Introduction:

When Emperor Franz Joseph assumed the throne in Austria one of his earliest actions was to establish the merit crosses to be awarded to those who demonstrated proven devotion to the fatherland, many years of valuable service, or other significant services in support of the public welfare. This decoration replaced the Civil Merit Medal which had been introduced in 1848. This decoration was highly regarded and personally approved and presented by the emperor up until World War I.  In this blog I will describe some of the variations in the cases in which the gold, silver with crown and silver merit Crosses were issued,.

Attachments: Gilt swords were authorized on December 13, 1916. 50 mm long and 8 mm wide rhomboid shaped metal clasps were authorized on February 17,1918 to signify additional awards of the Golden Merit Cross with Crown. All of the crosses except the Gold Merit Cross with crown could only be awarded once. If additional recognition was warranted the next highest grade of the cross was awarded. Prior to the authorization of the additional award bar the Gold Merit Cross with Crown could be awarded twice and both decorations could be worn at the same time. When a second award bar was awarded with swords they were placed on the second award bar.

 

Figure 1: Gold Merit Cross with crown on war ribbon with swords. Image from the author’s archive.

Figure 2: Gold Merit Cross on war ribbon with swords. Image from the author’s archive.

 

Figure 3: Silver Merit Cross with crown on war ribbon with swords. Image from the author’s archive.

Figure 4: Silver Merit Cross on war ribbon with swords. Image from the author’s archive.

 

Figure 5: Gold Merit Cross with crown on war ribbon with second award bar and swords. Image from the author’s archive.

Figure 6: Gold Merit Cross with crown on war ribbon with second award bar. Image from the author’s archive.

 

Hope you enjoyed this blog. Until next time I hope you find joy in our shared interest

Rick

 

 

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