparatively recent
creation of the Sultan of Morocco. The ribbon is orange.
The badge is a five-pointed star of white enamel edged in
crimson, having Arabic characters on the central medal-
lion of crimson. A closed wreath of palm surmounts the

Other French Decorations

Service medals did not constitute a part of the French
system until 1856, in which year the Emperor Napoleon
III authorized the wearing of the British Crimean Medal
which had been bestowed by Queen Victoria on the per-
sonnel of the French armies taking part in the Crimean
expedition with the British. Since that time all French
wars "have been commemorated by medals awarded to the
rank and file serving therein.

The Palmes Universitaires was instituted in 1808, and is
normally a civil decoration awarded to those who have
specially distinguished themselves in connection with
education, art, science, or literature, but it has been given
for military services in the World War. There are two
classes. Officer of Public Instruction, a gold medal with
rosette on ribbon, and Officer of the Academy, a silver
medal without rosette. The medal is a wreath of laurel
and palm, suspended from a violet ribbon. (Fig. 8,
Plate 16.) At least five years must be spent in the
lower class before promotion can be given to the first


grade. The Palms has been conferred on about 450

The Order of Agricultural Merit was estabHshed in 1883
to reward eminent services in agriculture. There are
three classes, Commander, Officer, and Chevalier, the
badge of the two higher is of gold, that of the Chevalier is
of silver. It consists of an enamelled six-pointed star,
resting on a wreath of wheat and corn, with the effigy of the
Republic in a central medallion. The ribbon is green with
a red band near each edge. About one hundred Americans
have received this order.

Medals of Honour are bestowed for acts of courage and
devotion not connected with military operations against an
enemy, and France has a number of these medals. Among
them are those for saving life from drowning (sauvetage) ;
for those who specially distinguish themselves during
epidemics or disease (epidemies) ; for exceptional services
rendered abroad {affaires etrangeres). All of these have
been awarded to Americans, the last named being given
principally to crews of transports. The medals for these
are different, but the ribbon is the same, blue, white, and
red in equal proportions as in the French flag. There is
also the Mutuality Medal, usually given to members of
Mutual societies for services in connection therewith, but
which has been awarded to some Americans. The stripes
on this ribbon differ slightly with the class. There are also
medals of honour for saving life from fires, in colliery
accidents, in connection with police work, for faithful
service in arsenals and other industrial pursuits, etc.,
most of them having a tri-coloured ribbon. There are


jf rame, JJelgium, anb iWonaco

usually four classes for these medals, in gold, gilded silver,
silver, and bronze.

Finally there is the Medal of National Recognition, a new
decoration given for any specially meritorious work in
civil pursuits.

The Old French Orders

So many allusions are made in French history and litera-
ture to the orders of the Bourbon kings that some descrip-
tion of them may not be amiss, although they have long
since been abolished.

The earliest was the Order of the Star, founded by King
John II, called the Good, in 1351. The insignia of the
order was a five-pointed star of gold, suspended from a
chain having five gold links. This order fell into deca-
dence so that Louis XI replaced it by the Order of St,
Michael in 1469, which was to be given to knights of noble
birth to a number not exceeding sixty-five. The badge
was a gold cross, enamelled white, having in the centre the
figure of St. Michael in the armour and surcoat of a cru-
sader, vanquishing Satan, lightning issued from all sides of
the figure. The badge was surmounted by a crown, and
was worn suspended from a black ribbon. Notwithstand-
ing the intention of the founder of this order it was be-
stowed in such a prodigal manner under Charles IX that
his brother and successor, Henry III, in 1578 established
the Order of the Holy Ghost (St. Esprit), combining the
Order of St. Michael with it. This order was limited
strictly to Catholics, and was very famous especially dur-
ing the reigns of Henry IV and Louis XIII. The badge


was a gold maltese cross enamelled white, with fleurs-de-
lys between the arms of the cross. In the centre was a
dove with outstretched wings (Fig. 3, Plate 19). On the
reverse was the image of St. Michael. The ribbon was
blue, and the motto of the order was "Duce et auspice."

In 1693 Louis XIV established the Royal and Military
Order of St. Louis, in memory of Louis IX, known as St.
Louis. As its name indicates this order was reserved
exclusively for naval and military officers, ''without dis-
tinction of birth," but it was necessary that they profess
the Catholic faith. This was the first order divided into
classes ; there were three of these, known as Grand Cross,
Commander, and Chevalier. The badge was a gold mal-
tese cross enamelled white, with a fleur-de-lys in each
angle between the arms. On a central oval enamelled
red was the figure of St. Louis in full armour and royal
mantle, holding in his right hand a laurel wreath, and in
his left a crown of thorns with the nails of the Passion.
Surrounding this oval was a blue band bearing the legend
''Lud. Magn. Instit. 1693," being the abbreviation of
Ludovicus Magnus Instituit, 1693 (Louis the Great
established, 1693). On the reverse was a flaming sword
of gold placed vertically, the point being crowned with a
laurel wreath, bound with a white ribbon. Surrounding
this was a blue band bearing "Bellicae virtutis praemium."
The ribbon was flame red.

It will be observed that only Catholics were eligible for
these orders, but there were in the French military services,
not only French Huguenots, but also a number of foreign-
ers who were Protestants especially Swiss and Scotchmen,


Jframe, JSelBium, anb jMonato

and it had ever been the poHcy of the Bourbon kings to
encourage the formation of troops composed of such men,
particularly as personal bodyguards for the king. The
Scottish Archers will be recalled by all readers of Scott's
Quentin Durward, and the Swiss Guard of Louis XVI by
students of the French Revolution. As these Protestants
were not eligible for the existing orders Louis XV estab-
lished an Order of Military Merit in 1759 for Protestant
officers only. This also had three classes. The badge
was a gold maltese cross with fieur-de-lys in the angles,
in the centre was a vertical sword surrounded by a band
bearing the motto "Pro virtute bellica" (Fig. i, Plate, 19).
On the reverse was a laurel wreath and the legend " Ludo-
vicus XV instituit, 1759." The ribbon was dark blue.

All these orders were swept away in the great Revolu-
tion, but were re-established in 1816 after the Bourbons
were restored in the person of Louis XVIII. The Order
of St. Michael was then made a reward for services in the
arts and sciences, while the Order of Military Merit was
merged in the Order of St. Louis, the religious require-
ments of all the orders being abolished. The revolution
of 1830 again ended them, and they have never been

. Belgium

The following are the orders and decorations of Belgium,
given according to the prescribed order of wearing :

The Order of Leopold
The Order of the Crown
The Order of Leopold II

0xhttsi, Becoratioitfif, anb Knsiignia

The Military Cross

The MiHtary Medal

The Croix de Guerre

War Service Medals

The Royal Order of the Lion (Colonial)

Colonial Medals

All three of the Belgian orders are open to both civil and
military officials and contain five classes having the same
names as in the Legion of Honour. In all these orders the
badges, stars, and ribbons are worn -in the same manner as
in the corresponding classes of the French order, and the
classes are shown on the service ribbons in the same way.
When one of these orders is bestowed for heroism in action
a palm is worn on the ribbon, in silver for Chevaliers, in
gold for the other classes.

In comparing the classes of the different orders together,
a class in the order of Leopold is just above the next higher
class in the order of the Crown, and that again is just
above the next higher in the order of Leopold II, and the
badges and service ribbons are worn accordingly. For
example, the ribbon of a Chevalier of the order of Leopold
is worn before the ribbon of an Officer of the Crown, and
that in turn comes ahead of a Commander of Leopold II.

The Order of Leopold was instituted in 1 872 . The badge
is a white enamelled maltese cross lying on a green wreath
of oak and laurel. In the centre is the rampant lion of
Belgium in gold on a black background and surrounded by
the motto "L*union fait la force" (Union makes strength)
in gold on a red circle. It is surmounted by a crown and


Jf rame, JBelgium, anb iWonaco

suspended from a purple ribbon. For all military mem-
bers crossed swords are placed between the crown and
the cross. (Fig. 9, Plate 12. The star is shown in Fig.
4, Plate 5.) On special occasions the badge of the first
class is worn from a gold collar. Over one hundred Amer-
icans have received this order.

The Order of the Crown was established in 1897 as an
order of the Congo State, at that time under the control of
the King of Belgium. It was intended to reward civil
services only, artistic, literary, scientific, and industrial,
and any work in connection with the advancement of
civilization in Africa. In 19 10 it became a Belgian order,
and is now awarded for civil or military services. The
badge is a five-pointed cross with rays between the arms.
It is of white enamel, and the central medallion is blue
with the royal crown in gold. It is surmounted by a laurel
wreath in green, and is suspended from a claret-coloured
ribbon. (Fig. 5, Plate 17.) More Americans have been
admitted to this order than to any of the other Belgian

The Order of Leopold II was instituted in 1900, and is for
' ' rewarding services rendered to the King, or for marking
his personal approbation." The badge is in general the
same as that for the Order of Leopold, the difference being
that the motto is on a blue circle instead of red. The
ribbon is dark blue with a black stripe down the centre.
Several men have been made Chevaliers of this order.

The Military Cross is for officers only, and is given after
twenty years' honourable service, after twenty-five years a
rosette is worn on the ribbon and on the service ribbon.


It is of gold and consists of a black enamelled maltese
cross, with the Belgian lion in the centre, and crossed
swords between the arms. It is surmounted by a crown
and is suspended from a ribbon of green with a red stripe
near each edge. This decoration was instituted in 1885.

The Military Medal is for the men only, and was estab-
lished in 1902 as a reward for conduct and service deserving
some special distinction. It is given after ten years of
unblemished service, and after fifteen years a gold chevron
is placed on the ribbon and on the service ribbon if the
holder is a non-commissioned officer. It is also awarded
for extraordinary heroism in action under very much the
same conditions as the French medal of the same name,
but in this case is suspended from a different ribbon. Both
are of black, yellow, and red, the Belgian national colours,
but when given for long service the colours are placed
in a succession of narrow stripes ; when awarded for heroism
the ribbon is red and on each edge are narrow stripes of
yellow and black. The medal is a gilt cross patee with
rays between the arms and the Belgian lion in the centre
encircled by the motto, "L'Union fait la Force." A crown
surmounts all. Twenty of these medals have been
awarded to Americans.

The Croix de Guerre was established in 191 5 and is
awarded to both officers and men under much the same
conditions as the French Croix de Guerre. The cross is
the same in design as the Military Cross, except that it is in
bronze and with no enamel. (Fig. 4, Plate 17.) In lieu
of a second cross for additional awards a bronze lion is
worn on the ribbon and on the service ribbon. Five


Jf ranee, JBelgium, anb jMonaco

bronze lions are replaced by one in silver. It should here
be noted that the French system of palms and stars has no
counterpart in Belgium, the palm is used only with the
orders to show bestowal for heroism, while the lion with
the Croix de Guerre shows an additional award,but does not
show the source of the citation as in the French system.

As in France admission to the Order of Leopold usually
carries with it the Croix de Guerre when bestowed for
services rendered in the theatre of active military opera-
tions, unless the person already has received it. Nearly
five hundred Croix de Guerre were awarded to Americans.

For the World War the Belgians now have three service
medals ; the Medal of the Yser, given to those who partici-
pated in the operations along that river between October
17 and 22, 1914; the Belgian Campaign medal, given
to all who took part in that campaign between 19 14 and
1 91 8; and finally the Victory Medal.

The Medal of Queen Elizabeth was established'in 191 6 in
honour of the present Queen, as a reward for ladies, with-
out regard to rank or position, vvho distinguished them-
selves by personal help given to Belgians, either civilians
or soldiers, during the war. The medal, which is of gilt
and has an irregular shaped edge, bears the head of Queen
Elizabeth on the obverse, and on the reverse a female figure
seated and holding a lamp, with the inscription *Tro Patria
honore et caritate." It is surmounted by a laurel wreath
and suspended by a ribbon of dull grey with red edges.
When awarded for services to wounded soldiers, a red
enamelled cross is inside the wreath.

For saving life at sea or on other occasions not directly


©rbetfi^, [email protected]{, anb Snieiigttia

connected with war, the Belgians have both a cross and a
medal and each has three classes, gold, silver, and bronze.
The same ribbon is used for all and no distinction is made
on the service ribbon. The first act of life saving is usu-
ally rewarded by a bronze medal, the second by a silver,
the third by gold. Then comes the cross, commencing
with bronze, and all that have been awarded can be worn


This little country, of only eight square miles, is an
independent principality on the shores of the Mediterra-
nean, near Nice. The town of Monte Carlo is within its

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Online LibraryRobert E. WyllieOrders, decorations and insignia, military and civil; with the history and romance of their origin and a full description of each → online text (page 10 of 19)