This interesting grouping of items consists of a late-WWI silver-gilt version of a Bavarian Gold Bravery Medal, a lapel miniature for the Bavarian Gold Bravery Medal, a small silk banner, and a copy of “Bayerns Goldenes Ehrenbuch”.
The silver-gilt Gold Bravery Medal is suspended from a single trapezoidal pin-backed mounting. The medal is an official coinage piece that was awarded from 1917 through 1918. The medal has the die-sinker’s mark “J. RIES” [Johann Adam Ries (*October 16, 1813 – †October 16, 1889)] on the obverse and is impressed with the mark “1000” and with a “half-moon” symbol on the lower edge for 1000/1000 silver content (pure silver).
Sources vary regarding the number of 1914-1918 Gold Bavarian Bravery Medal awards, but if we look at the publication by Dr. von Hessenthal and Schreiber, we get a good idea regarding the number of awards distributed. A total of 1,198 Gold Bravery Medals are listed, with 745 awards (1914 until the end of 1916) having been struck in gold, and with 453 awards (1917-1918) having been struck in silver which was gilded.
Accompanying this medal was a miniature version for wear on the recipient’s lapel when in civilian clothing.
Also accompanying these items was a hand-embroidered silk table banner with “ORDEN DER BAYR./ TAPFERKEITS-/ MEDAILLE/ BEZIRKSVEREIN/ KAISERSLAUTERN/ 1927” (Order of the Bavarian Bravery Medal District Association Kaiserslautern 1927) embroidered on one side. On the other side “DER TAPFERKEIT” (Bravery) is embroidered above the rampant regardant crowned Bavarian Lion supporting a shield and wielding a sword. The field for this embroidery consists of the colors of the Bavarian Bravery Medal ribbon. This banner is suspended from a brass rod. The base and support to display the banner are missing. This banner was undoubtedly displayed during meetings of the Kaiserslautern Order of the Bavarian Bravery Medal veterans.
In addition, a copy of “Bayerns Goldenes Ehrenbuch” also accompanied the items.
On the inside cover of the “Bayerns Goldenes Ehrenbuch” the name of the owner of the book “Franz Gilch/ Kaiserslautern/ Herzoz-v.-Weimar-Str.3” is stamped.
Listed in “Bayerns Goldenes Ehrenbuch” is the citation for Gold Bavarian Bravery Medal recipient Franz Gilch.
A translation of the citation for Franz Gilch:
Sergeant of the Reserve of the 11th Bavarian Pioneer Company. In peacetime electric-assembler in Straubing. Born June 4, 1889 at Lauterbach in Niederbayern.
On May 5, 1915 Sergeant Gilch was assigned to the 11th Bavarian Pioneer Company of the 8th Company of Prussian Infantry Regiment 65, and with a few other pioneers and infantrymen stormed a French dugout and captured about 20 prisoners. After the prisoners had been delivered, he rolled up a trench occupied by the enemy with the same people and again captured 1 doctor and 8 Frenchmen. Finally he held down a section in the trench with 1 machine gun in a hand grenade fight until it had to surrender. Here 3 officers, 45 men were taken prisoner and 2 machine guns captured.
In the night from May 5 to May 6, he fought off several French attacks with his men. On the morning of May 6, he occupied a trench-barrier with 3 pioneers and prevented the French from entering by assuredly throwing hand grenades. Gilch only left this post of great responsibility on command after his comrades had all been killed or wounded and he had been burned on the hand and wounded by fragments of grenades.
Thus we have an interesting group of items that tell the story of a soldier’s bravery many years ago.
Thank you for your interest regarding this article. Comments are welcome.
- Bearbeitet vom Bayerischen Kriegsarchiv. Bayerns Goldenes Ehrenbuch. Verlag Joseph Hyronimus, München, 1928.
- Hessenthal, Waldemar Hesse Edlen von und Schreiber, Georg. Die tragbaren Ehrenzeichen des Deutschen Reiches. Verlag Uniformen-Markt Otto Dietrich. Berlin, 1940.
For more information regarding die-sinker Johann Adam Ries:
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again a fantastic contribution from you about the Bavarian Medal for Bravery. Above all, I notice the silk banner, which would certainly do well for me :-). I congratulate you on this beautiful legacy of an extraordinarily brave Bavarian in the First World War. Gilch is still listed in the local group of Kaiserslautern in the membership list of 1955 of the community “Order of the Bavarian Medal for Bravery”, however with his new address in Kaiserslautern, Kleestrasse 39. I would be happy if you would tell me the dimensions of the “silk banner”.
It is always nice to read such perfectly researched and interesting articles from you. There are too few posts of this quality in today’s Bavaria, you have to take a look across the pond to enjoy them. Thank God there is the www.
Greetings from the Bavarian homeland of the brave Gilch.
P.S. one can see that a, (in German) “Bandring” from a Prussian EK 1914 was used. Bavarian medals for bravery were always awarded without a “Bandring”. This had to be bought yourself, for whatever reason …
Thank you for your interest in my article and your very kind and supportive comments. The banner is approximately 30 cm high (excluding hanger and including bottom fringe) and approximately 19 cm wide (excluding the fringe that extends to the sides at the bottom).
Thank you for your particular comment regarding the “Bandring” (ribbon-ring). It is interesting to note that these medals were provided without a “Bandring” (ribbon-ring). Older (early 1800’s) illustrations often showed the ribbon drawn through the loop at the top of the medals such as this. I suppose that this tradition was meant to be continued, but it was not practical for the recipient. Hence the EKII Bandring with the “S-W” (Sy & Wagner) marking.
I have added an image of a photo postcard from my collection of a larger floor banner for the “Orden der bayerischen Tapferkeitsmedaille – Ortsguppe München” since we are on the topic of Orden der bayerischen Tapferkeitsmedaille banners.
With friendly greetings from the USA,
thank you for the measurements. You are showing an interesting postcard that I have never seen before. Thanks for that. In fact, the ribbons used to be pulled through the eyelet. This would also explain the unusual and not particularly durable style of the eyelets, especially the golden medals. But whether this was really the reason for it? In fact, most Bavarian medals were awarded without a ribbon-ring. On the picture you can see the 2 medals I know, which already had a ribbon ring at the award. On the left a Ludwig medal for science and art and on the right a Georgmedal.
Greetings from Bavaria