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 9 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 9 of 19)
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of the cross. It is worn at the neck by Knights and on
the left shoulder from a bow by Ladies. There is also





nun t~~M id

®reat ^Britain

a class of Esquires, which wear the badge on the left

There are several British orders which are given only
for services to India. The most important of these is
The Most Exalted Order of the Star of India which comes
ahead of St. Michael and St. George in the order of
precedence. It was established in 1861 and contains
three classes; Knights Grand Commander (G. C. S. I.),
consisting of 18 natives and 12 European members;
Knights Commander (K. C. S. I.), 72 members; and Com-
panions (C. S. L), 144 members. The collar is gold,
composed of enamelled roses, lotus flowers, and palm
branches. The motto of the order is "Heaven's Light
our Guide." The ribbon is light blue. The collar, badge,
and star are worn in the same manner as in the corre-
sponding classes of the Order of the Bath.

The Most Eminent Order of the Indian Empire comes
just after St. Michael and St. George in the list of prece-
dence and was instituted in 1878 to commemorate the
establishment of the Indian Empire the year before. It
consists of three classes, Kjiights Grand Commander
(G. C. I. E.), Knights Commander (K. C. I. E.), and
Companions (C. I. E.). The collar is composed of ele-
phants, lotus flowers, peacocks, and Indian roses in enamel.
The ribbon is purple and the different insignia are worn
as in the Order of the Bath.

The Imperial Order of the Crown of India (C I.) was

also established in 1878 and is bestowed only on women;

on the wives of Indian princes, of the Viceroy of India

and other high dignitaries of that country, and on women

« 113

who perform special services in or for India. There is
but one class and the ribbon is light blue edged with white.
The badge is set with diamonds, pearls, and turquoises.

The Order of British India (0. B. I.) is bestowed only
on native officers of the Indian Army and was instituted
in 1837 by the East India Company, then the governing
power in India. There are two classes. The badge is a
gold star having a lion in the centre on a blue enamelled
ground and surmounted by a crown for the first class,
without the crown for the second class. It is worn at the
neck from a red ribbon.

The Indian Order of Merit is given only to native officers
and men for heroism in action and is worn at the neck.
There are three classes, the badge of the first is an eight-
pointed gold star with a blue enamelled centre on which
are crossed swords and a laurel wreath of gold. The
badge of the second class is the same but in silver, that
of the third is also silver with the crossed swords and
wreath in silver. This order was bestowed on 894 Indian
officers and men during the World War.


The Victoria Cross, the premier decoration, has already
been described. The other decorations fall into three
general classes, first for officers, second for the men, third
miscellaneous. The war decorations for both officers and
men are confined entirely to heroic conduct, and therefore,
under the British principle previously summarized, are
limited to officers not above the rank of Captain; field
officers are rewarded by the Distinguished Service Order,

J 14

(Sreat JBritain

or possibly the lowest class of a higher order; general
officers by the Bath or St. Michael and St. George, or
by an Indian Order if appropriate.

The decorations for officers are all crosses, those for
enlisted men are circular and called medals. The senior
cross is the Distinguished Service Cross (D. S. C). This
was established in 1901, under the name of the Conspicu-
ous Service Cross, being changed to the present designa-
tion in 1 9 14. It is awarded only ''for meritorious or
distinguished services before the enemy" to officers of the
Navy below the rank of Lieutenant-Commander, and of
the Marines below Major, including warrant officers of
both services. The crpss itself is somewhat similar in
appearance to the badge of the Distinguished Service
Order, omitting the enamel, being a silver cross of the
same shape, with the Imperial cypher (G. R. I.) in the
centre, surmounted by a crown. The ribbon is dark
grey-blue with a white band in the centre. A clasp is
awarded in lieu of a second cross, and a silver rose is
placed on the service ribbon to denote a clasp, and this
applies to all the following decorations of both officers
and men. Within the limits prescribed for it, the Dis-
tinguished Service Cross is the counterpart of the Ameri-
can Navy Cross, but the latter has a much wider scope.

For the Army the equivalent decoration is the Military
Cross (M. C.) which was estabHshed in 19 14 to reward
Captains, Lieutenants, and Warrant Officers of the Army
for heroism in action. It is a silver cross with the Im-
perial cypher in the centre, and a crown on each arm of
the cross (Fig. i, Plate 16). The ribbon is white with a

©rbersf, ©ecoratiottfif, anb 3n£(ignia

purplp band in the middle. 36,730 were awarded during
the World War, also 3105 clasps, of which number 168
had two and four had three clasps. Over 300 were
awarded to Americans and five clasps. This decoration
corresponds to the American Distinguished Service Cross
except that the latter is open to all officers and men.
The character of service required is identical.

The Distinguished Flying Cross {D. F. C.) was estab-
lished in 1 91 8 and is given to officers of the Royal Air
Force for acts of gallantry when flying in active opera-
tions against the enemy. The Air Service in England is
independent of both Army and Navy and comprises a
military wing and a naval wing, so these three decora-
tions cover the same ground for the three services. The
cross is silver with ornamental ends. In the centre is
the monogram, "R. A. F." (Royal Air Force) surmounted
by a crown. On the vertical arms of the cross are propeller
blades, and on the horizontal arms are wings. (Fig. 4,
Plate 16). In the centre of the reverse is the imperial
cypher, and the date 191 8. The ribbon is white with
diagonal stripes of purple, from the upper left to lower
right side of the ribbon. (Plate 13.)

Courage when flying, however, is not confined to opera-
tions against the enemy ; it is a necessity for the air man
at all times, consequently the British have another deco-
ration for the Air Force officers, the Air Force Cross {A . F.
C.) established at the same time, awarded for special
acts of courage or devotion to duty when flying, though
not in active operations against an enemy. It is a silver
cross, all four arms bearing propeller blades, and at the


iSteat JJritain

ends the letters "G. V. R. I.," one on each arm, for George
V, Rex et Imperator. In the centre is a figure, standing
on a flying bird, and holding a wreath in his hand (Fig. 5,
Plate 16). The ribbon is white with diagonal blue stripes.

The senior decoration confined to the men is the Medal
for Distinguished Conduct in the Field, {D. C. M.) usually
called the Distinguished Conduct Medal. It was insti-
tuted in 1854 ^oi" i^^^ o^ ^h^ Army who distinguished
themselves by conspicuous gallantry in the field. A
gratuity of $100 accompanies the medal, which is sus-
pended by a narrow red ribbon with a black band down
the middle. The date of the act for which awarded is
usually engraved on the reverse of the medal. 24,420
were given during the World War, and 477 clasps, nine
men getting two clasps. About 100 were awarded to

The next is the Conspicuous Service Medal (C. S. M.)
for petty officers and men of the Navy and corresponding
grades in the Marines, the exact counterpart of the army
Distinguished Conduct Medal. It was established at the
same time, and carries with it the same gratuity. The
ribbon is the same as that of the officers' decoration
already described, the Distinguished Service Cross.

The Distinguished Service Medal {D. S. M.) was estab-
lished in October, 19 14, for men of the Navy and Marines
who "show themselves to the fore in action, and set an
example of bravery and resource under fire, but without
performing acts of such pre-eminent bravery as would
render them ehgible for the Conspicuous Gallantry
Medal." The ribbon is the same as the preceding except


that it has two white bands near the middle instead of

This is paralleled in the Army by the Military Medal
{M. M.), established in March, 191 6, for similar acts
performed by men of the Army. (Fig. 3, Plate 16 shows
the reverse.) The ribbon is dark blue with three white
and two crimson stripes alternating. It may be awarded
to women for devotion to duty under fire. 114,529
MiHtary Medals were given during the World War, and
5900 bars, 180 men getting two bars, while one received
three. Nearly 400 were awarded to Americans.

The Meritorious Service Medal (M. S. M.) was estab-
lished in 1845 for the Army and four years later for the
Marines, as a reward for specially selected Sergeants of
long service. In October, 191 6 this was extended to in-
clude all the men of the Army irrespective of length of
service, and in the following January it was announced
that the medal would be awarded to Army men "for gal-
lant conduct in the performance of duty otherwise than
in action against the enemy, or in saving or attempting
to save the life of an officer or soldier, or for devotion to
duty in a theatre of war." Marines when serving with
the Army obtain this medal under the Army rules ; when
not so serving only Sergeants can receive it after twenty-
one years service, or when pensioned for wounds received
in action. An annuity of $100 can be given with tnis
medal, but only by a special grant. The ribbon has been
changed several times, now it is crimson with white
edges and a narrow white stripe in the middle. When
given as a purely Marine decoration the ribbon is dark


(great JSritain


blue. 23,489 Meritorious Service Medals were awarded
during the Worid War, and four clasps. Americans
received 25 of these medals.

For men of the Air Service there is the Distinguished
Flying Medal (D. F. M.) which corresponds to the Dis-
tinguished Flying Cross for officers, being given for exactly
the same character of deeds; the ribbon is the same,
except that the purple stripes are narrower, and there are
more of them. The Air Force Medal {A. F. M.) corre-
sponds to the Air Force Cross for officers, and the ribbon
has the same difference as the precedmg medal. Both
these medals are oval, and the reverse of the Air Force
medal has the same design as the centre of the Air Force
Cross already described. Both these medals were es-
tablished in 1 91 8 with the officers' decorations.

Comparing these medals for the men with our American
awards we can say that the Distinguished Conduct
Medal and the Distinguished Flying Medal correspond
with our Distinguished Service Cross for the Army, while
the MiHtary Medal is probably nearer paralleled by our
Citation Star. Since the abolition of the Certificate of
Merit we have nothing corresponding to the Meritorious
Service Medal or the Air Force Medal. In the Navy our
Navy Cross takes the place of the Conspicuous Service
Medal, the Distinguished Service Medal, both the Air
service medals, and also covers the ground taken' by the
Meritorious Service Medal for the Army, which has no
counterpart in the British Navy.

For native Indian troops there is the Indian Distin-
guished Service Medal, instituted in 1907, and the Indian



©rbetjef, ©ecotationif, anb Sn^^ignia

Meritorious Service Medal, both being for the men under
much the same conditions as the similarly named deco-
rations of the British forces. 2495 of the Indian D. S. M. 's
were awarded during the war, and 15 clasps; and 1500
Indian M. S. M.'s with one clasp.

All of the above medals for the men have the head of
the sovereign on the obverse; on the reverse is an inscrip-
tion denoting the character of the service, e.g., "For
Conspicuous Service," "For Bravery in the Field," etc.

Miscellaneous Decorations

Foremost among these is the Royal Red Cross, founded
in 1883, solely for women. It is awarded to members of
the nursing services or others engaged in nursing duties,
recommended for special devotion or competency with the
Army in the field, or in naval and miHtary hospitals or
hospital ships. It can also be conferred upon any lady
who performs valuable services with the Red Cross or kin-
dred societies. There are two classes; the first are called
Members (R. R. C), the second Associates (A. R. R. C).

The badge of Members is a gold cross, enamelled red,
with a gold border. In the centre is the head of the
Sovereign, and on the four arms the words "Faith, Hope,
Charity" and the date "1883" (Fig. 2, Plate 16). The
badge of the Associates is frosted silver, with a red mal-
tese cross, and the head of the Sovereign in relief on the
cross. A narrow ribbon of blue with red edges tied in
the form of a bow is used with these badges, which are
worn on the left shoulder. When an Associate performs
additional services warranting reward, the first class is



n n



(great JBritam

awarded; when a Member renders subsequent service a
clasp is given. During the World War 869 First Class
were given and 67 clasps, also 4706 Second Class. These
medals went to nearly 100 Americans.

The Kaiser -i-Hind Medal was instituted in 1900 as a
reward for any person, without distinction of sex, race, or
position who renders useful or important service in the
advancement of the public interest in India. The name
has no reference to the former German monarch ; it means
Emperor of Hindustan, and was the title used by the Great
Moguls of Delhi and assumed by Queen Victoria in 1877.
There are two classes; the first is bestowed by the Sov-
ereign, the second by the Viceroy of India.

There are a large number of life-saving medals in Eng-
land, the best known are probably the Albert medals,
established in 1866 as a memorial to Prince Albert, the
consort of Queen Victoria, who died five years before.
There are four of these, two for saving life at sea and two
for saving life on land. Then there are the medals of the
Royal Himiane Society and of the Board of Trade, the
Edward Medal for heroic acts in mines or quarries, etc.
The medals of the Royal Humane Society are worn on
the right breast. The Foreign Office Medal, which is
awarded only to foreigners, has been given to some Ameri-
cans. This is bestowed for saving the life of a British
subject at sea, for gallantry and humanity, or for assisting
a British vessel in distress. On the obverse is the head of
the reigning sovereign, and on the reverse the reason for
which it is awarded and a wreath of oak leaves. The
ribbon is crimson.


©rtetiEf, ©ecorationiEi, anb SttfiJignia

Service Medals

The general development of service medals in England
was sketched in Chapter I. Mention will be made here
only of the medals to commemorate the World War.
Three are now provided.

The Mons Star was originally awarded only to those
who took part in the battle of Mons at the beginning of
the war, the retreat from Mons to the Marne, the first
battle of the Marne, the ''race to the sea," and finally
the first battle of Ypres up to midnight November 22-23,
1 914. In other words this star was for "the contemptible
little army" which assisted the French in those early days.
Later, however, it was extended to all who took part in
the operations on the western front of 1914 and 191 5.
The ribbon is red, white, and blue, shading into each
other as in a rainbow, the red being worn to the right.
It is a four-pointed star of bronze, on which are two crossed
swords and a scroll inscribed "Aug.-Nov. 191 4." Around
the scroll and resting on the swords is a closed oak wreath
with the letter "G" at the bottom. The royal crown
takes the place of the upper point of the star. For those
who receive the medal for services rendered after Novem-
ber 23, 1914, the scroll has "1914-1915," omitting the
two months inscribed on the other. The ribbon is the
same for both. No clasps go with this medal.

The Overseas Medal is awarded to all members of the
British, Dominion, Colonial, and Indian forces who
"either entered a theatre of war on duty or left their
places of residence and rendered approved service over-


(great JSritain

seas" between August 5, 1914 and November 11, 1918.
The ribbon is orange with narrow stripes of white, black,
and blue at each edge.

Finally the British have their Victory Medal with the
same double rainbow ribbon as the other allies and the
United States. As this is an interallied medal, the British
service medals are not given to members of any other
army; no Americans therefore can receive either the Mons
Star or the Overseas Medal, except those who served
under the British flag.






RENCH decorations are worn in the following
order :

The Order of the Legion of Honour

Medaille Militaire

Croix de Guerre

Colonial Orders

War Service Medals

The Palms

Order of Agricultural Merit

Medals of Honour

The Order of the Legion of Honour

This famous order was established by the first Napoleon
in 1802, for the purpose of rewarding services in both civil
and military life. The first distribution took place at the
Invalides in 1804. Under succeeding governments it lost
prestige until revived by his nephew, Louis Napoleon
then President, afterwards the Emperor Napoleon III.

Inasmuch as about eleven hundred Americans have been
admitted to this order for their services in the World War,


Jf ranee, JJelgium, anb iWonaeo

a description of it will be given in sufficient detail to give
the reader some comprehension of a modern European
order, although it must not be assumed that all orders are
counterparts of the Legion of Honour, the underlying
principles, however, are very similar.

The Order is divided into five classes, Chevalier, Officer,
Commander, Grand Officer, and Grand Cross. In times
of peace an individual is admitted to the order with the
lowest rank, that of Chevalier, only after having exercised
for twenty years, with distinction, either civil or military
functions. A service of four years in that grade is required
before he can be promoted to an Officer, two years as an
Officer is necessary for prom^otion to Commander, then
three years before he is eligible to be made a Grand Officer,
and an additional five years before he can be given the
highest rank, that of Grand Cross. However these severe
requirements as to length of service can be set aside in
time of war and even in time of peace ''for extraordinary
services, civil or military, in the sciences or the arts."
In the case of foreigners there is no pretence of adhering
to these rules, they are given the grade which they would
probably have attained had their entire service been
rendered as Frenchmen. For example a successful
Commander-in-Chief of the French Army would un-
doubtedly be made a Grand Cross if he had not already
received it, consequently that rank is usually bestowed on
the Commander-in-Chief of an allied army comparable in
size with the French forces. A French general of division
is usually a Commander of the Legion, so a foreign division
commander when admitted to the order generally comes


in with that grade. The membership of the order, exclu-
sive of foreigners, is ordinarily limited to the following,
but these limits were exceeded during the World War.

20 Grand Cross
50 Grand Officers
250 Commanders
2000 Officers
12,000 Chevaliers

The badge of the Order is a white enamelled star sur-
mounted by a laurel wreath and hung from a ribbon of red
watered silk (moire). (Fig. 7, Plate 12.) For Chevaliers
the badge is 40 mm. in diameter and of silver, and is worn
on the left breast. For all higher ranks it is of gold.
Officers wear the badge in the same place but with a rosette
on the ribbon. Commanders wear a larger badge at the
throat, suspended from a wider ribbon worn around the
neck. Grand Officers wear a star (Fig. 3, Plate 5),
90 mm. in diameter, on the right breast and in addition
the Officer's badge on the left breast. Grand Cross wear
a still larger badge at the left side, suspended from a broad
ribbon passed over the right shoulder and under the left
arm, and in addition the star of the Grand Officer on the
left breast. The service ribbon of a Chevalier is plain,
that of an Officer has a small rosette in the centre, the
Commander has a bowknot of silver lace under the rosette.
On the service ribbon of the Grand Officer is a bowknot,
one side of gold and the other side of silver in addition to
the rosette, and for the Grand Cross the entire bowknot


Jfrance, ^Belgium, anb iMonato

is of gold. (Figs. 10, ii, 12, and 13, Plate 12.) On
civilian clothes a Chevalier is authorized to wear a
small piece of red ribbon in the lapel buttonhole, an
Officer wears a red rosette, and the senior classes wear
rosette and bowknot of the same design as on the service

The President of the Republic is the chief sovereign
and Grand Master of the Order. The Order is adminis-
tered by a Grand Chancellor who works directly with the
President, assisted by a Council of ten members and a
secretary. This body passes upon all nominations for
admission or promotion in the Order, revision of the rules,
supervision over the members to the extent of seeing that
their conduct is befitting and in conformity with the rules
of the Order, and the degradation of those who act in an
unbecoming manner. It controls the expenses and re-
ceipts of the Order, the granting of gratuities and pensions
to members thereof, and also exercises a general super-
vision over all other orders, decorations, and medals in the
Republic, including recommendations for the establish-
ment of new decorations. It also acts as an intermediary
and office of record for foreign decorations bestowed on

From this it can be seen that the Legion of Honour is a
society composed of individuals who have gained dis-
tinction in their own right, and that they are governed by
a rigid code of honour.

The Chancellery of the Order is the Palace of the Legion
of Honour in Paris, rebuilt in 1878, the original one having
been burned during the Commune.


La Medaille Militaire

The Military Medal was established by a Presidential
decree of Louis Napoleon on January 22, 1852, to reward
enlisted men for specially meritorious long services and for
signal acts of valour. It carries with it a pension and has
been very sparingly bestowed. It is the nearest French
equivalent for our Medal of Honour. It is never conferred
on officers, except on generals who have rendered excep-
tional services for the national defence and who have
already received the Grand Cross of the Legion of Honour-
In addition, the general must have fulfilled one of the
two following conditions: either have commanded an
Army, Corps, or higher command for over three years, or
have commanded a Division for over three years during
which time he was a member of the Superior Council of
War. These conditions make the bestowal of the Military
Medal on officers very exceptional, but when conferred
it is considered a higher decoration than the Legion of
Honour because the recipient must already be a member
of the highest grade of the Legion before he is eligible
to receive the Military Medal.

This decoration is never conferred twice on the same
individual. In the extremely rare cases when a man
performs an act justifying the award of a second Military
Medal, he is received into the Legion of Honour instead.
This, it will be observed, is the exact reverse of the pro-
cedure which applies to generals. An example of this is
shown in the following citation.

It is inscribed on a special tablet of the Legion of Honour
for the grade of Chevalier, to take effect August 4, 1916:


s^^f-iJ i -Mi&i^^Am


r~^ ^"^"^




. /

jf ranee, JSelgium, anb idlonaco

JOUY, Mathieu, first-class soldier of the 226. Colonial Regiment,

No. 24 — 958
Elite soldier who in combat on the first of July, 1 91 6,
brilliantly sustained his reputation as the hero of Fort Beause-
jour. Armed with a machine rifle, he advanced in the first
wave of assault against the strongly occupied German position.
He terrified the enemy with a strong fire and compelled a large

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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 9 of 19)