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Pte Henry Cochrane of the PPCLI (Princess Patricias Canadian Light Infantry) was captured during the Battle of Sanctuary Wood in June 1916. As a pow he was employed on parole to a local buisness near Munich. He rescued a 3 year old German girl from drowning and was awarded the Bavarian Cross of Military Merit 3rd class.

Any way of finding any official refernce on this?

Thanks :cheers:

Edited by Laurence Strong

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I would love to see it! I would have thought he's have received a Life saving medal-not a combat award, but odd things happen and this would be the oddest I have ever heard of (well, in terms of awards).

I'd try newspapers and the archives.

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That was my first thought. This started on a different forum where the member thought he had been awarded the EK2. This is what I have found to date.

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That would indeed be a quite strange group!

Possibly having the 1914-1918 star with British warmedal and victory medal with the Bavarian Militair cross of merit 3rd class (with or without swords?)

Greetzz

Jacky

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I would say that is quite impossible, being completely inappropriate to a lifesaving action.

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Hallo Gents, :cheers:

it was mentioned on another Forum (GWF) about a British newspaper article during WW1 which stated a British soldier so impressed the Germans who took him prisoner, with the attempts he made to save a wounded comrade that a German Officer took an EK 1 from his own uniform and pinned it to the British soldiers chest.

All propaganda of course, with no truth, but just what the people at home needed to read about the bravery of the boys on the Western Front!!

Kevin in Deva. :beer:

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I would say that is quite impossible, being completely inappropriate to a lifesaving action.

Well the info I mentioned came from here;

http://ppcli.com/files/afa_ppcli.pdf

I had hoped that those with all the lists might have been able to find some confirmation, though I am not sure if it is a high enough award to have any record.

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Recieved this email after I got back from walking the dog. :jumping:

"475801 Pte H.A. Cochran was awarded the Barvarian Cross of Military Merit, 3rd class. The Citation reads:

"To the English Prisoner of War, Cochran Harry Adolf, from Prisoner Camp Bayreuth: We express herewith for the rescue done with courage,and resoluteness of the 3 year old child named Gugel, saving her from drowning in the Birnbaum Pond in Feilsbrom, District of Auch Gusbach, the acknowledgement of the War Office."

Munich, 20th of June 1918

M. Henningrath

General Of the Cavalry

Minister of War

Pte Cochran was released from POW camp shortly after the armistice but died 28 Dec 1918 in a military hospital in France, caused by injuries sustained during the Battle Of Sanctuary Wood.

It is believed that he is the only Allied soldier to be decorated by the enemy.

Attached is a picture of his medals, currently on display at the PPCLI Museum.

Sgt Graham, BA

PPCLI Archives

The Military Museums

4520 Crowchild Trail SW

Calgary AB

T2T 5J4

403 974-2867

e-mail: archives@ppcli.com"

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Hallo Laurence, :jumping::jumping:

I will be the first to say I would not believe it until I had seen it with my own eyes, this must rate as one of the most unique awards ever won by a serving soldier, thanks for posting all the details.

Kevin in Deva :beer:

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Hi Kevin

Thanks, I was some suprised to see the response so quick , as i sent it just before walking the dog.

My take on it, is that as he died just after the war, and the fact the Germans saw fit to to "parole" him - thopugh in all honesty I don't know how common this was - would mean he might not have been in the best of health, thus making the act more "heroic" for lack of a better word.

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Well-now i have seen everything! Amazing.

You made my day.

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Hello Laurence:

A rather amazing story. The era of these gentlemen soldiers was a fascinating one to be sure. One interesting thing to note is that the award shown is a Bavarian Military Merit Order, Merit Cross 3rd class with crown and swords! This was an award that usually went to higher ranking NCO's. The Bavarians certainly thought a lot of Cochrane and his brave deed to grant him this award. It must have had to have been authorized by none other than the King himself. I'm sure that a great many Bavarian soldiers must have been a bit envious of Cochrane's award.

Best regards,

"SPM"

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Fabulous!!

Bavarian merit cross with swords & crown, quite a high decoration for a "simple" private, even a POW!!

But his group isn't as extensive as I thought.

No War medal and/or Victory medal...

I thought that those were also awarded to POWs??

Or just forgotten him, perhaps due to the german decoration?

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Fabulous!!

Bavarian merit cross with swords & crown, quite a high decoration for a "simple" private, even a POW!!

But his group isn't as extensive as I thought.

No War medal and/or Victory medal...

I thought that those were also awarded to POWs??

Or just forgotten him, perhaps due to the german decoration?

I was not aware of the significance of the award. thats quite impresive.

Jacky

My guess would be as he died just weeks after the end of the war, without ever coming home, there was probably no one to try and get the rest of them. I will ask that question to the museum.

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:shame:

as a commonwealth native, you should know that!

As a dutchie, I'm allowed to make mistakes:P

it's the 1914 star!

kind regards,

Jacky

Edited by Jacky

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He did NOT receive the Bavarian Military Merit Cross, regardless of what somebody has incorrectly put up on display.

The telegram cited, "the acknowledgement of the War Office" is a "Public Recognition"-- an "Amtlicher Belobigung" in the German lifesaving recognition system. It does N-O-T award the MVK3X. That telegram from War Minister Philipp von Hellingrath WAS the reward.

It is what amounts to a "letter of commendation" which was quite common. Occasionally this sort of recognition was accompanied by a cash gratuity. You can be sure his fellow prisoners and no doubt the locals had a "whip round" for him. Something like a WATCH would have been a likely result.

In the heirarchy of German lifesaving recognition, this was the lowest level. A letter with cash/watch/etc was next, then (there was no Bavarian equivalent, but in Prussia) the non-wearable table Lifesaving Medallion, and THEN wearable Lifesaving Medals.

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It is still a great grouping if we were to get rid of the medal and post the document.

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Your right Jack, you are allowed a mistake :lol:

its the 1914-15 Star.

Kevin in Deva :beer:

hehe, thank you,

I did a little search and found only images when I searched for the 1914 star...

But, out of memory, the 1914 star was often with a bar, wasn't it??

Kind regards and always willing to hear your corrections ;)

Jacky

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Some more info;

His story of winning the German medal was in Ripley's Believe it or Not.

He actually died of pneumonia - possible complication of influenza after his release as a PW. He died in the French Hospital Complementaire, Montebeliard, France (nr Paris) 28 Dec 1918. He is buried in Perruse Chateau Military Cemetery, France

@Rick.

Thanks for that, if you could give me some substantiation on that so I can take it else where and argue this!

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Don't know how to "prove" a negative. German decorations were never bestowed by papers that

made absolutely no mention of what was being given. THIS is the award document for a late war Bavarian MMC3X:

They were NOT awarded via telegrams from the Minister of War.

Somebody's got the story completely wrong and is apparently happy with that, even though it makes zero sense to anybody who has been immersed in normal (and abnormal) German award practices.

It couldn't have happened and it didn't happen and it wouldn't have happened because...

what he got was the TELEGRAM expressing Official Recognition thanks.

That was it. That's what they DID in these situations.

There is absolutely NO mention whatsoever, since there wasn't any reason for there to have been, of a Bavarian frontline military decoration in that telegram. If they've got the telegram, they already have something quite spectacularly extraordinary.

In my eyes, it does nothing but DETRACT from the real story to insist on fantasy.

Somewhere around here I've posted the paperwork for a 1920s Prussian Lifesaving Medal with both the award document and the cover letter from the Berlin police requesting that the bestowal of the medal and its reason be read out to the man's coworkers. THAT'S what happened at THAT level of lifesaving award. Here's the main thread showing that paperwork:

http://gmic.co.uk/index.php?showtopic=3129&hl=Wustrow

It bothers me that somebody at the museum for my SECOND favorite Canadian regiment :rolleyes: would take a Sunday morning cartoon as gospel, when that really mucks up a sensational TRUE story.

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Thanks Rick

It was neber a question of my not believing you, at least now I can approach them and hold a discussion with something beside's...."somebody said...."

Can I quote you on this?

And a big question...Whats your favorite Canadian Regiment?

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