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Ceylon

Serbian Red Cross Decoration - Great War

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Couple of photos of Serbian Kings with the cross. Notice the placement of the cross on their medal bars.

First King Milan Obrenović.

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Aye it is pretty close to the Order of St. John although there are differences.

Just don't think about it in British terms,

it is an order :D although the Serbian orders have to be sanctioned by the King, or approved. My understanding of our orders or medals, was that they were given to the British (or foreign recipients) out of gratitude for their service/an act of bravery etc. They differ from the British system of awarding and although this is technically semi-official, it is an official order because it had to be approved by the King of Serbia/Yugoslavia himself.

Same style with the Serbian Cross of Mercy.

As for the gazette, there could be multiple reasons why it isn't listed in the Gazette (would make the Gazette tooooo long :D) Other countries also awarded similar Red Cross orders and Medals (Montenegro, Bulgaria, etc), I know of a couple Serbian officers whos British orders aren't listed in the London Gazette, yet they have definatley received them :), some are listed in Serbian sources, others not. After the bombing of our Chancelry of Orders in Yugoslavia (which destroyed it), most records were lost and we can only piece some things together from exterior sources.

I think the recipient in question was awarded this order as a recognition of thanks and that they contributed to either helping the Serbian Red Cross or the patients of the Red Cross(totally different than the British system of belonging to an organization or group) some Serbian orders and medals didn't necisarily mean that you belonged to the organization and paid its fees that was associated with the order or medal's organization. This was also NOT a commemorative order. Not everyone that served in Serbia got the order and it wasn't handed out easily :) you had to do something, or contribute to receive it :) (and even then, some recipients might have been skipped or forgotten in time)

Edited by Rogi

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As for the gazette, there could be multiple reasons why it isn't listed in the Gazette, I know of a couple Serbian officers whos British orders aren't listed in the London Gazette, yet they have definatley received them :)

A member of my family was awarded with Distinguished Service Order and Order of the Bath, I know this for sure because I have a copy of his file and also DSO can be seen on one of the photos I have in my possession. I tried to find him in the Gazette, all possible variations of his name, but no result... In the end I gave up.

Sorry for going off topic.

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Well.. barring an Act of God, I have just been advised that I was the successful bidder on this lot:

attachicon.gifHirst - Overall Lot image.jpg

Once it actually arrives (4 - 5 days usually) I will get a view of the reverse of the cross and look for any maker's mark/hallmarks. In the mean time, here it is in a bit greater detail.

attachicon.gifHirst - Pair and Serb RC.jpg

The other three medals are:

1. (the larger copper oval one) the Ceylon Volunteer Overseas Service Medal (for the Great War);

2. (the two silver ones): academic awards from the Faculty of Medicine at University College London - "Anatomy" (1902-03) & "Histology & Practical" (1901-02).

The recipient is Leonard Fabian HIRST.

Hirst was born 2nd September 1882 and received his medical education at University College Hospital, London, qualifying with the Conjoint diploma in 1905. The following year he took the M.B. and B.S., and in 1909 he both proceeded to the M.D. in State medicine and obtained the D.P.H.

Hirst then went out to Ceylon, about 1911, where he was employed as a bacteriologist by the municipal government of the city of Colombo.

In 1912, as the Colony of Ceylon's leading Public Health official, Hirst began a series of inquiries into the role of fleas in the spread of the (bubonic) plague. (Few realised that there was a third world-wide outbreak if "The Plague", starting in China in 1855, that lasted well into the 20th century... in fact the WHO did not formally declare this pandemic over until 1959.)

By the 1930s, Hirst was considered on of the world's leading experts on the spread of communicable diseases... especially The Plague and Cholera. An internet search of his name will result in hundreds of "hits" in various medical and public health publications. In 1953 Hirst authored the definitive study on how to defeat The Plague:

attachicon.gifHirst - book - image - conquest of the plague.jpg

Although I am unclear of the circumstances that led to Hirst serving in Serbia, a Colombo (Ceylon) newspaper account of late 1915 indicates that Hirst went (in late 1914? or early 1915?) to serve in a Serbian Relief Fund sponsored hospital in Belgrade (perhaps the (1st) "British Farmers' Hospital"?), having returned to Ceylon in about Sept 1915. My suspicion is that given the outbreak of cholera in Serbia at the commencement of the war, and given his expertise in this area of public health, Hirst was easily convinced (or decided on his own) to volunteer for such service.

attachicon.gifHirst - 1915 newspaper article re Serbian Hospitals.jpg

Barring any new evidence, it is my assumption -- and it is only just an assumption at this point -- is that it is because of such service that he was awarded the Cross/Order of the Serbian Red Cross. This would also explain the all white ribbon -- he would have been awarded it as a civilian volunteer.

After his return to Ceylon, and given the increasing need for medical professionals in the army as the Great War continued, Hirst joined the Royal Army Medical Corps, seeing service in Egypt and then Salonica ... (back with his old friends?).

Any additional intelligence, of course, gratefully received.

Cheers,

Glen

Hi,

Leonard Fabian Hirst is a relative, though quite distant. He (and his brother Philip Noel Hirst) both worked in the field. I have his family history if you are interested. I just joined the group in order to reply to you so I'm a newby. Not sure of the correct procedure in carrying on further "correspondence." I can give you my Email address if that works for you.

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Wow! What a stroke of luck! ... and very kind of you. Yes, indeed, I would feel honoured if you shared with me the family history. And, if you are interested, I am happy to share with you (and/or your family) any of the research I have gathered on L.F. Hirst.

My email is glen.hodgins@sympatico.ca

Cheers,

Glen

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Well.. the group finally arrived in the post. It is stunning... absolutely beautiful.

There was some discussion early-on in this thread regarding an attempt to ascertain the maker... with the suggestion that if I posted more detailed photos, one might be able to tell. (I looked it over to see if i could see any maker's marks... but no luck... assuming they are obvious, since I don't know where to look! ;-)

If there is anything in particular one should look for, please let me know.

Here are the images.

Cheers,

Glen

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From the time period it is definatley Huguenin Brothers :) they used Rothe's molds so a lot of their pieces look exactly like Rothe, but since Rothe is from a previous time period than Huguenin, it is definatley Huguenin.

Excellent piece :)

Edited by Rogi

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Thanks. Are you aware of any images of the Rothe's example... for comparison... just curious.

Cheers,

Glen

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Thanks. Are you aware of any images of the Rothe's example... for comparison... just curious.

Cheers,

Glen

I'll send one over pm :)

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Sorry for late reply, the order looks great, enamel is perfect! Thanks for better images, About the producer I agree with Rogi :)

I am sure that he already sent you images of those Rothe examples, here's how their hallmarks look like.

FR + purity of silver on the suspension ring.

.

Edited by paja

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When we're talking about hallmarks, pieces made by Jacob Lesser were marked with JL (sometimes looks more like Roman II) and 800.

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Thanks very much, Paja. I really appreciate the images and your effort on my behalf.

Although I went over the decoration very carefully with a magnifying glass -- and did not find any maker's mark -- I did not think to roll back the ribbon and inspect the ring! :blush:

I'll do that once I get home tonight!

Cheers,

and thanks again,

Glen,

Ottawa, Canada

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Are there any figures available on how many of these were issued? ... Or is that something lost in the post-war upheavals?

Cheers,

Glen

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Don't mention it Glen, my pleasure.

Let us know if you find some hallmarks :)

By the way I found one more British recipient of the order here: http://www.epsomandewellhistoryexplorer.org.uk/DouglasHEM.html

Henry Edward Manning Douglas.

Apart from Red Cross Order he received Serbian Charity Cross, First and Second Balkan War Commemorative Medal (by the way their ribbons are replaced) and according to that article with Saint Sava as well (probably worn suspended from I suppose third buttonhole in the photo).
Photo from the link above.

Edited by paja

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Are there any figures available on how many of these were issued? ... Or is that something lost in the post-war upheavals?

Cheers,

Glen

Sorry I saw your question after I posted previous reply.

Muhić & Car are mentioning some figures in their book, I'll check and let you know.

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Second - Royal (1882) type:

-During Serbo-Bulgarian 1885-86 war 477 (284 to foreigners).

-During First Balkan, Second Balkan and First World War (up until 1921) 3135 (1807 to foreigners).

-From 1922 until 1936 674 (145 to foreigners).

So according to that if I got everything right from 1882 until 1936 at least 4286 (2236).

Authors state that these figures were found in Society's archives.
There was also Principality type (1876-1882) which was awarded during the Wars for Liberation and Independence against the Ottomans 1876, 1877-78.

Edited by paja

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Wonderful... absolutely wonderful. Thank you so much. I am very grateful for your kind assistance. These are exactly the types of figures I was hoping to acquire.

Cheers,

Glen

Edited by Ceylon

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