All posts by erikscollectables

Dutch “Honorable Mention” to a Navy MD

The Dutch Honorable Mention

The Dutch Gallantry medals had, for a very long time in history, only one order for all different levels of Gallantry, the Military Order of William which was instituted in 1815.  For lesser deeds of Gallantry there was the “Eervolle Vermelding” which translates to “Honorable Mention” or for the Anglo-Saxon world a Mention in Dispatches also instituted in 1815. For this there was no visible display of the honor. By many in the forces this was felt as an omission in the military decoration system. An unofficial wreath was worn with several different medals to make the Honorable Mention visible. Only in 1879 this was changed by the use of a crown device to be worn on the “Expedition Cross” that had been instituted in 1869. For multiple awards the number (2 or 3) would be displayed below the crown.

During WW2 the crown was finally replaced by several new medals for Gallantry and only one more clasp was added to the Expedition Cross (Timor 1942).

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Multiple example of the crown device and to the left an example of the unofficial wreath. (not my collection!)

Bali 1849 – Honorable Mention for J.P ter Beek, MD for the Royal Dutch Navy

As mentioned before the Expedition Cross dates from 1869 and at that same moment 6 clasp were instituted going back to as early as 1846, the first Bali Expedition. All living participants of these 6 expeditions would get the medal with clasp and an award certificate. These first 6 clasps belong to the rarer ones but the award document even more (as there were more clasps produced than actually handed out to living participants).

Medical Doctor Ter Beek of the Royal Dutch Navy participated in the 3rd Bali campaign in 1849 on board of the Z. M. fregat Prins van Oranje (flagship).

He retired from the Navy in 1859 and became a General Practitioner in the city of Kampen in the Netherlands. Ten years later, 20 years after the campaign he received the Expedition cross with the Clasp Bali 1849 and the award certificate below.

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In 1879 the aforementioned Crown device for wear on the Expedition Cross was instituted and also handed out those who had earned them in the period before its existence. As Ter Beek was also Honorably Mentioned in the same Bali campaign he would get the device and the diploma in that year, 30 years after the campaign!

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Above the diploma for the Honorable Mention and below the accompanying letter and the Expedition Cross with clasp and crown device.

This combination of a rare clasp with Honorable Mention for the same campaign and all documents confirming this may very well be unique in its kind!

His son A.W.K. ter Beek also chose a life of service and joined the Dutch East Indies army where he would be awarded a Military Order of William 4th class, Honor Sword and Honorable Mention. The related documents to that are in the hands of another collector!

 

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Expedition cross for the 1942 Timor Ferry

The Dutch medal “Ereteken voor Belangrijke Krijgsverrigtingen” is commonly referred to as the Expedition Cross.  Where the medal and most of the 33 clasps are common some of the clasps are relatively rare. One of these is the last clasp, that of Timor 1942. The accompanying documents for these rare clasps are even harder to find.

This example is to one of the Navy participants (servant 1st class :)) that was was on board of the so called Timor-Ferry Hr. Ms Tjerk Hiddes.

A great article has been written on the subject of the Timor Campaign and can be found here:

http://www.go2war2.nl/artikel/2830/Battle-for-Timor.htm?page=1

A small excerpt from that webarticle regarding this ship:

Possibly the Australian navy had underestimated the risks of an evacuation and drew the conclusion that it required a fast en well-armed ship to finish such exercise successfully. Because the Australian did not have such ship available at that moment, the Dutch Commander of the Navy, Rear-Admiral Coster, was called upon. Coster supported the plans to evacuate the guerillas from Timor and because Hr. Ms. Van Galen was at sea, he appointed Hr. Ms. Tjerk Hiddes to carry out this dangerous mission. The commander of the Tjerk Hiddes, Lieutenant Commander J.W.Kruys, received secret orders to firstly sail to Port Darwin where they had to bunker oil and where two motor launches and eight collapsible boats had to be loaded. On December 5th, 1942, the modern destroyer left her base, Fremantle, West Australia. Apart from fuel and the launches, commander Kruys received extremely useful information from the RAAF in Darwin. Shortly before, the Australian Air Force had downed a few Japanese bombers which had enabled them to lay their hands on a flight schedule of Japanese air patrol activities between North Australia and Timor. Therefore Kruys had the availability of detailed data regarding the air routes and times of the Japanese reconnaissance flights. Experience thought him also that the Japanese would not quickly divert from their schedules.

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On the 9th of December, early at 5 in the morning, Hr. Ms. Tjerk Hiddes left Port Darwin and headed for Timor by strait Dundas, between Melville Island and the Cobourg peninsula, after which the destroyer crossed the Timor Sea with a speed of thirty knots. For the first hours Australian Bristol Beaufighters accompanied them. It had been agreed with Captain-of-Infantry Breemouer that he would gather his men and other refugees on the beach at Betano, where they would ignite three large fires. By excellent navigating and timing Hr. Ms. Tjerk Hiddes arrived exactly in time on the right spot. Commander Kruys and his navigation officer Lieutenant Keesom had used their artillery radar in order to sound out the coast line and the Asdic-installation to detect reefs and cliffs, which were very innovative methods.

The Tjerk Hiddes anchored 800 yards from the coast and at that time the motor launches and 4 of the foldable boats had been prepared to be lowered. Thereafter the remainder of the foldable boats were hung outside board. The motor launches tugged the eight foldable boats into the surf after which the men of the landing detachment of the Tjerk Hiddes rowed them ashore. The KNIL soldiers on the beach were excited to be evacuated by a Dutch ship. The motor launches and the folding boats had to repeat their trips twice in order to embark all evacuees on the Hiddes. At the same time several Australian commandos and supplies were put ashore as reinforcements of the guerillas. Even before 01:00 all refugees, 50 women and children, 50 sick and wounded and almost 300 Australian and Dutch soldiers were onboard and the launches, boats and climbing nets cleared and stowed inboard. A quarter of an hour later the Hiddes went anchor up to return to Australia with a speed of 30 knots, whereby the heavy monsoon rains provided appropriate cover after daylight. The whole of the operation could not have been carried out more efficiently by the very best trained commando troops.

Several days after its return in Port Darwin, on 14 December, Tjerk Hiddes again left towards midnight in order to pick up evacuees; again accompanied by Beaufighters. This time the agreed landing spot would be 8 miles east of Betano and it concerned mainly the 2nd Independent Company. Again by excellent navigation, around 22:00 the pick-up zone was reached and within five minutes the launches and folding boats were on their way with five tons of supplies for the troops of the 4th Independent Company. Towards 00:30 all persons to be evacuated, about 240 Australian commandos and 30 Portuguese clergymen were onboard and the destroyer ready to leave. Again under the cover of the monsoon storms, the Dutch vessel crossed the Timor Sea and was again escorted by the Beaufighters at the last stretch. After again an exemplary mission, the Tjerk Hiddes entered Port Darwin around 17:00 on 16 December 1942.

Already the next night Hr. Ms. Tjerk Hiddes left for the third and last time for Timor. This time Portuguese colonists and Timorese civilians had to be collected at Aliambeta, on the south coast of Timor. Around 23:00 on December 18th, the first signals were exchanged with the people on the beach and half an hour later the disembarking of aid materials started and the boarding of the more than 310 evacuees and 4 tons of valuable rubber. Even before 01:00 the Dutch destroyer was again ready for departure. In the early hours of 19 December the Beaufighters appeared over the ship which docked around 11:00 in Port Darwin.

The Timor-operation by the Tjerk Hiddes was a complete success and the way it had been carried out was an example of effective military performance. During the three trips to and from Timor not a single Japanese plane had been spotted, which had not been due to fortune but to the clever avoidance of the Japanese reconnaissance flights by the intelligence about their flight schedules. The excellent maneuvering and the quick unloading and loading of the folding boats and motor launches made the success of the operation complete. In an article of February 1960, in the American magazine US Naval Institute Proceedings, the Timor operation of Hr. Ms. Tjerk Hiddes was extensively analyzed and the vessel was called the Timor-ferry.

It is great to be the custodian of such an interesting historical document! These awarded documents are very rare but beware: a great number of blanks of these are on the market….

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Captain Varga of the Hungarian River Guard

Naval Forces of Hungary in WW2

In April 1919 the Hungarian government established the Naval Forces (Hadihajós csapat, literally “warship group”) under the authority of the Defence Ministry for the purpose of patrolling the Danube. It was replaced on 1 March 1921 by the civilian Royal Hungarian River Guard (Magyar Királyi Folyamőrség) under the Interior Ministry. Between March 1927 and May 1930 it expanded to about 1700 personnel, a number that held until the end of World War II. On 15 January 1939 the River Guard was renamed the Royal Hungarian Army River Forces (Magyar Királyi Honvéd Folyami Erők) and placed under the Defence Ministry. It used naval ranks until 1 July 1944, when it switched to army ranks. In April 1941 it took part in the annexation of Yugoslavia. From April 1944 on its minesweepers assisted the Kriegsmarine (German navy) in clearing the Danube of aerial mines.

Order of battle (1 April 1940)
  • Patrol Boat Regiment (Budapest)
    • I Group
    • II Group
  • River Security Regiment in Ujvidek/Novi Sad after April 1941)
    • 1 Battalion
    • 2 Battalion
    • 3 Battalion

The above was copied from Wikipedia

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Captain Varga

The items shown here in photo’s come from the estate of Captain Varga who emigrated to the US after WW2. Currently I have no photo’s or other info apart from what I will show below. The research has just started so I expect to update this page soon!

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From the ranklist of officers of the Hungarian forces the above picture. It shows he participated in the (re)annexation of Transylvania and Yugoslavia with his ship.

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And a copy (with thanks to the Hungarian Military Archives) of his basic information as stated in the Military Archives.

The generic Hungarian flag that was used on all boats of the River Guard. As there were few boats they are very rare today. Probably he took this from the last boat he was stationed on. I hope to find out which boat that was.

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Next to his flag also his parade belt with hangers for the Navy dagger has survived and a set of shoulder boards with his final rank of Captain.

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WW2 Hungarian Gendarme (Csendőr) tunic

The word Gendarme is an old word, used in slightly different versions (Csendőr in Hungarian) all over Europe and has a similar meaning in all those languages. It was a military styled police force that acted in the rural areas. In Hungary cities had the right to set up a local police force (which they also had to fund in that case). All other areas (including cities that did not choose to have their own police force) were served / regulated by the Csendőr that were state funded. They were somewhere in between the army and the city police forces and brought law and order to the more remote areas.

In Hungary they also used the same uniform as the regular army (Honved) but could be distinguished by the colour of the shoulder and collar tabs: red on a green basis. Next to this they wore a very distinctive black hat with a rooster feather.

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In times of war the Gendarme / Csendőr would also act as military police or more correctly as Field Gendarmes. Within regular army units there were also Military Police men but these were not regular Gendarme / Csendőr and did not have the same extensive level of specialized police training. Such MP men wore regular uniforms but could be distinguished by a special badge (period 1942/44) that was worn on the left breast pocket.

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During the war, as late as 1944 – when the Germans had taken over practical control of Hungary,  a German style gorget (metal plate hanging from a chain on the front of the uniform) was introduced to make it more visible that a person was a Gendarme. As these were used only late in the war only few photo’s of them being worn exist.

This tunic was probably made in the 1930s and altered after the introduction of the M1940 type of uniform where a different type of collar was used (stand and fall type as now seen on this tunic). The rank is that of sergeant and also the silver buttons indicate it is an NCO rank (gold buttons for officers). The 3 medals indicate that the man served also in WW1 and participated in of two of the three re-annexation campaigns of areas lost in the Trianon treaty.

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Sources:

  • to be added later

Short overview of 19th Century status weapons of the Aceh and Gayo areas.

This is a translated/short version of an article I published in Wapenfeiten in 2011

One of my long standing collecting interests is the “Atjeh oorlog” or in English the Aceh war which lasted from 1873 (first Aceh war) to roughly 1941 (Japanese invasion of the Dutch East Indies). My main interest on the Dutch side are the medals and orders and related paperwork of the Royal Dutch East Indies Army, abbreviated as KNIL in Dutch.

Many books have been written about this war so I will not discuss the war and its backgrounds here. Instead I will discuss some status weapons and related etnographic items in his article both from the Aceh and Gayo region on Sumatra, Indonesia.

In three pictures I have tried to show the most important types of status weapons and some related contextual items.

Most of these status weapons were made before 1873 as during the war and following periods much more practical versions were made and after the 19th century production practically stopped altogether because wearing such weapons was prohibited by the Dutch colonial rulers.

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On the picture above you can see two daggers of the “rentjong” or rencong type and two swords of the sikin type, The rencong and sikin can be considered the “national” weapons of the Aceh region. Of these weapons many examples can be found in Dutch collections, both private and museum. The long lasting war in that region brought a continued influx of Dutch soldiers many of whom collected local weapons and brought them home after their overseas military time.

The two sikin swords are both of the straight, panjang, type with the most common type of handle, the hulu tumpang made of buffalo horn. In this case the somewhat less found light colour of horn is used. What makes them rare and status pieces are the “crowns” between handle and blade which are made of high grade gold and embellished with enamel decorations. The use of crowns and gold in general on weapons was reserved for nobility and local leadership, including religious (Islamic) leadership. On the top you can see a double crown with a rounded top (glupa type) and on the bottom version had a triple crown with a pointed top (puco type). The wooden traditional sheath of the sikin has been inscribed with a text that translates into “This sikin belongs to Teungkoe Jat…?” The title of Teungkoe is used for Aceh nobility.

Both rencong daggers have the typical hooked handle that is called hulu meucangge. The bottom version is again made of horn but the one on top has a handle made of black coral, akar bahar, which is rare and prone to breakage.

All weapons are laid down on a typical Aceh rattan shield called peurisse.

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In the photo above you can see two more sikin in the bottom part but also a different type of sword: the peudeung. This specific variation of that sword could only be used by noble men that were close to the Sultan of Aceh and is quite rare. It can be distinguished from more common versions by two features. Firstly the full metal handle is covered by woven silver, called “kabat”. Secondly the top is covered by high grade gold (another crown variation) with enamel and even rough, uncut diamonds (inten). This type of peudeung was mainly used as a symbol of status and is quite unpractical as a weapon. Also the size is very large where the Aceh men were quite small in that time.

This example comes from the (late) Jenssen collection (well known for his Krisdisk).

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On the 3rd picture some material from the Gayo region that was related to Aceh but had some distinctive differences. Most material of that region was collected during the bloody 1904 expedition led by Lieutenant-Colonel Van Daalen.

What distinguishes the Gayo status pieces from that of the Aceh region is the use of silver for the crowns and suassa (gold with copper) for decorations which in Aceh was not used on sikin and rencong. The rencong on the right top has a handle made of marine ivory (dandan) and is exceptionally large, probably for ceremonial use. The bottom right rencong is totally covered by silver (similar types exist in Aceh but than in gold), embellished with enamel and some added decorations in suassa. Such pieces are very rare.

In some future blogs I want to discuss and photograph some of these pieces in more detail.

Note: not all items in these old photo’s are still in my collection!

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Sources:

  • Traditional Weapons of the Indonesian Archipelago, Albert G. van Zonneveld, Leiden 2001
  • Rentjongs, G. Bisseling en P. Vermeieren, Antwerpen 1988
  • Catalogus van ’s Rijks Ethnographisch Museum, Deel VI – Atjeh, Gajo- en Alaslanden, H.W. Fischer, Leiden 1912
  • Atjeh, J. Kreemer, Leiden 1922
  • De Inlandsche kunstnijverheid in Nederlandsch Indië, Deel V – de bewerking van niet edele-metalen, J.E. Jasper en Mas Pirngadie, ’s Gravenhage 1930

 

 

Vitéz Horvath Janos winner of the Golden Medal for Bravery, WW1 Austro-Hungarian Army

Published before on my Vitezi Rend website

Sergeant in the 44th Infantry Regiment (Erzherzog Albrecht Nr. 44). Awarded with the Austro- Hungarian Golden Medal for Bravery, the highest possible award in the  Austro-Hungarian Army for non commanding officers. 

Awards:

  • Golden Bravery medal
  • Silver Bravery medal 1st Class, 2 times
  • Bronze Bravery medal
  • Karl Troop cross

The short version of his citation as recorded in the Golden Medal award records in the Austrian Military Records.

Im Gefechte vom 12/3 auf den 13/3 (1915) am Brdo Bewies er beispeillose unerschrockenheit u. heldenhafte Tapferkeit. Kam bis auf 40x vor der fdl Stellung. Trat den Ruckzug trozt des Befehls erst nach 2 Stunden als letzte abt der Angr. Gruppe an.

Which translates into: In the fights of 12/3 and 13/3 in Brdo he showed unprecedented fearlessness and heroic Bravery. Came up to 40x before the enemy position. Retreated, despite the order, only after 2 hours as the last of the attacking group.

His feats where also published in a Hungarian book (A MAGYAR NEMZET ARANYKONYVE 1914-1918.” Budapest, 1921 – Golden book of the Hungarian nation 1914-1918 )

“He ran forward in the killing adverse drum-fire of the enemy as the head of his platoon and during the assault he exhorted his comrades. The regiment met irreplaceable and heavy losses, so sergeant Janos Horvath got the order to withdraw his fellows from the first line. Horvath was forty paces off the enemy and he sent back a message that they would not leave the line as long as the wounded comrades of the neighbouring Regiment (3rd Bosnians) could not be retrieved. Finally he withdrew his men two hours later, him being the last soldier to leave the front line.”

Replacement Golden Bravery Medal (gilded bronze in the Karl version). This came directly from the family but has to be a replacement as he would have been awarded a Franz Joseph version. Maybe the golden version was lost or sold at some moment and this was the replacement.

Hungarian public transport travel pass for winners of the Golden Bravery Medal.

    

Below the official request for the Golden Bravery Medal to Horvath Janos, this and the following documents are in the Hungarian Military Archives. They were so kind to deliver these pictures free of charge. Many thanks again!

Request for a silver bravery  medal

Request for a bronze bravery medal:

About the Vitézi Rend:

The Order of the Valiant (in Hungarian, Vitézi Rend) or Knighthood of the Heroes was the first and probably the most important Hungarian order established after the Great War. It was established in 1920 (Prime Ministerial Edict Nr 6650/1920) by the Government under Prime Minister Count Teleki and Admiral Horthy, the Regent of Hungary from 1920 till 1945. The latter also became the Captain of the order from its institution till its formal ending in 1945 (According to the rule 529/1945 but it was 1948 before it was practically disbanded).

(The word vitéz has several meanings in the dictionary. As noun: warrior, soldier, champion, hero, knight and as adjective: valiant, gallant, brave, fearless of danger. Therefore giving the name of the order an exact translation is difficult. The two translations used here I have seen used in several documents therefore I use them as well.)

Part of receiving the order was the granting of a title: vitéz. This title was used in front of the name. This title was also made hereditary to the first son in line. If the son were of sound physical and mental condition he would inherit the title at the age of 17.

In this way the order can be compared to a noble title especially as the title was accompanied by a grant of land of approximately 10 hectares, so even landed nobility. The granting of land to the vitéz members was part of a land reform executed by István Nagyatádi Szabó. In the early 20s much land was still in the hands of few and it was part of a modernization of land ownership that was badly needed to become a more balanced and modern nation.

In this way the order had a strong social impact as well. The redistribution of lands was combined with the recognition of individual contributions made by Hungarians for Hungary. This way a new class of “nobility” could be formed that had a very strong tie with the Hungarian nation and its leadership. The new order was bound by sword and land which is represented symbolically in the badge that belongs to the order. The badge will be described in more detail later on.

All the recipients were proven soldiers and there were minimal requirement for obtaining the title vitéz that was linked to the receipt of certain medals. In the beginning of the order this was still linked to medals won in the Austro-Hungarian dual Monarchy, mainly in the Great War that was concluded only two years before. The grants in the 1940s were still linked to obtaining certain medals but now in World War Two.

The medal requirements were more or less the same across those periods. The small silver medal for bravery (96.000 awarded in WW1 for Hungarians) in the case of soldiers, and the large silver medal for bravery (26.000 awarded in WW1 to Hungarians) from the rank of NCO. The Signum Laudis was minimal from the rank of Lieutenant and this continues, for higher ranks higher grades of medals were expected. The small silver medal for bravery only very seldom led to titles. It was too common to bestow the title on all owners of these. It was a minimal requirement.

This way of working made if possible to reward exceptional deeds of a previous period that would otherwise have passed unknown and unrewarded in a country that fought on the losing side of the war.

Below the excerpt from the 1939 Vitéz Albuma:

Large Vitézi Rend diploma

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Vitézi Rend Award Certificate

Vitézi Rend Award and miniature. The full size award is numbered and has the initials of Horvath.

   

 

The Hungarian WW2 Saint László Division badge.

This badge is the only (official) Hungarian divisional badge that was in use during the second world war, it was intended for wear on the left breast pocket but can also be seen worn on the cap in period photo’s.

The Szent László Division was formed in October 1944. It is often named and seen as an elite unit because it was made up of the remainders of the Parachute regiment and several other “elite” units from both army and air force and even gendarmerie (rural police forces that were semi military).

The division was named after the Hungarian Saint László, king of Hungary 1077-1095 and patron saint of military men and exiles. A most fitting name for this unit as most of the surviving members became exiles.

It was commanded by Brigadier General Zoltán Szügyi (from 12th Oct 1944 until May 8th 1945). He can be seen in the photo (from the internet) below in the center. Before commanding the St. Laszlo Division he was commander of the Para Regiment. He is wearing the badge on the right breast pocket (sports badge under and para qualification badge above).

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Elements of the division saw action for the first time on the 19th of December in 1944 when they were used as emergency troops to plug gaps in the front. They suffered heavy losses during the defense of Hungary and did not fight as a whole division until April 1945 when it had received manpower again from several other units, to cover the earlier losses. The division continued to fight until ending the war in northern Croatia and southern Austria. When the war ended they crossed the Alps and entered Carinthia where they surrendered to the British forces. Something very rare occurred then, they were initially allowed to keep their weapons until a discussion with Tito’s partisans had been settled. After that they were soon disarmed and transferred to regular POW camps in Germany and Austria.

Most of these men did not return to Hungary or other locations occupied by Russia in fear of repercussions and very long periods of forced labour in Russian POW camps. The western occupational forces released them much sooner. Of the Saint László Division many chose to emigrate to the US. This making the unit insignia quite rare and found mostly outside of Hungary. Either from emigrants or found in the ground on places where they fell during the war.

The soldier on the left in the photo below (taken from the internet) wears the badge on his cap. The soldier in the middle also wears his para qualification badge on his side cap. Both insignia are officially worn on the right breast.

The badge itself is a simple aluminium cast with 4 drilled holes to sew it on clothing.

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Sources:

  • Leo W.G. Niehorster – The Royal Hungarian Army 1920-1945
  • Several websites for photo’s and general information.

Dutch United Nations Detachment in Korea 1950-1954 (NDVN) – Medals and Insignia

Much has been written about the Dutch United Nations Detachment in the Korean War both the Infantry (with the US 2nd, Indianhead, Division) and the Naval participation.

A good overview of this history can be read here: the-korean-war. This article is only aimed to give a short overview of the main medals and insignia the Dutch received and used during the conflict.

Cross for Justice and Freedom

This cross was delivered in an orange box already mounted for wear in the Dutch style with silver ‘KOREA 1950’ sword bar. The Cross was instituted on 23 July 1951 to be awarded to members of the N.D.V.N (Nederlands Detachement Verenigde Naties = Netherlands Detachment United Nations). The N.D.V.N. was established on 15 October 1950 and an advance party of Dutch soldiers arrived in Korea from Malaya on 24 October 1950, the first of 26 contingents from the Netherlands arriving in early December. This first contingent saw the hardest fighting of all and even lost its commander and several other officers and men when the staff was overrun by the Koreans

A total of 3,972 Dutch soldiers served in Korea, the last unit returning to the Netherlands at the end of 1954. In addition, 1,360 members of the Royal Netherlands Navy served in Korean waters aboard the destroyers Evertsen, van Galen and Piet Heim and the frigates Johan Maurits van Nassau, Dubois and van Zijll.

Those that went more than once would have the number of awards on the sword bar, like the 2 in the example below. The 3 and 4 also exist but are very rare.

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Award certificate for the medal:

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United Nations Service Medal with clasp Korea (Dutch Version)

The same basic medal was given to all participants of all countries with their own language. The Dutch can be recognized by the D on the box for the correct language version but some incorrect versions seem to have been made as well and handed out (combination of two languages on one medal, bar and reverse in different language).

Award certificate for the medal:

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Republic of Korea War Service Medal

All army personnel would also receive the Korean war medal with certificate. The Navy would not receive these at that moment in time.

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Medal groups

So all army personnel in the conflict would get at least these three medals. Most groups will have at least one more medal. The medal for Order and Peace given to participants in the conflict in the Dutch East Indies between 1945 and 1950. The army wanted only to send battle hardened veterans to the conflict so most would have this medal in the group (though not all, also WW2 veterans joined the group and later also non veterans would join). For many the Korean conflict was an opportunity to stay in the army so most later groups also have medals for long and faithful service. Here some examples.

1950s period mounted group in the correct order (first the Order and Peace medal and number 3 the long and faithful service medal for nco’s before the two foreign medals):

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Unmounted group with the medals on ribbons as they were handed out (papers shown before belong to this group, this private was part of the first contingent of 500 men):

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Incorrectly mounted group, but as worn by the NCO in the 1960s. Consists of 3 partially mounted groups put together in the incorrect order.

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Presidential Unit Citations

From the US and the Korean Government they would also receive two Presidential Unit Citations. Many different versions of these exist. The US one was the first and later received an oak leaf cluster. The Korean came somewhat later. All veterans were entitled to both but many of the first contingent only received the US one without the oak leaf cluster during their period in Korea. If the left the army afterward they often used/had the one.

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Combat Infantryman Badge

And most infantrymen would also receive the Combat Infantryman Badge. Here also many different versions exist but is seems an unnamed variant marked only STERLING is the one standardly given by the US Army at that moment. That is the bottom version of the three variants seen here (all from Dutch veterans):

Ribbon groups

Some ribbon groups with the 3 standard medals in some variation. It seems the ribbon bar on top was handed out to all personnel going to Japan for R&R for wear on their uniform. Many had ribbon bars made in Japan with their complete entitlement.

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Ribbon group with Unit Citations and CIB (part of the first medal group shown above):

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Ons Leger – Our Army, tokens of recognition for returning veterans

Upon their return in the Netherlands the Infantry veterans of the first contingent would receive a table medal from “Ons Leger”. That is a relatively rare as it was only given to the around 500 men that returned end of 1951.

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All later contingents would receive the Indianhead on wood as seen below, so about 3000 of these will have been made (mint example in original box) between 1952 and 1954.

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Letter of thanks from Prince Bernhard

And all men would receive a letter from Prince Bernhard as an additional recognition:

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Badges and Insignia

On the uniform the Dutch would be recognized by the UN badge with Netherlands tab as still in use today. Below three period versions and the small version for the collar tab:

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And serving as part of the 2nd Indianhead Infantry division that badge was also worn on the other arm. Two period examples and a small metal version for the collar tab:

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When going to Japan for R&R US uniforms were worn with all standard insignia and a standard 3 ribbon bar for the Korea entitlement. Next to that  Korea shoulder board were worn both by the Americans and the Dutch.

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Upon return to the Netherlands the Dutch Van Heutsz tab and other related typical Dutch insignia would be worn on the English style Dutch uniforms including a baret with badge.

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Another item should be mentioned here. Many of the men were veterans from the colonial war in Indonesia. Many of those had served with the Special Forces there including the first commander who brought many of his men to Korea. They often wore a red baret with the para wing on it as seen below. The wing was even worn on the cold weather cap as seen below (in the Ridgeway style who wore his US parawing also on the cold weather cap)

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Photo’s below taken from the internet, not my collection!

Below a period photo with some of the badges and ribbons discussed above (this photo taken from internet, not my collection).

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And finally some pictures of daily life in the field (from a former Dutch Marine veteran of the first contingent who went twice to Korea with the NDVN!)

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In memory of all veterans of the Korea war 1950-1954

 

The Austro-Hungarian Bravery medals in WW1 – part 1: History and Medals

History before WW1

The basis for this medal was made in 1789 in the form of the  Ehren-Denkmünze für Tapferkeit (honor remembrance coin for bravery) by the Habsburg emperor Joseph II. In its original form it had two classes, gold and silver, for ranks below officer who had distinguished themselves in combat. In 1809 By Emperor Franz II the form was changed to make it a wearable medal that was also renamed in Tapferkeitsmedaille, Bravery Medal. Then again in 1848 the silver class was split into two classes. Next to the original Silver first class (40mm in diameter) a second class was added that was smaller in size (31mm in diameter). Emperor Franz-Joseph I added in Februari 1915 a Bronze class with the same size as the silver medal 2nd class (also 31mm in diameter). A last change was made by Emperor Karl in 1917 by making the Golden class and the Silver 1st class medal available to officers. Until then officers were expected to show bravery as part of their regular work and had no specific gallantry medals apart from the Military Maria Theresia order that was only very rarely awarded for extreme examples of gallantry. Most officers received the regular medals that were available for officers that were awarded for bravery but also other other distinguished services.

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In all these periods the medal would have the ruling Emperor of that moment on the observe and Der Tapferkeit (The Bravery) on the reverse. Karl would change the text on the reverse to the Latin text “FORTITVDINI” as that language was neutral in an empire where the first languange of many people was not German.

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The Bravery medal in WW1

With two emperors during the war there were also two versions of all medals from gold to bronze with either Franz Joseph and from 1917 onward Karl on the observe of the medal. In the beginning of the war also examples with a younger version of FJ were still awarded as far as they were still available. Franz Joseph had 3 versions of his head on the medals during his very long reign. The third version was the regular one for WW1 but the 2nd and even the 1st version could still be awarded if available. This was mainly the case with early awards of the Golden Bravery Medal.

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What was new in WW1 was that all version could be worn next to each other. Before that period only the highest award of the medal would have been worn. For each next award in the same class a clasp (introduced in October 1915) could be worn on the medal ribbon with 4 bars as the maximum (which obviously was extremely rare in any class)

 

As officers also could get an award of the Golden and 1st class Silver medal a difference had to be made which was done in the form of a capital K letter on the triangular ribbon. These existed in both gold (gilded) and silver.

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As all officers in training went through the non-commissioned ranks before becoming commissioned they were during this training period also eligible for the nco Bravery medals. So in WW1 Austro-Hungarian officers groups often Bravery medals will be found. This is just a sign that the officers was not yet commissioned when he received the medal. The ones with the K on the ribbon are much rarer.

The winners of the Gold and both classes of Silver medals also received an additional payment. The Bronze class was excluded from this so it was also of financial interest to soldiers to receive the highest possible level of bravery medal as the payment was more for the higher classes. Only the highest level was paid and multiple awards did not add to the total amount received.

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Before WW1 all medals would have a fixed eye for the ribbon. Only during the war this was replaced with the more standard moveable eye for the ribbon fixture. The only exception to this would be the Golden Bravery Medal that would remain using the fixed (Henkelöse) version. This makes it relatively easy to recognize the non official version of the Golden version. Private/non-official versions of all medals would be made during and after the war. These are not “fake” but bought examples of these medals. Especially real Golden Bravery Medals were often sold for the gold value in the post war period and replaced with a privately purchased gilded version.

The official versions can also be recognized by the name of the artist below the head of the Emperor. On most private versions this name was not copied! Three names can be found. Two for the FJ versions: Tautenheyn and Leisek. The Karl versions all have Kautsch.

From 1916 onward the Golden version became to expensive to be awarded. A gilded bronze version was made that would have BRONZE stamped in the rim of the medal. These medals were planned to be exchanged for real gold after the war. As the war was lost this never happened nor would the winners get their additional payment for the new Governments in the countries that would come into being after the war. Karl was on the front often, also for award ceremonies. He only handed out real gold versions. These are the rarest variation of the Golden Bravery Medal.

It was also possible to replace the golden medal when lost or to get a second version. These are marked with the HMA (Hauptmunzamt) stamp next to the material stamp.

Reference: Steiner, J.C. (2010) Heldenwerk 1914-1918. Vienna, Austria