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

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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 13 of 19)
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year as the result of the Russo-Turkish War, in which
Roumania took an active part. There are five classes,
Grand Cross, Grand Officer, Commander, Officer, and
Knight, the badges and stars of which are worn in precisely
the same manner as in the corresponding classes of the
Legion of Honour, except that the badge of the Grand
Officer is worn at the neck.

The badge is a blue enamelled cross having rays of gold
between the angles. The central medallion has a gold
eagle on a red ground, surrounded by a blue circle bearing
the motto "In Fide Salus," and this in turn is surrounded by
a closed oak wreath in green. The badge of a Knight is
silver. For military men the badge has crossed swords;
if for services rendered in war the swords form a part of
the badge, crossing at the intersection of the arms of the
cross; if for services in peace, the swords are above the
cross and below the crown which surmounts the whole
decoration. When this order is bestowed for bravery in
action, it is worn suspended from the ribbon for Military


Virtue, instead of the usual ribbon of the order; this is
entered in the citation. The usual ribbon is red with two
blue stripes near each edge.

The Order of the Crown of Roumania was founded in
1 88 1 to commemorate the raising of Roumania from a
principality to a kingdom, with Prince Charles as the first
King. It has the same classes and the same manner of
wearing the distinctive badges and stars as the Star of
Roumania. The badge is a maltese cross enamelled a
deep crimson with a white border and the double cypher
of King Charles between the arms of the cross. On the
central medallion is the Roumanian cross on a red back-
ground representing the rays of the sun to symbolize the
commencement of a new day for the country, surrounded
by the inscription 'Trin Noi Insine. 14 Martie 1881,"
(Through ourselves. March 14, 1881) meaning that the
kingdom was established March 14, 1881, through the
efforts of the Roumanians themselves. (Fig. 9, Plate 17.)
On the reverse is the date 10 Main (May 10) and in the
surrounding circle the years 1 866, 1877, and 1 88 1 . The i oth
of May is the national day of Roumania. On that day in
the year 1866 Charles became Prince of Roumania, on May
10, 1877 Roumania decided to enter the Russo-Turldsh
War, and on the same date in 1881 Prince Charles was
crowned King.

The royal crown of Roumania, which is represented on
this badge, was made of steel taken from cannon captured
from the Turks in 1877. Like the Star of Roumania this
badge has crossed swords for military members, either as a
part of the badge or surmounting it, and is worn from the



FoREiGX Medals

1. St. George (Russia)

2. St. Stanislas (Russia) with crossed

swords and bow

3. St. Anne (Russia)
4 Redeemer (Greece)

5. St. Sava (Serbia)

6. War Cross (Greece)

7. Sacred Treasure (Japan)

8. Prince Danilo I. (Montenegro)

9. Wen-Hu (China)

Casftem Europe

ribbon for Military Virtue when awarded for services in
war. The ordinary ribbon is blue with a white stripe at
each edge.

The Order oj Military Virtue was also established in 1877
and was originally intended for officers only. Since the
institution of the Order of Michel the Brave it has been
changed into a decoration for the men and is awarded
them only for heroism in action. There are two classes,
gold and silver, and the badges of each are worn on the left
breast. The ribbon, which is red with one light blue stripe
near each edge, is also used with the Star of Roumania and
the Crown as already described. The badge is a cross rest-
ing on a closed wreath. On the medallion is a bust of King
Charles, on the reverse the inscription ' 'Virtute Militara."

The men have also another decoration reserved for them
called the Decoration for Loyalty and Bravery, which is
given for any meritorious service not justifying the Order
of Military Virtue. There are three classes, having badges
in gold, silver, and bronze.

The Service Medal for the World War is an oxidized
bronze cross, having the royal crown and the double
cypher of the present King in the centre. The ribbon has
seven dark blue and green stripes, and there are seven
clasps for the major operations of the Roumanian front.
It is awarded to all who took part in the war.

During time of peace service ribbons are worn on undress
uniforms, but in time of war the badges and decorations
themselves are worn, never the ribbons only, the usual
custom being to wear the highest or sometimes the two
highest which the wearer possesses, omitting everything


else. The different classes are shown on the service ribbon
by rosettes of varying size.


All orders and medals of this country are worn with a
plain red ribbon when bestowed for services rendered in
war; when awarded in peace they are worn with the dis-
tinctive ribbons pertaining to them. Inasmuch as service
ribbons are not permitted by the Serbian regulations, this
universal red ribbon for war decorations does not cause
any inconvenience, although it should be noted that many
Serbians during the World War adopted the custom of
service ribbons denoting the classes in the same way as in
the Legion of Honour.

The senior order of Serbia is the Star of Karageorge which
was founded by the present king, Peter I, to commemorate
the deeds of his grandfather, Karageorge the founder of
the dynasty, who, though a simple farmer, organized and
headed a revolution against Turkey during the first dec-
ade of the nineteenth century. Although not completely
successful this revolt paved the way for a subsequent one
under Milan Obrenovitch, also a farmer, which succeeded
in 1815 in wresting Belgrade Province from the Turks,
thus establishing a nucleus for the restoration of the
Serbian kingdom and its complete unity as the result of
the recent World War. There are four classes, the first
class, Knights Grand Cross, wear the badge suspended
from a broad ribbon over the shoulder and a star on the
left side, the second class. Grand Officers, wear the badge
9,t the neck and also a star on the left side, the badge of the


€aitttn Curope

third class, Commanders, is worn at the neck, and of the
fourth class, Officers, on the left breast.

The order is conferred for both civil and military ser-
vices, and is virtually divided into two sections, with
swords and without swords. The order with swords is
given only to officers for military work at the front during
war. The order without swords is awarded for civil ser-
vices and also to officers on administrative duty and other
similar work away from the theatre of active operations.

The first class with swords is given only to the Chief of Staff
of General Headquarters for a successfully accomplished
war, and to the commander of one of the principal armies
for a victory of great importance on a separate battlefield.

The second class with swords may be given only to com-
manders of armies, or other large independent units, for
marked successes having a decided influence for victory;
also to an assistant Chief of Staff at General Headquarters.

The third and fourth classes with swords may be
awarded to all officers of the line or staff at the front who
have materially contributed towards the successful ending
of the war, as well as for splendid achievements in battle
combined with sacrifice or special heroism.

In order to receive a high class in this order a low one
must first have been awarded.

Inasmuch as this order with swords is awarded only
for services at the front the ribbon is always red, but the
badge without swords when awarded in peace is sus-
pended from a red ribbon with white edges.

The badge is a white enamelled maltese cross with gold
rays between the arms, surmounted by a crown and with a

central medallion having a shield bearing the arms of
Serbia, a silver cross on a red field between four letters
"S" in Serbian characters which stand for the motto,
''Only in Harmony is Salvation for the Serbians." The
medallion is surrounded by the motto *'For King and
Liberty, 1804," that being the date of Karageorge's revolt.
Two swords are placed between the arms of the cross, when
the award is "with swords."

The Order of the White Eagle was instituted by King
Milan Obrenovitch in 1883 to commemorate the restora-
tion of the kingdom in the preceding year. A double-
headed white eagle is the ancient emblem of Serbia. This
order is also awarded for both civil and military services.
There are five classes, the four senior having the same
names as in the preceding order and wearing the insignia
in the same manner. The fifth class. Knights, wear a
silver badge on the left breast, the badges of the other four
classes being of gold.

This badge is a crowned double-headed eagle in white
enamel traced in gold and surmounted by the royal crown
of Serbia; on the breast of the eagle is an oval shield bearing
the arms of Serbia. (Fig. 6, Plate 12.) The peace ribbon
is red with Hght blue edges. When awarded for military
services, crossed swords are placed below the crown.

The Order of St. Sava was also instituted in 1883 by King
Milan. St. Sava was the son of a Serbian king and lived
in the thirteenth century. He renounced his right to the
throne, and entering a monastery devoted his life to relief
work and to the propagation of knowledge among the
Serbians, founding schools, monasteries, and other institu-


tions of learning; the celebrated Serbian monastery of
Hilendar on Mt. Athos was established by him. He is
now recognized as the patron saint of learning in Serbia
and this order is primarily awarded for services rendered
in the sciences, arts, and letters, and for relief and social
workers. Naturally the badge never has crossed swords
although it can be awarded to members of the military
establishment who render services appropriate to the order.
It has been awarded to Americans who took part in the
relief work in Serbia during the typhus epidemic. There
are five classes, having the same names and wearing the
insignia in the same manner as in the Order of the White
Eagle. The badge is a maltese cross enamelled white and
having in the centre a red medallion bearing the effigy of
St. Sava and surrounded by a blue band on which is the
motto ''By His Labours He Acquired All" in old Serbian
characters. (Fig. 5, Plate 18.) The peace ribbon is white
with pale blue edges. The badge of this order is worn only
in full dress.

The Medal for Bravery is of two classes, gold and silver,
the ribbon being the usual war red. The gold medal can
be conferred on officers whose personal bravery has been
proved in action, and also on non-commissioned officers
for special gallantry in leading men in action when there
was no officer present. The silver medal is given to non-
commissioned officers and men for proved bravery in
action. The obverse bears the bust of Miloch ObiHtch,
the national hero of the Serbian race, who, at the battle
of Kossovo against the Tiirks in 1389, penetrated to the
tent of Sultan Murad and killed him. He was himself


C^rbersf, ISecorationjEf, anb Snsfignia

overpowered and slain. On the reverse is a cross with
swords between the arms, and over all a closed laurel
wreath around an inscription in Serbian ''For Bravery."

The Medal for Devoted Service in War is also in two
grades, gold and silver, the former for officers, the latter
for men. It is awarded for special devotion to duty in
administrative and non-combatant work outside the thea-
tre of active operations. The usual ribbon is dark blue.
On the obverse is the Serbian double-headed eagle with
the Serbian arms, and on the reverse the inscription ' ' For
Devoted Service" in Serbian within a wreath of laurel.

The Medal for Military Virtue is given to both officers
and men for excellent accomplishment of their duties, to
the extent that they became examples to their comrades.
The medal bears the Serbian arms on the obverse, and the
inscription in Serbian "For Military Virtue" within a
wreath on the reverse. The peace ribbon has alternate
blue and white stripes with narrow white edges.

The Cross of Mercy is given to officers and men of med-
ical units and hospitals, also to nurses and other persons,
for special service in connection with the relief of sick and
wounded soldiers. It consists of a maltese cross with
the inscription in Serbian, "For Nursing the Sick and
Wounded," and on the other side the Serbian arms. The
peace ribbon is light blue.


The only order of this country is that of Prince Danilo I
which was established in i860 by the present King Nicho-
las to commemorate the independence of Montenegro


€as{tem (Europe

which was achieved in 1852. It should be borne in mind
that the Montenegrins are a part of the Serbian race, and
prior to the subjugation of Serbia by the Turks Montene-
gro was a part of the Serbian Empire. The Turks never
conquered Montenegro. There was always a spark of inde-
pendence left in those mountains, but it was not until the
time of Prince Danilo, who was an uncle of the present
king, in the middle of the last century, that Montenegro
was recognized by the other powers as an independent
principality. The order has five classes and is organized
in the same manner as the Legion of Honour. The badge
is a blue and white cross edged with silver or gold, accord-
ing to the class, and having a central medallion bearing the
inscription in Serbian characters "Danilo I, Prince of
Montenegro." (Fig. 8, Plate 18.) The ribbon is white
with a narrow red band near each edge. Knights and
Officers wear the badge on the left breast, the badge for
Officers being slightly larger than that of the Knights.
Commanders and Grand Officers wear the badge at the
neck, the Grand Officers in addition wear a star on the left
side. Knights Grand Cross wear the badge suspended
from a broad ribbon over the shoulder with a star on the
left side. Service ribbons are now customary in Montenegro
and the different classes in this order are distinguished in
the same manner as in the Legion of Honour. This order
has been conferred on about one hundred Americans.

The Ohilitch Medal, founded in 185 1 by Prince Danilo, is
awarded to officers and men only for the most extraordi-
nary deeds of heroism in action. It is very rarely bestowed
and corresponds quite closely with our Medal of Honor


©rber^, ©ecorations;, antr 3n£(ignia

and the British Victoria Cross. The medal is of gold and
bears the head of Miloch Obilitch, the same hero who
appears on the Serbian Medal for Bravery. (Fig. 5,
Plate 19). The ribbon is red.

The Medal for Bravery is awarded for acts of heroism not
warranting the bestowal of the Obilitch Medal. It is in
silver and on the obverse are the arms of Montenegro, a
crowned double-headed eagle, very similar to the Serbian
eagle but bearing in one claw a sceptre and in the other an
orb. On the breast of the eagle is a shield with the lion of
Montenegro. On the reverse is an inscription in Serbian
"Faith, Freedom and Bravery." The ribbon is red, blue
and white, the National Colours. Seventy-five Americans
have been awarded this medal.

The Medal for Devotion to Patriotic Service was estab-
lished by the present King Nicholas in 1895 and bears his
head on the obverse. There are two grades, gold and
silver, and it is awarded for distinguished patriotic services
not in action with the enemy. The ribbon is of the same
colours as the Medal for Bravery. No distinction is made
on the service ribbon between the gold and silver medals.


The senior order of Greece is the Royal Order of the
Redeemer (Saveur) which was founded in 1833 by King
Otto to commemorate the overthrow of Turkish rule and
the reestablishment of Grecian independence. It is
awarded for both civil and military services. There are
five classes; the first, Knights Grand Cross, wear the badge
suspended from a broad ribbon over the right shoulder,


€a^ttm Europe

and a star on the left side; the second class, Grand Com-
manders, wear the badge at the neck, and a star on the
right side; the third class, Commanders, wear the badge
at the neck; the fourth and fifth classes, Officers and
Knights, wear the badge on the left breast. The badge
is a maltese, cross of silver for Knights, gold for the other
classes; it is enamelled white, and the arms are connected
by a wreath of oak and laurel in green. In the central
medaUion is an effigy of the Saviour, surrounded by a
blue band containing the motto "Your right hand is
glorified by strength" in Greek characters (Fig. 4, Plate
18.) The reverse shows a white cross on a blue ground
surrounded by the Greek legend "The Fourth National
Assembly of Greeks in Argos, 1829," which passed the
law estabHshing the Order. The whole decoration is sur-
mounted by a crown, and suspended from a ribbon of
light blue with white edges.

The Order of George I was instituted by the present
King in 191 5. There are five classes, having the same
names and wearing the insignia in the same manner as
in the Order of the Redeemer, and a sixth class called the
" Collier." The ribbon is dark red. This order is awarded
principally for civil services, only rarely to the military.

In 191 6 when Premier Venizelos was the head of the
Provisional Government established at Salonika he insti-
tuted two decorations to reward services rendered to that
government, and when King Constantine abdicated, and
his successor called Venizelos to Athens, those two deco-
rations were taken over by the Greek Government, and
are now awarded by the King.


0thtti, ©ecorationjBf, anb SttiEiignia

The first is the Croix de Guerre (War Cross) , awarded only
for heroism in action. There are three classes*; the first
class is given only to general officers, the second class to field
officers, and the third class to junior officers and men.
The decoration is a closed laurel wreath, with an ancient
Greek sword placed vertically across it, point up; on a
horizontal representation of a ribbon under the wreath is
an inscription in Greek and on the reverse is ''Hellas,
1916-1917," the years during which the provisional gov-
ernment was in existence. (Fig. 6, Plate 18.) It is worn
on the left breast suspended from a black ribbon with
blue edges. The first class has a wreath on the ribbon,
the second class a star, while the ribbon of the third class
is plain.

The other is the Medal of Military Merit, of which
there are four classes, awarded for conspicuously meri-
torious service. The first class is given only to Comman-
ders-in-Chief and is distinguished by a gold wreath on
the ribbon of the medal, the second class has a silver
wreath and is given to general officers, the third class for
field officers has a bronze wreath, and the fourth class
for junior officers and men has a plain ribbon. The rib-
bon is light orange with a black stripe near each edge.
On the service ribbon the class is shown by a palm branch
of gold, silver, or bronze for the first three classes. The
medal itself is a cross of two ancient swords with the ends
terminating on a closed wreath. In the centre an eagle,
and the motto "For having defended the country" in Greek.
On the reverse is "Hellas, 1916-1917."





THE Japanese system of decorations is modern, no-
thing being now in existence pertaining to the old
days of the Shogunate. The late Emperor Mut-
sihito, who overthrew the power of the Shoguns and re-
estabHshed the ancient authority of the Emperors of
Japan, founded all the present orders of the empire.

The following are the Japanese decorations in order of
precedence :

The Grand Order of the Chrysanthemum
The Order of the Golden Kite
The Order of the Rising Sun
The Order of the Sacred Treasure
The Order of the Crown of Japan

Like the British, the above order of precedence applies
only to equal classes. A higher class of a junior order
takes precedence over a lower class of a senior order.
There is no distinction in the service ribbons between dif-
ferent classes of the same order ; the relative position of the
ribbons gives an indication but that is all, as with theBritish.


0vtitv^, ©ecoration£{, anb 3(ns;ignia

The Grand Order of the Chrysanthemum was instituted in
1877 and is awarded only to royalty and the highest nobles
and statesmen. It contains but one class and usually the
badge is worn from a broad ribbon over the shoulder,
but the Emperor confers a golden collar on some of the
members, from which the badge is suspended. The ribbon
is scarlet with crimson edges. The chrysanthemum is
the Emperor's flower. The paulownia, to which reference
will be made later, is the flower of the Empress.

The Order of the Golden Kite was established in 1891 and
is awarded exclusively for distinguished services in the
military or naval profession in time of war. There are
seven classes, the five highest being for officers, the others
for enlisted men. The badge of the order is a cross formed
by two blue enamelled shields of the ancient Japanese type,
on which are placed ancient Japanese flags. The cross is
surmounted by a golden kite. For the sixth and seventh
classes this device is in silver and worn on the left breast.
For the fifth class it is also in silver but the cross has a
background of red enamelled chrysanthemum leaves. For
the fourth it is the same except that it is made in gold;
in both these classes the badge is worn on the left breast.
The third class has the same badge but it is worn at the
neck. In the second class the badge is worn at the neck
and in addition the star of the order is worn on the right
side. In the first class the badge is worn near the right
hip, suspended from a broad ribbon, green edged with
white, passed over the left shoulder, and the star of the
order is worn on the left side.

Tradition has it that a kite helped one of the early


asJia anb America

Japanese emperors to win a signal victory, hence the
association of this bird with the premier mihtary order of
the country.

The Order of the Rising Sun is the oldest Japanese decora-
tion, jDeing instituted in 1876. It is conferred for both
military and civil services and has eight classes, the six
highest being for officers and corresponding grades in civil
life, and the seventh and eighth for the men and civilians
in similar positions. In addition there is a special class,
senior to the first, known as the Grand Cordon of the
Paulownia, which was added in 1889. The star for this
has the lilac flowers of the paulownia tree in place of the
chrysanthemum which figures in the star for the first and
second classes of the Order of the Rising Sun. The badge
of the order is a deep crimson enamelled sun with white
enamelled rays, surmounted by a cluster of three blossoms
and a leaf of the paulownia. (Fig. 5, Plate 12. The star
is shown in Fig. 6, Plate 5). In the seventh and eighth
classes the badge consists of the blossoms and leaf alone,
In the sixth class the badge is of silver, in the fifth class of
silver and gold and in the fourth class of gold. These are all
worn on the left breast. Insignia for the three highest
classes are worn in the same manner as the corresponding
classes of the Golden Kite.

The Order of the Sacred Treasure was established in 1889,
and is used principally as a reward for long and meritorious
services, either military or civil. The sacred treasure from
which the order derives its name consists of a mirror,
collar and sword which tradition ascribes to the Emperor
Jimmu, the first Mikado, who lived about 2500 years ago.


0thtt^, Becorationfii, anb 3Jnsfignia

and which has been handed down since that date to his
successors. The treasure is kept in a shrine at Ise, one of
the holy places of Japan, and at the coronation of a Mikado
it is presented to him with great ceremony. This order
also has eight classes, the insignia of which are worn in the
same manner as those of the Rising Sun. The badge of
the seventh and eighth classes is an eight -pointed star of
silver, representing the mirror. On the badge of the other
classes the mirror is in silver on a dark blue enamelled me-
dallion centre surrounded by a collar of sixteen rubies, and
from this project twenty white enamelled rays in the form
of a cross, representing sword blades. (Fig. 7, Plate 18).
The Order of the Crown of Japan was established in 1889
and is for women only. It has eight classes which are
distinguished by insignia worn in very much the same

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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 13 of 19)