Long Service Decoration, Type IV, Gold Bar for 15 Years (in iron, 1891-1913)
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The Long Service Decoration was instituted on September 9, 1833, by King Wilhelm I. It was conferred upon Officers, Non-Commissioned Officers, and enlisted men who rendered long and faithful service. The award was established in two grades, I Class and II Class. The I Class award was conferred upon Officers, while the II Class was conferred upon Non-Commissioned Officers and enlisted ranks.
In order to receive the award, an Officer had to have actively served for 25 years and was only allowed a one year period of absence. Service time spent as a Non-Commissioned Officer or soldier could be counted in the total time. Time spent as a cadet, in Officer training, or as a member of a foreign army could not be counted. Non-Commissioned Officers and enlisted ranks had to have actively served for 20 years of service and were also only allowed to have a one year period of absence. Service rendered during a war counted for double the time.
On May 27, 1839, the decoration statutes were changed. The new statutes made it possible for non-combat military personnel, such as members of the Ministry of War, to also receive the Decoration. In addition, the following changes were enacted: time spent on field campaign would be doubled, recipients of the II Class Cross were granted an allowance, and unexcused absences of less than six months did not disqualify an individual from receiving the Decoration.
In 1850, the decoration statues were changed again. Non-Commissioned Officers became eligible to receive the II Class Cross after 18 years of service and the I Class Cross after 30 years of service.
In 1850, a set of clasps for 6, 12, 18, and 30 years of service were introduced as a subdivision of the Long Service Decoration. These clasps, first issued in April 1851, were reserved for Non-Commissioned Officers and enlisted ranks who were deserving on an award but were not eligible to receive the I or II Class Cross due to some sort of delinquency. The clasps were metal cut-out frames that attached to a ribbon and featured the number of service years in Roman numerals. Prior to the introduction of the clasps, sleeve chevrons were used to denote service years. The class were worn on the left breast of a service tunic.
In 1964, the reverse of I Class Class Cross was redesigned to feature two crossed swords surrounded by the inscription “FÜR TREUE DIENSTE.’
On March 16, 1874, King Karl of Württemberg introduced a new II Class Cross for Non-Commissioned Officers and enlisted ranks. The Cross was issued for 21 years of loyal service. It was modelled after the Prussian Long Service Award. At the same time, the service clasps were also redesigned and introduced in new denominations. The clasps were now reserved for Non-Commissioned Officers and were awarded for 15 and 9 years of service.
After King Wilhelm II ascended the throne in 1891, he continued to award the decoration. The award criteria was altered so that the I Class Cross could be conferred upon Officers, military officials, and personnel with the rank of Sergeant and downward for 25 years of loyal service. The II Class Cross was conferred upon military officials and personnel with the rank of Sergeant and downward for 21 years of service.
At the same time, Gold Bar for 15 Years and the Silver Bar for 12 Years were redesigned to feature the initials of King Wilhelm II.
The Gold Bar for 15 Years was awarded to Non-Commissioned Officers for 15 years of loyal service.
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