Order of Merit of the Prussian Crown, Military Division, Breast Star (with swords)
Image courtesy of Borodun, Wikipedia
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This Order was instituted by King Wilhelm II to commemorate the 200th anniversary of the foundation of the Kingdom of Prussia. It was awarded in recognition of exceptional civil and military merit. It was determined that an Order between the Black Eagle and the Red Eagle was necessary to create a fairer gradation of awards. The King’s will was passed to the General Order Commission, which ordered a sample copy from the manufacturer and court jeweller Godet and Sons.
The awards for military merit feature crossed swords through the centre of the cross, while the awards for civil merit do not feature crossed swords.
The Order was conferred in a single class and it consisted of a Cross and a Breast Star. Due to the position of the Order, there were extensive regulations regarding the proper wearing of the decorations. If a Grand Cross bearer of the red Eagle Order received the Order of Merit of the Prussian Crown, he was to remove the Red Eagle Order and wear the Cross of the Order en sautoir on a narrower ribbon, etc.
In 1905, it was stated by the King that Knights of the Order of the Black Eagle were allowed to wear the cross of the Order of Merit in addition to the chain on special occasions.
The Order was only awarded 54 times before it was discontinued in 1918. Following the death of the recipient, the decorations were to be returned to the General Order Commission.
In 1914, the Small decoration was introduced. Following this, the Knights of the order were allowed to wear a smaller decoration according to the prescribed pattern at the level of the order on the overcoat, hunting uniform, etc. However, these decorations had to be procured by the knights by their own funds.
The inscription “GOTT MIT UNS” translates to “God with us”.
The Breast Star is an eight point star with a central crown surrounded by the Order’s motto, with swords through the center and atop the crowns. A total of 5 were awarded: Kanin, Prince of Japan and Marquis Oyama, Imperial Japanese Marshal in March 1906; Karl Ludwig d’Elsa, Saxon Colonel-General in January 1917; von Gossler, General of the Infantry in February 1917; and Huene von Hoiningen, General of Infantry in March 1917.
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