Order of the White Falcon, Type II, Military Division, Silver Merit Cross (in silvered war material)
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A finely pebbled Maltese cross with broad, raised, smooth edges, constructed of silvered war material, with crossed swords through the centre. The obverse centre medallion is smooth and features the crowned monogram ‘WE’. The medallion ring features the inscription ‘VIGILANDO ASCENDIMUS’ (‘through vigilance we ascend’) with a small six-sided star at the bottom. The reverse is similar, except that the centre medallion is surrounded by an oak leaf wreath and features the inscription ‘DEM VERDIENSTE’ (‘for merit’). On a loop for suspension, on a red ribbon.
The Order of the White Falcon was originally founded by Duke Ernst August to honour Emperor Charles VI, but the order quickly fell into disuse.
The order was renewed on October 18, 1815 by Grand Duke Carl Ernst, and it was awarded to Saxon citizens in recognition of meritorious civil and military service, especially service that benefited the ducal house.
While it was primarily a house order, it was also conferrable to foreign high ranking heads of state.
The Type II order awards were conferred within the Civil Division and the Military Division.
The Military Division awards conferred from 1815 to 1870 feature a trophy of arms design on the reverse, while the Military Division awards conferred from 1870 to 1918 feature crossed swords through the centre of the cross and a wreath on the reverse.
The Civil Division awards conferred from 1815 to 1918 feature a wreath on the reverse and no crossed swords.
In 1892 a version was created to recognise general merit that was rendered in the name of the grand ducal house. The awards for general merit did not feature a red and green enamelled square between the cross arms.
In 1878, the Silver Merit Cross was added to the order, and it was divided into the two separate grades of Gold Merit Cross and Silver Merit Cross in 1902.
The Silver Merit Crosses awarded between 1878 and 1901 were worn on a black ribbon with a red and yellow stripe along each exterior edge.
The Silver Merit Crosses awarded between 1902 and 1918 were worn on a red ribbon.
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