Merit Cross "Piis Meritis" for Military Chaplains, Type III, Civil Division, I Class (1917-1918)
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This cross was instituted by Emperor Franz I at the recommendation of the Count of Hohenwerth, the Apostolic Field Vicar during the wars fought against France.
The cross was originally awarded to Army Chaplains who had demonstrated bravery and altruism on the battlefield, but it was amended by Emperor Franz Joseph I on May 9, 1911 to also recognize Army Chaplains for long and meritorious service in peacetime.
In 1859 the design of the I Class cross was changed to feature white enamel.
The Type III crosses for peacetime merit were awarded on a white ribbon, while the crosses for wartime merit were awarded on a ribbon with seven alternating stripes of white and red, with 4 white stripes and 3 red stripes.
In Type III the crosses for wartime merit were composed of gold until 1917, but due to the scarcity of metals in World War I crosses awarded from 1917-1918 were composed of gilt materials.
The Type III wartime merit crosses were also awarded with crossed swords on the ribbon if the recipient had direct contact with the enemy.
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