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 was personally approved and presented by the emperor up until World War I.  In this blog I will describe the court mounted version of the merit crosses, the documents that accompanied the award of the merit crosses and some examples of the crosses being worn in contemporary times. This blog will conclude my description of the Merit Crosses

Court Mounted Merit Cross:

Figure 1: A court mounted group of three awards with the Gold Merit Cross on war ribbon in the senior position. Image courtesy of Dorotheum

Documents: What follows are three examples of the award documents that accompanied the Merit Cross when awarded.

Figure 2: Gold Merit Cross with crown on war ribbon document to Franz Liebing, Issued on February 19, 1917. Image from the author’s archive.

 

Figure 3: Silver Merit Cross with crown on war ribbon document to artillery gunner Josef Simon, August 21, 1915. Image from the author’s archive.

 

Figure 4: Gold Merit Cross on war ribbon document to a member of the 59th Landwehr Klaus von Dittrich, March 17, 1917. Image from the author’s archive.

 

Figure 5: A Hungarian Ornogy (Major) wearing
the Gold Merit Cross with crown on war ribbon with swords. Image from the author’s archive.

Figure 6: An Air Fleet Feldwebel wearing the Gold Merit Cross with crown on the war ribbon. Image Curtesy of Roger Salisch.

Figure 7: 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

Rick

 

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