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 the Ribbons, Attachments, Miniatures, and Documents associated with this award.

Miniature: Various miniatures are known to exist. I have provided images of some of them below.

Figure 1: Gold Merit Cross with crown and with war decoration and swords, miniature. Image from the author’s archive

Figure 2: Gold Merit Cross with crown on civil ribbon, miniature. Image from the author’s archive

Figure 3: Gold Merit Cross with crown with war decoration, miniature. Image from the author’s archive

Figure 4: Gold Merit Cross on civil ribbon, miniature. Image from the author’s archive

Figure 5: Silver Merit Cross with crown on civil ribbon, miniature. Image from the author’s archive

Figure 6: Silver Merit Cross with crown and with war decoration, miniature with attached bow. Image from the author’s archive

Figure 7: Gold Merit Cross and Gold Merit Cross with crown on a miniature chain. Image from the author’s archive

 

Figure 8: Court mounted group with the Gold Merit Cross with war decoration in the senior position. Image courtesy of Dorotheum.

 

Documents were issued with this decoration. An example is provided below.

 

Figure 9: Gold Merit Cross with crown on war ribbon document to Franz Liebing February 19, 1917. Image from the author’s archive.

Here are pictures of service personnel wearing the awards which I have been describing. Including in the bottom picture below an officer wearing two awards at the same time.

 

Figure 10: A Hungarian Ornogy (Major) wearing
the Gold Merit Cross with crown on war ribbon with swords. Image from the author’s archive

 

Figure 11: An Air Fleet Feldwebel wearing the Gold Merit Cross with crown on the war ribbon. Image courtacy of Roger Salisch.

 

Figure 12: A Quartermaster Lieutenant wearing two merit crosses: The Gold Merit Cross with crown on the civil ribbon and The silver Merit Cross with crown on the civil ribbon. Image from the author’s archive

 

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

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