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 12 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 12 of 19)
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©rbersJ, [email protected])0f» anb 3ns(ignia

established in March, 191 8, to reward those who performed
deeds of heroism on land, sea, or in the air, meriting recog-
nition but not sufficient to justify a valour medal; those
who served for a year in the trenches with exemplary
conduct, those who were severely wounded in action,
those who participated in several major engagements,
being noted for habitually performing minor feats of
bravery, and finally those who have been promoted for
acts of bravery. Subsequent awards are shown by a
crown on the ribbon and on the service ribbon, but not
more than two crowns are given, some higher decoration
being bestowed for any further acts. About three hundred
of these crosses were given to Americans. (Fig. 3,
Plate 17.)

In 1867, Victor Emmanuel II bestowed a medal on
certain persons as a reward for valuable services rendered
during the cholera epidemic which raged in Italy. This is
now an established decoration for similar services per-
formed in connection with any epidemic. A medal of
similar character was bestowed in 1909 on those who
distinguished themselves during the great earthquake in
Calabria and Sicily on December 28, 1908.

Long service of an honourable character in the Army and
Navy is rewarded by medals. In the Army a gold cross
suspended from a ribbon of green with a white band in the
centre is given to officers after twenty-five years of service ;
after forty years this is changed for a similar cross sur-
mounted by a crown and having the same ribbon. En-
listed men get crosses of the same design but of silver,
after sixteen and twenty-five years respectively. Naval






Foreign Medals

1. Crown of Italy

2. Savoy (Italy)

3. War Cross (Italy)

4. Croix de Guerre (Belgium)

5. Crown of Belgium (Officer)

6. War Cross (Czecho-SIovakia)

7. Michel the Brave (Roumania)

8. Avis (Portugal)

9. Crown of Roumania

service of twenty-two years is rewarded by a silver medal
suspended from a ribbon of blue with a white band down
the centre. After fifty years in either Army or Navy, the
Mauriziana Medal is given, provided the recipient is a
member of the Order of St. Maurice and St. Lazarus, which,
however, is practically certain to be the case. This medal
has a green ribbon exactly similar to that of the Order of
St. Maurice and St. Lazarus and it is worn immediately
after the badge of that order.

As in France Italy inaugurated the system of war ser-
vice medals after the Crimean War, as a result of the be-
stowal by the British of Crimean medals on the Sardinian
troops who participated in that campaign. The Italian
Crimean medal has a ribbon identical with the British.

The ribbon for the Sicilian Campaign of i860 is woven
with a peculiar device in the centre, a head from which
project three bent legs, 120 degrees apart. This is the
emblem of Sicily and is an allusion to the triangular shape
of that island. This device does not show on the service

Eight years after the authorization of the Crimean
Medal, a service medal was authorized for the wars against
Austria which established the independence and union of
Italy. These wars were, first in 1848-9, when the north-
eastern part of Italy was taken from Austria ; in 1859 when,
with the help of the French, this area was extended; and
in 1860-61 when the province of Venice was reconquered,
and the King of Sardinia became the King of united Italy.
The ribbon for this medal consists of narrow red, white, and
green stripes, and a service ribbon of the same design has
" 161

0tbttii, Becarations{, anb SnfiJignia

been used during the World War to denote services at the
front. This design was employed because the Italians
considered that war almost in the nature of a continuation
of those referred to above for independence, inasmuch as
the object was to recover from Austria the lost Italian
territories in Trentino, around Trieste and in Dalmatia,
and thus complete the union of the Italian nation which
commenced in 1848. After four months service at the
front a service ribbon in the colours of the War of Inde-
pendence ribbon was authorized and for each complete
year of such service a silver star was placed on the ribbon.
This service ribbon therefore corresponds to our gold
service chevrons but with differences. One of our chev-
rons is worn for each six months' service overseas, but not
necessarily within the area of active hostilities, whereas
only service at the front under fire is considered for the
Itahan ribbon. This ribbon is worn ahead of that for the
War Cross but behind all others as it was authorized in
191 6, two years before the War Cross. The United States
troops serving in Italy have been given this ribbon by the
Italian Government. No medaLas yet accompanies it.






HE orders and decorations of the old Russian regime
are the following, in order of precedence :








The Order of St. Andrew (i class)

The Order of St. George (4 classes)

The Order of St. Vladimir (4 classes)

The Order of St. Alexander Nevsky (i class)

The Order of the White Eagle (i class)

The Order of St. Anne (4 classes)

The Order of St. Stanislas (3 classes)

St. George's Sword

St. George's Cross

St. George's Medal

St. Anne's Medal

The above order of precedence holds good only between
the first classes of the different orders, the second classes
of St. George and St. Vladimir come before the first class
of St. Anne; and the third and fourth classes of those
orders likewise are senior to the second and third classes
of St. Anne, respectively. The classes of St. Stanislas
come immediately after the like classes of St. Anne.


©rbetJBJ, JSecorationjBf, anb SitiSfignia

On February 9, 1919 the government variously known
as the All-Russian, Omsk, or Kolchak government issued
an order on this matter which abolished the Order of St.
Stanislas and held in abeyance the Orders of St. Andrew,
St. Alexander Nevsky, the White Eagle, and the first class
of the Order of St. Vladimir. The remaining orders and
decorations are being bestowed by that government. The
same order also permitted the wearing of service ribbons
for the first time. The previous regulations required the
wearing of the medals and badges themselves on all occa-
sions, although that rule had gradually fallen into disuse
during the war and the practice of wearing service ribbons
had become general, but there was no authority for it
until the order mentioned. Under this new order no
distinctive marks are placed on these ribbons to show the
class, but the position clearly indicates it, as the ribbons
are worn in three bars. On the lower are placed ribbons
for the lowest class of each order; in the middle row come
ribbons for the next class above of each order, and on the
top row are ribbons for the highest classes which are still
recognized. This is shown in the following diagram, which
also shows the correct order in each row.

Top row

1st class
St. George

2d class
St. George

2d class
St. Vladimir

1st class
St. Anne

1st class
St. Stanislas

Middle row

3d class
St. George

3d class
St. Vladimir

2d class
St. Anne

2d class
St. Stanislas

Bottom row

4th class
St. George

4th class
St. Vladimir


3d class
St. Anne

3d class
St. Stanislas

4th class
St. Anne

(EaiB^tent Europe

When a member of any order is promoted to a higher
class in the same order it is customary in most countries
to wear only the insignia of the higher class, just as an
officer on promotion wears only the insignia of his new
rank, but in Russian orders this is the case only for be-
stowals made in time of peace. Any membership in an
order conferred for war services is worn, no matter what
subsequent promotions may be given in the same order.
Further this particular rule applies in all cases to the Order
of St. Vladimir for bestowals in both peace and war.

The badge of each order is some form of cross and when
bestowed for war services crossed swords are added.

The Order of St. Andrew, the highest decoration of
Russia, was instituted by Peter the Great in December,
1698. Membership in this order is restricted to royalty
and the most eminent personages. The badge is sus-
pended from a broad ribbon of blue worn over the right
shoulder, on special occasions from a gold collar. A star
is worn on the left side. The badge is a crowned Russian
double-headed eagle on which is a St. Andrew's cross in
blue with the figure of St. Andrew thereon and having the
initials S.A.P.R. in Russian characters, one on the end of
each arm of the cross, these initials standing for ''Sanctus
Andreas Protector Russia " (St. Andrew, Protector of Rus-
sia). The whole is surmounted by the Imperial crown.

The characterization of St. Andrew as the protector of
Russia is due to a legend which affirms that the saint,
when on the Dnieper River at the place where the city of
Kieff was later built, prophesied that a large city would be
founded on that site and that it would be a Christian city.


Kieff is the oldest town of Russia, being known as the
Mother of Russian cities, and it was there that Grand
Duke Vladimir, the first Christian ruler of Russia, ordered
his people to be baptized en masse in the river in 988.
Tradition also has it that when condemned to be crucified
St. Andrew refused to be placed on a cross of the same
shape as the Saviour's, considering that he was not worthy
such a high honour, consequently a cross shaped like the
letter "X" was used, which has since been known as a St.
Andrew's cross.

This order is one of those which is held in abeyance at
the present time.

The Order of St. George. This is the premier order of
Russia for military and naval officers. It was instituted
by Empress Catherine II in 1769 and is most highly valued.
Membership therein places the recipient above all the
retirement laws so that he can remain in active service as
long as he desires. There are four classes, the first class
is given only to the very highest generals and admirals,
very few have been given this class in the history of Russia.
The other classes are more generously bestowed and they
are given for any distinguished service in time of war.
No amount of service, however valuable, in time of peace
authorizes membership in this order. The badge is a
white enamelled maltese cross edged in gold, having a
representation of St. George and the dragon on a red
enamelled medallion in the centre. (Fig. i, Plate 18.)
On the reverse is the monogram of St. George in Russian
letters. In the first class the badge is suspended from a
broad ribbon worn over the right shoulder, a star is worn


€a^itm (Europe

on the left side; the second class wears the badge at the
neck and a star on the left side ; the third and fourth classes
wear the badge on the left breast. On the star are the
words ' ' For Military Merit and Valour' ' in Russian. The
ribbon is orange with three black stripes.

Connected with this order are decorations for the men,
and those who win them are considered members of the
order, although not on the same footing as the officers in
the classes above described. First is St. George's Cross
which is awarded only for conspicuous bravery in action.
There are four grades, two in gold and two in silver. All
are worn on the left breast, the first and third grades being
suspended from ribbons on which are placed bows, in the
second and fourth the bows are omitted. For the first
act of gallantry the fourth class is awarded, for the second
act the third class cross is given, etc., and each cross
awarded can be worn. The cross is exactly the same as the
badge of the Order of St. George already described, except
that it is without any enamel, and the ribbon is the same.

St. George's Medal is similarly given to men for dis-
tinguished service in action not warranting the award of
the cross. This was established during the World War.
There are also four grades of this medal, which are awarded
in the same way as those of the cross and are distinguished
from each other in the same manner. This ribbon also is
identical with that of the Order of St. George.

It seems a little odd that both England and Russia, the
extreme western and eastern countries of Europe, should
have taken St. George as their patron saint, especially as
he was not a native of either place. St. George lived in


©rbetsf, ©ecoratiottJEf, anb Sttjfignia

the third century, being born in Cappadocia, in what is
now know as Asia Minor, and is the special patron of
chivalry. "St. George for Merry England" was a war
cry in the times of the early Plantagenets, and the Order
of the Garter has this saint as its patron. He was chosen
by Russia because laroslaf the Great was baptized as
George, according to the custom under which a Christian
name was taken at baptism. laroslaf ordered that
November 26 be celebrated throughout Russia as St.
George's day; he also established the monastery of St.
George at Kieff , and the town which we now know as Dor-
pat was started by him, the Russian name of this city
means Georgetown. laroslaf died in 1054 ^^^ since then
St. George has been highly venerated throughout Russia.

During the reign of Feodor (1584-1598) medals were
awarded for conspicuous bravery in battle, bearing the
image of St. George and the dragon. These medals were
worn on the headdress or the sleeves, and several are still
in existence. This was the beginning of Russian medals,
and it will be observed that it happened at the same time
that Queen Elizabeth of England gave the Ark in Flood
medals for the victory over the Spanish Armada. The
connection of St. George with valour decorations in Russia
is thus clear, and the present orders, crosses, medals, and
sword, all bearing his name, merely perpetuate a custom
which is centuries old.

The Order of St. Vladimir was also established by Cath-
erine II in the year 1782. It was named for the Grand
Duke Vladimir, the first Christian ruler, referred to earlier.
There are four classes but the first class is not now awarded


€a^ttxn €nxopt

by the Omsk government. The badge of the order is a
cross enamelled in black, gold, and red; in a central medal-
lion of black is an heraldic mantle of ermine enamelled in
red, white, and black and charged with a " V. " The motto
of the order in Russian appears on the reverse, ''Utility,
Honor and Glory." The badge and star are worn as in
the corresponding classes of the Order of St. George. The
ribbon is red with black edges.

The Order of St. Alexander Nevsky was founded by Peter
the Great in 1725 and afterwards confirmed by the Em-
press Catherine. There is but one class and the badge
therefor is suspended from a broad ribbon of red worn over
the right shoulder, with a star on the left breast. Alexan-
der Nevsky (of the Neva) is the patron saint of Petrograd,
which city was founded by Peter the Great. Both this
order and the one following are now held in abeyance and
not awarded by the Omsk government.

The Order of the White Eagle was originally a Polish order,
being first instituted in 1325 by Vladislas V, King of Po-
land, later revived in 1705 by Augustus, Elector of Saxony
and King of Poland, and in 1829 adopted for Russia by
Nicholas I. There is but one class and the insignia are
worn in the same manner as in the Order of St. Alexander
Nevsky. The ribbon is light blue.

The Order of St. Anne was established by the Empress
Anne in 1735. There are four classes. The badge (Fig.
3, Plate 18) for the first class is suspended from a broad
ribbon worn over the left shoulder and a star is worn on
the right side. The badge of the second class is worn at
the neck, and of the third class on the left breast. The


fourth class is awarded only for services in war and the
method of indicating it is unique in the way of decorations.
On the top of the sword hilt is a small cross of St. Anne and
the sword knot is red instead of black, the usual colour of
the Russian sword knot. The service ribbon for this class
is the width of the sword knot (about one half inch), and
IS worn at the left end of the third row.

Like the Order of St. George this order also has a deco-
ration for the men, known as St. Anne's Medal, which is
awarded for long service and for distinguished work per-
formed other than in action. The medal is silver and has
the bust of the reigning emperor on the obverse, and is
suspended from the same ribbon as the badge of the Order
of St. Anne, which is red with a very narrow yellow stripe
near each edge.

The Order of St. Stanislas is another Polish creation,
having been established by King Stanislas Poniatowsky of
Poland in 1765 and adopted for Russia by Alexander I in
1 81 5. In 1 83 1 Emperor Nicholas made some extensive
changes in the order and insignia. The badge is a red
enamelled cross edged in gold with a Polish eagle in each
angle, the wings of the eagles showing on the arms of the
cross ; gold rays emanate from the ends of the arms. The
central medallion is enamelled white surrounded by a
green wreath, with the monogram **S.S." for St. Stanislas,
in red in the centre. (Fig. 2, Plate 18.) This badge for
the first class is suspended from a broad ribbon of red and
white worn over the right shoulder and a star at the left
side; for the second class it is worn at the neck and the
third class on the left breast.


(Easftem €urope

This order has now been abolished but those to whom it
was previously awarded still have the right to wear it.

Gallantry in action by officers which is not considered
sufficient for membership in the Order of St. George is
rewarded by the bestowal of St. George's Sword. This
sword has a gold handle instead of black, a St. George's
cross on the hilt and the sword knot is in the colours of the
ribbon of the Order of St. George, orange and black.
Admiral Kolchak received this sword in the Russo-
Japanese war and it is related of him that when approached
by the sailors' soviet of his fleet in the Black Sea in the
early days of Bolshevism, with a demand for the surrender
of his sword to them as a token that he renounced the
command of the fleet to him who might be elected by the
soviet, he unbuckled his St. George's Sword and threw it
overboard, rather than give to the Bolshevists the decora-
tion he had won by valour.


Nothing definite has yet been decided about decorations
for this new country, or rather for this old nation which has
now regained its independence. It will be recalled that
Poland was divided between Russia, Prussia, and Austria
in three partitions which occurred between 1772 and 1795,
Russia getting the largest share. That country took two
of the old Polish orders, the White Eagle and St. Stanislas,
but both have now been discontinued by the Omsk govern-
ment. Ancient Poland also had an Order of Military
VirtuCy established by the last King, Stanislas Augustus in
1 79 1, which was awarded only for services in the field.


©rbetfiJ. ©etorationsf, anb Sns^ignia

It was revived in the Polish Revolution of 183 1, but abol-
ished when that insurrection was put down. At last
reports the new Polish government was considering the
question of re-establishing that order, which contained two
classes .

The badge was a cross with ' ' Militari Virtu ti' ' on the arms.
On the central medallion was the Polish eagle surrounded
by a wreath. On the reverse was the horseman of Lithu-
ania, also surrounded by a wreath, and the initials
"S.A.R.P." on the arms, for Stanislas Augustus, Rex
Poland. (Fig. 7, Plate 19.) The badge of the first class
was gold and enamel, that of the second was plain sil-
ver. The ribbon was light blue with a black stripe at
each end for the first class, without the stripes for the
second class.


This new State was formed of four component parts by
the action of the Peace Conference at Paris, Bohemia,
Moravia, Silesia, and Slovakia. There is still no regular
government for this State, and as a result no formally
adopted and complete system of decorations.

The Czecho-Slovak representatives in Siberia, who
directed the Czecho-Slovak armies in that country and
eastern Russia, instituted the Order of Sokol, or Hawk, to
reward military services rendered in their army. The
badge is of gold and consists of a central medallion from
which emanate five arms of equal length and shaped in
general like the arms of a maltese cross, the outer edges,
however, are convex. These five arms represent the five


Cas^tem Curope

great powers which determined the future of Czecho-
slovakia at the Peace Conference, the United States,
Great Britain, France, Italy, and Japan. The central
medallion is enamelled white and on it are three hills in
blue, representing the three principal mountains of Slo-
vakia; above the hills fly four hawks in gold, representing
the four component lands mentioned above. The arms
are enamelled blue with white borders and edged in gold.
On the reverse is the monogram *'C. S." When awarded
for services rendered in action the badge is surmounted by
crossed swords in gold. The ribbon is red with a narrow
white stripe in the centre and a yellow thread near each

The Czecho-Slovak representatives in Paris have
adopted a War Cross to reward services rendered in war
under very much the same conditions as the French Croix
de Guerre. It is of bronze and consists of four interlaced
circles so placed as to form a cross. Within each are the
arms of the four component lands, the upper being the lion
of Bohemia, the lower the three hills of Slovakia with a
double cross above, known as the apostolic cross, on one
side the eagle of Moravia and on the other the eagle of
Silesia. These two eagles are approximately the same in
general design but that of Moravia is made with a checker-
board effect. (Fig. 6, Plate 17.) On the reverse is the
monogram "C.S." in the centre with leaves of the lime
tree in each of the circles. The lime can be considered
the national tree of Czecho-Slovakia. For subsequent
awards a branch of the lime tree with leaves is placed on
the ribbon and on the service ribbon. The ribbon is red


©rberief, ©etotatiottjef, anb Snie^ignia

with three white stripes and white edges ; down the centre
of each stripe and on the extreme edges is a red thread.


The Order of Michel the Brave is the senior Roumanian
reward. It was instituted in 191 6 by King Ferdinand and
is awarded only to officers for miHtary services in the field
against an enemy. Michel, for whom the order is named,
was the Domn or Prince of Wallachia at the end of the
sixteenth century and distinguished himself greatly in
battle, particularly in one famous engagement against the
Turks in 1595, known as the Battle of Calugareni, where
Michel, after trapping the Turkish army in a morass,
personally led the charge which completely routed them.
Report states that there were but 10,000 Roumanians
against 120,000 Turks in this affair. Michel was killed
by treachery in 1601, just after he had defeated the Hun-
garians, regaining Transylvania, which, however, was soon
lost, so his name is peculiarly appropriate for an order
established during a war which had as one result the trans-
fer of that same province to Roumania after so many
years of Hungarian rule.

There are three classes in this Order, Grand Cross,
Commander, and Knight. Except in the case of distin-
guished foreigners admission is to the lowest class only,
no matter how high the rank of the recipient; promotion
to the higher classes is effected through subsequent ser-
vices. The badge of the order is a blue enamelled cross
having in the centre a crown above the double cypher of
King Ferdinand (Fig. 7, Plate 17) and it is worn on the left


€aitttn Curope

breast by Knights. Commanders wear a slightly larger
badge at the neck and also the badge of the Knight, while
Grand Cross wear a still larger badge of the same design
on the left breast without ribbon exactly as stars are worn
in other orders, and also the badges of the Commander
and Knight. The installation of members of this order is
always performed by the King in person. The ribbon is
purple with grey edges.

The Order of the Star of Roumania was established by
Prince Charles in 1877 in commemoration of the release of
Roumania from Turkish control which occurred in that

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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 12 of 19)